Do you do water changes?

BRS

Do you do water changes or dose?


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Randy Holmes-Farley

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I’m not opposed to water changes, and I’ll do them if an icp result/my corals are showing that they need one. I am early into dosing, so my system will be perfect as I do it more frequently.

Just keep in mind that ICP, even if accurate, is not detecting a main reason I recommend water changes: to keep organics from accumulating. All methods of organic removal are only able to remove a portion of the types of organics present, and some may just accumulate.
 

Schraufabagel

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I do water changes as needed due to my battle with red cyano. Normally I do water changes every other week. I dose Tropic Marin All For Reef daily as well
 

Utubereefer

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That is some pretty disgusting water. I currently run chemi-pure blue, which contains carbon to remove this tint from the water.
The water is actually pretty clear what you’re seeing is sediment and fish poo that settled to the bottom of the sump. This is the easiest way for me to remove it and I feel like routine water changes help keep me in tune with my system. The more hands off i am the less likely I am to notice there is an issue before it becomes a problem. To each their own tho.
 

tharbin

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I tried the no water changes for a while back in the 90s. It worked, sort of but eventually I still needed to do a water change, just not "scheduled". We need to dose some things just to keep up with growth but I really don't want to have a dozen bottles of "additives" to keep my tank working and I certainly don't want to test for all of that stuff. The sw manufacturers have done most of the heavy lifting getting a workable combination of elements. I don't want to compete with them. I don't know more about sw than Bill Kelley (the inventor of IO) and I don't want to become a chemist. I don't even want to be a marine biologist. I just want to have a nice healthy tank full of marine life.

I will say that I don't think weekly is necessarily the right response either. It depends on your tank for some you need weekly for others it may be every few months or even once or twice a year. I have a little 15 gallon right now and change 2 gallons about every week to ten days. Not hard and it gets the gunk out of the system permanently.

How much do all of the bottles of additives, the dosers, the testers, etc. all cost? A water change is quick, simple, permanent and basically fool-proof. How much time does all the testing take. How much needs to be automated to keep it from being a time-sink?

The analogy to oil changes is appropriate. You can change your oil every so often or you can keep dumping in additives to prolong the life and try to keep your engine from imploding. Eventually you will either buy a new engine/vehicle or do the oil change.
 

jda

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I would advise to leave off the part about anything in this hobby being a hassle. This is a voluntary hobby and you are caring for things that were often collected from their natural habitats. They deserve the best care possible by the people who signed up to care for them. There are plenty of folks out there that would gladly stop all collecting for this hobby and many others just because of a small subset of people who don't want to care for them properly because of the hassle. These living creatures deserve the best that you can give them regardless of it it takes you time, money or hassle... nobody put a gun to anybody's head and made them keep a reef tank. The words matter, so choose them wisely.

...so don't do regular water changes if you want, but post about wanting to take all of the necessary steps to do it right some other way. What some have said, and others will echo, is that water changes will likely end up being the least bit of hassle that you can have to accomplish this task, so if these are too much then at least feign a desire.

To me, ICP is nearly worthless. Too many have held out hope that it will be some sort of magic finding that comes back and tells them what is wrong with their tank. Most just end up fixing nothing and actually chasing some phantom issue like lithium or something that does not really matter. My normal advise is for them to spend that $40-60 on a box of salt and change 200 gallons of water.... but that does not really seem apropos to this thread.
 

weamdog

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Depends on the tank, but usually no changes. For my mixed reef, I dose triton, skim and zeolite. Just cleaned out my sump after about 18mo and put about 30g of new water in.

Otherwise, if I'm just supporting fish and softies, they just get skimmed. Haven't cleaned my 29g cube in several years, but did do about 10g change maybe in early '21. Tanks has hundreds of mushrooms and 3 BTAs thriving. Skimmer probably isn't even working, or at least I haven't checked it in several months.

Changes can have repercussions, so once stable, I just leave them.

I can honestly say that the only testing (outside of Trident on mixed reef) I've done in a couple months is salinity for rotifer cultures and clownfish raising where I do a 50% change just after they morph because I don't run a filter.

