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Questions for folks who aren't doing water changes

Paulie069

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I wouldn’t worry about over feeding if you have big enough CUC they gotta eat too
I feed my seahorse tank with 4 cubes of frozen brine and mysis shrimp twice a day. In am I feed 2 of each and when I have dinner they get 2 more of each for total of 8 cubes a day ,,sounds like a lot but I’ve got 32-34 seahorses and 6 fish and mega large CUC
 
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Zirco

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I went two plus years without doing a water change and things looked great right up until everything suddenly started crashing in the tank
Almost exactly my experience. A slow barely noticeable decline that accelerated around the two year mark.

. The question you asked are good ones but you forgot to include how many gallons of water are these people using per inch of fish in the tank.
Good point. I edited the original post to add a question about bioload.
 
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Zirco

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For me - it is the ICP testing every 3 months that is the reason why I dare to use no regular WC

Automatic dosing of some of the most important single trace elements (or basic element) is important IMO because you create a more dynamic system that is based on daily flux instead of left overs
In my failed two-year attempt to forego water changes I was also doing ICP testing and never had any results that were concerning. I was dosing alk/Ca/Mg with ATI essentials at first and then switched to ESV b-ionic. My understanding is that both supply needed trace elements without have to dose them separately. I would also supplement with manual doses of iron/magnesium (Two Little Fishies) and iodide (Kent).

In those two years I did zero water changes. The only time I would remove water from the tank would be the occasional gallon or so to maintain salinity as it tended to creep up from the alk/Ca/Mg dosing.
 

Xyloxo

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I have a 3 month old Reefer 425XL which I'm running Triton on as well as an established Biocube 32 which I have found water changes are pretty much necessary.

As far as the Reefer is concerned, I'm running a refugium, deep sand bed, skimmer with a co2 scrubber, no socks (well, occasionally), GFO and carbon as needed. The plan is to go as long as I can without a true water change, maybe adding some fresh mixed saltwater here and there.

The Biocube on the other hand...I attempted to forego water changes with undesirable results. A small explosion of GHA occurred. With that almost back under control, I have picked back up on my regular water changes and have rigged up a DIY ATS that I will give a whirl once I get my nutrient export system back in check and stabilized with said water changes. I was running a skimmer but have come to the conclusion that it is just too small compared to the relative bio-load of the tank.
 

vetteguy53081

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I add water rather than exchange and have no issues and in fact due to tank volume am able to retain nutrients.
I may do a 30% exchange and light siphoning every 7 months or so
 
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Devaji

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I am a big fan of keeping it natural. I believe a system must find balance...and pick a method/style of reefing and keep at it, not bounce from one to another.

all that said here is my plan for the new res sea 650P

~for the 1st year I will do WC prob. a small daily % ( this might end up being cheaper that all the trace elements anyway )
now if I had real ocean LR like from TBS or KP I prob could get away with even less WC.

I will run ATS as my main export under skim run filter floss changed 3x weekly or so and use carbon when needed.

I am not ageist WC but also not scared of them either....

some times small daily AWC are going to be cheaper than the ICP test and other thinks you have to add to the tank.

like I said its all about finding the balance in a close ecosystem.
 

lion king

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I know this may not really apply because I am running predator fowlrs, so nutrients are high but no corals. They are low light and I run refugiums, nitrates and phosphates test undetectable and not a speck of algae in the displays. I do maintain reef ca and mg because I find it beneficial to health of the predatory fish. So filtration is dark skimming and macro algae; caulerpa, gracilaria, and ulva. I did do a water change on one about 3 months ago, the other 2 can't remember. The big concern with no water changes on a reef would be the elements, it's not wise to dose without testing, and there's alot of elements that can't be tested for or testing is just a royal pita. And even the minor elements will play a role somehow down the line.
 

