Zero Water Change Planted Discus Tank Proposal??? - Page 3
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View Poll Results: Chance of success for a zero water change planted Discus tank???
With a bit of luck a strong chance of working beautifully! 15 20.27%
May work, but not as easily, beautifully, or as stable as pictured. 25 33.78%
May survive, but not thrive. 22 29.73%
Doomed to fail... 20 27.03%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 74. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-30-2010, 02:10 AM   #31
Centromochlus
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Originally Posted by Mxx View Post
I'm certainly enjoying this discussion and learning a fair amount, although not every opinion seems based in quantified fact rather than parroted dogma.

Azfishkid, I didn't suggest this project would be cheap, but I'm willing to invest some decent funds into it and fortunately I'm no longer on a high-schooler's budget. But I think there are ways to save still. For instance, to achieve the filter medium volume of the two large Sun suns costing $170 which I'd suggested, I'd need seven of the Fluval FX5's which you suggested, which would cost $2500.

The latest Reef tank lighting coming out is powered by only a few ultra-high output LED diodes, and that's at far greater intensity than is required for a planted tank. Those LED's as well as CREE's are still at quite a premium though, so I'd stick with what is currently the SMD 5050 LED's which on Ebay costs $12.80 per metre with 60 LED's per metre. I've yet to work out how many LED's would be required, but I think that's probably cheaper still than flourescent fixtures for the same quantity of light, lasts longer, uses less energy, doesn't suffer intensity degradation, and doesn't need to be changed as often as flourescent bulbs. If I can light my house with them then I can surely light my tank with them.

Can't wait to try this, but I'm going to have to wait to complete my house renovation first...
Wow... alright then.

First post:
"And I'm looking to achieve this via an inexpensive high-tech low -maintenance over-filtered automated set-up with a fair stocking load yet ZERO water changes apart from topping off the tank occasionally with RO water and NO gravel vacuuming, as I have neither the time nor inclination to do regular water changes."

I was assuming that you meant you were interested in keeping the whole set up inexpensive. Correct me if i'm wrong?

I'm aware that you are not on a high-schooler's budget, but dropping a few grand on a setup is not exactly considered cheap by most people, not just by teens... you just came off as very inexperienced, since you said that you kept cichlids as a kid and never really mentioned anything else... and it seemed like a huge jump from keeping cichlids as a kid to a massive, planted discus tank years later... unless i missed something that you said afterwards?

I didn't mean to come off as rude, if that's how you interpreted it. Sorry if you did.
I think this is an interesting project and i'd love to see it happen, but i honestly just don't think it'll turn out like you are hoping it will.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:24 AM   #32
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I agree with Azfishkid, it is most likely doomed to fail.


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Old 12-30-2010, 02:35 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by theblondskeleton View Post
I'd recommend juvies at least 4". They still have some growing to do but not so much that it could do a lot of damage with less than perfect water. You could certainly go from there with this plan.

Sounds like you have given this some thought! Typical BB rearing utilizes sponge filters for the bacteria colonization (similar to the pumice blocks you propose) so i imagine the theory behind massive daily (i never did this) water changes is dissolved organic solids. Not sure about the hormones... Sounds like metascience to me.
Thanks, 4" juveniles are still quite decently priced so that wouldn't be a problem. Some thought given to this subject, but not an enormous amount. Just began researching this during the weekend basically, but the internet is quite a vast trove of information, as well as a vast backwater of hokum if you don't look very carefully!

The most informed looking opinion I've been able to find on growth limiting/inhibiting hormones (GIS) thus far is that they do actually exist though not at all in the manner that most people believe, and can be mediated by: carbon or zeolite filtering, protein skimmers with or without ozone, water changes, and with the use of live plants and live rock. So I could in that case cover four out of five easily! Nitrates are also described as a growth limiting factor, but those can certainly be dealt with in better ways than water changes.

