Water Changes/ Parameters - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2014, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Water Changes/ Parameters

Hi everyone,

I am still new to the planted tank hobby and currently learning boat loads everyday. A little about what I have: I am raising my 2 koi and 2 goldfish in my 150 to go out in my new raised pond (2000+ gals), the 150 will be turned into a planted tank when they are moved, and I have a 30 cube planted and is my main focus right now. With that said I would like to ask about water changes. I'm still learning about tank/ecosystem chemistry, but have an itch to find out your opinion. I understand the basics of water testing, supplements, and plant growth. I was just wondering your opinion on if you have "perfect" water parameters (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10-20 nitrates, and ph stability) hence a balanced aquarium, are water changes still necessary until these conditions change?

Please keep in mind I am speaking highly theoretical. I do my water changes biweekly which I need to do to keep my water parameters good. But I have heard about having a balanced system where all parts are working in harmony to keep the ecosystem stable. I bought the book "The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by: Diana Walstad, I have not read it yet, but have heard that her process almost eliminates the need for water changes do to keeping a balanced ecosystem. In that same mind frame does that apply to any tank that keeps good water parameters for longer periods than normal, can water changes be less frequent?

Now I know filtration, fish and plant load affect this, but I would like to know your opinions. This may be a silly question, but I feel it will further my knowledge with your responses.

Thanks in advance for your helpful replies,
Kyle
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 02:37 AM
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Im a believer, some change water weekly i like to when i feel like it or so it seems. Might be a month before i pull out my siphon. But one thing may be that after so long the tanks water parameters slowly change from what your tap water is and the water in your tank and the water your changing it out with or topping it off with arnt even the same ph any more and when you do finally top off the tap or do a water change your fluctuating the ph levels some.

Whats in your glass box?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 03:09 PM
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Less frequent water changes / balanced ecosystems can be pulled off with low tech aquariums and there are many examples in the low tech forum, but if you start falling into the temptation of a high light, high tech setup and then start fertilizing to achieve max growth like many of us did, then you'll find that the frequent water changes are very important and beneficial to the endeavor.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipkiss View Post
Less frequent water changes / balanced ecosystems can be pulled off with low tech aquariums and there are many examples in the low tech forum, but if you start falling into the temptation of a high light, high tech setup and then start fertilizing to achieve max growth like many of us did, then you'll find that the frequent water changes are very important and beneficial to the endeavor.
+1 There are many examples of low techs doing no water changes AT ALL.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 08:15 PM
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My routine changes with the seasons. During the spring/summer/fall I use R/O water with some minerals added back in. By doing it this way, I can go longer on the water changes. I try to keep my tds at or below 350 and my nitrates around 10-15

That being said, I only change my water during those months when the TDS or nitrate goes above those levels. Which generally boils down to 1 25 to 50% water change every 2 weeks. I have an over stocked planted 55g btw.

During the winter, I can't really use my r/o system as the water coming out of the garage is super cold. I will try and make 50 gallons during the weekends when it's warmer to use. I hate waiting for the water to heat up in the living room. So I cut my tap water with the r/o I made. I use rather hot tap so I don't have to wait for the buckets to heat up . My nitrates generally run 40-60 during the winter. Really to the point where I don't even look at the nitrate numbers lol. Fish are all fine and are use to this cycle. Spring hits and it's back to normal. I had a pretty solid EI dosing schedule weekly. Once the plants took off, I was able to scale back to only adding when I saw the need. Which helped with the weekly 50% water changes. I deal with a little algae, sometimes it make you want to pull your hair but, I find it's easier to keep it in control instead of fighting it all of the time. I let a little stay and hit the tank with h2o2 when needed. Works well for me.

I have 3 planted tanks, I never intended for the tanks to all have the same water parameteres, but they did. In the end it's been prett helpful when I have to shuffle a fish that's not happy or getting along in the current tank. (move my paired rams out of the 29 when the other pair are breeding into the 55g community tank)

find what works for you, your fish and your schedule. Look at the numbers as "target" points, if you have healthy, somewhat hardy fish as long as you don't swing ammonia or nitrite you should be fine. I don't even worry about my ph as I run a diy co2 set up 24/7 on all of my tanks. I swing from 7.2 to 6.8 daily.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the posts. I guess I'll have to start reading about it and doing some digging to find some low tech balanced tanks. I always here people preaching water changes and I feel that for the majority of people they the info is for is needed. To me the idea of creating an ecosystem that is as close to a closed-loop system as possible seems like an exciting and challenging endeavor.
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