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This debate will last through eternity! But it's 2020 and have things changed?

Are water changes a thing of the past or of the present?

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    Votes: 96 12.0%
  • PRESENT

    Votes: 675 84.3%
  • Other (please explain)

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Tankkeepers

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No it doesnt.


Wow thought we resolved this debate as see my other posts but in truth the graph does apply to all types of water changes not the figures no but the show of a rise or fall does as you will with have a rise or fall over time enless you live in a perfect world where everything is constant and since we do not I was using the steady rise over time as shown on that graph as an example
 
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Chessmanmark

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17 years in the hobby and this is my personal experience, but I’m old school.

Tanks thrive and growth is good with diligent water changes.
When life takes away from tank time and less water changes are performed bad things start to happen.

Today many people want a quick fix that requires less work. Occasionally that works out, but for consistency, hard work equals success.

Roll up your sleeves and change out some water. You won’t be disappointed by the results.
 

KenRexford

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I dont want to debate - but in reality - trace elements come in plastic bottles, using water - they take energy to make/produce, those using perhaps the triton method - have a refugium, lights (energy) to grow the algae - and many still have to use extra water - in addition to ATO to keep salinity at a proper level.... Do you really think this is any more 'environmentally conscientious than 10 % water changes every couple weeks? I suppose the case could be made that if everyone household were dumping 20 gallons of seawater down the sewer every day - freshwater streams could have a problem - The solution - put the waste water into the toilet - rather than dumping it outside.

BTW - using your logic wouldn't the most environmentally conscientious thing be to not have a reef tank of any size?
Oh come on! You definitely want a little debate, no?
The water changer doesn’t necessarily lack a refugium, so that is likely a wash. The plastic bottles can be recycled. The ATO only addresses evaporation, which is also a wash. But, at 5% weekly average water changes, a 125g tank results in 325 gallons of saltwater per year dumped into the world, either rivers or sewage treatment. That’s a lot of water waste, not to mention all of the chemicals and nutrients. Make it 20% every two weeks, and you are dumping 650 gallons. That’s about four 5-gallon buckets of salt thrown out each year into the world. That salt had to be produced from somewhere. Plus, the plastic in those buckets is enough for a lifetime of itty bitty Triton additive plastic containers.
 

Doctorgori

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Oh come on! You definitely want a little debate, no?
The water changer doesn’t necessarily lack a refugium, so that is likely a wash. The plastic bottles can be recycled. The ATO only addresses evaporation, which is also a wash. But, at 5% weekly average water changes, a 125g tank results in 325 gallons of saltwater per year dumped into the world, either rivers or sewage treatment. That’s a lot of water waste, not to mention all of the chemicals and nutrients. Make it 20% every two weeks, and you are dumping 650 gallons. That’s about four 5-gallon buckets of salt thrown out each year into the world. That salt had to be produced from somewhere. Plus, the plastic in those buckets is enough for a lifetime of itty bitty Triton additive plastic containers.
I live on the shores of Lake Erie, zillions of gallons spill over the falls and goes right out into the Atlantic never to be seen again.
Eco concern is also about location
 

MnFish1

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Oh come on! You definitely want a little debate, no?
The water changer doesn’t necessarily lack a refugium, so that is likely a wash. The plastic bottles can be recycled. The ATO only addresses evaporation, which is also a wash. But, at 5% weekly average water changes, a 125g tank results in 325 gallons of saltwater per year dumped into the world, either rivers or sewage treatment. That’s a lot of water waste, not to mention all of the chemicals and nutrients. Make it 20% every two weeks, and you are dumping 650 gallons. That’s about four 5-gallon buckets of salt thrown out each year into the world. That salt had to be produced from somewhere. Plus, the plastic in those buckets is enough for a lifetime of itty bitty Triton additive plastic containers.
All I was trying to say is that I don't believe that in the big scheme of things that a major part of the discussion in the OP (water changes or not) relates to environmental issues. There are plusses and minuses with both methods.
 

