Dont go overboard on water changes - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Dont go overboard on water changes

Ok.......i read these threads daily and i have to put my two cents in. And i know that people are going to fire back that im wrong and blah blah blah. Well, Ive been in the hobby for 22yrs.......and i successfully breed angels and other fw fish and sell them to many lfs.....so that being said heres my take on water:

1. When you set up a new tank you MUST monitor your parameter and SLOWLY add fish.
2. Once your tank has been established and consistently running for 4-6 months......put your test kit way......you dont need to check it all the time if your not doing anything drastic to your tank.
3. Buy good equipment....doesnt have to be the top of the line! research filters, heaters, and lights, and buy what you can afford.
4. If your buying from a lfs the fish are more than likely bred and raised in conditioned tap water, relax quit worrying about your water.
5. Do twice weekly water changes....15-30% depending on your stocking and bioload. if your load is low and you have healthy plants you might be able to do once a week!
6. If you read forums, and your new.......dont take everything posted as the word of the fish gods......this hobby is suposed to be fun.....learn as you go,find out what works for you.
7. Your going to loose fish, and get diseases.....it happens, even to people with quarantine tanks(which if you are running multiple tanks and bringing in new fish regularly, I STRONGLY recommend!!)
8. Regardless of what people say equipment is a matter of personal preference and comfort. Some people think your an idiot if you dont run canister filters.......I have never run canister filters in 22 years, strictly sponge filters and good HOB's or a combination of both
9. Feed quality food!!!!
10. Enjoy your hobby......dont make it a job....well, unless it is your job!

OK.......now ill be here to answer when people start firing off that Im a moron and dont know what im talking about. Have at it people
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 06:52 PM
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Lol I know why you started this thread. All sounds great to me, good advice! Though I like doing 50% WC once a week, works best for my schedule, works best for my discus, works best for my EI dosed appisto tank but not my shrimp tank. That only gets top off's and once every two weeks 25% or so depending on nitrate tests.
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 06:54 PM
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15-30% even if heavily planted?


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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Look at my 55gal tank pics its heavily planted and i do once a week 25-30%
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 06:59 PM
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Just more proof that there is more than one way to do. Does not mean your right, just different.

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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thats my point, and i fully agree if you feel you need to do more or bigger water changes, then by all means do it.....but realistically your not hurting your fish is you do weekly maintenance. everything above and beyond is a matter of choice and comfort level.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANGELFISH GUY View Post
Look at my 55gal tank pics its heavily planted and i do once a week 25-30%
I trust what you say so I need to start doing more changes.


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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 07:15 PM
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While there are certain absolute truths--fish create waste, plants need light to grow, water quality must be considered in maintaining healthy conditions, fish must have a source of food--the one rule is that no one rule applies to every situation.

I'm one of those who almost never reaches for a test kit once a tank is up and running-unless a problem comes up-but I do make sure I know HOW to use one, what it's measuring and how to fix problems. I know that if I push the boundaries of convential wisdom I run the risk of being wrong--but without experimentation, we never learn if that convential wisdom is actually right, right in x situation, or if there's other, equally functional, options that might help us stretch the hobby.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 07:21 PM
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Some points I fully agree but only to the extent that it works for what you have done. Doesn't work for all cases. No. 1 works for some but if you are ordering fish and don't want to pay shipping from foreign countries more than once, you will want to do a fishless cycle and add them all at once. No 2 doesn't fit if you don't know how many fish you have. A dead fish and not testing can kill the rest with ammonia. For the rest, it is the same, in my opinion. Works sometimes but needs more thinking on why and what is needed. No. 9 is one point that needs more thought. What is a quality food? Does one just go for the most highly advertised item? A food for angelfish may kill some fish. Good thinking for angelfish but maybe lacking for other types. .
No ten is the big one! Don't take any of this too seriously. None of us are getting out of here alive anyway so we might as well enjoy the ride!
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 07:34 PM
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I only test my nitrates weekly anymore. Everything else gets tested on the 1st and 15th, sometimes just the 15th if things went well.

I have a 55g tank, after substrate, plants ect it's only about 45-50g so doing 20 gallons of water weekly makes it it pretty easy.

I agree with most of the things you stated. What are your thoughts on algae? Learn to live with a little of it is my montra for the tanks. I see so many people give up or nuke tanks because of algae issues. When all they need to do is slow down, take a look at the tank and make some adjustments.
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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 07:51 PM
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I agree.

Here's a few questions however, why does it work very well for you, and not for someone else?

