No water changes, heresy?

jeffchapok

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Following my last 10% water change on 3/19, some of my corals looked a little unhappy for a few days. So I decided to discontinue changes for a while and just see what happened.

Since then my tank has looked better than ever. Corals and nems are happy and growing. My PO4/NO3 has always run around .5/50, so I've been keeping a close eye on that. But otherwise I'm just planning to proceed based solely on results and not chase numbers.

Here are my test results since then:

Screenshot_20200523-100445.png


I noticed the alk, mag and calcium drops, so I'm dosing Reef Fusion and Tech-M to deal with that. I just need to get a better feel for how much at this point to use. I'm also dosing Coral Vite to replace trace elements.

I think the salinity drop was due primarily to an ATO mishap I had, plus the salt loss due to my skimmer. I'm slowly adding some salt via ATO to bring that back up to 1.026. That should also help reintroduce some trace elements.

Any thoughts, suggestions, well wishes or curses?
 

Houstoner

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I'm wondering why your corals were unhappy for a few days after a 10% water change. How big is the system and what salt are you using? Are you pre heating your new salt water before going in the tank?
 

Joedubyk

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The only thing I can say is that the water yo u used was no bueno for the WC, E.G. Ro membrane too old, carbon block too old, mixing in a jug that hasn't been cleaned in awhile, etc... Otherwise, every time I or another hobbyist does a good WC that corals are way happier.
 

Crustaceon

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I think it’s ok provided you can keep excess nutrients in check and trace elements replenished, but with 2-part dosing I might be concerned with sulfate buildup. I went a full year without doing a water change on my 100g with no issue but then again, I was using a calcium reactor which might’ve changed things up a bit.
 

Lowell Lemon

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I have run tanks for several years in the past without water changes and over time the tanks do okay. I do believe the tanks do better with at least small water changes each month or couple of weeks. This was in the days before ICP testing so there is the disclaimer!
 

Brandon Smith

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I dose All For Reef and I don't need to do water changes, I still do small ones weekly. I also run a Clearwater Algea Scrubber. In my SPS system I have to dose nitrates, and that is without running a protein skimmer on that system.
 
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jeffchapok

jeffchapok

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I'm wondering why your corals were unhappy for a few days after a 10% water change. How big is the system and what salt are you using? Are you pre heating your new salt water before going in the tank?
60 gallons and I do a 10% change. No, I don't preheat my water -- that's a thought. I have a spare heater so I'll do that next time.

Don't get me wrong, my corals weren't horrible. They just weren't quite as full and puffy right after the WC. Not dramatically different, but enough for me to notice.

It's possible I introduced a little salinity change at the time too. My salinity tends to creep downward to as low as 1.023 and I always mix at 1.026. I use Red Sea Coral Pro salt.
 
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jeffchapok

jeffchapok

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The only thing I can say is that the water yo u used was no bueno for the WC, E.G. Ro membrane too old, carbon block too old, mixing in a jug that hasn't been cleaned in awhile, etc... Otherwise, every time I or another hobbyist does a good WC that corals are way happier.
Same RODI and jug I'm still using for my top off water. I still haven't replaced the DI membrane yet.

I just suspect my corals enjoy stability over strict adherence to water quality.
 

DracoKat

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I have not done water changes in 2 years. Decided to do one because everyone says "you MUST do water changes every week!".. once I did, half my SPS died.

5 months later with no water changes, things perked up and looks much happier.

I also have not tested in all this time either- i let the corals tell me if something's wrong. I'll occasionally throw in calcium, alk and all the other stuff without really measuring and things look great and growing. I am happy.

I'll dump out the skimmer and clean out the carbon reactor as needed.
 
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jeffchapok

jeffchapok

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I have not done water changes in 2 years. Decided to do one because everyone says "you MUST do water changes every week!".. once I did, half my SPS died.

5 months later with no water changes, things perked up and looks much happier.

I also have not tested in all this time either- i let the corals tell me if something's wrong. I'll occasionally throw in calcium, alk and all the other stuff without really measuring and things look great and growing. I am happy.

