Are water changes a must?

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by Inf3cted, May 21, 2009.

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  1. reef_guru

    reef_guru Humpback Whale

    Apr 4, 2007
    heres another added thought:

    if your not dosing or supplementing and or if NH3,4 and NO3,4 have reached toxic levels then water changes are needed.

    if your dosing, supplementing and do not have toxic levels of NH3,4 and NO3,4 then water changes are an option.

    that all depends on whats in your water, if the water is worse than what is already there youve added to the problem
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  3. whippy

    whippy Sailfin Tang

    Feb 10, 2009
    Etown, KY
    I'm glad for this thread. I feel better knowing that there are others doing the same things I am. It makes me feel good that I figured this out on my own and that others have as well.
  4. infamous

    infamous Corkscrew Tentacle Anemone

    Sep 4, 2008
    Saying that there are no absolute truths is a point of view, which leads to situational ethics, relativism and defining reality. So i won't get into that.

    We live in a society that is based on rules and absolute truths. This is how we determine standards and what is true and not true.

    Look around you, almost everything you see is built on laws of science. If there were no absolute truths, the laws of science would be irrelevant.

    Now getting back to aquariums, there are rules and absolute truths. For example you need to put water in the tank for the fish to swim lol. This rule cannot be changed. Aquarium fish need water, this is an absolute truth. In the same way we need to figure out the truth in more complex issues when it comes to maintenance. Understanding that there are absolute truths is how we are able to recreate mini reefs in our homes.

    I'm not saying that i should be right in doing water changes. Infact if i am wrong, this will save me a lot of time and money. I'd rather be proven wrong that right. Most people go the other way in a discussion.

    When it comes to water changes i was looking at it from a logical point of view. pH of my reef tank seems to be very stable following a water change. Fluctuations from day and night are not as dramatic. However there are millions of biological funtions happening there which i'm not aware of, and these could deem water changes unnecessary.

    If we don't need water changes then people who come into this hobby need to know and understand that. This is a pretty big deal. Especially in larger systems. If we don't need water changes then i want to understand why we don't. I guess some people here don't care about that but it bugs the hell outa me when i don't understand something.;D

    There are situations and cases where water changes are a must, like when the tank crashes or if there is an abnormal amount of waste etc.

    Some people have the notion that arguments are a negative thing. When done properly, they are actually good and help you understand instead of memorizing and regurgitating someone else's material.
    Last edited: May 29, 2009
  5. divott

    divott Giant Squid

    Mar 23, 2009
    holland landing, ontario ,canada
    adjusting and adapting to differing situations is crucial in any situation. and would hold very true in the situations brought up on this thread and what infamous just related. i find these type debates very entertaining and eductaional at the same time. and eye opening in some regards.
  6. asking4trouble

    asking4trouble Spanish Shawl Nudibranch

    May 18, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    EPIC thread, thank you 3reef, truly an amazing resource.

    Now, I have a dirty dirty DIRTY secret...

    I feed my fish up to 3 times a day!

    From this thread, it seems to me that people who have had success with no water changes feed sparingly every three days. In fact, this seems to be fairly common amongst reef keepers who do regular water changes as well.

    I would like to move to less frequent water changes. I change 10% weekly with water from the ocean bought from my LFS. However, I cant justify in my head how any animal could be happy eating sparingly every three days. I must be missing something here because I KNOW you love your animals too and are trying to do whats best for them. In nature (and yes yes i know my tank is far from 'natural') im pretty sure fish dont eat every three days? So please, I would like to understand. I know that over feeding is bad because its difficult to remove the waste but surely it must be our responsibility as our fishes jailers to provide a system that can remove the waste rather than starve them?

    Unless its not starvation? It must not be and i am making a yet another massive noob mistake. Please explain? :)

    (I dont intend this to dilute the thread by debating feeding schedules but its directly linked to water changes i think, so i hope its an appropriate question here. There really seems to be a bottom line here and your responses will dictate the direction of my tank. If the tank really truly ethically and humanely doesn't need to be fed daily than probably 95% of us have a system that can support that kind of bio-load EASILY meaning crap loads of us are spending way to much money in an area which doesnt require it in an already obscenely expensive hobby)
  7. Peredhil

    Peredhil Giant Squid

    Aug 20, 2008
    That's easy ;):p I believe "happy" is beyond a fish's reality.

    just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming........

    I LOVE my stupid little fishies

    :goldfish: = :scholar: or :goldfish: = :dunce:


    As long as their bellies don't ever sink and their colors and behavior are all good... they're fine.