29g that maybe gets 10g of fresh water a year without disturbing substrate.
20220109_121139.jpg
 
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Ocean’s Piece

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I would advise to leave off the part about anything in this hobby being a hassle. This is a voluntary hobby and you are caring for things that were often collected from their natural habitats. They deserve the best care possible by the people who signed up to care for them. There are plenty of folks out there that would gladly stop all collecting for this hobby and many others just because of a small subset of people who don't want to care for them properly because of the hassle. These living creatures deserve the best that you can give them regardless of it it takes you time, money or hassle... nobody put a gun to anybody's head and made them keep a reef tank. The words matter, so choose them wisely.

...so don't do regular water changes if you want, but post about wanting to take all of the necessary steps to do it right some other way. What some have said, and others will echo, is that water changes will likely end up being the least bit of hassle that you can have to accomplish this task, so if these are too much then at least feign a desire.

To me, ICP is nearly worthless. Too many have held out hope that it will be some sort of magic finding that comes back and tells them what is wrong with their tank. Most just end up fixing nothing and actually chasing some phantom issue like lithium or something that does not really matter. My normal advise is for them to spend that $40-60 on a box of salt and change 200 gallons of water.... but that does not really seem apropos to this thread.
I say hassle in the sense that it is time consuming and laborious. I wasn’t implying that I dont enjoy taking care of my reef tank, but sometimes, life gets in the way, and these tasks are hard to implement in your schedule. I’m sorry if this came off the wrong way to some people and I hope you understand what I meant.
 

90's reefer

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I tried the no water changes for a while back in the 90s. It worked, sort of but eventually I still needed to do a water change, just not "scheduled". We need to dose some things just to keep up with growth but I really don't want to have a dozen bottles of "additives" to keep my tank working and I certainly don't want to test for all of that stuff. The sw manufacturers have done most of the heavy lifting getting a workable combination of elements. I don't want to compete with them. I don't know more about sw than Bill Kelley (the inventor of IO) and I don't want to become a chemist. I don't even want to be a marine biologist. I just want to have a nice healthy tank full of marine life.

I will say that I don't think weekly is necessarily the right response either. It depends on your tank for some you need weekly for others it may be every few months or even once or twice a year. I have a little 15 gallon right now and change 2 gallons about every week to ten days. Not hard and it gets the gunk out of the system permanently.

How much do all of the bottles of additives, the dosers, the testers, etc. all cost? A water change is quick, simple, permanent and basically fool-proof. How much time does all the testing take. How much needs to be automated to keep it from being a time-sink?

The analogy to oil changes is appropriate. You can change your oil every so often or you can keep dumping in additives to prolong the life and try to keep your engine from imploding. Eventually you will either buy a new engine/vehicle or do the oil change.
I chose the EZ trace for my system. No it does not replace all but Glenn has done extensive testing and says its about 95% of his full blown DSR method which is good enough for me.

Its the only bottle, actually 5000ml, and I only dose 6ml a day in my 120 and 3ml in my 45 frag.
So actually very economical.
 

jda

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I get it, which is why I was helping... others will not. This being the fourth, and likely not last, major reefing internet message center that I have been on (from the days of dial up), I know what is coming and how people react.

Just like I have seen people say "Glenn says never to change water!," I have also seen "Take your fish to the LFS right now if you are too lazy to care for them!" when neither of them are true.
 

weamdog

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BTW - I have talked for years with Glenn and some of the other "no water change" people about having a different up-front message. All of them change water if they need to for their tank to succeed, so they are really "limited water change" or "no scheduled water change" people. The distinction is important since too often people skip the details and only read the title and get rigid about never, ever, changing any water to the detriment of their corals, inverts and fish. Nearly all of the limited water change folks indeed change water will if they need to treat with a med, something just gets too far out of whack, etc.

It is not too dissimilar from the no oil change people. Yes, these people exist. They just add when they get low and change a filter. However, if they have a head gasket problem and get coolant in the oil, or the like, they do an oil change.
Funny, I'm a no oil change guy on my 32 YO Toyota with 392k miles. I only change oil during major maintenance such as clutch replacement or timing belt. I've run that thing with as little as 1/2 quart of oil thanks to leaks and what-not. I may change the filter once a year or when I fix a leak.

I have a 5g tank with dozens of Hawaiian volcano shrimp that hasn't had a water change since I set it up probably 5 years ago. Of course I hardly ever feed it (maybe once or twice a year). Main reason there is the babies are so small I'd likely throw them out with the bath water.
 
