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Re: [APD] water changes, pythons et al

I suggest for some, the python works well(I prefer my own version, which is somewhat similar, but waste not tap, see below).
  I like a simple siphon hose that's long enough to drain where I need it, I use a simple U shaped PVC that has one end not glued, so I can twist and adjust it. 
  That drains while I clean and scrub.
  Refill is simply garden style hose, again with a simple PVC U shape hanger for refill, I add a T so the refill water does not shoot straight down and blow the plants away.
  I squirt some Amquel as the tank refills, never an issue with 200$ to 20 cent fish wild, F1-2-3 etc. 
  I've used this same system we used back in 1970's at a LFS I worked at as kid.
  I've changed nothing really, same advice too, 50% weekly water change.
  Till automation came along and hard plumbing. The HP method is simple, you have a simple valve to drain, and another to refill, no dragging hoses out or connecting, if you can afford a plumber, you can do that and have it set up simply. Same for thre automated version, they make small simple electronic and mechanical float switched so you can drain and fill without a or with a sump.
  DIY or hire a competent plumber. One time expense and from then on, water changes will never be a big deal. The HP method is very nice and with large drain pipes and  good refill sources(bath lines etc) you can drain and fill about 200 gal in about 1 hour and that is enough for 400 gal worth of tank.   
  You can use a gravity fed system with a solenoid or a pressure fed system with a pump for the draining.
  Same for the refill, solenoids are not particularly expensive(ebay etc), try to change water slowly if you automate. If you want rapid changes easy, the HP method works very well.
  Anyone can do that and it's 100% safe since you are right there.
  You can use preheated mix of tap, and a carbon filter right before and you will not even need much Dechlor etc.
  Pruning, cleaning off any algae etc is always much easier when  the tank is 50-80% changed. Make maintenace much easier and these water change methods also make it much less of a chore for larger tanks.
  My tanks at home are all quite small, so I use the hose PVC U shape refill method.
  It's not worth it to use the hardplumbed systems for me, nor auto water changes, but for larger tanks in more permanent location, most definitely.
  Some like to use a pump to drain and fill, a larger RIO works well for this, the HP models are decent and drain and fill a tank most places with 4ft of head rapidly.
  Wise hobbyists and pros avoid work and still get the job done. A hose will go just about anywhere in a home. If you can get cable TV to a room, you can get automated water changers.
  Given the amount of work reduction and removing the procrastion is also well worth it, even if you are no good at DIY and hire a plumber. Still, every so often a nice light vacuuming or deep vacuuming once a year is a good idea. Save the bucket for that or some folks just fluff the gravel up or uproot often rather top and leave the stumps. 
  Then a 50% water change or an 80% is still the same amount of work, 2x a week or once every 2 weeks.,
  I hear lots of belly aching about water changes on list, in clubs and forums. There is simply no good reason to make it hard or laborious. I explain these other methods to help them, but then they go and belly ache about these alternative methods. hehe, I wonder sometimes. But many are simply frustrated and need to get the frustration out on the net sometimes. 
  So you keep telling them 100 times till they try it, then a slap on the forehead, like using Gas tanks for CO2 or using the CO2 mist.
  Frequent large water change is the single best piece of advice that works for most everyone. RO water users can adapt a few things for their needs, often they have float switches etc already and are fairly good at moving water around.
  Like CO2 gas tank systems, once you have set up and simple automated water changer, hardplumbed system or hose set up, you wonder how the other half lives.
  If you are cheap and don't wanna be bothered, non CO2 systems work wonderful.
  No water changes. Likewise, if you want a little bit of lazy water changing, say once a month, and are a little lazy on pruning, go lower light with CO2, or use Excel. 
  There are plenty of good simple options to address most anyone's needs.
  Tom Barr
  The first article in depth article ever on PO4 in the planted aquarium coming in Jan 2006! 

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