When to do a Water Change? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-04-2011, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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When to do a Water Change?

I had been doing a 25% weekly water change until about 2 weeks ago. My tank had always been cloudy/hazy so I decided to go longer without a wc to see what would happen, 2 weeks have gone by and my water is much clearer. I tested my nitrates today and they're 10 to 20 ppm. Since the nitrates aren't excessive, can I go even longer before changing the water? I read on Green Leaf Aquariums site under the PPS Pro info that sometimes the water in a tank can be healthier going without ever changing the water than if you were to change it. If your tank is heavily planted to where the plants are utilizing the bad stuff (ammonia, nitrates, mulm, excess nutrients, etc) then what would be the purpose of a water change?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 04:19 AM
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One reason for a water change is the dissolved solids. If you're topping off the tank with tap water (or anything other than distilled or RO/deionized water) then your dissolved solids will increase over time. You can do a water change with distilled occasionally to get it back down. This is a potential problem whether you do water changes or not, but it is made worse by not doing them.

It's also possible that not doing a water change or two had nothing to do with your haziness clearing up. It may have as well, we'll likely never know.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 04:29 AM
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Yeah, just because something happened when you changed one thing doesn't mean it actually was due to that thing unless you also had a control tank where everything was identical except for what you changed.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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http://sites.google.com/site/aquatic.../water-changes
Quote:
There are several reasons why people do water changes. One is in fish only aquariums to remove fish waste toxins. Next is in poorly planted aquariums with too many fish for the same reasons as fish only aquariums. Next is in fully planted aquariums with reasonable fish load and with poorly designed fertilizers causing unbalanced remains of chemicals. The last is in fully planted aquariums with leaking substances as decorations, rocks or substrates. Other then that, there is no reason for extra water changes in properly designed, maintained and fertilized aquariums.
FAQ
Can water changes be overdone and harmful?
That depends on the water source. If you use clean tap water or RO water then there is generally no harm, but some tap waters contain damaging chemicals. Some tap water sources will wipe out everything alive.
Will aquarium water deteriorate without massive water changes in the long run?
Not necessarily. It depends on the aquarium setup. Well run fully planted aquariums with reasonable fish load can go without water change for years without any water quality deterioration. In contrary the older water can be cleaner and better then fresh tap water. How? By plant uptake. Plants have the ability to consume everything available cleaning the water in the process. Any chemicals, waste and toxins are mineralized by microorganism and become available to plants. Plants take these chemicals and store them in their plant tissue. Then when we trim the plants we are removing the toxins and chemicals out of the aquarium. Plants are the ultimate filters.

How do I know if I need a water change?
The first is to find the weakest point for that particular aquarium. It may be your NO3, PO4, KH, GH, or Ca. These are the most common issues and are described in the problems section. When you find the one element that causes the problem in your aquarium you know how to regulate it and keep it under control in the long run. This process dictates the minimum rate of water changes.
Do I need to be testing all of the variables to determine the water changes?
No. Once you locate the most significant deteriorating factor the rest will be under control. For example, if you use KH leaking substrate you know by testing it that your aquarium needs 10% water change a week to keep it under control.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 01:19 PM
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If you don't have a specific purpose for doing water changes, ie EI dosing, then it is largely personal preference. If you don't want to do water changes, then don't. Nobody will argue with you, I don't think.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 07:52 PM
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If your tank was new (ish) and you had not built any beneficial bateria in your filters, substrate, etc. then the lack of a WC could have helped clear your water. The only time a WC would be bad is if your water source is not sutable for a planted tank, like mine is high in silicates which cause diatoms (brown algea) so if I change it too often (weekly) I get diatoms but monthly WC's does not add enough silicates for me to get a algea bloom of diatoms. But I think that is correct if you are not dosing EI or something else that requires you to do regular WC's a dirty tanks can function better that a clean tank and you can overclean until you cause a problem and loose all of youe benificial bacteria.

Don't laugh but you may be sick, my tank went just under 2 years without cleaning of any kind, just daily feeding and sometimes I forgot to do that.


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