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RE: float switches/automatic water changes

> From: "Felix Fernandes" <fern121 at msn_com>
> I've been searching the web for info on automatic water change setups(I
> don't mean python products).  The only article I found was by Jon
> Elion(automatic water changes aug 92) - using a overflow PVC pipe
> to house drainage.
> I was interested in a float switch system that would first drain 10% water
> triggered by a timer which would in (at the low water level) trigger a
> solenoid to fill up the aquariam.

I have created a semi-automatic water changer for one of my systems.  I have
two lines of PVC pipe to the aquarium.  One goes from the back of the
aquarium to the basement drain and the other from the back of the aquarium
to a pump in the basement which is in turn attached to a reservoir.

The drain line has a solenoid installed about 4' from the drain.  This
solenoid holds water in the drain line to help initiate siphon when I drain
the tank.  I have the switch for the solenoid controlled via an X10
controller.  When I trigger the switch the solenoid opens and the water
already in the pipe begins to drain, sucking water out of the aquarium and
starting the siphon.  When 25% is drained I close the solenoid, keeping
water in the pipe to start the siphon next time.

I then trigger the pump to push water into the aquarium.  The drain pipe
that extends down into the aquarium is removable so that I don't have to
look at it and it is also a limited length so that if I forget the tank,
it'll only drain about 35% of the water.

Nothing is automated although with the X10 it could be.  I've found no need
to automate the process.  It's so easy I don't find myself getting lazy like
I do with the other aquarium.

St. Louis