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Angel079 02-28-2010 06:08 PM

Discussion: Fewer Water changes / No water changes
Based of something that came up in another thread ~ Let's start a new discussion here:

Fewer w/c OR no w/c
* Factor no 1 coming to my mind for less w/c would be co2 in the planted tanks that plants need less w/c more co2 for the plants right?
* Another idea coming from my shrimp tank they do get little w/c and NO gravel vac (well sand) anyway that created a lot mulm built ups pretty quickly; judging from my set ups the plants love that sorta like manure on the garden I'd say.
* While giving all this some thought how about sponge filtration in small planted tank; would it then not also be beneficial to have the filters on a timer and not run them 24/7 to not run too much co2 out then

Coming to mind here as a advocate in the freshwater world for very seldom w/c would be Diana Walstad.

As a baseline for this discussion I'd like to focus on planted tank that are not overstocked as we know non planted tanks need different care, same applies to overstocked tank.

Everybody let's see pro's & con's for fewer w/c here please :-D
1) What's better smaller but weekly w/c?
2) Larger w/c but only every few weeks?
3) No w/c at all and let tanks do their natural thing?
Let's see what idea's we can come up with :-D

For my end I have set up my small 2g now with gravel and lights and fully planted and a handful snails in there; no sponge filter nadda and I will not do w/c over the next weeks and see how this will develop and report back.

Mean Harri 02-28-2010 06:20 PM

I think the determining factor would be nitrates. Once they build up to nearing unhealthy levels the water has to be changed. Apart from that what is the benefit? Most water contains the mineral, etc... that our plants need. Those will be depleted. But, I think most people with planted tanks fertilize. Of course there are those that never had to.

Additionally, doing no wc and adding top off water would add small amounts co2. Larger water changes add a lot more co2 to the tank and create swings. This should be interesting to discuss.

Angel079 02-28-2010 06:33 PM

I think while "testing" my mini tank there i'd go based of the Nitrites (NO2) as in a tank set up a raise from NO2 to a concentration of 0.5 mg/l can already be bad. NO3 (on a cycled planted tank) to raise past 50mg/l is impossible IMO unless you REALLY screwed up something :-)

Huh I think I'm not all there with the more co2 when doing more w/c what you said? If I do a large w/c let's say cause I had to medicate then I see a LOT o2 bubbles in the tank afterwards?

I think its interesting too and personally I'd be willing to even "test" on my 55g - not that I like to use the word "test" on my live fish but you know what I mean - Check all water parameters regular and see what happens if I don't do a w/c in 2-3 weeks. But my 55g being MY 55g....How would that support alage to thrive is my question?

Mean Harri 02-28-2010 06:38 PM

I believe the bubbles you see in that tank after a wc are co2 bubbles. Tap water has a lot of co2 in it.
This all may hinge on individual tap water results as well. In my case, my nitrates are high out of the tap. I have been letting my tank water ride and not done a water change since a few days after adding fish when I saw the nitrites at .25ppm. All parameters have been stable since and the nitrates of 30ppm that my tap has, and consequently my tank, have reduced in the tank to 10-15ppm. That is surely due to the plants.

Good luck with your test. I subscribed to this thread. Let's roll

Angel079 02-28-2010 06:48 PM

Hm so in your new set up that's been up now what for ~8weeks? You only done 1 w/c right?
See I always cycle fishless as ya'll know and never do w/c until way in a cycled tank obviously the bacteria is working and doing its thing once its cycled....

Well the non-filtered plant tank has been set up yesterday so let's see over the next 2-3 weeks what's gonna happen there.

The 55g I'd be afraid to "test" right this second until after I done all my reading (mainly algae concern here) AND I only have Ammonia & Nitrite test left; am out of my nitrate I gotta buy a new one before any "test" on my fish along these lines would start. :-)

Hopefully any/ all others will chime in with their ideas; also thinking of the other thread hopefully Byron & Pasfur will join too....

aunt kymmie 02-28-2010 07:02 PM

This thread is certainly not helping my procrastination mind set. I've been sitting here on the forum for the last few hours, knowing I need to get off my butt and go do my water change on my display tank. Now I'm thinking, "Hey, I'll volunteer my tank as an experiment!". Interesting thread, carry on.

Angel079 02-28-2010 07:13 PM

Go for it; as long as you have a test kit on hand and can test regularly why not! You're is mildly stocked and well planted so why not :-)

Mean Harri 02-28-2010 08:06 PM

My tank was up and running with water only for one week. Valentine's Day weekend is when I got my plants and planted it. That was Sunday. I planted it Friday the 12th of Feb. Had .25ppm nitrites on Tues. or Wed, did a partial water change, and it's been fine since. No further water changes since then.

Angel079 02-28-2010 08:17 PM

So 2 weeks without w/c then right? How long do you wanna go without doing one?

redchigh 02-28-2010 09:43 PM


Originally Posted by Angel079 (Post 335012)
So 2 weeks without w/c then right? How long do you wanna go without doing one?

A filterless tank without W/C's would be similiar to a biosphere...
Kind of how I was planning on treating my invert 5g tank, so I'm interested.

One note on putting the sponge filter on a timer-
I actually read one book that reccomended turning the filter/airstone off 2 hours before the lights come on, and on 2 hours before the lights go off.
The reasoning is that plants absorb 02 AND co2 during photosynthesis, but their O2 production is waegh more than their intake.
When the lights go off however, photosynthesis stops- no more CO2 intake and no more o2 production, but they still take small amts of O2.

At least, I'm assuming. I know terrestrial plants do. Thats why hydroponics has to have an airstone on the roots.

MAybe tap water does have CO2, but I would think the simple act of running the water into a bucket would agitate it enough to force most of it out. I think the production of CO2 in the tank would outweigh the CO2 from frequent WC's- ie you're taking out more than you're putting in..

Oh, and my 10gal with cichlid fry has been set up for about 2 months now...
I think I've probably done 2 WC's and gravel vac'd for 5 minutes the entire time.
I'm not sure where the nitrates are going- maybe the algae are using it?
There's some java moss and java ferns... that's about it for plants...

Algae's not a problem for me anyway. I just scrape off the front glass, abd treat the rest as if it were a plant. It's not really ugly or anything.
Same with my guppy tank- I keep the front and side glass scraped, but the rocks and rear glass have a lot... The guppies like to eat it, and it filters the water. What's the harm?

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