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Ocean’s Piece

Ocean’s Piece

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I know this topic can be controversial in some aspects, but I feel as though this thread’s goal has shifted from what I intended to be: a thread to discuss what methods you do to go about nutrient import and export. So I urge you to just share what methods you do, have done, etc.
I have discovered a lot of new ideas from this thread, so I appreciate those that have contributed so far. This will help me improve upon my current system of dosing.
 

CanuckReefer

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I do water changes on my 90 gal but have adjusted my amount and frequency over the last few years. I used to do a large one (about 10%) every two weeks, along with other tank maintenance, which ended up taking hours of time so a real pain.
Now I change about 2% every 3 days, mix let sit for 10 mins, mix again and in it goes. No heating as it's such a small amount, almost a brief thermocline for the inhabitants lol...no ill effects seen here from this method.
I'll also pick a pump, or filter to clean each time as well, scrape a bit of glass, total time is about 20-25 mins. I find by doing it this way it doesn't end up so overwhelming, and taking a large portion of my day. I actually enjoy the maintenance now at these smaller intervals lol...
 
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Ocean’s Piece

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I do water changes on my 90 gal but have adjusted my amount and frequency over the last few years. I used to do a large one (about 10%) every two weeks, along with other tank maintenance, which ended up taking hours of time so a real pain.
Now I change about 2% every 3 days, mix let sit for 10 mins, mix again and in it goes. No heating as it's such a small amount, almost a brief thermocline for the inhabitants lol...no ill effects seen here from this method.
I'll also pick a pump, or filter to clean each time as well, scrape a bit of glass, total time is about 20-25 mins. I find by doing it this way it doesn't end up so overwhelming, and taking a large portion of my day. I actually enjoy the maintenance now at these smaller intervals lol...
Nice. I have considered continuing to do water changes and just reducing the amount I do them, but to maintain my phosphate level, it requires more water changes. Now, I have started using gfo, it does an amazing job of keeping phosphate in check. So if I decided that I was to go back to regular water changes, I would most likely still use GFO. But for me, the dosing set up I have right now is working, so I don’t plan on changing it a lot soon.
 

websurfer

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I do water changes weekly about 15% on my RS xl525 I also dose AKL CAL and MAG and Nopox .. Once and a while I will dose the RS tracecolors. if i miss a water change that week I will up it the next week. However i do not miss these often.
 

CanuckReefer

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Nice. I have considered continuing to do water changes and just reducing the amount I do them, but to maintain my phosphate level, it requires more water changes. Now, I have started using gfo, it does an amazing job of keeping phosphate in check. So if I decided that I was to go back to regular water changes, I would most likely still use GFO. But for me, the dosing set up I have right now is working, so I don’t plan on changing it a lot soon.
Excellent, glad to hear it is working... I've learned both here and through my own growth in the hobby over the years that there is more than one way to run a reef tank...

As for the export portion of the topic...I'm sure my small changes do something to that effect, how much I'm not sure. As you may or may not know I don't have a sump, skimmer or cannister etc. This has evolved over time. My softies certainly munch quite a bit of nitrate, and my homemade food I figure is quite low in phos, and I feed sparingly. One thing I do wonder is the amount of metals that may have accumulated in my tank? I have rarely thrown a bag of activated carbon at it, but only once every few years? I worry about the HLLE possibilities with my tang , so it's pretty much a no go. I should really do an ICP test one day soon to get a handle on what's in there potentially. Is much of it bound to substrate? Could be...
 

shakacuz

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0 water changes as of February 2021. I test weekly and dose accordingly. I may start doing ICP tests every 6 months just to rule out any metals being in the water (but i occasionally put some poly filter at the drain in my sump).
 
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Ocean’s Piece

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0 water changes as of February 2021. I test weekly and dose accordingly. I may start doing ICP tests every 6 months just to rule out any metals being in the water (but i occasionally put some poly filter at the drain in my sump).
Awesome. What have you been using for dosing?
 

fish farmer

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I do about a 10% WC on a sumped 29 gallon every other week. Sometimes I miss a week, sometimes I do every week.

I don't have socks, I do have some chaeto and a skimmer. I dose kalk and sometimes add magnesium, rarely anything for alk. I have softies and LPS. My nitrate and phosphate are barely detectable on Salifert kits. I also use carbon.

I do water changes mainly to siphon out loose discoma mushrooms, ugly palys, valonia, tufts of HA that the CUC can't eat and bits of detritus and other accumulations.

When I didn't do routine WC's my tank was an algae mess....too much input, not enough output.
 
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