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post #1 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Water changes

Ok I can't believe I am about to ask this question and I am sure there will be a good reason but I have kept fish for over 20 years and always carried out weekly waterchanges but I recently (2 months ago) set up my first fully flanted tank now I cycled the tank the first month using fishfood in a stocking the tank was cycled long before I finished my cycling scedule when first few fish went it it had 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and about 10 nitrate but once I put the fish in I removed the stocking and just added the food the fish needed to eat.

The water readings are now 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and almost 0 nitrates it is certainly less than 5 so as i add ferts to the water that will put nutrients in the water as well as CO2 and the plants are using up the nitrate. I am struggling to come up with a reason to change the water. I have seen a nitrate test as a good indicator of when to change the water previously but is this is still true in a planted tank with added ferts and CO2 if not why not.



The tank gets added ferts for the plants and the CO2 so what is the need for water changes if not to remove nitrate. The tank is open top and regularly gets topped up.
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post #2 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by aqua360 View Post
Ok I can't believe I am about to ask this question and I am sure there will be a good reason but I have kept fish for over 20 years and always carried out weekly waterchanges but I recently (2 months ago) set up my first fully flanted tank now I cycled the tank the first month using fishfood in a stocking the tank was cycled long before I finished my cycling scedule when first few fish went it it had 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and about 10 nitrate but once I put the fish in I removed the stocking and just added the food the fish needed to eat.

The water readings are now 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and almost 0 nitrates it is certainly less than 5 so as i add ferts to the water that will put nutrients in the water as well as CO2 and the plants are using up the nitrate. I am struggling to come up with a reason to change the water. I have seen a nitrate test as a good indicator of when to change the water previously but is this is still true in a planted tank with added ferts and CO2 if not why not.



The tank gets added ferts for the plants and the CO2 so what is the need for water changes if not to remove nitrate.
Water changes will replace essential minerals plants and fish need that are not usually supplied via fertilizers (Ca and Mg for example).

Also, just because there is no NO3 present (the plants are using it up) does not mean there is no need for water changes, other organic compounds are decomposing in your water that will not contribute to the NO3 test.

Which NO3 test are you using? The API one is notorious for giving false readings if bottle 2 is not shaken for at least 1 minute and used immediately after shaking.
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post #3 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 01:52 PM
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This is actually a good question and I can argue both sides of the debate.

I believe that everything is situational and one size does not fit all.

As a personal example, I have hard water and am not too worried about Ca/Mg. The tank is at least 75% Java Fern with a bunch of floaters and Ambulia. Med to heavy load of guppies and some cories and I overfeed. Med light and co2 , blah blah blah. The tank had been running for about 15 years, with 3 - re-dos, the last one 3 years ago.

The end result is consistent 40 ppm N and 2 ppm P, pH of 6.7, tap is 7.4.

Sooo, why would I fertilize or do 50% weeekly water changes in that tank? I don't. Top off maybe once a week, 20-30% water change a month or two. Check TDS here and there.

We preach stability above all. What a 50% water change would do to that tank? Most likely nothing, except a higher water bill.

My point: don't blindly buy into somebody else's dogma. Instead think, observe, adapt.

A bare bottom Discus grow out tank? A rotala macrandra tank with 200++ PAR and white drop checker? Different beasts, different training.
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post #4 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Water changes will replace essential minerals plants and fish need that are not usually supplied via fertilizers (Ca and Mg for example).

Also, just because there is no NO3 present (the plants are using it up) does not mean there is no need for water changes, other organic compounds are decomposing in your water that will not contribute to the NO3 test.

Which NO3 test are you using? The API one is notorious for giving false readings if bottle 2 is not shaken for at least 1 minute and used immediately after shaking.

I thought there would be something I do put a lot of water in in top up as it comes with being open top which would probably help with the Ca and Mg as I bet I replace 1/4 of the tank a week anyway (I have a Ca test somewhere but don't routinly test for it but will check it out) I do use API test kits and shake the bottle for a minute but also nutrafin but I had not thought about other organic compounds decomposing in the water that don't contribute to the nitrate test.

Obviously water changes are important in fishkeeping I will just have to decide how often but will play that one by ear
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post #5 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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This is actually a good question and I can argue both sides of the debate.

I believe that everything is situational and one size does not fit all.

As a personal example, I have hard water and am not too worried about Ca/Mg. The tank is at least 75% Java Fern with a bunch of floaters and Ambulia. Med to heavy load of guppies and some cories and I overfeed. Med light and co2 , blah blah blah. The tank had been running for about 15 years, with 3 - re-dos, the last one 3 years ago.