I'll dump out the skimmer and clean out the carbon reactor as needed.
You are my hero!
 

Chrille26

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I do weekly waterchanges of about 10% and it works good for me right now so Im not planning on stopping it, but if I did what I would feel, is there would be a rather large buildup of detritus and junk on the rocks and stuff? When I drag my siphon across my rocks it pulls quite alot of junk out of crevices and holes. Doesnt this build up over time and increase the risk of algae on such?
 
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jeffchapok

jeffchapok

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I do weekly waterchanges of about 10% and it works good for me right now so Im not planning on stopping it, but if I did what I would feel, is there would be a rather large buildup of detritus and junk on the rocks and stuff? When I drag my siphon across my rocks it pulls quite alot of junk out of crevices and holes. Doesnt this build up over time and increase the risk of algae on such?
I still siphon detritus into my filter sock, then change the sock.
 

Conrad Noto

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Following my last 10% water change on 3/19, some of my corals looked a little unhappy for a few days. So I decided to discontinue changes for a while and just see what happened.

Since then my tank has looked better than ever. Corals and nems are happy and growing. My PO4/NO3 has always run around .5/50, so I've been keeping a close eye on that. But otherwise I'm just planning to proceed based solely on results and not chase numbers.

Here are my test results since then:

Screenshot_20200523-100445.png


I noticed the alk, mag and calcium drops, so I'm dosing Reef Fusion and Tech-M to deal with that. I just need to get a better feel for how much at this point to use. I'm also dosing Coral Vite to replace trace elements.

I think the salinity drop was due primarily to an ATO mishap I had, plus the salt loss due to my skimmer. I'm slowly adding some salt via ATO to bring that back up to 1.026. That should also help reintroduce some trace elements.

Any thoughts, suggestions, well wishes or curses?
My personal opinion is any water change rules are for initial set ups or beginners. You learn to watch your tank, test when you need it, make small adjustments, nothing major unless crash or disease requires it. You don't have to do changes when not required. On the other hand to never do water changes is asking for trouble unless you are exporting nutrients/waste, removing metals and toxins livestock release and dosing. If you are i'd still do some water changes.
 

Houstoner

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I have not done water changes in 2 years. Decided to do one because everyone says "you MUST do water changes every week!".. once I did, half my SPS died.

5 months later with no water changes, things perked up and looks much happier.

I also have not tested in all this time either- i let the corals tell me if something's wrong. I'll occasionally throw in calcium, alk and all the other stuff without really measuring and things look great and growing. I am happy.

I'll dump out the skimmer and clean out the carbon reactor as needed.
Going through your post history, it looks like you were unsure of why your sps died off. Unless you used a bad batch of salt if you are using RODI water and not having any major changes in the elements it is hard for me to think that the water was the root cause.
 
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jeffchapok

jeffchapok

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I'm certainly not advocating *never* doing water changes, but rather only doing them as required. That's why I'm closely monitoring PO4 and NO3, as I'm already at the upper range of where I want to be. Any higher and I'll definitely do one. But until then and as long as everything continues to stay healthy, I'm going to let it ride.

My biggest concern is how fast I know things can go south in this hobby. By the time I detect a problem, it could be too late. I'm still weighing the risk versus reward of this, and that's why I started this thread.

Good discussion, folks. Let's keep it civil.
 

Ike

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E0C6D8AA-64BC-4F93-AF95-6E153CEFE2A5.jpeg

This was grown from a one inch frag and 4 years of no water changes. I’m not saying I suggest it, but it can be done, and with most types of corals. No supplements, just flake food and a CA reactor. Anyone that says water changes or supplements are necessary for healthy corals is flat out wrong.
 

Conrad Noto

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Also stock matters, lots of coral? small reef fish? I can see fewer or close to no water changes. I have large angels, tangs and snowflake eel, big eaters produce large amounts of waste. I do 25% every 3 months. If I add new stock or rearrange anything i will do 10% weekly for 2-3 weeks.
 

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