Intro: Project:Aquarius, the Easy Aquarium Water Change Device
New From Sam Pask Design - Project:Aquarius, the easy to use Aquarium Water Change Device, Project Aquarius is an ad-hoc solution to the many problems encountered when water changing a fish tank, solving problems like carrying heavy water buckets, starting and controlling siphons, replacing tank water and filling large containers from the sink. Project:aquarius is designed from a series of easy to get hold of components available both on the high street and or online.
Step 1: Containing Water
Project:Aquarius is designed to be fully customisable to suit the users fish tank, the main component behind any project is the water containers, The best i have found are plastic jerry cans, which come in a variety of sizes varying from 5 litres up to 50 litres, ideally you want a container that can hold the amount of water that you need to water change in one go to save you making multiple trips.
A recommended water change for a tropical or cold water tank is 20% every two weeks so ideally a barrel that holds 20% of the tank contents would be perfect. so for a 60 litre aquarium needs approximately a 12 litre water change and a 100 litre bucket needs a 20 litre. Marine fish tanks require 10% water changes every week so the container size can be worked out the same way but with 10% buckets instead of 20%
The tank i created this project for is a 50 litre tropical tank so i purchased two 10 litre plastic jerry cans, one for tank water and one for clean water. from my local aquarium.
Step 2: Moving Water
A jerry can full of water can be very heavy, particularly in large volumes and over long distance, to counteract this heavy lifting issue, i have included a trolley in my design so you can move the water simply and efficiently through your home or workplace to your aquarium while exerting very little effort.
The product i have found ideal for this purpose is the boot trolley, designed to carry shopping to and from the boot of your car very easily is ideal for the purpose of moving heavy water containers, available in a number of sizes so it can incorporate any size containers comfortably and can be folded flat for easy storage when not in use. i purchased mine at a hardware store although there is lots available online
Step 3: Draining Water
The next component required is a gravel siphon, already used widely as a way of removing aquarium water and cleaning the gravel at the same time. although for inexperienced fish keepers can be difficult to use. Widely available from any decent fish shop. the gravel siphon simply consists of a siphon hose with a plastic tube on the end to mix through the gravel, to save money it is also very easy to make a grave siphon with the top of a coke bottle and some hosing. gravel siphons come in a number of sizes and lengths, so you are able to pick the ideal one to suit your aquariums needs.
The gravel siphon also works extremely well as a funnel and makes filling up containers on the floor at taps very easy and stops the need for precarious balancing and overfilling buckets.
Step 4: Moving Water Uphill
Probably the most difficult part of a water change is the refilling process you have drained your tank with a siphon, but now must lift a heavy bucket, spilling water everywhere and pouring water into the tank too fast destroying you aquarium decor, to counteract this issue i have used a PVC Hand Pump available from any good hardware store or easy to find online the PVC hand pump allows the user to simply pump the water up a hose and into there aquarium exerting very little and effort and in a controlled way, the PVC hand pump can also be used in reverse to start a siphon for inexperienced fishkeepers who struggle.
Step 5: Travelling Water
To get the water from the container to the pump, you will need some sort of hose i chose the unkinkable pond hosing to fit the outlet dimensions of my PVC pump, this works extremely well as its fairly solid and won't kink causing any pressure build up.
this can be attached to the PVC pump and also with a simple reducer connector can be attached to the siphon hosing allowing the pipe to be easily attached detached and reattached with very little fuss or effort.
Step 6: Connectors
with the containers taking up almost all the space in my boot cart i had very little space for the pump and siphon. so i purchased some velcro tree ties which attached to the side of the cart which allowed me to easily strap the pump and siphon on and off and keeps the project as a neat complete unit. the tree ties are very cheap to buy, but any sort of velcro would work just as well.
Step 7: Using Project:Aquarius to Fill
The first thing you need to do when using project aquarius is not usually the first thing you need to do when water changing a fish tank, but firstly you need to fill your clean water container at the tap, wheel the project close to the tap and remove the gravel siphon place the hose end into the container and take the gravel hoover and place it under the tap like a funnel then turn the tap on filling letting the water run down the gravel hoover down the tube and into the container, filling the container easily with no mess or heavy lifting, when the container is full to the required level turn off the tap gather up the siphon, add the required amount of dechlorinater to the water (see bottle instructions) replace the lid on the container and wheel your project:aquarius over to your fish tank.
Step 8: Using Project:Aquarius to Siphon
Siphoning is something that alot of fish keepers initially struggle with either struggling to get the siphon started or over siphoning and ending up with a mouth full of dirty fish water, the project is designed to be extremely easy to use. if you are comfortable with siphoning then you can use the siphon as normal but if you are someone that struggles when starting siphons then, you can attach the PVC hand pump to the siphon hose and draw the handle up pulling the water down the tube and begin the siphon this way, when the siphon has started you can easily move the hose through the gravel waiting for the level in the tank water container matches the level in the freshwater container, when it does remove the siphon from the water to stop the siphon.
Step 9: Using Project:Aquarius to Top Up
One of the main features of the Project:Aquarius is the ease of topping the tank back up, simply by attaching the hose to both ends of the PVC hand pump and placing one end in the container and the other end in tank and by slowly pumping refilling the tank is extremely easy and stress free. When is full again simply stop pumping remove the hose from the tank and connect everything back up to the trolley. Completing the water change
Step 10: Waste Water and Water Storage.
Aquarium water generally contains lots of nutrients that are perfect fertiliser for plants both household and garden so the waste tank water from the aquarium is perfect to water plants and if you don't want to use it all at once can sit in the sealed container for up to a month without going stagnent.
Project:aquarius is also great for marine fish keepers as it is great for taking to fish shops to be filled with RO water or the containers sit neatly under a sink with an RO unit, the sealed containers also mean that you can mix up salt and keep it for up to a month with it still being fine to use in your marine tank.