The end result is consistent 40 ppm N and 2 ppm P, pH of 6.7, tap is 7.4.

Sooo, why would I fertilize or do 50% weeekly water changes in that tank? I don't. Top off maybe once a week, 20-30% water change a month or two. Check TDS here and there.

We preach stability above all. What a 50% water change would do to that tank? Most likely nothing, except a higher water bill.

My point: don't blindly buy into somebody else's dogma. Instead think, observe, adapt.

A bare bottom Discus grow out tank? A rotala macrandra tank with 200++ PAR and white drop checker? Different beasts, different training.
Oh I will do some tests and the TDS is a good idea and I have a meter so really easy to do although adding ferts would increase TDS so unsure how that would work although may well need a graph, that will show how stable things are PH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and TDS I am only currently running the 6 foot tank and the 4 foot as I cut down but at one point I had 6 tanks


I just wanted to get other opinions on how to judge when a water change is needed
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post #6 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 02:29 PM
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Although we use nitrates as a measure of pollution, nitrates are merely the conversion of ammonia. But nitrates keep bad company as there are all sorts of other pollutants resulting from organic decomposition that we can't/don't measure for. The question we can't really answer is "Do plants absorb or adsorb all organic pollutants?".

It goes almost without saying that fast growing plants* consume nutrients (aka pollutants) and convert it into plant tissue...that we [may] eventually remove in trimmings. What we don't know is if this is complete enough to limit or replace routine periodic water changes that ensure ongoing 'fresh' water. (*slow growing plants do little to purify water)

In theory, I believe that fast growing (especially floating) plants can reduce the frequency and/or volume of required periodic water changes, but not eliminate them.
Like rain in nature, there really is no substitute for replacing [some] old tank water with fresh, pure water. The solution to pollution is dilution.

Footnote: We also need to consider our use of additives like ferts and consider that plants may not use all that we add. Also is the issue of required minerals that plants and fish use up from the water. Without a partial water change, how are these replenished?

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post #7 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 02:49 PM
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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decomposition

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post #8 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aqua360 View Post
Ok I can't believe I am about to ask this question and I am sure there will be a good reason but I have kept fish for over 20 years and always carried out weekly waterchanges but I recently (2 months ago) set up my first fully flanted tank now I cycled the tank the first month using fishfood in a stocking the tank was cycled long before I finished my cycling scedule when first few fish went it it had 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and about 10 nitrate but once I put the fish in I removed the stocking and just added the food the fish needed to eat.

The water readings are now 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and almost 0 nitrates it is certainly less than 5 so as i add ferts to the water that will put nutrients in the water as well as CO2 and the plants are using up the nitrate. I am struggling to come up with a reason to change the water. I have seen a nitrate test as a good indicator of when to change the water previously but is this is still true in a planted tank with added ferts and CO2 if not why not.



The tank gets added ferts for the plants and the CO2 so what is the need for water changes if not to remove nitrate. The tank is open top and regularly gets topped up.
every tank is different and will have different water change frequency.

there is a made up rule of "50% water change per week" that has been treated like the 11th commandment floating around.

many blindly follow it

your question searches deeper for the true meaning of water change. I asked myself that same question after I skipped a week, and two, and three of water changes. When would I really need to change the water?

I pushed myself to 2-3 months with no water changes. I have heard examples of 6months, 9 months, a year with no water changes. wow.

I found my equilibrium at 30% water change once a month. mainly it helped suppress algae growth.

ultimately listen to the tank, and not a made up rule on the internets.
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post #9 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 03:41 PM
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I think the one thing missing in this great discussion is the fish.I personally do every other day on my discus tank and once a week on the planted tanks but for me it is the health of the fish more than the growth of the plants.I see a distinct improvement in the actions of the fish in my tanks after a water change so if your talking about a plant only or a very low stocked tank maybe you can go a lot longer without a water change.
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post #10 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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I think the one thing missing in this great discussion is the fish.I personally do every other day on my discus tank and once a week on the planted tanks but for me it is the health of the fish more than the growth of the plants.I see a distinct improvement in the actions of the fish in my tanks after a water change so if your talking about a plant only or a very low stocked tank maybe you can go a lot longer without a water change.

