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Old 05-13-2013, 02:27 AM   #1
starlin
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water changes


hi, i have a low tech setup, that has a medium amount of plants. i have not done a water change of over a month. my fish seem happy. ammonia and nitrites are always 0, and my plants take up the extra nitrates. i have been adding some additional nitrate and plantex to keep my plants healthy. is there any need to do water changes? or would i be able to just top up for evaperation now and again...just want to keep my fish happy.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:58 AM   #2
thegasman
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Less water changes are better for these types of tanks since the co2 level will be more consistent. Here is a good read http://www.sudeepmandal.com/hobbies/...ed-tank-guide/
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:59 AM   #3
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Depending on your fert dosing, it is possible to not have to do water changes. For example, if you are using the EI method, in the beginning when you first start, you need to do 50% water changes weekly because you are overdosing ferts, and you need to get rid of the excess. But with some of the other methods, you just give the plants what they need, and there is virtually no need for water changes. Look up ADU (Aquarium design of Utah) on youtube, and watch his videos called "My method vs the EI method" and "My method explained". He explains a system for dosing ferts and not having to do water changes. Sense making those videos he doesn't use the Fert-Lome Gardeners spacial anymore, he now uses Osmocote+. It will give you a pretty good idea of what to do though.
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:34 AM   #4
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The answer depends somewhat on what fish you are keeping and population density. Some "more difficult" or "advanced" fish species absolutely require regular water changes, for example discus. I suppose you could push even some of these species on this subject with ultra-low population densities.

Walstad did not change water - just topping off - and she kept normally tolerant species in low population densities.

The article linked above mentions fertilizer additions as if they are required and I do not think they are. A nutrient substrate (e.g. soil) may be all that is needed for a low tech low maintenance tank for many plants. Just thought I 'd add that in...

I am not sure whether nitrate levels should always be the standard to determine whether water changes are needed or not. I think water changes do way more than lower nitrate levels; I believe there are some things we cannot measure that water changes help. This is more my personal opinion and I would be glad to hear someone who has more facts on this angle to the topic of water changes.
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Old 05-13-2013, 04:15 AM   #5
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the population of my tank is quiet low, i keep rummies, neons, flying fox, cories and a pelco. i have good fitration, eheim 2217 with 200L. i am only dosing ferts as the plants require. will try to go a bit longer with out.

was wondering also if there may be other factors to take into consideration. if there is anything to stop me doing 0 changes. or very few.


*have read thet page. was using it as a guide to the dry ferts i dose. roughly fortnightly.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:19 PM   #6
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In my 20H low-tech, I have done NO water changes this year. I just top off any evaporated water. I don't add any Excel or ferts whatsoever. My substrate is MTS capped with Eco. The dirt got mixed up with the eco quite a bit, but also accumulated fish and shrimp poop over the ~1.5 years I've had this tank. You can see the different layers of dirt and crap under my substrate. I think if you feed the fish well, they'll poop and the shrimp will break that down, then the bacteria will break it down even further and release the stuff needed for the plants. It's all a self-sustaining simple ecosystem at the end of the day.



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Old 05-14-2013, 02:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegasman View Post
Less water changes are better for these types of tanks since the co2 level will be more consistent. Here is a good read http://www.sudeepmandal.com/hobbies/...ed-tank-guide/

From that link," (Warning: This no water change rule should only be used for tanks with high plant density. If you have a tank which is lightly planted and you don’t plan on having more than a few plants in it, then stick to doing at least 25% water changes every week. The no water change rule only works if you have enough plants in your tank so that they alone can help cycle the tank and maintain water quality. The same goes for overstocked tanks. While you might risk a little algae from the water changes, fish health is top priority and the lack of decent plant mass might cause a rise in ammonia/nitrite levels which could hurt your fish.) "

I find this "advice" to not do WC to be nonsense. I've been doing a WC change experiment. Starting last Thanksgiving I've done 2Xs a day 5 to 10% WC on a very heavily planted tank with a good population of fish,shrimp & snails. I've got a proper balance of cleaning crew to the plant mass. No algae apocalypse.

The idea came from a heater going out and me unemployed at the time not really able to justify buying a new one. What I saw was the tank looking better than my old program of 20% a week WC.

There is just no getting past the fact that water changes are part of this hobby.

Last edited by DogFish; 05-14-2013 at 12:06 PM.. Reason: sp
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:57 AM   #8
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Not to mention if you keep topping off with tap water you will have drop in ph. When ph is low BB has a harder time detoxifying ammonia. When you do decide one day to clean up your tank or rescape and have to do a water change your parameters will go all out of whack. Not to mention phosphates and others compounds will build up over time. Even in my heavily planted tanks i change the water every every week. The plants will be healthier and your fish will thank you.
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: water changes

Quote:
Originally Posted by merritt1985 View Post
Not to mention if you keep topping off with tap water you will have drop in ph. When ph is low BB has a harder time detoxifying ammonia. When you do decide one day to clean up your tank or rescape and have to do a water change your parameters will go all out of whack. Not to mention phosphates and others compounds will build up over time. Even in my heavily planted tanks i change the water every every week. The plants will be healthier and your fish will thank you.
I am trying to understand how a WC would result in a pH drop. Some education for me please.

I personally think that the frequency and the amount of WCs depend on individual tanks: some of mine get 20% a week, others maybe 20% every 6 months, EI or no EI.

I am somewhat facinated by the idea of using the raise in TDS as a 'just in time' WC trigger, but it has already been debated on both sides to death.

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Old 05-14-2013, 07:32 AM   #10
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This is the best way I've seen it put without it confusing me.

The same processes that reduce ammonia to nitrite to nitrate also produce an abundance of hydrogen ions, which, if left to their own accord, acidify the water. In water from some sources that contain few "buffers" (ions that help stabilize pH by combining with excess hydrogen or hydroxyl ions), pH will tend to decline steadily just as the nitrate increases, and again regular pH testing may help alert the aquarist to impending trouble. However, in more heavily buffered water, an interesting but more threatening phenomenon occurs. As hydrogen ions are produced, they are immediately tied up by the buffer ion, and the pH remains roughly the same - until all the buffer ions are used up. At this point, the pH drops rapidly, and this sudden "pH crash" can be very damaging to fish.
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:33 AM   #11
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I'm not saying a water change will drop your Ph but instead a lack of water changes will.


Here's a link to the whole article.
http://www.bestfish.com/oldtank.html

Last edited by merritt1985; 05-14-2013 at 07:34 AM.. Reason: added link
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:57 AM   #12
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Default Re: water changes

Ok, now I got it.
Sorry, I misread your first post and I do agree with your pH drop description.

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Old 05-14-2013, 12:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merritt1985 View Post
This is the best way I've seen it put without it confusing me..
I have an easier analogy that doesn't confuse me. An Aquarium is a fish toilet and you have to flush it on a regular basis.
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: water changes

Um, that's what I used to do with my gold fishes
Sorry. Dog

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Old 05-14-2013, 05:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
I have an easier analogy that doesn't confuse me. An Aquarium is a fish toilet and you have to flush it on a regular basis.
Thanks. Now I'll never view an aquarium without thinking of this!
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