50% water change a must?
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:03 AM   #1
BreakingBread
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50% water change a must?


I plan on Ei dosing but and since I never have a planted tank, i plan on doing 50% water changes for a long while. But that equates to 150 gallons a week, is there a happy medium without testing every week?
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:20 AM   #2
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If you dose less, you need to change less water. You new to find the best level for your plants by trial and error.

At first I was dosing 2/3 of recommended level, and changing 30% of water - plants weren't happy.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:24 AM   #3
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I would say no not initially until you know what you nutrient uptake looks like.

Early on I would say testing is your friend. After few weeks of EI and stable plant load you will have a fairly good idea of where your nitrates are running throughout the week. Depending on your dosing level you may or may not need the large end of week water change to "reset" the tank. This determination would be hard to make early on without testing.

Play it by ear, you have a huge system there which will inherently give you a little more stability. EI, while awesome, was not handed down on high to be followed by the letter. Tweak it, adapt it, experiment with it. It makes it fun.
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:10 PM   #4
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What I did was to initially test regularly to find the levels of uptake in my tank, then maybe monthly, and now I have dialed in my nutrient dosing.

In my (understocked) 250gal tank, I change 5 gallons (2%) every day.

EI means you add a surplus of nutrients. Not that expensive, but for a 300gal tank, if you add a lot and then remove a lot, it adds up too. So some initial testing to dial in things might really be beneficial in the long run. Plus it gives you some better understanding of the dynamics in your tank.
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:50 PM   #5
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We had a couple of threads EXACTLY like this one throughout the last week.

Popular consensus was that less dosing/smaller dose amounts = less water changes.

Testing will help you achieve the right balance.

Use the search button next time!
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVN View Post
We had a couple of threads EXACTLY like this one throughout the last week.

Popular consensus was that less dosing/smaller dose amounts = less water changes.

Testing will help you achieve the right balance.

Use the search button next time!
Test kits are not required to find "balance".

That was one of the main points EI since few people bother to test to begin with. Adding to that, people also never/rarely used standards to ensure their test kit readings were accurate to begin with, most still do not, they just assume.

I have no issues with test kits, I've used them and developed quite a few methods myself specific to planted tanks.

The problem is more "human".

We still are going to do a water change, we still are okay with that and caring for the tank and fish in a good manner. 50% is an arbitrary %. It was chosen because it made the math build up easy. This was BEFORE dosing calculators and modeling graphing charts.

Folks should start at a non limiting level and then slowly reduce the dosing down till they see a negative effect on the plants(perhaps the best test kit for the human issues), then bump back up to the last highest dosing routine.
Or you can simply do the 50%, dose the ferts and not worry and fuss.

I change about 70% weekly and clean the tank well, trim etc.
I have about 440 gal worth of aquariums, takes me about 2 hours once a week. Hardly difficult chore for that much aquarium.

Do I test?

I did for somethings in the past, but mostly light/CO2 and 95% CO2, these are far more important and manageable than nutrients.

I do few water changes on the non CO2 tank, and maybe once every 3-4 weeks on my iwagumi hairgrass tank as the hair grass just does not consume much ferts. It also has low light.

Balance is more than nutrients, it includes CO2 and light 1st, the last part would be the nutrients in terms of "balance". Plant species, fish, biomass etc, food type, simple care of the scape etc, these things also regulate whether you might want to do more water changes, or algae, poor plant growth etc.

Water changes are one of the simplest most effective management tools available. Make them easy and if you bother to do them, go big % wise.

If you know yourself well enough and do not like doing them, then go non CO2 and/or low light, low maintenance set/scapes. Many want these nice scapes that require work, and also want/or just buy.....high light, then do not want to do much to keep up on it, that is not realistic.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
...Water changes are one of the simplest most effective management tools available. Make them easy and if you bother to do them, go big % wise.

... Many want these nice scapes that require work, and also want/or just buy.....high light, then do not want to do much to keep up on it, that is not realistic.
All so true. Water changes help every setup. It's not only ferts, but removing excess organics helps all setups assuming your feeding your plants.

Don't believe for a minute that for example a full ADA setup maintains itself. They are all built around the water change and even with that algae will form. It's all about lifestyle and what your willing to do. If your not willing to get involved on a regular basis then your focus should be low light, easy plants and low stock setups.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:05 PM   #8
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thanks for the info guy!
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:18 PM   #9
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That's a big tank (300g) for your first planted tank...
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
All so true. Water changes help every setup. It's not only ferts, but removing excess organics helps all setups assuming your feeding your plants.

Don't believe for a minute that for example a full ADA setup maintains itself. They are all built around the water change and even with that algae will form. It's all about lifestyle and what your willing to do. If your not willing to get involved on a regular basis then your focus should be low light, easy plants and low stock setups.
Well they also use lower light, they do a lot in the start, but later, say 3 months.........etc, they can certainly back off and do say 1/3 once a week, which is what they say...is their standard routine.

People poo poo EI often for the water change aspect, but give a blank check to ADA regarding water changes. Discus folks, fish breeders, many fish keepers always did weekly or 2x a week water changes IME. Never hurts to do one and only helps.

I'd say this article is far more important for the OP regarding balance:

http://www.tropica.com/en/tropica-ab...and-light.aspx

If you chose the suggested conclusion that Ole and Troels(and myself and indirectly ADA), you pick low light with cO2, you get manageable growth rates, and easy to care with max wiggle room for error.
Adding CO2 is for the plants, to make them grow better, and faster, but also to prevent plant plant competition, so you can grow any of the 400 or so species together.

If you also use something like soil ADA aqua soil etc......then you also provide a nutrient backup source. This long term source will provide most things, but runs out of NO3 and NH4 after about a year or so.
Maybe less, I know it's all gone after 18 months. Good news is that all the other nutrients, are still there and should last another 10 years.

Here's an example of a client's 350 Gal I redid a couple of months ago:



60-70% weekly water changes: I have a hard plumbed drain, turn a vlave, and it drains down a 1" pipe pretty quick, and then a 1/2" hot/cold water blend with a carbon prefilter to remove chlorine etc.
This is a semi automated system.

Very easy and quick.

You can do a fully automated water change, I tend to use daily 10-20% water changes with those.
You need a hard plumbed set up also with a float switch,a sump and a small powerhead on a timer to a drain.
Redundancy is required for all these. Flooded floors piss client's off, and anyone you live with.

You can also use the Hook:



Add 3/4" flexogen or 1" and it should do the job in about 1 hour or so for the 300 Gal tank.
You'll be busy then also...cleaning filters, trimming and you will NEED to have the water level down to work and clean the inside of the tank.
If not, then plan to use a snorkel mask and playing with tweezers more than you will care to.

Last edited by plantbrain; 10-10-2012 at 03:30 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:50 AM   #11
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Thank you for taking the time to write that all up, i appreciate it very much.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
...People poo poo EI often for the water change aspect, but give a blank check to ADA regarding water changes. Discus folks, fish breeders, many fish keepers always did weekly or 2x a week water changes IME. Never hurts to do one and only helps.
Also true, if you look at pretty much all good light, dosed tanks that have the wow factor clean water via the water change is pretty much standard practice. I think the WC is overlooked more with a ADA since it's a complete system and just one think that is needed. The dedication to the tank is still key and it's not a self-sufficient system as "some" continue to preach.
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