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michealprater 03-10-2004 01:44 PM

Contriversial subject
 
I only do water changes about once every 3 months. I did not start doing this until my tank was about 2 years old and was very stable. So far I have not seen any ill effects. Infact, my coralline growth has more than doubled! I cannot explain it. Lets hear everyones thoughts on this.

Cesspool 03-10-2004 02:01 PM

if u kno wat ure doing and can handle the problems that may or may not arise go 4 it. the way i c it if ure tank is healthy all da fishies r happy who cares??? dats my .02

ferret 03-10-2004 02:03 PM

Translation please.

michealprater 03-10-2004 02:14 PM

I was not asking if I should do it. I already have done it, and was curious what the comments would be.

reefobsessed 03-10-2004 02:48 PM

I would never risk it myself. I am a once a monther on the water changes whether the test kit shows I need it or not... For me its to hard to get a tank back to being stable after a crash. If it aint broke dont break it is my theory....

Doan 03-10-2004 02:57 PM

Yeah if it is working for you that is great. Myself I do a weekly 10% every Sunday while I watch Football or Nascar or whatever it's just part of the rotuine now. I might even feel a little strange if I didn't. If it is working for you good luck .. me personally I would not be able to enjoy my tank if I felt that I wasn't doing all I could to keep my animals healthy and I would just feel like that would be asking for trouble. But if it is working for you great:)

Doan

03-10-2004 03:04 PM

I do mine changes every other week and I would feel strange if i didn't.. Gives me a chance to make sure everything is running at peak performance. Thats not to say its not possible for tanks to go longer without changes. Heck, I know a guy with a reef that all he does is top offs and hasn't done a change in years and he propagates the corals in it reguraly..So I assume it works for him.. But he's got a bunch of stuff piped into it too..So who knows..

SquishyFish 03-10-2004 03:13 PM

There are two main problems with NOT doing water changes...Import and export. Your corals use up the Trace elements and nutrients in the salt. If you are not doing water changes, how are they being replaced? Chems? If so, are you testing for them?

Export...Our tanks build up heavy metals that will not leave the tank through any other means than physically removing water then replacing it with new water. negelecting water changes can be a major factor in speeding OTS.

I'm not the best at keeping up with water changes, but I definitely would encourage everyone to do them on a semi weekly or monthly basis.

Squishy :wink:

pecan2phat 03-10-2004 03:20 PM

When my 90g was a true FO with a wet/dry, I only performed a 25 to 30% water change every 3.5 to 4.5 months. This went on for about 10 yrs. Since it was a FO tank, I've had my ups & downs with specimens but the levels were never so out of whack that I had to perform a water change. I did not see any significant down side to the lack of water changes, although at that time I did add weekly trace element additives. My NO3 levels were always on the low side for a FO tank. (10-15 ppm) I attribute this to the plenum that I placed under the CC about 15 yrs ago. Interesting that the NO3 levels stayed high for the first 4-5 yrs. (80-100 ppm)
The tank has since been converted to a semi-FOWLR, (kept the wet/dry running) and since I waited 15 yrs to purchase a RO-DI unit, I've changed my water changes to about 12-15% bi-weekly. I'm sure that it's just a new toy thing (RO unit), in a couple of months, I'll be back to monthly, then quarterly.

got bait? 03-10-2004 03:50 PM

After reading all of these threads, I am starting to realize that no two aquarist or two tanks are alike. I think that's what makes this hobby (addiction) so interesting, is that everyone can add their own little flair and it all works out for everybody. As long as nobody or fish gets hurt. :lol:

scuba_steve 03-10-2004 03:50 PM

michealprater i understand the no water change and some can get away with that while others cant !! some cant keep a gold fish alive for that matter but my question to you is what size tank are we talking about and what husbandry practices do you do ?? the point here is im guessing your knowledge on marine life is good and when one gets to that point ya can look into a tank and tell things are going a miss before it happens !! but knowing that i feel you prob better at cleaning and or not over feeding/stocking were a normal person i feel wouldnt be able to get away with that with out having huge issues !!
ie.. a 55 gallon tank with corals and mabe 2 fish yea i agree if ya know what your doing and have the right equipment and things looking good why change it right !! but 2/3 of people here have or try to put 10 fish pluss and corals in a 55 and thats were the prob lies !!!

afilter 03-10-2004 03:56 PM

Michael,

Tell us a little more about your setup. Type, size, filtration, additives, stocking levels etc. At first it sounds a little risky but depending on how it is setup could depend. It is obviously working for you.

