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Is there any way to test for when to change water
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mshortri
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Joined: 12 Jan 2005
Location: Tampa, FL

PostPosted: 2005.04.18(Mon)9:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

ozziegt,

Those of us who have lots of live plants follow slightly different rules. We tend to do up to 50% water changes every week, and re-dose fertilizers etc. at that time to sort of "reboot" the system. That's probably what Chaffe was returning to. If you want more info google "estimative index" - I think the author was Tom Barr?

Even though your plants remove nitrogen, the fish will still secrete growth inhibitor hormones into the water, and that's a nasty that you'll want to keep to an absolute minimum.

If you are looking for a way to test when to change your water, it depends on if you want to go aquascaped, or just keep your fish happy and healthy. If you're as much into the plants as you are the fish, weekly 50% with re-dosing ferts is the way to go. If the plants are in there FOR your fish, then regularly test for nitrates and keep them below 40 ppm by changing as much water as needed, as often as the test approaches 40 ppm. Keep a log to show how fast your nitrates rise, and over time you will be able to settle into a schedule that keeps your tank stable.
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ozziegt
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Joined: 07 Mar 2005

PostPosted: 2005.04.18(Mon)16:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

mshortri wrote:
ozziegt,
Those of us who have lots of live plants follow slightly different rules. We tend to do up to 50% water changes every week, and re-dose fertilizers etc. at that time to sort of "reboot" the system. That's probably what Chaffe was returning to. If you want more info google "estimative index" - I think the author was Tom Barr?


Really? Interesting, everywhere where I've read says that plants REDUCE the time between water changes, not increase it...you don't have to do a WC just to add more ferts every week...
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uLtRa
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Joined: 11 Apr 2003
Location: Southend, UK

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)0:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

ozziegt, this is worrying you shouldnt be waiting until the last possible moment to do a waterchange when the water conditions will be appalling as already suggested by someone every 2 weeks is just not on(unless its a 100gal tank with one betta). If you really enjoy seeing your fish thrive do it minimum every week 50%.
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Chaffe
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Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)1:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

ozziegt wrote:
mshortri wrote:
ozziegt,
Those of us who have lots of live plants follow slightly different rules. We tend to do up to 50% water changes every week, and re-dose fertilizers etc. at that time to sort of "reboot" the system. That's probably what Chaffe was returning to. If you want more info google "estimative index" - I think the author was Tom Barr?


Really? Interesting, everywhere where I've read says that plants REDUCE the time between water changes, not increase it...you don't have to do a WC just to add more ferts every week...


Plants metabilize the ammonia and nitrates out of the water (dunno about nitrites), slowing down the rate of nitrate accumulation, which as you say, means you water changes are not so frequent.

What mshortri is refering to is high light, CO2 injected, lush growing, plant tanks. In this scenario if you don't add nitrates the plants deplete it completely. The WC are to reset all the fert concentrations. If you let it ride you may get an imbalace that will promote algae growth, which is ideally to be avoided. Check out some of the articles on 'The Krib' if you want to know more.

So really no way of avoiding water changes in closed sysems as small as aquariums however you look at it. If you have a tank where you get a gradual build up of nitrates, having plants will slow nitrate build up, which should allow you to change the water less frequently.
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@-McP
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Joined: 24 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)9:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.aquahobby.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=20776

if this is the tank in question there really isnt any wiggle room considering that it is a 5 gallon and is moderately planted at most. even in "dutch" planted tanks resetting the nutrients is valuable. in any other tanks there most likely arent enough plants to warrant a zero w/c regime
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ozziegt
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Joined: 07 Mar 2005

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)20:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah like I said I will probably just do 20% every week. It only takes a few minutes. I really was curious for my own knowledge to know what necessitates a water change, and I really haven't gotten a good answer. But thanks anyway...

And I don't see why you consider changing 50% of the water to "reset" the dosage...there is still 50% of it in there and any inbalance will still eventually occur even if it takes less time.

And ultra, just about every article you read on water changes says 20-40% every 1 to 4 weeks, so I don't know hwere you are getting your advice that "waiting till the last minute" is appalling or "50% every week" is the minimum.