    Also, and more importantly, when you feed your fish, they have less motivation to eat the algae, or bristle worms, or pods, or whatever. What you feed them (in most fish examples) is only a small part of what they're actually eating. We feed them to balance out their diet with what they're missing from pecking at the rocks and glass.

    There are several exceptions to this. Several fish require multiple feedings a day. Just do your research. If you want to move to less feedings to help keep water cleaner, avoid things like anthias. But things like wrasses, clowns, damsels, etc. don't need that much food from their captors.

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    1RESTLESSNATIVE Astrea Snail

    May 27, 2009
    Melbourne, Fl
    !wOw! This thread evokes much thought in principle and habit.
    So I have to add my 2C.
    Aren't most of trying to create a little ocean oco-system of our own? Are we learning and expanding our own mind and spirit with the prime element that we owe our very own existence? Are we all in some right becoming mad scientists in our home labs as the very species we nurture morph before our eyes into a new evolved specimen adapting to the eco we provide it? I am a yearling in my aquarium adventure but a life long seeker of knowledge and in amazement of the ocean that surrounds me. To say one solid rule is the one to live and die by is insane because the circumstance in every situation is different and our understandings grow. I would say as long as your pets are happy and thriving then you are successful in your husbandry. We MUST try to understand what the needs of the animals we CHOOSE to keep and understand how truly AMAZING a reef can be. And exactly what they are coming to be as we speak!! If I can say one thing is for sure, I am going the natural method as much as possible. There IS a natural balance in nature, only MAN has managed to screw that all up. In my tank I am striving to create as complete a circle of life and balance that I can afford, understand, and dare to attempt in wisdom and capability. I have been reading a ton, and this forum and it's members are great in their experiences and information. TIPS HAT... I read of the days when corals and most fish died in captivity, and now a complete novice with a basic idea can be very successful in this endeavor. That is 100% attributable to the trial and error of previous and prevailing pioneers of this passion. Man will never exactly replicate the ocean and its magnitude in his home but we are getting pretty damn good at it. The discussions and debates fuel the desire for more information and a reprocess of cultured thought. Henceforth we grow and evolve as a species as well. Mankind only seems to complicate things in his efforts to simplify things.
    I just read "Aquarium Corals" by "Erick Borneman". It came recommended to me highly and it took most of the anxiety of this hobby away. His philosophy is simple, KEEP IT SIMPLE... I am all for natural balance as every inhabitant in my tank has their own duty and personality. Simple observation, investigation, education, and then reaction seems only logical to me.

    I also keep reading about reefs in their natural habitat actually being a nutrient starved and depleted harsh environment only nourished by specific occourences, paramaters, and periods. I do not know of one reef on earth that is perfectly dosed in light, food, temperature, tidal flow, that some strive to maintain on such a meticulous level. Once again to each his own, and if there is one thing to say... An open mind is a growing mind... Keep it coming guys this is good stuff.
    1 person likes this.
  10. 10acrewoods

    10acrewoods Fire Goby

    Dec 2, 2008
    Carbondale Il
    It is just like the matrix. In the movie they said the first matrix crashed cause it was too perfect. And also just like movie stars they die from drugs and crazy things cause they are trying new things just cause they have everything they want. If you give your fish the most perfect environment it will crash cause it is not giving into variance. I like this view. great job
  11. OverThinker

    OverThinker Skunk Shrimp

    May 9, 2009
    Bend, Oregon
    I wish there was a "set in stone" science about water changes. I am new to this hobby, and have yet to need to change the 75g water. All the params are good. Now, since I have a lot of die off on my LR that needs to be cleaned, during this long process I will most likely do small 10g water changes, unless the params demand more.

    NOW, with my small 10g freshwater, the nitrates are HORRIBLE. Upon the discovery that the tank was around 100ppm, I immedietly did a wc, added a new filter (should have kept the old for the bacteria), added a nitrate pebble bag, and took out the extra powerhead that the sharks were playing in...sorry buddies, but the nitrafying bacteris loves oxygen. So after that first water change, I then performed another the next day (smaller). Then the nitrates were showing 20-40 yesturday. So today I have not yet tested, but have a bucket ready to do another 4g change right now.

    See, I believe this debate on water changes can go both ways. Whatever works for you. There are PROVEN advantages to water changes, but not EVERYBODY needs the benefits of this. I am both a believer of users and non-users and an "only emergency" user. hahahaha