Alright, Lets Hear The Debate... Water Changes Or Nah?

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Water Changes Or Dosing To Add Trace Elements & Coral Nutrients


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Randy Holmes-Farley

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So this would be safe to assume that my 10% water changes weekly aren't enough to not have to dose trace elements? I would need to dose trace elements as well as do water changes. As stated above, I dose Alk, Mag, Cal, Nitrate and Phosphate right now anyways to keep up with consumption. I was just always under the impression that everyone drove home about weekly water changes to maintain a healthy living reef tank.

Trace elements are a very complicated issue.

1. One cannot look at raw concentrations and know if it is enough or not enough or too much, because the chemical form has a big effect on bioavailability (and toxicity) of many trace elements.

2. We have no idea, even for a single chemical form (say, Fe+++ ion not bound to organics), how much is optimal for every organism. Natural levels may not be optimal (lots of scientific literature that many photosynthetic organisms in the ocean are iron limited).

Thus, a lot of it is trail and error, dose and observation.

That said, it is clear that water changes on the order of 10% per week or less cannot maintain rapidly depleting ions such as iron in many reef tanks, and that at least some tanks benefit from dosing it (and likely others, such as manganese). I changed 1% daily and still thought it was beneficial to diose iron and silicate, and other ions may have been useful as well (but I didn't test them).
 

rtparty

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I can say that my eyes have told me my coral's health is MUCH better since I started daily dosing Iron, Manganese, and Iodide (I think it is -ide. It is a Seachem product.)

I also daily dose Nickel, Chrome, Vanadium, Liqui-Mud and Vita-Carb (both Reef Moonshiners products.) For those of us following the RM program, we have also noticed that Fluorine is rapidly depleted and SPS grow much quicker when Fluorine is kept in check. Water changes alone can not and will not replace all these elements in the amounts they seem to be consumed in our tanks.

So it comes back to my original comment. WHY are we doing water changes? Answering your own WHY is very important. For years, I was planted in the weekly water change camp. I tried no water changes and had issues. I now know why I had issues and I now know why I can be successful without them. 3-4x a year is plenty
 

Rick's Reviews

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I use Tropic Marin Pro Reef salt and this is what's in their salt... This was just taken off their website.



Contains all major- and minor elements in the exact proportions found in tropical sea water.

Major Elements:
Calcium; Chlorine; Magnesium; Potassium; Sodium; Sulfur.



Trace Elements:
Aluminium; Antimony; Arsenic; Barium; Beryllium; Bismuth; Boron; Bromine; Cadmium; Caesium; Carbon; Cerium; Chromium; Cobalt; Copper; Dysprosium; Erbium; Europium; Fluorine; Gadolinium; Gallium; Germanium; Gold; Hafnium; Holmium; Indium; Iodine; Iridium; Iron; Lanthanum; Lead; Lithium; Lutetium; Manganese; Mercury; Molybdenum; Neodymium; Nickel; Niobium; Nitrogen; Osmium; Palladium; Platinum; Praseodymium; Rhenium; Rhodium; Rubidium; Ruthenium; Samarium; Scandium; Selenium; Silicon; Silver; Strontium; Tantalum; Tellurium; Terbium; Thallium; Thorium; Thulium; Tin; Titanium; Tungsten; Vanadium; Ytterbium; Yttrium; Zinc; Zirconium.
A little less that's polluting all corals in the sea but guess that's acclimated on a larger scale , just saying
 

ReefGeezer

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No one has spoken of the dilution of unwanted ions that build-up in the tank. I seem to remember that chlorides and possibly sulfates can build up as a result of dosing and other activities. I have observed that, at least in my tanks, a 10% water change makes everything happy.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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No one has spoken of the dilution of unwanted ions that build-up in the tank. I seem to remember that chlorides and possibly sulfates can build up as a result of dosing and other activities.

I did:

"Some things build up in certain situations (organics, certain metals, sodium, chloride, nitrate, phosphate, sulfate, etc.), "

And you are certainly correct, trace element dosing does nothing to correct that.
 

Schraufabagel

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I do water changes since I'm still learning the hobby with my 25 gallon AIO. I currently do a 15% water change weekly. I am struggling with hair algae, but just started a refugium. I would like to start dosing and back off to one or two water changes a month, but currently water changes have been my best way to fight the algae.
 

G Santana

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I dose Tropic Marin All-for-Reef and haven't done a major WC in over two years. With that being said every tank is different (size, equipment, export methods, stock, etc.) so one reefers success may be another one's failure. All depends on what your plans are for your reef, in my opinion...
I am 9 months in, did two large water changes, started dosing AFR and will skip water changes unless I see something wrong.
Back in the late 80s we didn't have anything like AFR so it was weekly water changes to provide what AFR now provides in a daily dose so I am going without water changes going forward.
 

G Santana

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@G Santana its great stuff once dialed in. The only down side is it's sporadic availability. I just received the powered formula of it off BRS so hopefully this help with me running out and not finding any for sale!
With the light bio load I have, I am using 20ml per day to maintain my Big 3, one bottle will last me 1 yr two months until my bio load grows. I have two bottles of AFR on hand, as soon as I break open the second one, I'll order again. This stuff is pure gold.
 
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Reefin Aint Easy

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I'm loving the input on everyones thoughts with this. This has been a huge learning curve. Learning something new everyday lol. So sounds like I need to be checking out all for reef and dosing trace elements along with my daily auto water changes. I may need to even start doing quarterly ICP tests.
 

rckfsh44

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I have auto water changes running daily via Neptune DOS (10% weekly), but I am only doing it to add trace elements back in for the coral health. I run a mixed reef tank that has low/no nutrients. I have to dose nitrate and phosphate into the tank for the corals to survive (as well as Magnesium, Alkalinity, Calcium).

Lets hear your thoughts on doing water changes or not. Or do you prefer to dose trace elements back in instead of water changes. And lastly, is it most beneficial and/or cost effective to dose or do water changes for the trace elements and coral nutrition/health.
I dose magnesium , alkalinity, & calcium , I’ll do a 20% water change maybe every 3 months
 

vetteguy53081

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water change? Whats that ?
LOL- I rarely do and generally 2-3X per year
 

CanuckReefer

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This is a loaded question lol....as it all IMO depends on your tank setup, and what you are trying to achieve. But I'll just stab at it by giving my own experiences over the years. I currently do not dose, never have. Working on close to a year skimmerless and no Sump or Fuge. 90 gallon. I water change minimal, about 2-3% per week. Lots of softies a few LPS and 2 SPS in my system. The SPS are real slow growth, the LPS look great and the Softies eat up nitrates , and experience great growth. I dose live Phyto, and it really helps in boosting my pods, and corals.
 

Ruben Sacramento

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Dilution is not the solution.
If you run a tank with any LPS, clams or SPS chances are partial water changes won't cut it. You need to supplement.
Water changes are a good tool for dealing with nutrient issues but still only as a quick fix.
I feel that good biological filtration is the way to go for nutrient control and that supplementation should be one using a method that does not or creates little to no unbalances.
Taking all of the above, I "built" my own no water change method 2 years back and haven't looked back ever since.
 
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