Originally Posted by MOA
I build stocking spreadsheets in my spare time and one accusation I often hear from the people who use my spreadsheets is that it is unfair to base how many fish a person can keep based on their cleaning frequency and the amount removed. I have heard this argument for many years and finally decided to answer it in some detail:
The above link essentially states that 1) not all waste products can be handled by live plants or filters, and 2) that partial water changes do definitely limit the amount of waste that can be in a given aquarium. Hopefully this post will help answer any questions that new aquarists might have about water changes in general.
This is very good. I have often written much the same on this forum only without the technical data, some accept it, some don't. We soldier on. There was a good two-part series of articles along the very same lines in the November and December 2009 issues of TFH that you may or may not have seen. The author had a lot of statistical data supporting the volume and frequency of water changes to maintain lower levels of pollution in an aquarium. Plants were not included in that scenario, and they do as you've noted make a difference.