As for me, I have been a 10% every 2 weeks kind a guy for the first 6 months, but this month I am currently going on three weeks and plan to switch to once a month. I do add Trace elements though.

reefrunner69 03-10-2004 05:14 PM

IMO, the larger and more mature a tank is the less the need for frequent water changes. I personally do bi-weekly water changes, but it's on a nano tank. When I was keeping my 150 it was not uncommon for me to do water changes very 3 months or so.

steve-s 03-10-2004 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by reefrunner69
IMO, the larger and more mature a tank is the less the need for frequent water changes. I personally do bi-weekly water changes, but it's on a nano tank. When I was keeping my 150 it was not uncommon for me to do water changes very 3 months or so.

Excellent point! On my 90 gal I do not do regular water changes but on the smaller tanks they get one every two weeks and weekly on the nano's.

Cheers
Steve

srgetz 03-11-2004 12:17 AM

what method of salt mixing do you guys use and for how long? thanks

douggiestyle 03-11-2004 01:21 AM

i do 10% weekly? i like it, its cheaper than buying fish.
my buddy owns a plane and he says "its 200$ an hour to fly but waxing it is free." he does a lot of waxing.
Quote:

After reading all of these threads, I am starting to realize that no two aquarist or two tanks are alike. I think that's what makes this hobby (addiction) so interesting, is that everyone can add their own little flair and it all works out for everybody. As long as nobody or fish gets hurt.
it would seem that eventualy science will come up with a fail safe only one way to do it plan.
we all do things differently but come up with the same result. how much is luck and how much technique. the lazy guy who gets good results vs the lazy guy who gets bad results. one may have lucked into doing it right and with the least ammount of effort.
a friend of mine bought a 90 gal tank. he sets it up and waits a week and goes out and buys 500$ worth of fish and in a week they are all dead. the tank is now in his garage. i do not have 500$ to blow at one time on fish. so i buy a litle of this and a little of that. after six months everything is ok. am i doing it right or am i just less wealthy.

Doan 03-11-2004 08:29 AM

Douggiestyle I don't think your buddies situation is anywhere near what we are talking about. You are doing a great job go slow. What happend with your buddy seems to be the tank was cycling and it killed all his fish. Cycling is nasty that is why there is the preferred method of using LR or a dead shirmp. Even if he had let it cycle then dumped in that many fish at once I will bet a weeks pay 90% would have died. He needs to let the bacteria build up to deal with the fish waste if not he had ammonia soup and that is highly toxic to the fish. Water changes do not add bacteria and they are IMO the most important thing in the tank. Without them you have no chance of keeping anything alive. You though sound like you are right on track :) Grats. You should talk to him about buying his 90 :)

Doan

michealprater 03-11-2004 09:53 AM

I have three types of claurpa in my tank. Under 400w halides I have to prune regularly. Plus I use a two part alkalinity and calcium supliment (b-ionic). I do small water changes from time to time, but they never really amount to anything.

Let me also add, by saying I don't do water changes, I am not discouraging others from doing them. In fact, I think it is a must to do a 10% weekly change on any tank that is less than 2 years old.

Continue with the opinions, I like the diversity.

michealprater 03-11-2004 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by afilter
Michael,

Tell us a little more about your setup. Type, size, filtration, additives, stocking levels etc. At first it sounds a little risky but depending on how it is setup could depend. It is obviously working for you.

Some times I forget that a lot of you newer members are not familiar with who I am or what my setup is.

