Tired of 50% weekly water changes - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Tired of 50% weekly water changes

I'm sure this has been covered I'm just having trouble finding a thread. I'm tired of 50% water changes. I'm getting ready to set up a 240g with a 70g sump. I already have a 26g and a 70g. That's alot of water every week to change. I know there are other ways to dose and not change so much water weekly. Could someone please advise or link me to the correct thread. Thanks in advance

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 08:24 PM
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 08:31 PM
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simply dose less and monitor your tank

there is no exact science to this... EI itself is simply a guide that should probably not be taken literally. most would be surprised how little I dose in my high tech tank. i still perform 50% weekly WC

your plants' reactions / nutrient levels in your water should be used as a guide. of course if you have a heavily stocked tank then you may not be able to keep nitrates in check without large water changes anyways. i am assuming this is not the case

i would aim for a 50% change every few weeks or a smaller 10-20% change each week... depends on what your situation is with water change setup, fish stocking, plants, etc... if i had a tank that large there is no way i would run it any way other than lower maintenance... that is a ton of water to change. you should also get a 'system' set up for doing WC on tank that large... plumb something outside your home so you can drain directly outdoors, rig up something to easily be able to fill tank, etc...

As someone who has 2 similarly sized tank I can do WC on all of my tank in under an hour and a half each week. on a tank that is 240g I would not even bother unless i had a LEGIT setup to perform WC. plumbing directly to the outside, easy setup to fill tank from water supply, etc... that is a tremendous amount of water to move. you will want it to be relatively 'automated'. i would set the tank up so i almost never had to vacuum the substrate, just drain water out, fill tank back up. done

basically... planning now will save you MANY hours in the long run
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by zackariah View Post
I'm sure this has been covered I'm just having trouble finding a thread. I'm tired of 50% water changes. I'm getting ready to set up a 240g with a 70g sump. I already have a 26g and a 70g. That's alot of water every week to change. I know there are other ways to dose and not change so much water weekly. Could someone please advise or link me to the correct thread. Thanks in advance

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Just curious - what part of the 50% water change do you not like?
The amount of water required?
Carrying many 5 gallon buckets of water?
The amount of time it takes using your current method?

The reason I ask is I have a few, some what over the top friends who have found them selves in need of changing a lot of water each week. One in particular has about 2,200 gallons of water contained within aquariums. Now he does not change 50% each week, but he is probably averaging atleast 25%. Needless to say, he has developed some interesting ways to speed up the process.

FYI, this is just one of his many tanks (your welcome Stan) https://www.facebook.com/sweat.iowac...9413446315068/
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the pointers. As far as what I'm tired of, it's the time it takes and the amount of RO water involved. I spoke to a rep from air water & ***. He told me I would either need a giant Rodi system or change out the filters every 3 months. I also Live in southern California we have the whole drought thing so I feel slightly guilty.

I can definitely develop a system to reduce the time involved. I have thought about getting a couple 55g drums and using a pump to pump the water straight in.

I understand the E in EI is estimated. And there is no exact amount as all tanks are different. I will try the less ferts approach with smaller water changes and see how that works for me as well as investing in the drums. Then I'll be ready for my typhoon extreme so I no longer have to lug water containers to the vending machine.

The above link did not work it said it was temporarily down. Or I don't have permissions. Or the link is broken

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by zackariah View Post
I'm sure this has been covered I'm just having trouble finding a thread. I'm tired of 50% water changes. I'm getting ready to set up a 240g with a 70g sump. I already have a 26g and a 70g. That's alot of water every week to change. I know there are other ways to dose and not change so much water weekly. Could someone please advise or link me to the correct thread. Thanks in advance

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It's all about finding that balance. having a good equilibrium in your eco system going on in your tank.

1. have good ratio of plants and bio load (fish poop). the ratio should be lush plants to a fish population that's not crowded.

2. keep your lights at a gentle pace. Maybe have them turn on for 4-7 hours a day. then look at your plants to see if there are any deficiencies and add as you go. adding too much fertz in your water causes balance to fall off and algae to grow easy

I have a 9 gallon running for the past year and I only have done a 50% water change 2-3 time. lights running two 4hr light periods a day. i will change 20% of the water every month or so. I clean my algae once a month or so.

dont listen to people telling you to change 50% of your water every week when you don't need to. If your tank is balanced you only need to change it 2-3 times a year.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 10:34 PM
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Sure you can do it if you don't mind water testing. Actually, that was the reason EI was devised. To eliminate water testing.

I also have a 240 gallon to setup. I still haven't decided what to do. High tech is nice but it will take a lot more time for maintenance. The water changes for me really aren't a big deal. On the other hand, cleaning and trimming 240 gallons of high tech real estate?

The reason I say this is to remind you that low tech with an enriched substrate like dirt is always an option. One that I'm seriously considering. Not all tanks require tons of fertilizing.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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I have been strongly considering doing dirt for my 240.

