Not really, but I can see your point....I still keep an eye on how specific plants are growing and make adjustments as necessary. Algae phases can be helpful and useful in determining courses of action as well. Water changes in greater amounts are necessary for the first few weeks, but if you know what to look for and have the experience, you don't have to do the big water changes. It's not for the beginning hobbyist, BUT I wouldn't call it completely reactionary. And all tanks go through reactionary phases....the "it was fine yesterday, what happened?" phase, and so forth. Knowing your parameters can help with prediction, but they aren't fail-safes either, so I'm not entirely sure that I would call massive water changes "preventative" either. I have no issues after my tanks mature.....there's not much in the way of reactionary measures if there are no issues to begin with, right?
the ultimate "prevention," in my opinion, is to have a healthy system that is not reliant upon large water changes. If you do a massive trim, then you could rationalize that you should run your dosing on the lean side or you could get algae. No need to reset the water column or break out the testing kits; just use some common sense. You can do those things, if you like....I have done well without them. But you are right, House: you do need something to gauge where the set up is at. I can use plant growing habits and such to determine where I'm at ; you prefer a different set of means. So, we are in the same boat.
Again, two ways arriving at the same result. In fact, there are countless ways in this hobby to arrive at the same end result.
Growth rates largely determine this, without proper growth rates and oxygenation (which can be related to growth) not everyting will be broken down.. so at this point water changes are good
for most hobbyists, water changes are good. it takes a lot to be where you are
im still a water change fanatic, but im at the point where growth is the cleansing factor of my tank, and water changes are more for water clarity than anything. i like that clear water look a lot, but i negate myself, i like teawater too for my shrimps???
good experiment for you:
drain 3/4 of tank water once weekly and plot growth rates for a month, save that water and pump it back in
ow drain 3/4 of the tank water weekly and exchange with new
plot growth rates for a month and see if there is a variance, Tom has a theory that plants when exposed to fresh air act like a sponge and absorb as much co2 as they can hold. the theory has merrit especially when you notice how different plants grow on water change day, the next question is, does fresh water play a roll in that as well?