no water changes
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:10 AM   #1
Gold Finger
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no water changes


If you don't dose non limiting ferts and have no nitrate accumulation (it's all being used up), do you need to change water? I know of low tech people who havent changed water in years, but what about other parameters like DOC, Redox, etc. Can water thet old really be kept clean by plants, bacteria and algae alone?
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:14 AM   #2
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How do you think it's been done by Nature for eons?
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:19 AM   #3
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How do you think it's been done by Nature for eons?
evaporation removing water contaminates, the vast array of flora fauna using nitrites and nitrates, some water contaminates sinking through the soil into the water table, and rain adding a regular and large amount of water to replenish what was lost and dilute the remaining contaminates.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:19 AM   #4
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In freshwater systems? I think nature does water changes.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:30 AM   #5
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I know some people do it (not change water) and I know others think its not safe. I don't think anyone knows nearly all the science behind it. Has anyone here done it for years and never had trouble? My instinct says be safe and change it anyway. Fresh water is good.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:36 AM   #6
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I think you would need to 'tweak' your tank to become a self-sustaining ecosystem for a while until it did it on its own, but it is definitely possible (arguably better for fish since water changes can induce stress). Good topic for a debate! :P
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:41 AM   #7
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Good topic for a debate! :P
not really, most hobbyists cannot provide a volume of water large enough to create a true self sustaining ecosystem. in order to create a system like you are thinking you would need to plant densely, over filter to the extreme, and stock lightly.

it is easy to create a tank that may last 6m+ without water changes, but in the long run every aquarium will crash if not maintained, it is just a question of when. the volume of water is just not large enough to achieve a true biological equilibrium
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashnic05 View Post
I think you would need to 'tweak' your tank to become a self-sustaining ecosystem for a while until it did it on its own, but it is definitely possible (arguably better for fish since water changes can induce stress). Good topic for a debate! :P
Yeah, that's what i'd think.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
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not really, most hobbyists cannot provide a volume of water large enough to create a true self sustaining ecosystem. in order to create a system like you are thinking you would need to plant densely, over filter to the extreme, and stock lightly.

it is easy to create a tank that may last 6m+ without water changes, but in the long run every aquarium will crash if not maintained, it is just a question of when. the volume of water is just not large enough to achieve a true biological equilibrium
True, it would need to be a very large aquarium in order to sustain itself. When I said debate I was referring to whether this method would be better for fish or not, not the method itself. I am a true believer in water changes for health in fish, but its an interesting topic.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmcarbrey View Post
not really, most hobbyists cannot provide a volume of water large enough to create a true self sustaining ecosystem. in order to create a system like you are thinking you would need to plant densely, over filter to the extreme, and stock lightly.

it is easy to create a tank that may last 6m+ without water changes, but in the long run every aquarium will crash if not maintained, it is just a question of when. the volume of water is just not large enough to achieve a true biological equilibrium
What about those Waldstadt people? Do they all stock lightly?
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:45 AM   #11
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True, it would need to be a very large aquarium in order to sustain itself.
I got away with it for ten months in a well stocked but not over stocked system before it grew lifeforms I did not enjoy. So no heavily stocked tank can go without changes even if the plants eat all the nitrogen? Is that the consensus or is the debate still on?
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:48 AM   #12
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True, it would need to be a very large aquarium in order to sustain itself.
you will always be adding in food if nothing else in all but the largest of tanks. theoretically in a large tank you could do live food cultures in tank, but even then you would not be able to support a large population of fish, it would be a constant cycle of population increases due to breeding, massive reduction in feeder numbers, large die offs due to starvation, ammonia spikes due to the dead fish, and a slow regrowth of the feeder cultures until the next population boom.

you would need to account for every stage of the food chain if you wanted to have a true self sustaining tank. you would need true bottom feeding omnivores, scavengers, feeder cultures, primary and tertiary consumers and a single (or pair) of upper lever predator(s). you would also need to accept the growth of algaes and normally undesirable microbes/creatures as a necessary part of the ecosystem
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
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How do you think it's been done by Nature for eons?
I assume you have done a tank with extended no water changes. Was it heavily stocked or is light stocking a key element?
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:50 AM   #14
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My aunt has 2 Oscars in a 75g bare bottom tank with just a small HOB filter. The only thing in the tank is a piece of 10" diameter pvc pipe that serves as a hiding spot. The Oscars have got to be at least 15 years old and she claims that she has never once done a water change, just tops it off when it's low and scrapes any scum/algae off the walls occasionally. She also does not check water parameters, and tops it off with tap water without treating. The fish seem to be extremely healthy. She has a half dozen other tanks, from 10-55 gallons, many established for 5+ years that she maintains (or doesn;t maintain) the same way. May be dumb luck, or may be we're too worried with water parameters.

I personally wouldnt run a tank that way, but she does and it must work because she never seems to have any issues.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:51 AM   #15
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I'm not meaning no input self sustaining. I add food and light.
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