Sorry to be mean but every time I ask for advice on here I get advice which doesn't have any basis...
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@-McP
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PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)21:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

the basis is in our experience. if weekly waterchanges seem so crazy to you then by all means do what you want
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benedictj
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Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Location: new york, ny

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)21:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

ozziegt wrote:

And ultra, just about every article you read on water changes says 20-40% every 1 to 4 weeks, so I don't know hwere you are getting your advice that "waiting till the last minute" is appalling or "50% every week" is the minimum.

Sorry to be mean but every time I ask for advice on here I get advice which doesn't have any basis...


You're not being mean, you're just unfairly parcing what ulTra is saying. He certainly wasn't saying that a 50% water change is the minimum. He was saying that your fish will do better if you do weekly 50% water changes. If you stop and think about it, that is only logical. Nearly all of the fish that are kept in the hobby come from massive bodies of water or large water systems (with the notable exception of some killies). These water systems carry away waste and refresh water constantly. Day and night, it is a terminal water change which has a myriad of facets including current, thermal currents, percipitation, dew points, and evaporation.

As far as doing 20 to 40% water changes every one to four weeks, I would be very wary of any advice that you get from anyone who reccomends that you use that time frame. I would say you would want to do 20 to 40 every week to ten days, or at least start at that rate. Frankly, you'll probably loose more water to evaporation than you'll actually change if you wait longer than two weeks (unless you live in an area with high humidity).

Like McP said, this is just a compilation of how everyone who posted handles their water changes. I handle mine similarly. Still, there aren't any hard and fast rules, what you're getting is "approaches". Take what everyone has said about how they handle it into account and then monitor how your own water changes work and adjust accordingly.
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uLtRa
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PostPosted: 2005.04.20(Wed)6:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK I'd LOVE to hear a good well thought out explanation from yourself ozziegt how doing a 50% weekly waterchange or even more than that is not a good idea for your fishes health and wellbeing. I don't talk from other peoples advice, I advise people from my own experiences.
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ozziegt
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PostPosted: 2005.04.20(Wed)7:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

benedictj wrote:
You're not being mean, you're just unfairly parcing what ulTra is saying. He certainly wasn't saying that a 50% water change is the minimum. He was saying that your fish will do better if you do weekly 50% water changes.


What does this sound like to you:

uLtRa wrote:
...every 2 weeks is just not on(unless its a 100gal tank with one betta). If you really enjoy seeing your fish thrive do it minimum every week 50%


That sounds like "2 weeks just isn't enough, minimum of 50% every week is a must for healthy fish." Am I wrong?

uLtRa wrote:
OK I'd LOVE to hear a good well thought out explanation from yourself ozziegt how doing a 50% weekly waterchange or even more than that is not a good idea for your fishes health and wellbeing. I don't talk from other peoples advice, I advise people from my own experiences.



I have read many places smaller water changes are better for the fish, yet you aren't hesitating to recommend 50% every week? That's just wrong. 50% is just more stressfull on the fish than a 10-25% change, plain and simple. It causes a greater change in water parameters and more stress. That's all that needs to be said.

Here are some articles on how often to do water changes:
This one doesn't have an exact interaval:
http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_waterchange.php
This one recommends 10-20% every week:
http://myfishtank.net/articles/waterquality.php
This one recommends NO MORE THAN 25% AT A TIME:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?dept_id=0&siteid=6&acatid=425&aid=836
This one recommends 10% a week, 25% every other week:
http://fishenthusiast.com/howoftentodowaterchanges.html
This one recommends 20-30% a week:
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/water_changes.php

And all of these articles are for unplanted tanks...for planted tanks it's less frequent. If you can find any articles which recommend 50% a week with good justification I would like to read them.

Yes, I came in here asking for the very reason you mentioned benedict: to find out how I can test my water to find out when is the most optimal water change interval for my tank. It was a scientific question to expand my knowledge of water chemistry. However the responses I got were mostly "why do you want to wait till the last minute that is wrong just do this".
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