The pumice and other denitrators supposedly actually support (beneficial) anaerobic bacteria colonies deep within them, unlike sponge filters. The idea is that the medium has tiny pores which only let water trickle through slowly enough that the oxygen is stripped by the outer aerobic bacteria thereby allowing the anaerobic bacteria to survive and thrive. And the anaerobic bacteria are the only bacteria that are able to break down nitrates into nitrogen, but they need an absence of oxygen to survive. Simple solution, eh?

Apart from the aforementioned parameters, I'm still not sure what Dissolved Organic Compounds (DOC) are, or why they'd be detrimental. I note that Tom Barr suggests in another thread that activated carbon will take care of these if you need to.

So if the GIS compounds such as "ammonia salts" are taken care of by usual aquarist practices such as using activated carbon, and keeping plants, if ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are kept in check with plants and appropriate filtration, and if activated carbon is used weekly to remove whatever other D.O.C. people speak of then is there still any reason to do water changes people?
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:43 AM   #34
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I agree that it is "Doomed To Fail", but with some changes, I think that you could pull this off. The "Changes" are as follows: Less fish and less feeding. You have a lot of fishes in your current plan. Take some out, feed a little less, and I would say you have a shot at success!

Another option would be an automatic water change system.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:55 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by AzFishKid View Post
Wow... alright then.

First post:
"And I'm looking to achieve this via an inexpensive high-tech low -maintenance over-filtered automated set-up with a fair stocking load yet ZERO water changes apart from topping off the tank occasionally with RO water and NO gravel vacuuming, as I have neither the time nor inclination to do regular water changes."

I was assuming that you meant you were interested in keeping the whole set up inexpensive. Correct me if i'm wrong?

I'm aware that you are not on a high-schooler's budget, but dropping a few grand on a setup is not exactly considered cheap by most people, not just by teens... you just came off as very inexperienced, since you said that you kept cichlids as a kid and never really mentioned anything else... and it seemed like a huge jump from keeping cichlids as a kid to a massive, planted discus tank years later... unless i missed something that you said afterwards?

I didn't mean to come off as rude, if that's how you interpreted it. Sorry if you did.
I think this is an interesting project and i'd love to see it happen, but i honestly just don't think it'll turn out like you are hoping it will.
AzFishKid - No worries, and no offence of course. I appreciate a healthy critical debate, the thoughts of other, as well as a thorough fact-finding mission for topics critical to hobbyists such as ourselves.

I guess I was suggesting that I'd be trying to do it inexpensively for a 200-300 gallon high-tech planted discus display tank with comprehensive filtering. A good set-up that size would never be cheap, but if done carefully and intelligently including some DIY, then you can certainly save a significant sum in certain areas compared to off-the-shelf set-ups. And even if it's a grand or so then that'd still be worth it for me. I had about four or five tanks including some rearing tanks running previously, with the largest being a 55. So this would nevertheless be a big jump for me. And that's why I'm trying to do my ground work first.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:00 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mxx View Post
AzFishKid - No worries, and no offence of course. I appreciate a healthy critical debate, the thoughts of other, as well as a thorough fact-finding mission for topics critical to hobbyists such as ourselves.

I guess I was suggesting that I'd be trying to do it inexpensively for a 200-300 gallon high-tech planted discus display tank with comprehensive filtering. A good set-up that size would never be cheap, but if done carefully and intelligently including some DIY, then you can certainly save a significant sum in certain areas compared to off-the-shelf set-ups. And even if it's a grand or so then that'd still be worth it for me. I had about four or five tanks including some rearing tanks running previously, with the largest being a 55. So this would nevertheless be a big jump for me. And that's why I'm trying to do my ground work first.
Oh alright, that makes a lot more sense. Thanks for the clarification.

