Topping off instead of changing water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Topping off instead of changing water?

Recently, I've been getting lazy and just topping off my tank at the end of the week instead of actually changing the water once every 2 weeks. I usually do a 25% water change every 2 weeks. but like i said, i thought just topping off would be fine.

Then i noticed algae growth.

Can something like topping off encourage algae growth? Other than just algae, is only topping off the tank a bad thing?

Thank you.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 10:24 PM
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Your TDS would increase without water changes, but Im not sure this would cause algae by itself. Are you using any fertilizer?
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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I am using EI fertilizing.

Could an increase in TDS have killed a couple of my shrimps? I noticed a couple of them passed away the last few weeks.

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Originally Posted by nilocg View Post
Your TDS would increase without water changes, but Im not sure this would cause algae by itself. Are you using any fertilizer?
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 11:33 PM
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With EI dosing you are supposed to do a 50% WC each week. You may just be building up super high phosphate levels or something else that's being tough on the shrimp.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 11:54 PM
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If you don't do regular water changes, don't do EI… Build up of the ferts can kill or cause issues.


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by jaekwong View Post
I am using EI fertilizing.

Could an increase in TDS have killed a couple of my shrimps? I noticed a couple of them passed away the last few weeks.
Yes that could be the cause. And like it was said above, if you arent going to do weekly water changes EI is not a good idea.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tzac View Post
With EI dosing you are supposed to do a 50% WC each week. You may just be building up super high phosphate levels or something else that's being tough on the shrimp.
High PO4 has no impact on livestock.
Algae supposedly in natural systems, but not where high plant density occurs also.

You just get more weeds or plant species shifts.

I use 50% as just an example. It was never written in stone. Folks can use the dosing Cal from Wet and then see what the outcomes are over less/more % and more less frequencies and then ascribe a risk factor to those outputs.

If folks decide to modify, they can do a number of simple common sense approaches.
EI is suppose to be non limiting for 99% of folk's tanks. That's the idea.
Folks often do weekly large water changes anyway.

You can slowly trim the dosing rates by say 10% for 2 weeks observe, if everything looks fine, trim another 10 and watch closely.
Since you are at non limiting levels, what you are doing now is slowly backing off and watching the PLANTS/Algae.
Once you note a negative plant growth response, you bump back up to the last prior dosing rate, say it's 40% of EI......... for your tank, this is what is called the critical point, Cp.
It will be different for every tank.

Once there, then...........you can start trimming off the % or the frequency or both, for the water changes, going for weeks, months without one.
This is a better/wiser approach than starting at the lean limiting side because you do not optimize the CO2 due to dependencies with limitation of the ferts, plants stunted due to little ferts available.
You want to learn and know what fert dosing looks like independent of other interactions. This teaches you far more than fiddling between various co limitations.

If you take this same approach farther, you can remove the CO2, reduce the light and drop the dosing to once a week or two........about 1/10th to 1/20th EI.
Then do a water change maybe once every 6-12 months.

Or modify it to add Excel and do them say once every 3-6 months and dose about 1/5th to 1/10th EI say 2x a week.
This stuff seems very common sense to myself, but I think folks read this and think it's set in stone.

You can modify it if you wish, that was the original idea really, or just keep doing it.
I do a version of non CO2 above on one tank.

http://s171.photobucket.com/user/pla...l?sort=6&o=470

I do the modified EI on this tank, basically more PO4 and dose more tracesAnd I do 2x a week water changes since I trim and garden frequently and need to clean up more:



And with this tank, I only change the water once a month sometimes a little more, but not much, I dose about 1/2 to 1/3rd EI.
But it has 1/3 the light tank above has and it rarely even gets anything uprooted or mucked up, gardened like the 120 gallon



The point is that some common sense should be applied, no one method will be all things to all goals. Any method that makes such claim is full of horse feathers.
I think this comes across in person well, but written in books or on the web......not so much.




Regards,
Tom Barr

Last edited by plantbrain; 01-03-2014 at 05:09 AM. Reason: Added pics
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 05:00 AM
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As the water evaporates the minerals don't go with, so everything pretty much builds up.

40B Cold water planted
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldwater King View Post
As the water evaporates the minerals don't go with, so everything pretty much builds up.

So that's assuming evaporation and not cat drinking from the tank.....
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 01:28 PM
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I think many people fail to realize that EI is actually a concept. Using the term EI method leads many to believe it's a step by step approach causing a lot of confusion. I find myself using the term "EI concept" to explain this idea to more and more people. If you Google "EI method dosing guide" you will see that most explain the concept as a step by step approach.

I recently wrote a post explaining non-limiting nutrients. The first paragraph was...

"It seems that most people learn "how" to dose without understanding why those steps work. Learning the "how to method" first causes a lot of confusion when we finally ask the question, WHY?"

After reading this thread I realized I need to modify this post to explain the balancing of water changes and nutrient additions. I believe when the concept is explained first the transition becomes much easier. Only after someone understands the concept should they learn how to achieve the parameters needed.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorfox View Post
I think many people fail to realize that EI is actually a concept. Using the term EI method leads many to believe it's a step by step approach causing a lot of confusion. I find myself using the term "EI concept" to explain this idea to more and more people. If you Google "EI method dosing guide" you will see that most explain the concept as a step by step approach.

I recently wrote a post explaining non-limiting nutrients. The first paragraph was...

"It seems that most people learn "how" to dose without understanding why those steps work. Learning the "how to method" first causes a lot of confusion when we finally ask the question, WHY?"

After reading this thread I realized I need to modify this post to explain the balancing of water changes and nutrient additions. I believe when the concept is explained first the transition becomes much easier. Only after someone understands the concept should they learn how to achieve the parameters needed.
Yep. I start folks off with the 50% weekly, then they can modify after things are doing well, better etc.

You need some good example of well growing plants. Then you can tweak and modify to suit, or if things are doing well, you can just leave it.

Much of the problem for new folks: they have issues and no reference.
So with ferts independent, they can then focus on CO2 provided they have decent lighting and some known light set up etc.

I think 2-3x a week water changes for the 1st 1-2 months is also a very wise/good idea for newbies and old timers alike, starts the tank off really well and mitigates CO2 issues. I do it.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 09:58 PM
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Thanks for the tips Tom. I started a new thread titled "The EI Concept explained". I edited the post mentioned here. I want a reference to refer people to rather than repeating the same thing over and over. I tried to explain the why first then the how. If you see any problems or changes that need to be made please let me know as I will refer others here frequently. I just haven't seen any good posts explaining the why first.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
I think 2-3x a week water changes for the 1st 1-2 months is also a very wise/good idea for newbies and old timers alike, starts the tank off really well and mitigates CO2 issues. I do it.
I am a firm believer in water changes in planted tanks and anyone who isn't just do it for a couple of weeks each week and you will see a huge difference.

What I am curious about though is what advantages does 2-3x a week have over once a week in the first month or two? It would seem that if you're changing it that often and resetting the nutrients when would the dosing have time to take effect? Also why only the first month or two the stepped up water change schedule and not longer?


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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldwater King View Post
As the water evaporates the minerals don't go with, so everything pretty much builds up.
That's it - topping off does nothing.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
-Carl Sagan
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 05:26 PM
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I top off every other week but I don't use EI or chemicals in my planted tank.
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