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This article originated on another site and was copied at the author's request
This is a diagram of the arrangement that I use for preparing water for my discus aquarium.
My tap water comes from a spring and is very hard (250 to 300 ppm General Hardness). Therefore, I have to soften the water first, otherwise the American Pharmaceuticals Inc. deioniser becomes exhausted in no time. (Don't use an ion exchange resin - that merely substitutes sodium ions for the calcium.) As I cannot use the pressure from the tap to put the water through the deioniser, it is necessary to use gravity - hence the Top container and pulley system. The system is in my garage and works very well. Not mentioned in the diagram is the possible need to add minerals or pH buffers to the lower container before topping up the aquarium. One precaution to take is to choose a pulley system strong enough to carry the weight of the Top container. For a 35 gallon (42 US gals) tank, a 10% water change amounts to 3.5 gals which weigh 35 pounds.
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