In a nutshell, I have a 100 gal reef tank with 4 fish , several corals, and approx 250 lbs of live rock. Mechanical filtration, none. I have a protien skimmer but it does not do much. After my tank became stable, around 3 yrs into it I simplified, I did not become lazy. Ask some of the advisors that have been around for awhile about me. (reefrunner, fishfreek, hara, loganj, timbo2, ect.) Have they been know to give advisor status to lazy and irresponcible fish keepers?

douggiestyle 03-11-2004 10:27 AM

Quote:

Douggiestyle I don't think your buddies situation is anywhere near what we are talking about.
Oh iknow why my buddy failed. i was just making the observation on how different factors can give different results. if my buddie didnt have his 500$ spending spree, he would have a nice tank in his house as opposed to being in his garage.

Brisc0 03-11-2004 10:48 AM

I have 130 gallons and I like to change out about 10 gallons a week. The tank is going on four months old. I have about 15 corals (all frags and infants), one fish, and quite a few inverts. Things seem to be going well. I am not too certain how long I should be doing such large changes, but as I progress I will likely lessen the ammount of changes but not the frequency. Its all so new to me still that I enjoy my sunday routine of sucking 10 from the sump and pouring 10 more in.

michealprater 03-11-2004 11:28 AM

I am not sure what spending 500 dollars on fish after two weeks of have a tank setup has to do with water changes, but it certainly is a mistake. This hobby is definatly for the patient. :)

douggiestyle 03-11-2004 11:49 AM

Quote:

I am not sure what spending 500 dollars on fish after two weeks of have a tank setup has to do with water changes, but it certainly is a mistake. This hobby is definatly for the patient.
i was commenting on how we all do things differently. and what factors may apply. someone made a comment on how some people cant keep a goldfish alive while others do absolutely nothing to a reef tank and have success. and i mentioned on how luck may prevail in some instances. for example i was lucky enough to not have 500$ to spend on fish at one time. if so i would be in the same situation as my buddy.
why can some not do water changes while others need to? could it be because one adds trace elements or not? who knows? i dont know. it could be many different variables. but i think that science will someday figure it out. and we can help.
we do things like change water sometimes because of habit though it may not be needed. if somethings working why fix it right? so we continue to do what we do. i know that what i am doing is working so i will not change and risk loosing it all.

but it would be great to know for sure what the correct way is. an absolute. there should be one. and most of us are hoovering around it.

i would think that the people that do least and get the best results are the ones that are closest.

afilter 03-11-2004 11:58 AM

OK, I have a question for those of you actually doing water changes. When you conduct water changes you siphon the substrate to remove debris or do you just siphon it out and replace with new?

The reason I ask is I have been siphoning substrate(habit from FW days), but when only doing 5-10g at a time that is not a lot of volume to do a real good job. Additionally, with all the rock work is difficult to reach certain areas.

Thoughts?

Brisc0 03-11-2004 12:09 PM

I shut the system down, wait for sump to fill up. Fill two 5 gallon buckets from the sump, replace, kick the system on and im done in about 10 minutes. I don't vaccum my DSB

michealprater 03-11-2004 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by afilter
OK, I have a question for those of you actually doing water changes. When you conduct water changes you siphon the substrate to remove debris or do you just siphon it out and replace with new?

The reason I ask is I have been siphoning substrate(habit from FW days), but when only doing 5-10g at a time that is not a lot of volume to do a real good job. Additionally, with all the rock work is difficult to reach certain areas.

Thoughts?

What type of substrate do you have? If it is sand I would not siphon it. You could be release nitrates into you water, not to mention you are siphoning out all the benificial denitrifing bacteria that lives in you sand. I never do anything to my sand bed.

michealprater 03-11-2004 01:12 PM

Quote:

Let me also add, by saying I don't do water changes, I am not discouraging others from doing them. In fact, I think it is a must to do a 10% weekly change on any tank that is less than 2 years old.

Just wanted to reiterate this. :D

afilter 03-11-2004 01:43 PM

I have a crushed coral substrate. So, it sounds like I do not need to worry as much about siphoning substrate during water changes. Just get the noticable stuff and add new water?

michealprater 03-11-2004 01:49 PM

Siphoning crushed coral is fine.

douggiestyle 03-11-2004 02:09 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Let me also add, by saying I don't do water changes, I am not discouraging others from doing them. In fact, I think it is a must to do a 10% weekly change on any tank that is less than 2 years old.