I'm down to test water regularly. I test my pool every other day. I actually look forward to learning this new to me method.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 11:18 PM
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Gotta go Walstad. There are scores of people who experience no issues keeping low-bioload dirted tanks with infrequent water changes. Some aquarists do no formal water changes at all, only removing a gallon or two of tank water every day to give to house plants. I only do about one water change a month, often much less: my fish breed like crazy and my plants grow beautifully.

There are right ways and wrong ways to go about this, so if you intend to reduce water changes, I highly recommend that you read Diana Walstad's Ecology of the Planted Aquarium. This book is tells you why and how you can keep an aquarium with infrequent water changes.



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Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
One in particular has about 2,200 gallons of water contained within aquariums. Now he does not change 50% each week, but he is probably averaging atleast 25%. Needless to say, he has developed some interesting ways to speed up the process.
Christ that's a ton of water down the drain. I hope they don't live in the south west.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 11:28 PM
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LOL, no he actually lives in Iowa City, IA. Water is pretty cheap there. Sorry the link did not work for some - basically it's a video of a 240-280 gallon acrylic tank with a huge arowana, 2 red tail cat fish, 2 tiger shovelnose catfish, a large knife fish and a couple of shark looking fish (I really dont know all the monster fish he keeps, but needless to say he keeps a lot of really big fish).
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by zackariah View Post
I understand the E in EI is estimated. And there is no exact amount as all tanks are different. I will try the less ferts approach with smaller water changes and see how that works for me as well as investing in the drums.
I'll share my hi-tech approach.
PPS-Pro as prescribed is not enough ferts for success IMO.
With two high tech tanks that have enough fish to supply NO3 I mix up the Nitrate -Free PPS-Pro mix and dose both tanks to 1ppm of PO4 (API test just barely shows blue).
Testing PO4 & NO3 has led me to the weekly needs of both tanks.

Tank 1 is a 40L and I change about 6 gallons every two weeks.
Tank 2 is a 75 and I only top off as needed, changing 12 gallons every quarter.

Tank 2 shows the best growth at all times.
Been doing this for 1.5 years now as a test.
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Swimming is not that difficult.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 12:43 PM
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why are you using RO water in freshwater?
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 12:55 PM
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yeah, is there a good reason you need to use RO/DI water? I understand the benefits but for large setups this hardly seems worth it... i am assuming you would not go high tech in a tank that large anyways so water parameters would not be as important?

again, if you are tackling some of the more tedious aspects of the hobby (RO/DI, high tech setup / demanding plants, etc...) you are going to spend a ton of time and $$$ on a tank that large. if i had tank that large (it will happen one day) i would just accept tap water unless it is totally unusable, go low tech / low maintenance, set up plumbing to/from the tank for easy WC, etc... make it as easy as possible. honestly if i couldn't use tap i would not even bother
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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why are you using RO water in freshwater?
There are many species that require specific water types in fresh water. If you want discus, altum angels, crystal red shrimp etc. In general they do not do well in water like mine. My tap has a TDS of 400+ my hardness is 15+. I know there are a few people that have made it work but that is few and far between.

I am doing my homework before setting up my big tank to limit the amount of work it will take for all my tanks.This thread has been very informative. I really appreciate all the input. I plan to practice the methods mentioned over the next few months on my other tanks. I'm hoping to have my big tank set up by September.

So others may benefit I will try my best to document on this thread how it all works out. I'll try the lower fertilizing on one tank and pps on the other. On my large tank the walstad method sounds very appealing.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 07:04 PM
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There are many species that require specific water types in fresh water. If you want discus, altum angels, crystal red shrimp etc. In general they do not do well in water like mine. My tap has a TDS of 400+ my hardness is 15+. I know there are a few people that have made it work but that is few and far between.

I am doing my homework before setting up my big tank to limit the amount of work it will take for all my tanks.This thread has been very informative. I really appreciate all the input. I plan to practice the methods mentioned over the next few months on my other tanks. I'm hoping to have my big tank set up by September.

So others may benefit I will try my best to document on this thread how it all works out. I'll try the lower fertilizing on one tank and pps on the other. On my large tank the walstad method sounds very appealing.

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ah, thats pretty hard tap water. Youd be better off getting a water softening system for your house over using RO all the time lol.
My tank is slightly dirted. I will offer one piece of (MY OWN) advice. Dont use as much soil as most methods say. I started my tank with the 2" most stay and ended up with MAYBE 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of dirt then mostly black diamond. Very nice looking stuff.... I mean while you can see it before its covered in plants.
It was really hard for me to get my levels under control, pre fish, with that much dirt. I broke down the tank and removing the soil was one of the most disgusting (that smell) things I even had to do.

good luck, hope it all works out. Look at my sig and videos. I piped my canister to remove the water and then have a long collapsible hose to refill hooked up to my utility (or any) sink.
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