Do we really need so many water changes? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Do we really need so many water changes?

I feel like I'm going to catch a lot of flack for this question but... Are frequent to water changes REALLY necessary in a heavily planted tank???

Everyone talks about how they do weekly or even semi weekly water changes, but is it necessary? If Ammonia and Nitrite stay at zero, and Nitrates stay low due to the steady consumption of it by the plants, wouldn't a simple top off be all that's needed (excluding any meds or really needing to vac the substrate)?

If there is another reason for WCs I'm not aware of please let me know.

- Matt M.

Last edited by Mattymo92; 01-15-2016 at 04:16 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 05:06 AM
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Much would depend on how much fish poo,fish food ,is present.
I do not consider weekly water change too much for that is what I signed on for when first I began keeping fish.
In heavily planted tank and not too many fish both of which are highly subjective from one person to another,,one could get by with fewer water changes for reason's you mention.
Lot's of folk's however,over stock,over feed,over fertilize,underfilter,and hate maint of their tank's/filter's.
Have seen no evidence in nearly forty year's, that water changes hurt in any meaningful way.Plant's or fishes.
My two cent's.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 05:12 AM
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It all depends on the type of tank you are managing.

Those who fertlise their densely planted tanks to the limit have to adjust the water to keep their fauna unaffected and also to continue their dosing regime without taking recourse to detailed analysis of the tank water.

Some need to make regular water changes although they do limited fertilising of their not so densely planted tank to make up for the minor and trace elements which they don't use while fertising.

Many have lightly planted tanks which are sparsely stocked and usually they top up their tanks regularly, only occasionally do water changes when the tank appears dirty.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-15-2016, 05:19 AM
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Water changes are only *really* necessary when you're EI dosing, and you need some way to make sure plants get all the ferts they need while keeping them all from continually increasing, in which case you do 50% weekly.

Other than that, however, water changes will reduce the stuff that isn't getting regularly consumed, thus cleaning up the water column, which benefits fish. And, to a lesser extent, plants.

It also clears up the water a bit, which benefits you, if only aesthetically.

One other thing - there's no reason to try to keep nitrates low. It's not a reason to do or to not do water changes, but you mentioned keeping them low, which suggests you might have the wrong idea about them. Low isn't bad, unless they're close enough to zero to possibly bottom out, in which case, your plants will be upset with you. Better to keep them high enough that there's no chance they hit zero, even if you do water changes.
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ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, water, water changes

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