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Planted Tank with no water changes

2569 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Complexity
I have an iwagumi setup with only hairgrass and blyxa japonica.

I have a school of around 20 fish.

Here is my dosing regime.

potassium = every day
micros = every 2nd day
co2 = every day, on timer.

This routine seems to be working fine and plants are doing well.
However, I'm getting sick of water changing every week. If I don't WC, it forms a film of foam and white oil on the surface. Even lifting the lily pipes higher,to improve surface agitation will help little.

Ive tried to reduce, 50% of the ferts. Plants started to brown and die. In this scenario, I did not adjust the co2 length.

Is there anyway to tune the tank, for water change less often?
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Yes, although I do it with cardinias and neocardinias shrimp and no fish. There is almost no protein in their diet.

I fertilize and use co2.

Are you familiar with measuring TDS?
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This the link to my method, is actually just what I came up with learning from the Jedis here at TPT. although no water changes is taboo even for most of them.

I have Changed 10% of the water twice in about six months. To clean my canister, and after dosing no planaria.

I didn't need to change water otherwise.
I tried to not do a water change for a while and ran into an out break of brown algae
When I was really busy working to finish my degree, I skipped water changes for several months in my 5g RCS tank. I think I was able to get away with it because I had a high plant load in comparison to a low bioload (just shrimp). It was also a low light tank with no ferts or CO2. So the plants were able to use up the nitrates that resulted from the food and excrement from the shrimp. The tank also has a tight lid so I had little evaporation and didn't have to top it off.

Otherwise, I think a tank will always need water changes. However, it is possible to have a tank that requires fewer water changes. I'm able to do this with my low tech tanks. Again, the combination that makes it work is to have low light, no CO2, and no ferts with a high plant load in combined with a low fish load. I also have tight fitting lids which prevent evaporation, preventing the need for top offs (I do not do top offs). With these tanks, I can get away with 50% water changes every 2-4 weeks.

One thing I think that's important is to figure out why the water changes are such a pain because they really shouldn't be that hard. Usually, when someone complains about doing water changes, I find they're using buckets. Water changes are very easy when using a water changer.

alphabeatsco, how are you doing your water changes? Are you using buckets or a water changer?
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