tripdad

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Oh come on! You definitely want a little debate, no?
The water changer doesn’t necessarily lack a refugium, so that is likely a wash. The plastic bottles can be recycled. The ATO only addresses evaporation, which is also a wash. But, at 5% weekly average water changes, a 125g tank results in 325 gallons of saltwater per year dumped into the world, either rivers or sewage treatment. That’s a lot of water waste, not to mention all of the chemicals and nutrients. Make it 20% every two weeks, and you are dumping 650 gallons. That’s about four 5-gallon buckets of salt thrown out each year into the world. That salt had to be produced from somewhere. Plus, the plastic in those buckets is enough for a lifetime of itty bitty Triton additive plastic containers.
Not to bash the poster but I feel the point needs to be made.This post illustrates the mistaken/uninformed belief that plastics are no big deal because they can be recycled. In truth very little of them are recycled or repurposed. I have spent years in the plastics industry. I have current customers who are still in the industry. Very little of all the collected plastic is recycled. The "used" plastic has limited applications and most make no economic sense to manufacturers. Most of it ends up in landfills. There is simply little to no viable use for it or way to "recycle" it. The plastics in our ecosystems is becoming a candidate for the number one threat to our oceans. Canada's announcement of plastic bans today are evidence that it is a serious issue. Evidence of plastics threat to our oceans can be found in multiple studies, such as this one https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44117-2 If you want to help this world then remove as much plastic from your waste stream as possible.
 

Tankkeepers

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Or our governments could spend more in r and d to find better ways to recycle or recycling could be free rather then having to pay an extra charge on my trash bill but instead we live in a world where the only thing that really matters is money in not saying plastics are not a problem but plastics themselves are not the problem people are
 

SaracensRugby

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This conversation is fascinating overall and is making me re-think what I do weekly water change wise. I think the varying "opinions" are probably why generally speaking, the results of a majority of our tanks are not show quality. I do water changes weekly, more out of habit for my main and on my second tank because it is new and I need to siphon out the uglies.

To illustrate my point, and back up the use of ICP testing: I work with Plastic Surgeons for a living, and if I have taken anything from selling to physicians to pay the bills is: what is the data? If you cannot measure a start and end point, and have a baseline to compare that to, what is the point and/or how do you know it is doing what it is supposed to do? I think I am diluting a contaminant by doing water changes, well which contaminant am I doing that for? Something my kids may have tossed into my tank I don't know about? Most recommendations are anecdotal, as it has been said many times before on this forum, since every tank is different. So coral "looking" happy after a water change translates into what practically speaking that can be measured? Not trying to be a jerk seeing as I do water changes, but more thinking out loud as to why I do what I do.

I am 5 years into this hobby and am guilty of trying many things, most of which are hard to measure the impact good or bad, outside of just physically seeing algae disappear, PO4 go down via a test, etc.
I guess I just talked myself into going back to ICP testing, thanks @Lasse! :cool:
 

adobo

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This conversation is fascinating overall and is making me re-think what I do weekly water change wise. I think the varying "opinions" are probably why generally speaking, the results of a majority of our tanks are not show quality. I do water changes weekly, more out of habit for my main and on my second tank because it is new and I need to siphon out the uglies.

To illustrate my point, and back up the use of ICP testing: I work with Plastic Surgeons for a living, and if I have taken anything from selling to physicians to pay the bills is: what is the data? If you cannot measure a start and end point, and have a baseline to compare that to, what is the point and/or how do you know it is doing what it is supposed to do? I think I am diluting a contaminant by doing water changes, well which contaminant am I doing that for? Something my kids may have tossed into my tank I don't know about? Most recommendations are anecdotal, as it has been said many times before on this forum, since every tank is different. So coral "looking" happy after a water change translates into what practically speaking that can be measured? Not trying to be a jerk seeing as I do water changes, but more thinking out loud as to why I do what I do.

I am 5 years into this hobby and am guilty of trying many things, most of which are hard to measure the impact good or bad, outside of just physically seeing algae disappear, PO4 go down via a test, etc.
I guess I just talked myself into going back to ICP testing, thanks @Lasse! :cool:
I was on a thread where someone told me something along the lines of, "I work in the industry and I do something and have been doing something for years therefore you people should accept what I do as the right thing to do." The topic was in the use of live rock. It's a very complex topic and just about all the replies on the thread were "I think" and "I feel".

One of the things that I think is bogus is all those poll threads. What's the best return pump? What's the best protein skimmer? Do you use live rock? What lights do you use?

The only thing these polls tell you is what people do. They don't tell you what is good for situation A vs. what is good for situation B. And they certainly don't tell you how people arrive at what is good for various situations. Most people only talk about what they think or what they feel or what they have always done. I mean, exactly how do they measure if protein skimmer A is better than protein skimmer B?

