Water Changes - What is the purpose? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Water Changes - What is the purpose?

I do regular water changes but, I have also thought about this and wanted to see what others think.

If you have crystal clear water and your water parameters are absolutely perfect and can't get any better. Then what is the actual point of doing a water change? Why would you want to take out perfect water and put in water that you just have to balance and fight to get back to perfect again just to take remove it once its balanced. Just seems like a lot more work than is necessary. I was always taught, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

So what is the reason to do water changes even if it is not really necessary?


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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 09:16 PM
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People dose ferts and need to reset the nutrient cycle each week with water changes. It also eliminates or lowers harmful substances in water or even medication. Tap water also has many important micros that are vital for plant health.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 09:28 PM
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To keep the dissolved organics low and to reset the nutrient levels during an EI regimen.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 09:52 PM
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I liked the idea of it all taking care of itself as in nature also. I don't have the knowledge and experience to attempt it yet but the "Walstad Method" looks very interesting if it works right.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 10:33 PM
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There are invisible hormones and salts that build up that are harmful to your fishes when it builds up to high levels. Even when your water is 'crystal clear' there are undetectable levels that need to be flushed out. If you go low tech and don't dose ferts, you can go with monthly water changes. That is as long as you don't have a high bio load.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 10:38 PM
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Because to indefinitely maintain perfect water parameters yourself, without the benefit of water changes or Nature, would require the capability to test for every element and chemical compound, a full understanding of them all, and the ability to add or remove them selectively at will.

Nature will gladly help, but she doesn't have the same definition of "perfect" as you do. To her, perfect means only full of the greatest possible amount of life, and she doesn't much care if that life is plant, algae, or bacteria.

"Look at that front glass," she says, shaking her head disapprovingly. "How utterly barren! It would look so much nicer with a verdant coat of green dust algae. And this excess iron is just wasted, when it would be perfect for growing a bacterial colony of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans. I can hardly wait to see it swaying gently in the current!"

Yup. She'll do that kind of interior decorating, or something else you wouldn't find acceptable. So she needs an occasional push in what we consider the right direction.

And that's where, amongst other things, water changes come in. But if you wait until something starts going wrong to perform the change, it causes a larger disruption than if you'd been doing regular preventative changes all along.

Depending on the circumstances, water changes don't necessary have to be frequent, large, or burdensome. But they're still a good practice.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 11:04 PM
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I'm curious about what you do to "balance" the water when you do a water change. It is generally much better to add nothing to the water after a water change except Prime or an equivalent dechlorinator, and perhaps some fertilizers and/or GH booster. Are you adjusting the pH or KH?

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 11:09 PM
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How often does everyone change there water. I know it's gotta be dependent on if it's cycled or not. But talking about for a fully cycled tank. Thx
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 11:33 PM
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I do bi-weekly 50% water changes, can go up to 6-8wks.
The more delicate the fish, the more changes that are needed.

In a closed system, you couldn't add food, it would have to come from the tank. Otherwise, you're still adding contaminates. PLus, in nature, they have trillions upon trillions of gallons flushing through all the time. Being cleaned and used and such over and over. Not really possible in any man made environment w/o letting nature do the over flowing and refilling with rain.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 11:37 PM
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I have this cup that's about 1 1/2 cups, That's how much water I change everyday. all I use is aged tap water, no additives or anything. Heck it's not even heated, just room temperature....shrimp are happy, plants are happy
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 11:50 PM
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reset the nutrient levels
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 11:57 PM
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I'm doing changes biweekly and it seems to be working. Just dechlorinator and its good to go.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 03:16 AM
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I do a 20% water change every 3-5 days, usually whenever I have a day off and feel like working on my tanks.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 03:22 AM
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Water Changes - What is the purpose?

Westhaven, good to see the tigers avatar. I was really pulling for them. I'm from the downriver area. Next season, go tigers! Btw 20% seems to be the magic number for me as well.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 03:35 AM
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+1 invisible thumbs up pretty much for everyone above me.

Those are the main reasons, purpose.. I learned the hard way in the past when I thought it was okay to not do water changes and only top off, because I thought the plants can take care of the fish waste produced, and so I said to myself.. What was the purpose of doing a wc? The waste is sucked out anyways.... And so, well, sadly I ended up with sick, stunted fish and some plant problems here and there over time.. Lesson learned. Now I'm quite diligent about doing wc's now lol.

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