Zero Water Change Planted Discus Tank Proposal??? - Page 8
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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 20.55%
May work, but not as easily, beautifully, or as stable as pictured. 25 34.25%
May survive, but not thrive. 22 30.14%
Doomed to fail... 19 26.03%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 73. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-16-2011, 07:10 PM   #106
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OP was honest about their desire and habits, not easy for some to admit to
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:43 PM   #107
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Some very fair points certainly. To be honest, I very much enjoy the technological approach and don't mind the aspects of tinkering with those. But I'd be doing that as well as the testing/monitoring/dosing regardless of whether I was doing regular water changes, so the work of water changes would still be atop that and of course I have some time to put into this hobby.

I'm using carbon in my current trial tank to remove the tannins from the bogwood currently. But I believe O3 can play in part a similar role, in keeping the water crystal clear and free of DOC and tannins. The O3 return water can be scrubbed through a nitrate filter it seems instead of through carbon which would seem preferable to me if I knew it was always scrubbing it 100% instead of fading after a few days. Unfortunately I found out that a CO2 PH controller doesn't work in quite the way I thought and isn't as effective on those aspects of PH that are of the most relevance it seems, so I may need to rethink that. The canister filters I'm looking at come standard with UV sterilizers, but I'm not sure if they're any good and I'd heard that UV destroys some organic compounds that are actually beneficial to plants, so I'd wondered if it'd be better to yank the bulbs from it if I was to use those filters. Is a TDS meter helpful in any way in determining water quality and whether a WC is needed by the way?

If I started with sub-adult discus in a large tank and fed them as heavily as maintaining high water quality allows for a year before adding other fish then that perhaps might enable me to raise them to a decent size still myself. (As I said, as far as results allow, and I'm not entirely sure how that would pan out).

I could use chemical filtration to be on the safe side, but if the tank is looking good, if water quality is high, and the plants are doing there job then I'd prefer to steer clear of things such as carbon, phosphate remover, other chemical media, and UV. However the quality of my tap water is really poor here, so I'd have to use RO, or at least filter it through peat beforehand in order for it to be acceptable to use in the tank, and I don't think any local breeders would be using straight tap here.

And as I'd said, if some water changes proved necessary then fine. When I referred to regular water changes I was in part referring to the WC regimens that most discus keepers seem to do, of at least several large water changes per week, if not daily. And several water changes a week is a far cry from a water change every several weeks, which I wouldn't have so much of a problem with (as long as I didn't have to try to siphon every scrap off the bottom of a tank that is completely planted) and could automate it more to just throwing a switch. Even so I'd want to know for sure whether that was doing any good or was just wasting water, but perhaps the only way to actually find out is to test that myself and see if it can actually be done with discus, (while hoping any one of the other variables that many people have disrupting their own systems wouldn't disrupt my own 'trial' if that's what I was to think of it as.

I must read more into the high-tech versus low-tech debate and what impact CO2 might have. Initially I though it would have increased plant growth, (requiring more trimming perhaps, but allowing one to use up more metabolic byproducts and also serving as a path for nutrient export out of the system. If I followed the suggestion I'd had of using mineralized soil in the substrate then fertilizing and dosing become a moot point perhaps, and the high lighting required would give me some additional choices in which plant species could thrive in my system.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:52 PM   #108
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To add to that, I checked what the current thinking seems to be in keeping marine reef tanks according to one of the more recent books. Reef tanks of course have fish and invertebrates that are much more sensitive typically to poor water quality and changes than freshwater fish are, but the systems work much the same othewise, apart from the fact that they use porous rock to biologically eliminate nitrates, use protein skimmers which are effective in saltwater, and don't typically have plants to use up the ammonia/nitrates/phosphates. I thought a book would err on the conservative side, but they suggest the following which seems so minor that it'd be on the verge of having hardly any impact at all.