How is it that I did water changes only once every 6-12 months on my non cO2 planted tank, bred plenty of fish, L no# plecos and lots of shrimp?

How is it that I need to do 2x a week 50-70% water changes on my 120 Gallon high light tank to have it looking good?

Why do I need to only do water changes once every month on my 70 Gallon Buce tank to have it looking really nice?

Why is it that I do not need any test kits other than KH and pH?

We cannot make broad based advice too easily unless you know what the user's specific goals are. No method will be all things to all people, thus we use a set of several different methods and can modify them to suit a specific set of goals. I think this is where folks get into trouble mostly.

Planted tanks run the gambit of water change frequencies going from none(mostly non CO2 planted tanks), pretty much ever..........to 2-3x a week(mostly trimmed and groomed tanks using CO2 and gardened intensively).
Folks using Excel only for carbon enrichment tend to do WC's maybe 1-2x a month IME.

Newly started planted tanks tend to do best if you do 50% water changes every 3rd day for the 1st 1-2 months, then you can reduce thereafter.

If you can replicate and do the examples above to a high level of aesthetics and the tanks have a demonstrated stability, then you got a good hold on things.

Many times it takes several post to figure out what the real issue is for a person and their goals, what all is going on etc.

I do not test water for management.
I only test water when something is going right.
Then I have a good idea of the ranges that are effective.
I have a reference point, then if something does go wrong, I'll know how to fix it and where to bring the reference numbers to. Tough for a newbie or someone with issues that's never had a nice tank however. Not every can do a double back flip either, takes practice.

Food, I think like us, we like variety, feed a wide range of food. Frozen, live in some cases(brine is one of the better ones, I'm not a fan or live worms), dry, pellets, live shrimps/or freshly culled etc.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 07:54 PM
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Mostly good advice. I believe you can add a lot of fish at first if you're doing fishless cycling and established a strong bacteria bed. Once the initial bacteria bed dies down to match your bioload then you shouldn't add more than 5-10% of your tanks maximum capacity at a time with at least 1-2 weeks in-between adding fish.

I also think 2x 30% water changes a week is way (overkill for most people). I don't think it hurts but it's not necessary (for most people).

In the end, fishkeeping is one of the most varied hobbies and vastly different methods may yield the same results. Experiment and do what works for you.

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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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My main purpose in this was to let the newbies know that you don't need a chemistry degree and 2 hrs a day to have fun and ENJOY a tank! I've talked to way too many people who research setting up a tank on this site and others and are scared away after reading posts about water parameters and such. I agree that everyone's experiences are different. My point to this whole thing was it doesn't have to be hard....unles you want or enjoy it to be. Thanks for your posts and I look forward to more peoples insight
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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANGELFISH GUY View Post
My main purpose in this was to let the newbies know that you don't need a chemistry degree and 2 hrs a day to have fun and ENJOY a tank! I've talked to way too many people who research setting up a tank on this site and others and are scared away after reading posts about water parameters and such. I agree that everyone's experiences are different. My point to this whole thing was it doesn't have to be hard....unles you want or enjoy it to be. Thanks for your posts and I look forward to more peoples insight
Overall it's some good info.. BUT.. I worked at a LFS for 6.5 years and if my time there taught me anything it's that people are lazy and don't want to work. Maintenance is dreaded and the most dreaded part is water changes. If you tell a newbie that he has to change 1/3rd of the water in the tank twice a week you'll scare most of them away. Personally I probably wouldn't have tanks if I had to do that. Instead you might point out that water changes vary by what type of tank you want to have (as Tom pointed out). Fish keeping can be dullingly easy or 2 hours a day.

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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANGELFISH GUY View Post
My main purpose in this was to let the newbies know that you don't need a chemistry degree and 2 hrs a day to have fun and ENJOY a tank! I've talked to way too many people who research setting up a tank on this site and others and are scared away after reading posts about water parameters and such. I agree that everyone's experiences are different. My point to this whole thing was it doesn't have to be hard....unles you want or enjoy it to be. Thanks for your posts and I look forward to more peoples insight
While I *greatly* value TPT, I gotta' admit there's plenty of threads that leave me cringing inside for just this reason. Is EI dosing a great tool? Sure! But you don't have to learn it to run a great tank. Will a buffering substrate help offset some concerns in fancy shrimp tanks? Absolutely, but it has downsides as well. Is dirt a pretty amazing thing to put in a tank? YEP! But you can grow plants in clown puke aquarium gravel too (however much it might make some cringe).
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