My vote is now moved up to "May work, but not as easily, beautifully, or as stable as pictured." I still think it will be very challenging, but if you're up for it, then do it! Best of luck to you.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:34 AM   #37
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If I were doing this I'd skip all the fancy stuff. No need for ph controllers and co2 for what you described you wanted in the first post. Use tap water, unless you have some crazy parameters to your tap. Get some lights that put you in the medium light bracket and then add a bunch of floaters, like frogbit and red root floater to cut it back some. The floaters will aid in keeping things from building up along with your other plants. Plant heavy and keep it low tech and simple. Get a bunch of Vals for the background, different kind of swords for the middle, crypts and stuff like that, unless your trying to do a biotope, in that case you can leave out the crypts. Add the discuss, do a huge school of some kind of tetras, some Bolivian rams, perhaps some hatchet fish for the top water, add some bristlenose plecs, a few nerites and some amano shrimp. Set back and watch it grow.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:56 AM   #38
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here you go,
you're not the first one to do this

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ta...75-update.html
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:07 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by BradH View Post
If I were doing this I'd skip all the fancy stuff. No need for ph controllers and co2 for what you described you wanted in the first post. Use tap water, unless you have some crazy parameters to your tap. Get some lights that put you in the medium light bracket and then add a bunch of floaters, like frogbit and red root floater to cut it back some. The floaters will aid in keeping things from building up along with your other plants. Plant heavy and keep it low tech and simple. Get a bunch of Vals for the background, different kind of swords for the middle, crypts and stuff like that, unless your trying to do a biotope, in that case you can leave out the crypts. Add the discuss, do a huge school of some kind of tetras, some Bolivian rams, perhaps some hatchet fish for the top water, add some bristlenose plecs, a few nerites and some amano shrimp. Set back and watch it grow.
Very helpful view there. The municipal water here is very hard, which is far less than ideal, although if I have an RO unit on the drinking water as planned then that'd be a moot point. I'd like to be able to buffer Kh and subsequently Ph with a small bag of crushed coral, to prevent the Ph from drifting too far downwards in time, as it otherwise would. And the automated CO2 would in concert be able to hold the Ph down at the desired level, thus achieving the perfect balance in perpetuity, at least in theory.Or is it just my fondness for gadgets speaking there?... And I thought intensive plant growth with the high lighting, particularly with fast growing floating plants would help me to remove a greater quantity of organic matter each week to better balance the food in, plants out scenario, although if floating plants can use atmospheric CO2 then that's perhaps a different matter. (Scooping some floating plants out each week is certainly a lot easier than doing water changes still). I suppose hatchets would be a more lively replacement to butterflyfish, so that's certainly all something to carefully consider.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:48 AM   #40
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Again, I don't think your LEDs will be sufficient. I Currently have 2 48" LED strips that have 76 LEDs in each, combined they put off about 3/4 of the light 1 t5ho bulb does. I have researched it quite a bit and the consensus (and my personal experience) is unless using them on very small tanks, you need high powered LEDs at least 1 watt each or above. I am currently building a DIY LED light with Cree LEDs.

Also i would recommend using a GH booster instead of crushed coral in the filter, it will give a more well rounded amount of buffer rather than just alot of kH.

I haven't seen a Sunsun filter that has more filter material as a FX5 but am very curious to find one.