The New Marine Aquarium (2001) book states -
There has been much debate as to whether water changes are necessary or not, as well as how often and how much should be changed. After experimenting with just about every water-change scenario, I now employ the routine of a 5% change every other week. I've seen visible improvements in my tanks with this water-change plan.
(Other equally successful aquarists have different schedules: weekly changes of 5%, biweekly changes of 10%, or even a very small daily water change-in the order of 1/2 to 1% of the tank's volume. Old-school hobbyists often practices large water changes of 25-30%, but these tend to be more stressful on the livestock and are not recommended for typical marine aquariums except in emergencies or major rescue efforts). If in doubt about how much water to change, the nitrate level and alkalinity of the system are good indicators of overall water quality.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:14 PM   #109
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well i REALLY hope this works out.... your obviously on to something....
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:52 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mxx View Post
Reef tanks of course have fish and invertebrates that are much more sensitive typically to poor water quality and changes than freshwater fish are,
I thought it was the higher pH of reef tanks that caused this? The higher pH means that changes in water quality are far more severe for the fish, whereas in a normal planted tank, the pH keeps most of the ammonia locked in its harmless ammonium form.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:13 PM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avandss View Post
well i REALLY hope this works out.... your obviously on to something....
Not something I can claim credit for certainly. It's been done successfully by many others with different species, and discus are just the same really as any other fish as had been said. But thanks for the encouragement nevertheless!
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:39 AM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mxx View Post
To add to that, I checked what the current thinking seems to be in keeping marine reef tanks according to one of the more recent books. Reef tanks of course have fish and invertebrates that are much more sensitive typically to poor water quality and changes than freshwater fish are, but the systems work much the same othewise, apart from the fact that they use porous rock to biologically eliminate nitrates, use protein skimmers which are effective in saltwater, and don't typically have plants to use up the ammonia/nitrates/phosphates. I thought a book would err on the conservative side, but they suggest the following which seems so minor that it'd be on the verge of having hardly any impact at all.

The New Marine Aquarium (2001) book states -
There has been much debate as to whether water changes are necessary or not, as well as how often and how much should be changed. After experimenting with just about every water-change scenario, I now employ the routine of a 5% change every other week. I've seen visible improvements in my tanks with this water-change plan.
(Other equally successful aquarists have different schedules: weekly changes of 5%, biweekly changes of 10%, or even a very small daily water change-in the order of 1/2 to 1% of the tank's volume. Old-school hobbyists often practices large water changes of 25-30%, but these tend to be more stressful on the livestock and are not recommended for typical marine aquariums except in emergencies or major rescue efforts). If in doubt about how much water to change, the nitrate level and alkalinity of the system are good indicators of overall water quality.
Marine folks have a much more financial incentative: the cost of pre mixed salt. It's also a hassle to pre mix the water etc.

FW?
Cheap and easy.

The labor is really a non issue.

The O3? That requires monitoring and careful use and it's not cheap.
Some folks wing it, I know......but I think if you buy into the techy approach and are more careful, this ends up being a 100-400$ expense, and a simple semi or fully automated water change + water cost will take a long long time to make up this expense difference.

Perhaps you might want to really look into automated water change schemes???

I'm not trying to dissuade, but given the trade offs, this might be a strong consideration. You will not break new ground either way here, so it's really more what will make it easier for you given the input you are willing to do.

More techy stuff?
More manure that will break and need to learn about and fix and maintain.
There's a trade off there going too far.

I've got clients like this, they wanna do it all, but then cannot learn about all the issues and calibrations to keep up on it all
Automation has its trade offs.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:46 AM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mxx View Post
Is a TDS meter helpful in any way in determining water quality and whether a WC is needed by the way?
No, not really.

Quote:

And as I'd said, if some water changes proved necessary then fine. When I referred to regular water changes I was in part referring to the WC regimens that most discus keepers seem to do, of at least several large water changes per week, if not daily. And several water changes a week is a far cry from a water change every several weeks, which I wouldn't have so much of a problem with (as long as I didn't have to try to siphon every scrap off the bottom of a tank that is completely planted) and could automate it more to just throwing a switch. Even so I'd want to know for sure whether that was doing any good or was just wasting water, but perhaps the only way to actually find out is to test that myself and see if it can actually be done with discus, (while hoping any one of the other variables that many people have disrupting their own systems wouldn't disrupt my own 'trial' if that's what I was to think of it as.
Few do more than 2x a week anyway.

Quote:
I must read more into the high-tech versus low-tech debate and what impact CO2 might have. Initially I though it would have increased plant growth, (requiring more trimming perhaps, but allowing one to use up more metabolic byproducts and also serving as a path for nutrient export out of the system. If I followed the suggestion I'd had of using mineralized soil in the substrate then fertilizing and dosing become a moot point perhaps, and the high lighting required would give me some additional choices in which plant species could thrive in my system.
Depends on which species you chose for more trimming requirements, well thought out, the java ferns, the Anubias, the hair grass etc can work wonders without little care.

