When to actually change water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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When to actually change water?

I've had this 40g breeder set up for some time and recently added shrimp. If the nitrates hardly get anywhere and ammonia is always 0, when should you really change water?

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 03:29 PM
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At least 20% weekly is the usual recommendation, and many aquarists do a lot more than that.

Last edited by Mark Fisher; 03-25-2020 at 04:16 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 06:21 PM
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It depends on a lot of variables, not just nitrates.

Fish hormones can still build up, as can trace nutrients that can cause issues in the long term. kH will also deplete over time, so you'll need to keep that steady, especially if you're in a soft-water area.

Due to low stock, fairly dense planting, and 0-nitrate tap water, my nitrates are very low in my tanks. I still do 30-50% weekly though to ensure that all other aspects are in order, especially kH and pH. Water changes are like resetting your tank and very unlikely to cause issues, so you may as well do them weekly
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 06:35 PM
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Iíd say get you a TDS meter and track accumulation that way along with testing GH, KH, Nitrate and phosphates. Find the routine of water change/dosing that keeps all parameters inline with your desired targets.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thelongsnail View Post
It depends on a lot of variables, not just nitrates.

Fish hormones can still build up, as can trace nutrients that can cause issues in the long term. kH will also deplete over time, so you'll need to keep that steady, especially if you're in a soft-water area.

Due to low stock, fairly dense planting, and 0-nitrate tap water, my nitrates are very low in my tanks. I still do 30-50% weekly though to ensure that all other aspects are in order, especially kH and pH. Water changes are like resetting your tank and very unlikely to cause issues, so you may as well do them weekly <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>
Fish hormones with no fish? I hardly feed the tank so how do trace nutrients build up?

Dw I still do 30% weekly water changes, I'm just wondering the specifics on why people do them

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2020, 11:27 PM
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Without knowing all the tanks exact specifics and current stocking, parameters anything anybody gives you will just be a wild guess.

With shrimp itís best to set your sights on a target and then develop a routine that keeps your tank parameters flatlined. There isnít a one size fits all answer for anything regarding aquariums.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 12:15 AM
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What Dave KS is saying, get a TDS meter. They're not expensive. One approach is to measure you TDS and NO3. Measure both next week. Continue.
Once you have a correlation between the TDS and NO3, simply by measuring the TDS, you will know when a water change is due.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Humu Humu View Post
What Dave KS is saying, get a TDS meter. They're not expensive. One approach is to measure you TDS and NO3. Measure both next week. Continue.
Once you have a correlation between the TDS and NO3, simply by measuring the TDS, you will know when a water change is due.
I like the TDS way, problem is we are all in quarantine. Anyone know how to actually get one?

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 12:33 AM
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Generally regular water changes are done in a planted tank to keep ferts in line and organic waste at a minimum. This will prevent algae and/or plant or livestock issues.

The true benefit of regular water changes is what you don't see and you can't measure. Once you can measure it, the problem is already there. So you can either take a preventive approach by doing them or a reactive approach by waiting until there's a problem. I personally prefer being proactive.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Generally regular water changes are done in a planted tank to keep ferts in line and organic waste at a minimum. This will prevent algae and/or plant or livestock issues.

The true benefit of regular water changes is what you don't see and you can't measure. Once you can measure it, the problem is already there. So you can either take a preventive approach by doing them or a reactive approach by waiting until there's a problem. I personally prefer being proactive.
I understand the benefits in a mainly planted tank, but my question was more based to shrimp breeding tanks

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 12:53 AM
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I understand the benefits in a mainly planted tank, but my question was more based to shrimp breeding tanks
Pretty sure it applies to shrimp tanks as well, albeit with smaller overall changes.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 01:17 AM
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As far as what is necessary, I think you will get a lot of variation on the answer there and as has been pointed out that can depend on a lot of things. I can say for my own 5g shrimp tank I haven't done a water change in probably something like one and a half months and the shrimp seem to be loving it. I check every so often with my TDS meter and once it reaches a certain threshold I do a water change. For me, that number is 230 but again nothing about that is a rule but just something that has worked for me so far.

I should also add that this is in a low tech tank with 0 ferts added. I imagine that that is at least one factor that probably effects how often water changes are necessary.

Last edited by IKeepShrimp; 03-26-2020 at 01:26 AM. Reason: Context
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 04:54 AM
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I like the TDS way, problem is we are all in quarantine. Anyone know how to actually get one?

Well Amazon is still shipping and probably has the biggest easiest accessible selection. If you know of a brick and mortar store that sells them and its still open could pop in there. Even the drive thru coffee shops are considered essential so ......
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Fish hormones with no fish? I hardly feed the tank so how do trace nutrients build up?

Dw I still do 30% weekly water changes, I'm just wondering the specifics on why people do them
The only information initially given was that you'd added shrimp to a 40g tank, not that there were no other inhabitants And trace nutrients could still build up through decomposition of plants and through ferts if they're used. Additionally, many people will encounter problems of mineral build-up if they're not changing water but are topping up the tanks with tap water.

If TDS is the way for you, then go ahead with that. Much like @Asteroid though, I'd rather just do the water changes proactively - I'd be trimming plants and siphoning sand etc. anyway, so why not just do the water change? But that's just my personal situation and outlook.

Some more anecdotal advice here - I buffer my tap water from kH 0-1, gH 2 to kH 2, gH 5 and perform regular changes as previously discussed. However, my main tank went without a water change for just over 10 days and the pH dropped from 7.2 to 6.8 as the kH was depleted by the cycle. That's not a huge amount (although pH is logarithmic) but it could have led to a full pH and cycle crash if left for more than a few weeks. This is all dependent on the parameters of your water, but as @DaveKS said, keep an eye on other parameters too, even if you are testing TDS.

Not saying that any specific method is the "best" as it varies so much on circumstance, but these are the specifics on why I do them
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-26-2020, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thelongsnail View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyjayb View Post
Fish hormones with no fish? I hardly feed the tank so how do trace nutrients build up?

Dw I still do 30% weekly water changes, I'm just wondering the specifics on why people do them
The only information initially given was that you'd added shrimp to a 40g tank, not that there were no other inhabitants <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a> And trace nutrients could still build up through decomposition of plants and through ferts if they're used. Additionally, many people will encounter problems of mineral build-up if they're not changing water but are topping up the tanks with tap water.

If TDS is the way for you, then go ahead with that. Much like @Asteroid though, I'd rather just do the water changes proactively - I'd be trimming plants and siphoning sand etc. anyway, so why not just do the water change? But that's just my personal situation and outlook.

Some more anecdotal advice here - I buffer my tap water from kH 0-1, gH 2 to kH 2, gH 5 and perform regular changes as previously discussed. However, my main tank went without a water change for just over 10 days and the pH dropped from 7.2 to 6.8 as the kH was depleted by the cycle. That's not a huge amount (although pH is logarithmic) but it could have led to a full pH and cycle crash if left for more than a few weeks. This is all dependent on the parameters of your water, but as @DaveKS said, keep an eye on other parameters too, even if you are testing TDS.

Not saying that any specific method is the "best" as it varies so much on circumstance, but these are the specifics on why I do them <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>
I feel like this was the answer I was looking for.

I wasn't planning on changing my water change schedule but was really looking for why exactly people do it.

Thank you

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