I'm not going to argue about the benefits of water changes as you obviously have your mind made up. Good Luck.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:50 AM   #41
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I can speek first hand on the discus subject. I use to breed discus and I use to keep two tanks from the same batch. One was my cull tank(cull tank for me was keep them and give them for free to people that wanted to try there hand at keeping discus) and the other was my grow out tank. My cull tank I would only clean it out maybe once every couple of weeks. But my grow out tanks would get almost a 100% water change everyday. They were being feed the same thing. But the the size from the two different tanks would make your jaw drop. All of the fry were from the same batch and in the cull tank they would only get to around 4 inches around fully grown. But in my grow out tank they would always get 7+ inches and look great.
I know I should have read this whole thread but I just could bring myself to it after reading how you were going to keep them.
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Old 12-30-2010, 06:13 AM   #42
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Very helpful view there. The municipal water here is very hard, which is far less than ideal, although if I have an RO unit on the drinking water as planned then that'd be a moot point. I'd like to be able to buffer Kh and subsequently Ph with a small bag of crushed coral, to prevent the Ph from drifting too far downwards in time, as it otherwise would. And the automated CO2 would in concert be able to hold the Ph down at the desired level, thus achieving the perfect balance in perpetuity, at least in theory.Or is it just my fondness for gadgets speaking there?... And I thought intensive plant growth with the high lighting, particularly with fast growing floating plants would help me to remove a greater quantity of organic matter each week to better balance the food in, plants out scenario, although if floating plants can use atmospheric CO2 then that's perhaps a different matter. (Scooping some floating plants out each week is certainly a lot easier than doing water changes still). I suppose hatchets would be a more lively replacement to butterflyfish, so that's certainly all something to carefully consider.
How hard is the water there? What is the KH and GH? You shouldn't have to worry about the ph drifting down. If your topping off with tap water, then you'll be adding back Ca and Mg and other minerals. Unless you have no kh to keep the water buffered. But if you have harder water, then I"m sure you do have enough kh. As for the lights, you don't want high light and CO2 for what your stating as how you want the tank to run. KEEP IT SIMPLE If you add high light and CO2 then your going to have to dose more ferts and do the water changes. IF you have less light= less dosing of ferts and less need for CO2. The only reason I suggested medium light was so that you could have lots of floaters for nutrient export, plus it looks good and you'll be in the "low light" category then.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:40 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by over_stocked View Post
This is not all to say that this can not be done, but remembering to be slow about changes and understock your tank while overfiltering will give the best results. IN a zero change tank, using RO water is really a must.

It sounds as though this is well thought out though.
Do you mean for the water used to replace evaporation or for all the water?
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:13 PM   #44
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Do you mean for the water used to replace evaporation or for all the water?
The municipal water is about 8.0 - 8.2 here with very little lead or chlorine. Nevertheless, I'm not sure I trust it completely, so I'd probably prefer to fill and top off the tank with RO water, and then add a bit of bottled minerals, such as GH booster which was suggested here, to reconstitute the water and bring it back up to the desired range. I'd heard bottled spring water recommended for this as well, but that certainly seems like an inordinate amount of work and needless expense.

I guess there is not way, nor would it be desirable, to run an RO filter on the aquarium itself, would it?

When I did regular water changes on my previous tanks with my Python or Automatic Aquarium Water Change, I was always paranoid about the fact that the water being added in was of a different temperature, a considerably different PH, had chlorine and chloramine which I couldn't exactly dechlorinate before it was already in my tank, and in cold weather had loads of dissolved nitrogen which then formed loads of bubbles which would be gassing out. So it persistently felt as if the water changes were potentially doing some actual damage to the stability of my system.

Therefore, at first with this proposed new tank set-up, I was thinking of having an extra tank in the stand which I could prefill, prefilter, and preheat, and then have as an automated system that I could operate as simply as using a flush handle to initiate it. But that would still cause yo-yo fluctuations in Ph if I didn't control for that, and there would be the potential for different components to fail and cause flooding. But then the more I started to think about it and read into it, the more I began to wonder what exactly the water changes would be accomplishing that couldn't be accomplished already by the natural means by the plants and filtration. And that was the premise of my question to you all here.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:01 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Madfish View Post
I can speek first hand on the discus subject. I use to breed discus and I use to keep two tanks from the same batch. One was my cull tank(cull tank for me was keep them and give them for free to people that wanted to try there hand at keeping discus) and the other was my grow out tank. My cull tank I would only clean it out maybe once every couple of weeks. But my grow out tanks would get almost a 100% water change everyday. They were being feed the same thing. But the the size from the two different tanks would make your jaw drop. All of the fry were from the same batch and in the cull tank they would only get to around 4 inches around fully grown. But in my grow out tank they would always get 7+ inches and look great.
I know I should have read this whole thread but I just could bring myself to it after reading how you were going to keep them.
Madfish, okay, now that seems like informed advice and perhaps we're getting somewhere. Can you explain that in further detail though? Was your unfortunate 'cull tank' an intensively planted tank or a bare tank by the way? And do you know what you nitrate levels and Ph levels typically were by chance? If they were both at healthy stable levels, which I expect your nitrates would not typically be, then that would lend credence to the growth inhibiting hormones argument. And can you recall whether you might have used activated carbon to your filters on a weekly basis?
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