Devaji

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I know this may not really apply because I am running predator fowlrs, so nutrients are high but no corals. They are low light and I run refugiums, nitrates and phosphates test undetectable and not a speck of algae in the displays. I do maintain reef ca and mg because I find it beneficial to health of the predatory fish. So filtration is dark skimming and macro algae; caulerpa, gracilaria, and ulva. I did do a water change on one about 3 months ago, the other 2 can't remember. The big concern with no water changes on a reef would be the elements, it's not wise to dose without testing, and there's alot of elements that can't be tested for or testing is just a royal pita. And even the minor elements will play a role somehow down the line.
we would love to see your tanks!
I want to do a large fish only working on the other half slowly waring her down...I think
 

Lasse

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There is tank that crash after two years with scheduled WC too. It is impossible to know it they crashed because of the regular WC or not. In saltwater (if you do not use natural saltwater) you never know if you new mixed salt is ok or not

Sincerely Lasse
 
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Zirco

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There is tank that crash after two years with scheduled WC too. It is impossible to know it they crashed because of the regular WC or not. In saltwater (if you do not use natural saltwater) you never know if you new mixed salt is ok or not
Absolutely. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to tease apart all the possible causes and effects of these complex systems.

But I must say that I noticed an improvement within days after I did the first water change, and now, about three months and six 25% water changes later my corals have never looked so healthy. It's difficult for me not to infer that the water changes have helped.
 
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Lasse

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It could be that way - I am not advocate for no WC - only no regularly WC. If I see that my tank not is going well and can´t explain why - I will test with WC of course.

Sincerely Lasse
 

Paulie069

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There is tank that crash after two years with scheduled WC too. It is impossible to know it they crashed because of the regular WC or not. In saltwater (if you do not use natural saltwater) you never know if you new mixed salt is ok or not

Sincerely Lasse
Preach/ pure ocean water all the way
 

Paulie069

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It could be that way - I am not advocate for no WC - only no regularly WC. If I see that my tank not is going well and can´t explain why - I will test with WC of course.

Sincerely Lasse
Exactly how I go about it,,, I have two 55gal drums with locking lids that I fill with pure ocean water I collect myself and have two separate air pumps one for each on a timer that keep water aerated for hour n half then goes off for three all day n night they will stay fresh n good couple months and I usually give a bunch away to my reef peeps
 

robbyg

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There is tank that crash after two years with scheduled WC too. It is impossible to know it they crashed because of the regular WC or not. In saltwater (if you do not use natural saltwater) you never know if you new mixed salt is ok or not

Sincerely Lasse
Yes that is true, but my that Tank setup had been running fine for 5 years with Amazing success when I suddenly decided that I could do this without water changes. It was at about the 7+ year mark that all hell broke loose.
 

Paulie069

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Yes that is true, but my that Tank setup had been running fine for 5 years with Amazing success when I suddenly decided that I could do this without water changes. It was at about the 7+ year mark that all hell broke loose.
Anything could of happened,, how many times does a reef in the ocean get messed up real bad then comes back to life again in time mmmmm just a thought I’m a reef virgin myself
 

robbyg

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Anything could of happened,, how many times does a reef in the ocean get messed up real bad then comes back to life again in time mmmmm just a thought I’m a reef virgin myself
I have never heard of the reef just suddenly dying for no reason. You either have a warming of the waters or Acidification or some pesk like those star fish that may plague the reef. A healthy reef does not just die without an exterior influence.

Just a warning. If you think that when this two year mark disaster hits that your going to be able to water change your way out of it you can forget it! I saw the changes happening and I did small water changes and it still kept happening so I did big water changes and that had zero effect so I ended up changing all the water and it still kept getting worst. When the corals had gone down by 50% I was changing out the shallow sand bed, running carbon 24/7 and cleaning everything down and nothing helped.

I have a theory that it's some kind of rare slow breeding bacteria that is normally in the water and at some portion of its life cycle it attaches itself into the pores of the rocks. Typical water changes probably remove most of them during this long period of time while they float around. Without water changes I believe that eventually enough of these guys get into your rocks that their breeding process starts to foul the water. My observation is that water changes at that point seem to trigger them to reproduce even more. Maybe they give off a chemical signature that when it gets toxic enough they stop breeding but when you do water changes and the levels drop it's a signal to them to continue. My other theory is that it's some kind of pathogen that infects corals. In a closed system it just breeds up until its unstoppable.

This is all speculation but I do know it took about a year of the tank being fallow before any coral would survive in it again. I actually removed most of the rock and washed them down in a bucket of SW to get off the GHA that had taken over the tank. That helped a bit but since then I have learned better method for cleaning old rocks.
 