Just wanted to reiterate this.
missed that. that is a very good point.

is there any evidence that you know of to back this up?

trust me there is nothing i would like more than to reduce the amount of work needed.


sorry if i got a few people riled up over my buddy and his 500$. that wasnt my intention.

SquishyFish 03-11-2004 02:31 PM

Everyone is talking about the waste issue, wich is definately something that needs to be addressed, but in a reef tank you have to supply the corals w/ the nutrients that they need. There are only two ways of doing this. Water changes and supplements. In a reef tank, this is as I'mportant as is removing the waste from the system.

Squishy

reefrunner69 03-11-2004 04:01 PM

If you have a reef and don't do water changes, you should test and add some traces as needed, there are many ways to export nutrients, water changes are but one. While I doubt I will ever be in the "I never do water changes" camp, I believe that through the use of GAC, protien skimming, occasional mechanical filtering and LOTS of water movement, effort on not importing the nutrients in the first place, that a large enough tank can have thriving corals with little or no water changes.

Quote:

is there any evidence that you know of to back this up?
Antecdotal, at best, but the more mature a tank is, the more stable it is and it takes abuse better than a new system. For example, My LFS set up a new system a few months ago for growing out nice corals fro fragging and then selling the frags back to the customers. They had some kalk get dumped in the system all at once rather than being dripped as is recommended. They lost all the corals in that tank. While this might also happen in an older tank, I have read many times of people dumping 1/2 to a gallon at a time in similar sized setups that were a few years old and experience no problems from it. Does this mean anything? Not really, but it leads me to believe that an older tank that is well cared for, will resist crashing alot more than a newer tank.

SquishyFish 03-11-2004 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by reefrunner69
effort on not importing the nutrients in the first place,

How can you not import the nutrients that will eventually need to be removed? These are put there from everything from the food we put into the water to the very salt that we use (granted that one should be minimal). What nutrients are "avoidable" in your opinion?

reefrunner69 03-11-2004 04:21 PM

Quote:

How can you not import the nutrients that will eventually need to be removed?
Sorry I can see how that would be unclear. Basically the key is effort, make certain that your using as pure a water possible for top off, don't overfeed, wash/soak foods in RO/DI water to remove as much phosphate from them and then drain off the water, don't add garbage to your tank (like most trace supplaments) if you don't know that it is necessary and exactly what it does. If your not doing waterchanges...don't add an all encompassing supplament for traces, add individual traces that you can test for and you know the system needs. Etc...As noted, you cannot avoid adding nutrients to your system, but with a little effort you can minimize this. For example, I got an RO/DI last week with a drinking water kit. The DI was bad and haven't recieved the new one yet. The water out of the drinking water faucet sits in a bladder tank until used, that water reads 16ppm TDS, the water coming out of the DI hose comes out at 11 ppm TDS. Not a huge difference, but if I weren't doing water changes, that 5 ppm TDS, would be enough for me to go to the effort to get my topoff water from the DI hose rather than the faucet. The faucet is easier though and since I do water changes, I am lazy and get it from the faucet.

SquishyFish 03-11-2004 04:24 PM

Okay..that makes more sense :wink:

michealprater 03-11-2004 05:13 PM

The only evidence I have is that what I said is exactly how I did it. I was religous about weekly water changes for the first two years. Then it cut down to monthly, then bi monthly, then every three months- six months. I add b-ionic, and on occation when it is needed, stronium and iodide. I use RO/Di water for all top offs. I have claupae in my tank and only feed twice a week in small portions, it is enought to keep the fish healthy.

douggiestyle 03-11-2004 06:35 PM

Quote:

Antecdotal, at best, but the more mature a tank is...
i would love to have the time and money to do some serious research. not just water changes but the whole reef aquarium husbandry thing.

