Jestersix

How do you use a Python water change system?

kinetic

Supporting Member
I'd love to hear how people use something like the Python water change system

When I change water, I siphon into a bucket, 4 times. I have a mark in the bucket for 2.5 gallons, and I remove 10 gallons from my 32 gallon DT.

I then have 4x buckets that are mixed/heated already, and then I dump those in. I use the exact same amount of water in as out because I measured the water exactly for all the buckets.

But while looking into new water changing / mixing station ideas, I saw the Python actually drains your water straight into the sink. Then you just fill it up from the faucet (of course we wouldn't do that for a reef tank, or a freshwater tank to be honest, but ok I don't know enough about fresh). So how the heck do you know how much you just drained?

Does anyone actually use that into the sink?

I guess you can mark the tank, but the starting water level might not be consistent, especially with overflows and what not.

Here's my guess of how I would use it:
  1. Two identical containers (15 gallons each to change out 10% of a 150-ish gallon total volume system)
  2. First container will have water mixed/heated
  3. Then I'll siphon water into the second empty container until it's filled. Since it's identical, and I'll fill to a specific line, I can be sure it's the same amount going out as in
  4. Then I'll run an adapter from my mixing pump into the siphon's garden hose fitting (I'll need to find some kind of adapter I guess) and then fill the tank up.
  5. The pump probably won't get all the water out of the container, so I'll probably just need to tip it into a bucket to get any remainder and walk it over to top it off... or I can install a spigot at the bottom to make it easier to drain?
Anyway, my method seems kind of weak. I'd love to hear what people do (who don't have super fancy mixing stations and AWC systems).
 

iani

Supporting Member
When I used to do this I would actually mark with a tiny mark to indicate where I wanted to drain it to. Shut off all my pumps, let the water drain to the sump. Syphon out water directly into the sewer (tub or toilet) then pump water back into the tank till water just starts to overflow.

My vote is for something fancy though, I would not be doing water changes nearly as much if it wasn't easy.
 

popper

Supporting Member
Using a sharpie, mark tank for 5 gallon, 10 etc. Drain to outside or toilet/shower. Sink is too high and flow will stop when water height is lower than sink.

I have two 50g drums. Pump water directly into tank from the drum that has mixed salt.

I have 10 5 gallon jugs, I could slowly fill the tank with them instead of using a pump.

If you drain using a python connect to faucet and the sink is higher than water level, you'll need to continuously leave the faucet running. I did that 15 noob years ago.
 

JVU

President
BOD
You don’t have to measure anything, just refill to where the water level is where it’s supposed to be (at the level the ATO would kick on/off) in the return part of the sump.

Regarding siphon to sink, you can start the siphon with perpendicular running tap water as that system does (but seems kinda wasteful), or you can just hold the end of the tube up to your return nozzle in your tank and let it fill the tube. I use magnets to attach the sink end to the stainless sink, but you could use clamps or whatever.
 

kinetic

Supporting Member
When I change my water, I use the Apex VDM to maintain static flow in my return, so water doesn't actually drain back. It's not perfect, but it does help. Because of this my DT is not always at the exact same water level, so I can't just drain to a specific place.

For those draining from the sump, I think this is also a problem with a VDM, but I never did this before because my sump was always too low to get a siphon going into a bucket etc.

Perhaps I just need to forgo the VDM and let my tank drain into the sump completely. I guess it should always be the same volume that drains...
 

kinetic

Supporting Member
I just saw the Sicce Ultra Zero Utility Pump on BRS that has the input on the bottom of the pump, so I could basically get all but 2mm of water out of a mixing container. It also, amazingly, connects to a regular hose 3/4" which is exactly what the python siphon thing has.

I think that's the key to filling the tank back up.

I'm still not sure about how to get a precise drain without using a second container to measure.
 

iani

Supporting Member
When I change my water, I use the Apex VDM to maintain static flow in my return, so water doesn't actually drain back. It's not perfect, but it does help. Because of this my DT is not always at the exact same water level, so I can't just drain to a specific place.

For those draining from the sump, I think this is also a problem with a VDM, but I never did this before because my sump was always too low to get a siphon going into a bucket etc.

Perhaps I just need to forgo the VDM and let my tank drain into the sump completely. I guess it should always be the same volume that drains...
Easy thing to do is don't use the VDM.
 

phatduckk

Supporting Member
I had a 20g brute on wheels that I’d siphon old water into. Then had another 20g brute with a sicce ultra zero connected to a python for filling.

Once in a while I’d use the sicce & python to drain my whole sump if I wanted a bigger water change.
 
when i used to do wc religiously, i had a 40g brute that i marked 20 / 25 / 30 / 35... i also marked the side of my tank with the same 20 / 25 / 30 / 35. turn off all pumps, start a siphon into the kitchen sink, connect spare return pump to refill; done in about 5 mins.
 

JVU

President
BOD
I just saw the Sicce Ultra Zero Utility Pump on BRS that has the input on the bottom of the pump, so I could basically get all but 2mm of water out of a mixing container. It also, amazingly, connects to a regular hose 3/4" which is exactly what the python siphon thing has.

I think that's the key to filling the tank back up.

I'm still not sure about how to get a precise drain without using a second container to measure.
Yes I use the sicce ultra zero for putting the new saltwater in. Easy.
 

Meshmez

Supporting Member
I have a long python that reaches the utility sink in my garage. My mixing stating is right next to the sink. I use the faucet connection just to hold the hose in the sink. I plan to make something to hold a filter sock and attach the hose to in the sink rather than the faucet.

I then connect the hose to my mixing station pump and pump back into the sump.
 

richiev

Supporting Member
You don’t have to measure anything, just refill to where the water level is where it’s supposed to be (at the level the ATO would kick on/off) in the return part of the sump.

Regarding siphon to sink, you can start the siphon with perpendicular running tap water as that system does (but seems kinda wasteful), or you can just hold the end of the tube up to your return nozzle in your tank and let it fill the tube. I use magnets to attach the sink end to the stainless sink, but you could use clamps or whatever.
+1 this is what I do. Eyeball about the same in and out. Turn pumps back on, add about enough so the ATO float/sensor level looks about right. In a reasonable size tank I think adding a bit too much salt or a bit too little and filling with extra RO from the ATO I don't think is a big deal.

On my smaller tank, I sometimes eyeball it and then toss the RO ATO pump into the saltwater bucket. That'll guarantee it's filled to the appropriate level. You have to remember to move the pump back though!
 

kinetic

Supporting Member
You guys are crazy with the eyeballing. I could never trust myself haha.

I'm not going to use a VDM and let the water drain into the sump when I turn off the pumps for a water change, and then mark the back of the display somehow so I know how much I need to drain.
 

JVU

President
BOD
I leave my return running. I siphon out water from the display to the sink or wherever. The return chamber water level starts going down. I start adding back new water to the sump before the return chamber gets too low. When I’m done siphoning out I let it settle for a couple min then add the rest needed to fill the return chamber of the sump back to exactly the right level the ATO is set to (by looking at the ATO sensors) before turning the ATO back on.

I’m not eyeballing it in any guessing sense of the term. It is at least as exact as setting pumps to remove and replace the same amounts.
 
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