water change frequency
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:42 AM   #1
starlin
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water change frequency


is there anything that can be done to reduce the frequency of water changes? i am lazy and do 1/2 water changes average every fortnight, and the population of my tank is slowly declining . my tank is only lightly stocked, with good filter capacity. i think it is the ph swings that are killing them off. i tried using bi-carb to buffer my water, but this cost my plants. the tap water here is good but fairly low kh. is it worth me buying a product to buffer my water. are weekly water changes unavoidable. i hear of people doing 0 water changes . any good tips?
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:28 PM   #2
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If your lazy which takes more effort WC or testing parameters?
If I don't schedule changes I do it based on tested values.
With carbonate buffers >2dKH pH swings should'nt be a concern.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:34 PM   #3
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Might help to redirect your laziness; instead of doing infrequent big water changes--which are a pain in the neck and cause big swings in your parameters--switch to doing frequent small changes.

You might also look at what you find tedious or difficult about the wc that you could improve on with better equipment or process changes. I hated doing the wc on my planted vases until I got in the habit of keeping a dedicated line of airline hose and two jugs under my tank ready to be used--one empty (and clearly marked OLD) and one full of treated water (marked NEW). When I'm checking on the vases during the week it's super easy to grab the line and siphon off a bit and immediately re-fill with the full jug. When I'm done, I empty the OLD, refill the NEW and I'm done. Big tank is the same thing--when I finish one WC, I re-fill the jugs immediately so they're ready for the next time.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:10 PM   #4
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Default Reducing Water Changes

Quote:
Originally Posted by starlin View Post
is there anything that can be done to reduce the frequency of water changes? i am lazy and do 1/2 water changes average every fortnight, and the population of my tank is slowly declining . my tank is only lightly stocked, with good filter capacity. i think it is the ph swings that are killing them off. i tried using bi-carb to buffer my water, but this cost my plants. the tap water here is good but fairly low kh. is it worth me buying a product to buffer my water. are weekly water changes unavoidable. i hear of people doing 0 water changes . any good tips?
Hello star...

There really is a way to reduce the amount and frequency of water changes in freshwater tanks.

I emerse the rootballs of a land plant called Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen) in my planted tanks to take in the three types of nitrogens produced when the fish waste dissolves and make sure the leaves remain above the water to take in ambient (room light) and CO2 from the air.

I used to change half the water in my 5 large, planted tanks. One change came to 124 gallons a week. With the emersed plants, I change 10 gallons a week. The water in the tanks shows "0" ammonia, "0" nitrites and the nitrates range between 10-20 ppm.

The tanks with the emersed plants, have been running for several months and there's been no change in the water chemistry in any of the tanks.

Just a thought to consider or not.

B
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:57 AM   #5
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I wouldn't try to fight your water PH. Work with what you have. All those PH up/down products are a waste of money. Dumb question: do you dechlorinate your water?

I'm not sure why your fish are dying. I've changed 60% of my tank water every week or two for 10 years in very low and very high KH and GH water in various areas and never had an issue, but this is a high tech tank.

The low light tank I have experience with has no Co2 medium to low light and only gets a water change every couple months of about 25% or so.

Both tanks have their own requirements. The high light tank with Co2 is a fast pace quick growing environment which requires a lot more water changes to "reset" the large levels of fertilizers and reduce buildup of undesirable byproducts of inorganic ferts that are needed to support the plant growth at high light.

The low light setup isn't as technical as things are happening at a slower pace so it doesn't need as often a water. We are not adding much if anything in the way of ferts. (Although a little can't hurt) Plants are able to keep excess nitrates, Phosphates from fish poop and excess food in check- how much depends on how densely planted. Some folks advocate only one water change a year on these setups. I'm not brave enough for this though so like I say I do one at least every couple months.
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:17 AM   #6
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I think if you have enough plants and is not overstocking you should be ok... I haven't done a water change in my 2.5 gallon for 2 months and counting :/
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knotyoureality View Post
Might help to redirect your laziness; instead of doing infrequent big water changes--which are a pain in the neck and cause big swings in your parameters--switch to doing frequent small changes.

You might also look at what you find tedious or difficult about the wc that you could improve on with better equipment or process changes. I hated doing the wc on my planted vases until I got in the habit of keeping a dedicated line of airline hose and two jugs under my tank ready to be used--one empty (and clearly marked OLD) and one full of treated water (marked NEW). When I'm checking on the vases during the week it's super easy to grab the line and siphon off a bit and immediately re-fill with the full jug. When I'm done, I empty the OLD, refill the NEW and I'm done. Big tank is the same thing--when I finish one WC, I re-fill the jugs immediately so they're ready for the next time.