Quote:

the more mature a tank is, the more stable it is and it takes abuse better
is this a dsb only thing or all tanks in general?

reefrunner69 03-11-2004 06:59 PM

Quote:

is this a dsb only thing or all tanks in general?
IMO, it's in general, I've never run a DSB in my tanks ;)

duaumun 03-11-2004 08:03 PM

Would never take that risk!!!!!!!!

douggiestyle 03-11-2004 08:20 PM

Quote:

IMO, it's in general, I've never run a DSB in my tanks
cool :D

michealprater 03-12-2004 09:26 AM

My sand bed is 2 inches deep.

alrmc4 03-12-2004 09:51 AM

must be ok since it has worked for you for so long.

michealprater 03-12-2004 10:09 AM

The sand bed worked for the guy that owned the tank before me for 5 years. I never removed or disturbed the sand bed when we move the tank to my house. I kept it under about 1 inch of water when we transported it. I have had the tank up for about 2 to 3 years now. So the sand bed is pretty old. I dont give the sand bed much credit for the tanks health thought, I think 250 lbs of live rock in a 100 gallon tank has the most to do with it.

SquishyFish 03-12-2004 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by duaumun
Would never take that risk!!!!!!!!


Just like alot of things that arent fully understood, there is alot of people out there who just jump on one side of the issue or the other w/o much else than informataion from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend and then preach that as gospel. While there is evidence linking what is know as OTS to DSB's...No one, including the "experts," know why it occurs, how to stop it, or if it is really linked to DSB. It appears to be, but with out a direct cause, we cant say for sure. I know people who have had DSB's for years with no problem. The research I have done says that in fauna solves most of the DSB problems. The main issue that seems to be the focus is that it becomes a "sink" for heavy metals and/or it becomes stagnant.

2 easy solutions.
1. infauna to prevent stagnation
2. slowly (over a year or two) replace the old sand w/ new cultured sand. This prevents it from becoming a sink and removes the metals. To me..if the proper precations are taken, a DSB is well worth the effort. But again...thats only my opinion. (with a little research thrown in)

Squishy :wink:

michealprater 03-12-2004 12:54 PM

Quote:

While there is evidence linking what is know as OTS to DSB's...No one, including the "experts," know why it occurs, how to stop it, or if it is really linked to DSB.
Doesnt this statement contridict its self? There if evidence it happens to dsb's, but they dont know if it is linked to dsb's????

SquishyFish 03-12-2004 02:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by michealprater
Quote:

While there is evidence linking what is know as OTS to DSB's...No one, including the "experts," know why it occurs, how to stop it, or if it is really linked to DSB.
Doesnt this statement contridict its self? There if evidence it happens to dsb's, but they dont know if it is linked to dsb's????


Yep..your right. It does. Guess that was a case of my fingers not quite typing what my brain was thinking. Let me see if I can clairify.

Just because some one has a DSB for 7 years and it crashes for no explained reason does not mean that the DSb was the cause. It implys that it is a possible cause, and if this is seen frequently through out the hobby it is strong evidence that something about a DSB may cause an eventual crash...but, was the DSB properly maintained? Were there outside factors that caused the crash.

I guess what I am saying is that "linked to" does not constitute "evidence" and even then, is there something w/i those DSB's that caused the crash.


Does that make sense? We just need more info on if DSB's are the cause of the crash, and if so....why.

michealprater 03-12-2004 03:24 PM

What about barebottom tanks and SSB, have you seen them tanks crash? I certainly have heard of it happening. I have heard of all types of tanks crashing. Was it OTS, I'm not sure. I hate to comment much on something that has just been a opinion. I have never seen anyone that had a bit of hardcore evidence that even linked anything to OTS or that proved there was a such a thing as OTS. But that is a whole nother story. What are your water changing habits?

SquishyFish 03-12-2004 03:33 PM

I agree. Thats what I said..just in a different way. OTS and DSB's are a "controversial subject" and much of what is "known" is opinion. So...What do we know for sure?

1. Bare bottom tanks can crash Reason: Infinite
2. Shallow Sand beds can crash Reason: Again..unlimited
3. DSB's can crash Reason: Varied, but seems to point to the "sink "
theory, "lumping," and the "stagnant" theory.

So in other words...we dont know much.


And I would like to be clear....I'm not pushing one side over the other. I have a preference, but I think each side has pro's and con's. :mrgreen:

michealprater 03-12-2004 04:59 PM

Fair enough.


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