low tech tank no water changes?
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low tech tank no water changes?

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low tech tank no water changes?
Old 12-19-2013, 01:58 PM   #1
 
low tech tank no water changes?

so ive been dealing with bba an i got some new ideas for dealing with it that im going to give a shot. ive been reading that on low tech tanks only topping off the evap is all that is needed? so everything ive learned about doing weekly water changes is bs? im not sure about this.
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:27 PM   #2
 
Bs
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Old 12-19-2013, 02:35 PM   #3
 
thats what im thinking too. no water changes and just topping the water off? kind of reminds me of a buddy of mine who had a bad oil leak on his car so his logic seemed the same. well im losing oil and i keep adding oil so i shouldnt need to change it. that didnt turn out well for him lol
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Old 12-20-2013, 04:18 PM   #4
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rexpepper651 View Post
so ive been dealing with bba an i got some new ideas for dealing with it that im going to give a shot. ive been reading that on low tech tanks only topping off the evap is all that is needed? so everything ive learned about doing weekly water changes is bs? im not sure about this.
Please keep in mind where the tank winds up with water changes. Assuming something measured in linear units in increasing at a constant rate, where does the tank wind up?

In order for that to happen the amount of build up you experience would have to be removed by the water changes.

Just before water change value=(buildup between water changes)/(fraction of water changes)

for instance assume you are building up an 1per day and changing 10% of the water every 10 days:


just before water changes=(1ppm/day*10day)/(1/10)=10/.1=100.

So a 10% water change winds up at 10 times the build up between changes.

1/5 water change 5 times, 5% 20 times and so on.

So to me is much more important to reduce or eliminate the buildup between changes. When that is done the water changes have no effect and in fact can degrade the system.


my .02
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Old 12-20-2013, 04:39 PM   #5
 
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I love the idea of a natural tank. I just started a 10 gal with dirt base to try tons of plants and only a few small fish. See what happens. Also the idea of a sump with refugium seems like a very natural way to maintain a tank. I don't think I'll stop water changes, but I'm always looking to learn more.
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:21 PM   #6
 
i see what youre sayin bob. im going to look into this more. i think its really interesting. what about doing 50% water changes?
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:29 AM   #7
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rexpepper651 View Post
i see what youre sayin bob. im going to look into this more. i think its really interesting. what about doing 50% water changes?

A 50% water change will wind up a twice the change between water changes.

assume 1 per day, 50% weekly water change.

before water change=(1/day*7days=7)/(1/2)=7*2=14.


Just to "play with the numbers" assume the amount of the water change is tied to the frequency. Like 1%/day. So 10% every 10 days, 20% every 20 days. etc.

Where does the tank wind up with any of the changes?

ans: 100. (just before the water change.

Kinda like all those new tank that have ~100ppm nitrates huh?

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Old 01-02-2014, 11:09 PM   #8
 
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i do 1 w/c a year on my very heavily planted rcs tank.this is for a good gravel(ecocomplete)vacuum and rearranging. i only top off. it is open top so i end up topping off daily.
i test at-
ph-7.5
ammo-0
nitrite-0
nitrate-0
i have 95% planted.i keep fast growing stem plants along with duckweed that needs to be removed every 3 days. the tank is 4 gallons and the filter is a fluval 106 with a prefilter. the tanks that i mess around with the least,are my healthiest tanks.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:42 PM   #9
 
i've got a tank about a year & a half old, ... i've never vacuumed the gravel (i wish i used sand - actually i wish i used anything but what is in there now)

it was almost a year before i trimmed any of the plants

i have moved several times over the life of the tank, ...

water changes have been done for moving and medications only
-also an ammonia spike
--a pH that was at 6.5 about ensuring almost all ammonia was converted to safe ammonium
--a major trimming reduced the aquariums ability to process ammonium
--a sudden pH change that allowed for the presence of ammonia
left me with a significant ammonia issue i was ill-prepared to handle.

the point is i have not done water changes for any regular maintenance

water changes are brought about for a very mechanical reason
the nitrogen cycle, ... your fish poops, organics break down, ammonia is released
-bacteria processes ammonia into nitrite (both are very toxic)
-bacteria processes nitrite into nitrate (nitrate is toxic, but tolerable by your fish in low levels)
-water changes to prevent nitrates from rising to dangerous levels

there are 2 ways i know of that can process nitrates into harmless N2
-live rock, ... you can do research on reef tanks to get an estimate on how much coral rock to add to keep your nitrates to always safe levels, i've heard there is lava-rock that can be used for the same purpose
-DSB (Deep Sand Beds) which are of significant depth that the lower levels have negligable O2 levels

both cases it's the lack of dissolved oxygen that allows for a 3rd bacteria that can process nitrates into harmless N2

the other way is to add plants which can take up ammonium directly (if your pH is low), ... if your PH is higher things get processed to nitrates, and your plants can take up nitrates directly.

all these cases toxic nitrogen compounds are removed from the aquarium environment

---

the nitrogen cycle issue for promoting water changes

if you have a shallow substrate
if you have no plants
if you are adamant on ensuring no algae,
... then you have no ability to process nitrates, and you will have to change water on a regular basis

---

there is a whole science and understanding behind why we have to change water, and what is needed to make water changes optional.

to arbitrarily decide to forgo on water changes is a recipe for disaster

if you want to give it a try on an established tank you have, ... i'd recommend a nitrate test kit to so you can see if things are getting out of control or if things are finding a balanced level

for planted tanks, 20 is recommended 40 is max
for fish, above 10 isn't good
there's a bit of confusion here

what plants want and what fish can handle are vastly different
your fish want nitrates as low as possible
your plants love nitrates and want them higher
... your finding a middle ground where your fish aren't stressed, and there's enough for your plants

---

other methods (live rock, a DSB) require a greater understanding & balance, but once in place you can have everything at or near zero for happy healthy fish - not recommended if you have plants as your plants may become nitrogen deficient

so ... you have to pick what is going on in your tank that will allow you to go without water changes

goldfish may eat all your plants
chichlid tanks i hear may have a hard time maintaining plants.
a DSB in a 10 gallon tank is a waste of a tank at 5" of substrate
i don't know enough about live rock and am only hypothesizing on live rock for freshwater as there is very scarce info on it

so not all options are available to everyone
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