I didn't start this discussion to get out of water changes it is part of the hobby I did leave the fish out deliberately as I wanted to create a discussion on water changes and what we take out or put in by conducting them. Fish regardless of type produce waste obviously a heavy stocked tank would have more waste so need more changes than a lower stocked one.

There are downsides to water changes they can be stressful on tank inhabitants particularly large ones or in the winter when it is harder to equalise the temp so should be conducted but not excessively every other day sounds a lot unless you are changing only a small amount like 10% as small and often is better than the same amount further apart but every tank is different

The best way I ever found of doing them was a drip feed and waste pipe system as you never need to manually change the water, unfortunately, I do not have that on this tank but that is another discussion

Balance is the best so watching the tank and adapting the routine as I see fit is what I will be what I do of course ferts would be a double-edged sword as they put in the tank various things but there is likely to be things in them that are not used and would build up without enough changes .

Discus very obviously show when they are happy but many fish do not. So I really interested in the science of things as using nitrates to get an idea of how often a tank needs changing clearly isn't going to work on a fully planted tank as it does on one with no or minimal plants
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post #11 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 10:21 PM
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Having kept aquariums for 40 years, in my experience, the single best thing you can do for both fish and plants is regular water changes. This isn't something made up on the internet. It's just the plain truth.

Doesn't matter if it's low light, high light, or no light. Water changes are your friend and can prevent a whole host of potential problems.

The poster above who constantly advocates for very little or no water changes has killed more fish and grown more algae than seems possible. At one point his fish were literally jumping out of the tank to escape the filthy conditions. It's sad someone would try to persuade people to adopt a method that will almost certainly fail, or at minimum make their aquarium experience much more difficult and less rewarding.

Keep your water fresh and clean with regular water changes and your fish and plants will thank you.


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post #12 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 10:42 PM
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Having kept aquariums for 40 years, in my experience, the single best thing you can do for both fish and plants is regular water changes. This isn't something made up on the internet. It's just the plain truth.

Doesn't matter if it's low light, high light, or no light. Water changes are your friend and can prevent a whole host of potential problems.

The poster above who constantly advocates for very little or no water changes has killed more fish and grown more algae than seems possible. At one point his fish were literally jumping out of the tank to escape the filthy conditions. It's sad someone would try to persuade people to adopt a method that will almost certainly fail, or at minimum make their aquarium experience much more difficult and less rewarding.

Keep your water fresh and clean with regular water changes and your fish and plants will thank you.
I dumped 8 guppies into my newly started tank poisoned by high ammonia leached out of my ADA soil and they all jumped out over night

I thought it was because I didn't have a lid. I was less than 1 month into the hobby. I didn't know!

we all make mistakes, but we learn from them.

I don't appreciate you bashing on me all the time. can you please stop?
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post #13 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 11:17 PM
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At the Expense of the fish . Do some research . I will only do a fish less cycle now. It has taken 30+ days to complete . Its called patience . Not I dumped IntotheWRX into a lethal concoction of ammonia and nitrite he and he jumped out to his death . R.I.P.
post #14 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Guys let's not turn this debate into a slanging match we all know water changes are important and for the record, no poster is likely to persuade me to do anything but I like to get opinions from others I have kept fish for 25 years and can't remember the last time I lost a fish. The usual reasons for changing water is to get rid of nitrate clearly if there is no nitrate or the tap water has a higher nitrate level than the tank there could be reasons to go longer between changed than a week (I have no idea what the nitrate level is in my tap water but would not be surprised if it is higher) but there could be reasons not to as well so it is an interesting subject to discuss

Now I realise some of you may do a thing one way and be convinced this is the correct way but I don't want posters bickering and ending up derailing what could be a interesting debate.
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post #15 of 173 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 12:58 AM
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Now I realise some of you may do a thing one way and be convinced this is the correct way but I don't want posters bickering and ending up derailing what could be a interesting debate.
I see you are new here, and I believe your intentions are good.

What you may not know is that this topic typically does not end well. It's been brought up more times than you can imagine. A few years back there were some serious water change wars here.

And the poster above spent so much time advocating that no one should ever change their water, that he was banned from this board for awhile.

And I do agree it can be an interesting debate. The issue I have is that for the vast majority of people, water changes can be the difference between success and failure.

And that is not to say there aren't special circumstances where one could be successful without water changes, but that is in a very unique environment, and not for the average hobbyist.

Personally I have very rarely seen anyone be successful with a little or no water change schedule for any length of time. And most of the posters who advocate for it don't post any pictures of their tanks. You figure out why.
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