Then CO2 makes a lot of sense.
Then you are using the natural processes of plants at an amplified rate to match the amplified bioloading.

Why waste $, labor and complexity when plants will do most of the work?
Isn't that the point?

Sediment ferts + light water column dosing is the best easiest management
done correctly, you are looking at dosing 1-2x a week with low light + CO2 gas with a decent sediment. Water change say once a month.

Here's an example:



But since you seem to have the aversion to dosing........like as if it some horrid chore or labor.......how do you plan to dose the fish food?
Fully automated there as well?

Why not just put the dry ferts into the dosing for the food as well for the fish and the plants?
Simple solution.

If you plan on manually dosing the fish food, then it's only another 15 sec of time to add food for the plants.
Either way, it is not a chore.

So then you can come back to the water change issue and automate or not, and the same is true for CO2 and plant choices.
Lighting in all cases should be at the 1w/gal to 1.5w/gal max for any T5's systems available in the UK.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:07 PM   #114
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Hi Tom, interesting how you so often seem to have the definitive last word on these threads! And certainly helpful to have an expert opinion, so thanks.

In any case, following extensive discussion by many here as well as on the Why do water changes? thread, I'm having to conclude that water changes are not necessary for all tanks, (dependent upon plant growth, filtration, bio-loading, resultant water quality, etc). They may certainly be beneficial to most systems which are not balanced and which therefore experiences build-ups of one type or another, but of course many people have success without water changes as well in properly planted and stocked tanks.

And despite all the hypothesises to the contrary offered here, nobody seems to have any firm idea (or evidence for that matter), on why water might become 'broken' and have to be replaced in time. I'm just going to have to go way way out on a limb here, and suggest that unless water has its molecular bonds between H and O atoms wearing out in time in our tanks for some peculiar reason, then it can continue to be re-used indefinitely. Of course proper filtration/planting, and treatment including some remineralization, buffering, etc would continue to be necessary. But those treatments and remineralization would be even more necessary for the RO water I'd have to use for water changes here anyway.

I was at first certainly of the mindset to use CO2 to produce amplified plant growth to match the amplified bioloading. But then it had also been suggested that certain floating plants utilize atmospheric CO2. Therefore, I could instead harvest fast growing floating plants to cycle nutrients out of the tank, without even requiring the use of C02 to achieve intensive growth from them, (I believe). I already have a digital PH controlled CO2 system now, so I wouldn't mind using it at first to get the plants to a quick start and then using just a little bit as seems appropriate to keep the decorative plants looking good but without excessive growth.

I'd be truly delighted if the plants did all the work and I didn't need any complex equipment, but so far as I'm aware I believe that low bio-loads and low feeding are required for that to work. So I'd like to have the safety net of a bio-filtration system with an extensive capacity as well to appropriately sustain a decent amount of bio-loading. And especially so if I'm to pursue aggressive growth rates for discus with numerous generous feedings daily. As they'd reach adult size then the filtration might be able to be pared back though as seems appropriate, in case the filtration was competing excessively with the plants for nutrients.

I don't have any aversion to dosing itself, but I was concerned that if I'm not monitoring the levels of each trace element then some of those could build up excessively in time if I wasn't careful. And it seems that for that reason others have suggested mineralized topsoil under the sand, which it seems takes the concern of dosing build-ups entirely out of the pictures. MTS apparently ensures the plants have everything they need without those elements being in the water column, which apparently helps to minimize algae growth. If I didn't go with the MTS then I would be dosing myself though, which would be fine.

And to be honest, I would probably be automating the dosing of food to some extent. With discus I'd want to still do at least one or two feedings of frozen food a day, but with an automatic feeder I could add an additional two feedings a day to give them a better chance of obtaining their proper size.

I'll have to think about it carefully, but I suppose that if I set up a 29 gallon tank in the stand then I could use that to automate whatever water changes were necessary, as well as use it as the quarantine tank in case I didn't require its constant use for frequent water changes.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:45 PM   #115
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqdrt...Dcf3a26y9LVJBc
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