Water changes required in planted tank with light bioload? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Water changes required in planted tank with light bioload?

Hello.

I am wondering if a water change is really necessary if you have a heavy planted tank with a light bio load.


So the nitrogen cycle: Ammonia>Nitrite>Nitrates(which is absorbed by the plants as food)

I use to have this sealed shrimp ecosystem which was like pyramid with some shrimp, some plant and it was completely sealed.



You never changed the water, never feed the shrimp and it would keep running. The shrimp waste broken down by the nitrogen cycle acted as fertilizer for the plant which I guess the shrimp ate or maybe algae on the plant.

Anyway, this was very small. Probably a fraction of a gallon but it lasted for a long time until I accidentally exposed it to direct sunlight which killed the shrimp.

Anyway, why can't a planted tank be kind of like this?

Setup an office with a powerful LED light on a timer, maybe some kind of auto fill water system, TONS of plants and some shrimp and maybe some small things which can feed off algae and plants and let nature run its course with little to no maintenance?

What do you think?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miogpsrocks View Post
Hello.

I am wondering if a water change is really necessary if you have a heavy planted tank with a light bio load.


This all depends on your criteria for a water change.
Some people only change once a year if that, just top offs.


I use TDS as a basis for a water change in a hi-tech tank.
Using PPS Classic, dosing only what I need and not in excess.


Eventually heavily planted aquariums may need ferts to benefit plant growth.
Too many nutrients are depleted from the water and a supplement may be needed.


Don't go too heavy on that powerful LED if a low tech tank is in mind.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 09:42 PM
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One thing about the pyramid that is different than your tank setup is that you dont lose water to evaporation in the pyramid. In your tank, when the water evaporates, you add more water. With this water comes added dissolved minerals etc. unless you are using absolutely pure water. (my RO comes out at 20 tds so has some mineral still). Over time if you keep just topping off, you will eventually raise the levels until they are out of the safe range for your fish


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wlevine09 View Post
One thing about the pyramid that is different than your tank setup is that you dont lose water to evaporation in the pyramid. In your tank, when the water evaporates, you add more water. With this water comes added dissolved minerals etc. unless you are using absolutely pure water. (my RO comes out at 20 tds so has some mineral still). Over time if you keep just topping off, you will eventually raise the levels until they are out of the safe range for your fish
I live in a very humid part of the country and not as much evaporation as I'm sure there is in the desert area.

If you are not too concerned about the TDS in the water from evaporation and you have a good biological filtration and lots of plants to absorb the nitrates, then you would need less water changes?

If you are using RO water to replace evaporated water then possible no water changes except for the fact that trace elements may be missing for the plants?

So these guys doing these 50% water changes on planted aquariums every week are going overboard?

Thanks.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2015, 03:20 AM
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Most that do 50% water changes are EI dosing. In theory, changing that much water resets all of the levels in the tank.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2015, 03:36 AM
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I live in nyc, but have an open topped tank so i still get a good amount of evap. I gain about 15 TDS every day and top off with RO so for example today i was at 155 tds, topped off and im at 140. A few days from now if i dont do a water change ill have to top off again cuz ill be at 160+ then top off brings me to 150 (assuming). Continue this for a few weeks and im at 300 tds and my shrimp are dead. (fish is a different story with regards to tds.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2015, 02:34 PM
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Water Changes

Hello mio...

A heavily planted tank with few fish still requires large, frequent water changes. The reason is simple: Tank water that's constantly run through a filter, soon becomes sterile and unable to support whatever lives in it. Plants don't just need nutrients, they need minerals too. Minerals are replaced through the water change process.

If you're not removing and replacing a lot of tank water and doing it weekly, your fish and plants won't be as healthy as they could be.

Tank keeping is really simple, just change the water.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2015, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello mio...

A heavily planted tank with few fish still requires large, frequent water changes. The reason is simple: Tank water that's constantly run through a filter, soon becomes sterile and unable to support whatever lives in it. Plants don't just need nutrients, they need minerals too. Minerals are replaced through the water change process.

If you're not removing and replacing a lot of tank water and doing it weekly, your fish and plants won't be as healthy as they could be.

Tank keeping is really simple, just change the water.

B
Would this depletion show up in the GH and KH readings?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2015, 09:35 PM
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Water Chemistry

Hello arg...

Less than pure water conditions absolutely could affect your water testing results. In order to maintain a steady water chemistry, you have to constantly renew the water, through the water change process. In nature, the fish and plants that thrive, live in an environment where the old water is constantly being replaced with new. So there's no dissolved wastes and high mineral levels in their water. You have to do the same for everything that lives in the tank if you want it to stay healthy.

Pretty simple.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2015, 10:04 PM
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I've got a 1G nano with heavy plant-mass and a few shrimp. No filter, no ferts. 25% WC once every few months. Been running fine for years:-)


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-23-2015, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by miogpsrocks View Post
I use to have this sealed shrimp ecosystem which was like pyramid with some shrimp, some plant and it was completely sealed.
About those Ecospheres, they are not as perfect as they seem. Read this link:
Petshrimp.com -- All about shrimp
I ended up opening mine.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miogpsrocks View Post
Hello.

I am wondering if a water change is really necessary if you have a heavy planted tank with a light bio load.


So the nitrogen cycle: Ammonia>Nitrite>Nitrates(which is absorbed by the plants as food)

I use to have this sealed shrimp ecosystem which was like pyramid with some shrimp, some plant and it was completely sealed.



You never changed the water, never feed the shrimp and it would keep running. The shrimp waste broken down by the nitrogen cycle acted as fertilizer for the plant which I guess the shrimp ate or maybe algae on the plant.

Anyway, this was very small. Probably a fraction of a gallon but it lasted for a long time until I accidentally exposed it to direct sunlight which killed the shrimp.

Anyway, why can't a planted tank be kind of like this?

Setup an office with a powerful LED light on a timer, maybe some kind of auto fill water system, TONS of plants and some shrimp and maybe some small things which can feed off algae and plants and let nature run its course with little to no maintenance?

What do you think?
Where did u get one of those "tanks" in the pic those are awesome

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 05:59 AM
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Where did u get one of those "tanks" in the pic those are awesome
Those "tanks" are Ecospheres, and if you read the link above (and now, also below) you'll realize that they are not awesome.
Petshrimp.com -- All about shrimp
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 12:32 PM
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Those "tanks" are Ecospheres, and if you read the link above (and now, also below) you'll realize that they are not awesome.
Petshrimp.com -- All about shrimp
Yeah maybe not thanks for the link

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 05:14 PM
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lol yeah even without the link I could have told you that those sealed shrimp things are messed up. Makes no sense at all how that would be a healthy environment for the shrimp...

Quote:
Originally Posted by leemacnyc View Post
I've got a 1G nano with heavy plant-mass and a few shrimp. No filter, no ferts. 25% WC once every few months. Been running fine for years:-)
Things like this are absolutely possible. As long as you change the water every once in a while I'm sure you'll be fine. Doing things like feeding too much, having rotting plants, etc will lead to bad things happening but if things are all stable there's no reason you couldn't water change a tank like that every many months.

I personally like having a decent bioload so I just deal with the maintenance


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