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robbyg

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I suppose that my tank is heavy stocked - +40 fish in 80 gallon + 4 rather large Clams. Feeding with 3 cubes of cyclops, 3 cubes of invertebrate food and around 3-4 cubes of adult artemia/mysis/black mosquito larvaes a day. For me - it is the ICP testing every 3 months that is the reason why I dare to use no regular WC

1) automatic dosing
2) skip the regular WC

Automatic dosing of some of the most important single trace elements (or basic element) is important IMO because you create a more dynamic system that is based on daily flux instead of left overs

Sincerely Lasse
Yes Lasse but you are a bad example :p
From what I gather most of your life's work has revolved around keeping water systems healthy. You probably have knowledge on a lot of areas that only a few people like you and Randy Farley share. It kind of reminds me when I bought in an expert Gardner to look at our property and he could just look at almost every plant and identify what we were doing wrong and what needed to be changed. Nothing beats working decades on various systems and seeing it all.
 

Paulie069

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I have never heard of the reef just suddenly dying for no reason. You either have a warming of the waters or Acidification or some pesk like those star fish that may plague the reef. A healthy reef does not just die without an exterior influence.

Just a warning. If you think that when this two year mark disaster hits that your going to be able to water change your way out of it you can forget it! I saw the changes happening and I did small water changes and it still kept happening so I did big water changes and that had zero effect so I ended up changing all the water and it still kept getting worst. When the corals had gone down by 50% I was changing out the shallow sand bed, running carbon 24/7 and cleaning everything down and nothing helped.

I have a theory that it's some kind of rare slow breeding bacteria that is normally in the water and at some portion of its life cycle it attaches itself into the pores of the rocks. Typical water changes probably remove most of them during this long period of time while they float around. Without water changes I believe that eventually enough of these guys get into your rocks that their breeding process starts to foul the water. My observation is that water changes at that point seem to trigger them to reproduce even more. Maybe they give off a chemical signature that when it gets toxic enough they stop breeding but when you do water changes and the levels drop it's a signal to them to conitnue.

This is all speculation but I do know it took about a year of the tank being fallow before any coral would survive in it again. I actually removed most of the rock and washed them down in a bucket of SW to get off the GHA that had taken over the tank. That helped a bit but since then I have learned better method for cleaning old rocks.
A quick thought,, do you think temp of your tank had anything to do with it, as even though I’m new to reefing I’ve been a commercial fisherman for many years and have noticed cooler waters carry less algae’s
I personally keep my tank temperature at 73.5 max 72 is my sweet spot and I’ve had very minimal algae problems. What are your thoughts. (reason for low temp is tank is seahorse dominate)
 

robbyg

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A quick thought,, do you think temp of your tank had anything to do with it, as even though I’m new to reefing I’ve been a commercial fisherman for many years and have noticed cooler waters carry less algae’s
I personally keep my tank temperature at 73.5 max 72 is my sweet spot and I’ve had very minimal algae problems. What are your thoughts. (reason for low temp is tank is seahorse dominate)
I keep mine at 78.5 and honestly i do not think the temperature has anything to do with it. Algae will grow slower in colder water but lowering the Temp is not a real solution to Algae problems.

There are tons of stories of people trying the no water change system. This has been going on for the last twenty years and in almost every case they it ended in disaster or you never heard from the person again. I think even the BRS guys tried it and it ended up being a disaster. The best you can hope for is less water changes but my observation has been that the best looking tanks are typically the ones getting small water changes every week.
 

Paulie069

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I keep mine at 78.5 and honestly i do not think the temperature has anything to do with it. Algae will grow slower in colder water but lowering the Temp is not a real solution to Algae problems.

There are tons of stories of people trying the no water change system. This has been going on for the last twenty years and in almost every case they it ended in disaster or you never heard from the person again. I think even the BRS guys tried it and it ended up being a disaster. The best you can hope for is less water changes but my observation has been that the best looking tanks are typically the ones getting small water changes every week.
I never said I never do wc I’m just not anal about it if it’s not every 10 days I don’t sweat it I’ll go 3 weeks before I do 10-20 gallon wc
Also my low temperature has nothing to do with algae it’s more for my seahorses comfort ,, have 32-34 of them
 
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