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The bottle and stone take up space that the water would need to fill (displaces it). If a tank takes 2 gallons with out the bottle the bottle may take up the space of half a gallon. When the water fills the tank following flushing the ball-cock still raises but the bottle replaces half a gallon. Therefore the ball-cock switches off the water in the normal height but using less water.

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Q: How does putting a bottle with stones in the toilet tank reduce water?
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