I totally agree with this. Once I got organized, my water changes became a breeze. I do exactly what knotyoureality does. Just substitute "mop bucket" for "jug" and "gravel vac" for "airline hose", and there you go. Takes me all of 3 minutes, max. I don't try to do all my tanks at once, either. That would be a lot of running back and forth. I'm on a schedule of who gets what when, and that works for me. Because every water change is so quick and easy, it's no hassle at all. I can do a water change while my coffee is brewing in the morning and have time to spare.
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:55 PM   #8
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It is a good idea to do other tank maintenance routinely, such as scraping or wiping down the inside of the glass to remove biofilm/algae, pruning plants, removing dead or algae infested leaves, etc. With my low light, DIY CO2 65 gallon tank, I do this weekly +/- a few days, and after I do that I do a roughly 50% water change, using a garden hose running out my patio door to a hose bib for filling and into 2-5 gallon buckets for the siphoned out water. I use that water to water my patio plants. This takes 30-45 minutes a week. I can't say I look forward to doing this every week, but it really isn't much work - when it gets cold and rainy it will be more difficult.
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starlin View Post
is there anything that can be done to reduce the frequency of water changes? i am lazy and do 1/2 water changes average every fortnight, and the population of my tank is slowly declining . my tank is only lightly stocked, with good filter capacity. i think it is the ph swings that are killing them off. i tried using bi-carb to buffer my water, but this cost my plants. the tap water here is good but fairly low kh. is it worth me buying a product to buffer my water. are weekly water changes unavoidable. i hear of people doing 0 water changes . any good tips?


to be honest i'm not sure how you can reduce water changes from a fortnight, thats are ready pretty rare! i do weekly 40ish% water changes on all of my tanks. honestly i don't need to do such big water changes, but i feel like my fish deserve as clean of water as i have time to give them.


i have to ask this why are you trying to buffer your water? do you have specialty fish, such as discus or something? if not stop buffering, its not worth the effort and money, and most likely is what is killing your fish. ph swing is the equivalent of being in the desert, blinking your eyes then being on a mountain in the snow. its very stressful for fish.

what size is your tank, what are you stocking, whats your filtration? do you use tap water or R/O water? you said you test a lot, so what are you water parameters?

The best way to care for you tank is look at what is going on in it. right now you are losing fish and getting ph swings. to me that would signal that the ph swings are weaking fish and slowly killing them off. so i would stop whatever i was doing that was causing the ph swings, and see if i stop losing fish. if I continue to have unhealthy fish i would start looking at other things.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:29 PM   #10
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I suspect that most of us would have fewer problems if pH test kits and test probes cost $2000 each. When you start trying to change the basic parameters of your tap water, because you don't like the pH you have, you are very likely stressing the fish a lot more than any "pH swing" ever will.
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Old 10-23-2012, 02:27 AM   #11
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i just tested my tank water, and values and are as follows,

kh 17
gh 90
ph 6 :/, the ph of my tap water is around 7.2.
ammonia, nitrites and nitrate all tested 0.

ok so, i need to start paying more attention to my tank. i did not realise my ph had dropped so much. i have lots of plants, which are doing well, and good filtratration from an ehiem 2217. what is causing my ph to drop so much? and what could i do to get it back up to neutral, closer to my tap water, without harming my fish.

my tank is only lightly stocked with 1 friendly beta, 3 guppies, 4 rummies and 7 neons, 1 cory. 200l tank

Last edited by starlin; 10-23-2012 at 02:29 AM.. Reason: *
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Old 10-23-2012, 02:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starlin View Post
i just tested my tank water, and values and are as follows,

kh 17
gh 90
ph 6 :/, the ph of my tap water is around 7.2.
ammonia, nitrites and nitrate all tested 0.

ok so, i need to start paying more attention to my tank. i did not realise my ph had dropped so much. i have lots of plants, which are doing well, and good filtratration from an ehiem 2217. what is causing my ph to drop so much? and what could i do to get it back up to neutral, closer to my tap water, without harming my fish.

my tank is only lightly stocked with 1 friendly beta, 3 guppies, 4 rummies and 7 neons, 1 cory. 200l tank

You can simply make the water change much easier, then...........it'll be a non issue.

I use a Hook to hang the Garden hose to drain it, then take the other end and attach to the shower head to refill.

No buckets are harmed and while that's going on, I clean filters, trim, wipe glass, done with 400+ gallons in 4 different aquariums tank in less than 2 hours a week.

No test kits are used.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:49 AM   #13
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thanks for the idea, i will be setting up a perm hose for water changes.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
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thanks for the idea, i will be setting up a perm hose for water changes.


I bought an adapter for the shower head that fits the Garden hose. Same for the PVC and strainers. This just sits in the tank and stops and breaks the siphon once the draining gets to the bottom of the pipe, you can rotate the pipe to set the water drain level anywhere you want(I used teflon tape so I can screw/unscrew the fittings).

Once drained, I take the other end, and then attach to the shower, get the right temp, then pull the shower lever............then add dechlor to the tank refilling and that's it.
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:02 AM   #15
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This thread makes my job easier for sure...Can you tell me where to get the black end caps, or the name of that part so I can find one? Is there an easy way to get the water going to drain?
Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post


I bought an adapter for the shower head that fits the Garden hose. Same for the PVC and strainers. This just sits in the tank and stops and breaks the siphon once the draining gets to the bottom of the pipe, you can rotate the pipe to set the water drain level anywhere you want(I used teflon tape so I can screw/unscrew the fittings).

Once drained, I take the other end, and then attach to the shower, get the right temp, then pull the shower lever............then add dechlor to the tank refilling and that's it.
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