The Triple Exchange Water Change - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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The Triple Exchange Water Change

I've been doing this for forty years off and on, so I'm a little old school. I used to read all the Axelrodi books about how such and such a fish, named after me, Axelrodi, because I discovered it in 1950 something deep in the jungles of the Amazon, likes soft water filtered over peat moss, blah, blah, blah... Boy that was a long sentence I hope the moderators approve. But I digress as usual. Anyway where was I, Oh yes, the books I read always used to say, "Thou shalt do frequent small water changes!" It was like a commandment or some aquatic equivalent thereof.

Then along comes this prophet named Tom Barr who says, "Thou shalt do a 50% water change once a week to reset your parameters!" Record scratch! Huh?! In Tom Barr's defense, he also says you can do multiple small water changes in a week. The guy's a God, let's face it. And prolific too, he once responded to one of my post at Just thought I'd mention it for the sake of some shameless name dropping. A post response is sort of the modern day equivalent of getting an autograph, although, he did avail himself of the opportunity to tell me how wrong I was about whatever it was I was posting.

Anyhow, I tried the 50% water change a couple of times when I joined this site a few weeks ago (I like this site so much, I'm thinking about going premium, but again I digress.) Oh, and keeping it short, another commandment, I found my fish don't like the 50% WC. I mean, done all at once that is.

Therefore be it resolved, The Triple Exchange Water Change!

Uh, so here's how it works: First you have to calculate it. Measure twice, cut once as the carpenters say. In my case, I have a 20 gallon tank. I know, I know, such a vast quantity of water, but everything is scalable. With displacement, I have about 18 gallons. According to old school, 50% is too much all at once, so you can graduate the water change by doing three 20.6% overnight water exchanges.

At lights out, I exchange 3.75 gallons of water or 20.8% in my case. Then, I get up at 4:00 am 8:00 hrs later (kind of a fanatic aren't I?), to do another 20.8% water exchange. Each time I supplement the requisite amounts of dechlorinator, GH Booster and Sodium Bicarbonate. Then, six hours later at lights on, I do a proper 20.8% water change complete with algae scrubbing, filter cleaning, supplementation, ect., ect... These three water exchanges equal about a 50% water change.

To calculate the volume of each water exchange, multiply 0.206 by your tank's displaced capacity. By the third water exchange, all you have to do is dose your nutrients like you normally would. Thank you for reading. Your comments, concerns and corrections are welcome.

Last edited by Savetheplants; 06-28-2016 at 12:39 AM. Reason: to correct an egregious miscalculation
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