Time in between water changes? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Time in between water changes?

I have been reading a handful of posts the past few weeks regarding water quality and problems after water changes.

Depending on who you talk to they recommend doing weekly, bi-weekly, or constant drip water changes, etc..

If you test the water and there are 0 nitrates, 0 nitrate, 0 ammonia, all other parameters are where you want them. Do you NEED to do a water change?

In my 55g with a DIY overflow to a 6 gallon DIY sump filter and a 60 gallon HOB filter it has been 2 weeks and water quality is still exactly where I want it to be after 2 weeks of no water changes.

The only maintenance I do weekly is clean off one of the two cartridges from the HOB filter and a gallon or two top off from evaporation my guess from the higher intensity lights I use for the plants.

The fish are happy and behavior is nothing outside of normal.

Do I need to change the water change just because it "should" be done or can I go until water quality is not in the ideal parameters?

Would love your thoughts guys/gals!

Thanks

DrDraake

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by DrDraake View Post
...If you test the water and there are 0 nitrates, 0 nitrate, 0 ammonia, all other parameters are where you want them. Do you NEED to do a water change?
What kind of planted tank do you have where you have zero no3?
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 01:21 AM
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0 nitrates is strange. I would double and triple check that you are testing nitrates properly. If you're using the API liquid drop test it is notorious for giving false readings.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Well first im assuming your tank is cycled which if your tank is in theory and you nitrates are zero I would say it would be fine to not to a WC til needed
Thanks Soapy.

Yeah tank has been going a few months now.

I'll just keep checking the water quality every few days and keep an eye out for some irregular behavior.

Here is the tank setup.

If you see anything I should change please let me know.

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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0 nitrates is strange. I would double and triple check that you are testing nitrates properly. If you're using the API liquid drop test it is notorious for giving false readings.
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What kind of planted tank do you have where you have zero no3?
I tested it again a few minutes ago.

Have the API Master test kit. The Drops...

The NO2 is blue clear as day and the NO3 is bright yellow not a hint of orange.

I have a LOT of pothos in the system. I was told this plant will suck any ammonia nitrate and nitrate right out...

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Forgot to attach the photo.

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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 01:51 AM
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How aggressively are you smashing bottle #2 in the nitrate test? It needs to be beaten worse than Donald Trump in a spelling bee...

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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How aggressively are you smashing bottle #2 in the nitrate test? It needs to be beaten worse than Donald Trump in a spelling bee...
LMAO!

I was told something similar by the guy testing water at my local aquarium Guru store. But it had to do with pounding the bottle as hard as... Then Something with a hooker and Vegas and running away.. the moral of the story was understood. =)

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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah do as MCFC said and pound it and if nothing yet then your all good.I think it is probably the insane amount of pothos running.
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How aggressively are you smashing bottle #2 in the nitrate test? It needs to be beaten worse than Donald Trump in a spelling bee...
I tested it again this morning after beating it like a redheaded stepchild.

I got the same result... Bright yellow.

All the pothos I have running in the tank has all been propagated from one small plant. I can easily make 4 to 5 small full potted plants from what I have. This stuff grows like wildfire.

I've watched a lot of videos on YouTube about pothos destroying everything else in a tank because it sucks up all the nutrients and essentially starving everything else.

Should I start trimming it back and getting rid of some?

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 02:49 PM
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Be sure to top of the evaporation with distilled/DI/RO water. If you top off with tap water, eventually your water will become brackish from the Ca and Mg in the tap water.
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Be sure to top of the evaporation with distilled/DI/RO water. If you top off with tap water, eventually your water will become brackish from the Ca and Mg in the tap water.
I have a reverse osmosis system in the house that I mix with tap water.

Had no idea that adding tap water would leave me with brackish water... Ah!

BTW... What does DI stand for?

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Be sure to top of the evaporation with distilled/DI/RO water. If you top off with tap water, eventually your water will become brackish from the Ca and Mg in the tap water.
I always try to keep a 5 gallon bucket always full of the 50/50 mix of reverse osmosis and tap water.

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 03:01 PM
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Your tank is lightly stocked, you have pothos definitely taking up a lot of all of the N
And your anubias is capable of surviving on practically zero N
So your readings are probably right, but even if you had 10ppm nitrate it's not gonna accumulate much with your stocking and plants.

We usually do water changes because a lot of us fertilize.
Topping off with reverse osmosis water is not really necessary
Plants soak up things you don't want and when you trim you remove that stuff from the water.
I'd do a water change just once a month for the sake of it plus gives you a chance to vacuum up things in the substrate


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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chlorophile View Post
Your tank is lightly stocked, you have pothos definitely taking up a lot of all of the N
And your anubias is capable of surviving on practically zero N
So your readings are probably right, but even if you had 10ppm nitrate it's not gonna accumulate much with your stocking and plants.

We usually do water changes because a lot of us fertilize.
Topping off with reverse osmosis water is not really necessary
Plants soak up things you don't want and when you trim you remove that stuff from the water.
I'd do a water change just once a month for the sake of it plus gives you a chance to vacuum up things in the substrate
Wow... Going by the one inch of fish rule I thought I was overstocked.

I have between 55 to 60 fish in there. It might not look like it from the pictures.

Granted majority of them are red eyed tetras and neon tetras which are not very large to begin with.

That anubias is quickly shooting up its stalk and getting new baby plants with some thick roots growing.

I will probably do a water change this weekend after all the family goes home.

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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 11-21-2017, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDraake View Post
I have been reading a handful of posts the past few weeks regarding water quality and problems after water changes.

Depending on who you talk to they recommend doing weekly, bi-weekly, or constant drip water changes, etc..

If you test the water and there are 0 nitrates, 0 nitrate, 0 ammonia, all other parameters are where you want them. Do you NEED to do a water change?

In my 55g with a DIY overflow to a 6 gallon DIY sump filter and a 60 gallon HOB filter it has been 2 weeks and water quality is still exactly where I want it to be after 2 weeks of no water changes.

The only maintenance I do weekly is clean off one of the two cartridges from the HOB filter and a gallon or two top off from evaporation my guess from the higher intensity lights I use for the plants.

The fish are happy and behavior is nothing outside of normal.

Do I need to change the water change just because it "should" be done or can I go until water quality is not in the ideal parameters?

Would love your thoughts guys/gals!

Thanks

DrDraake

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Depending how balanced your tank is, the more or less often you need to change the water.

If your set up is bad you will have to labor water changes every week.

if your eco system is balanced and your water stays good, you will have to water change once every couple months.

understand what the water needs and make sure it can process all the fish poop. For example, I like to raise my water filter outflow pipe above the water surface so it creates a waterfall and adds oxygen for couple hours giving the fishes more oxygen and the universe of microscopic bacteria to work with.

if you have a stable balanced tank, water change once every month or two is good in the hood.
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