Feelings aren't facts.
 
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zachtos

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.... For me the ICP tests is basic for my reef and its welfare. WC will not give the trace elements needed and many of them can be toxic if overdosed. And they will give me signals when its time for WC - if it will be needed. Today when we are very good in cultivating huge biomass of corals in small glass boxes - trace elements will be more and more important IMO. You can´t get them in the amount you want through WC - if you add in blindo - you ask for trouble. If you base your additives on calcium consumption and use combined solutions - you will sooner or later go wrong....
For sure, I know for a fact different colonies of mine use up different minerals. I removed a huge purple poccilapora(sp.) and saw a change in which elements were drawing down the fastest, and that one slowed down. I can't keep up with some elements, while others will just keep climbing because they are not really used by the tank. Sulfur, potassium, bromine, lithium, silicon seem to only climb in my tank, and never go down, because I don't think the corals need them for growth (at least my SPS don't). But other elements go bye bye in a few days, so WC can never keep up on Zn, Van, Iron, Mn, Molybdenum, Barium, Flourine, Iodine, Strontium, Boron. I'm adding tons of Van, Iron, Iodine to my tank and it seems to come back low every test and the corals drain it to zero on a test if I stop dosing them.
 

djryan2000

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Water changes are not necessary, but they are a useful tool to accomplish certain goals. Water changes are good to remove nitrates and phosphates, remove detritus, replenish major/minor elements, or as a "Oh crap!" solution to your nephew pouring their apple juice in your reef tank.

If you are happy with your nutrient levels and major/minor elements there's no need to perform them. I was much more inclined to do water changes in my old 20g / in my 10g Qt tank than I am my 45 gal reef now just because of the larger volume. If I had a significantly larger system I can't envision myself regularly using water changes unless I absolutely needed to - changing 30+ gallons sounds like a major PITA!
 

tripdad

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Perhaps the question should be what is the simplest method of achieving the best results. For me, dollar for dollar, water changes and KALK have always done the job and produced exception results. The more trace elements and other concoctions that you dose ends up costing you down the line. Whether it be expensive tests or time, there is a cost associated with each method.

Again, my preference, even if it costs slight more(It my case it doesn't) is to keep it as simple as possible and conduct 20% water changes weekly while dripping Kalk daily. The less moving parts the better. I keep it simple and may only test my ALK and CA twice a year at best. PH and temperature are of course monitored daily.

-Sonny
Seeing this person post makes my day, means they must be doing alright
 

KenRexford

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Not to bash the poster but I feel the point needs to be made.This post illustrates the mistaken/uninformed belief that plastics are no big deal because they can be recycled. In truth very little of them are recycled or repurposed. I have spent years in the plastics industry. I have current customers who are still in the industry. Very little of all the collected plastic is recycled. The "used" plastic has limited applications and most make no economic sense to manufacturers. Most of it ends up in landfills. There is simply little to no viable use for it or way to "recycle" it. The plastics in our ecosystems is becoming a candidate for the number one threat to our oceans. Canada's announcement of plastic bans today are evidence that it is a serious issue. Evidence of plastics threat to our oceans can be found in multiple studies, such as this one https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44117-2 If you want to help this world then remove as much plastic from your waste stream as possible.
Actually, I know that very well. My recycling comment was somewhat is jest.
 

Paul B

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My reef is very old so I guess my 20% water change 4 or 5 times a year is enough to remove "Ugles", "Nasties" and anything "Undesirable" as my tank is full of old corals, some probably 20 years old and old fish, some 30 years old. :cool:

I still feel, and I am as old school as you can get, that too many water changes, especially if you use ASW is detrimental as I feel, and I didn't make this up, that seawater gets better with age, Up to a point which is why new tanks with all new ASW look lousy and have the most problems.

As for waste plastics, I don't drink bottled water and almost never use plastic bags. :p
 

Ross B Reef'n

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I will never own a system without auto water changes again. I enjoy my tank, not work on it 24/7. or even once a week. maybe clean the front glass. the polyph extension on my SPS I believe is credible to the aforementioned. on the other hand, I have an automated frozen fish food feeder that feeds 7 times a day. So maybe it's the whole heavy in, heavy out argument. Snails only, hermit crabs are evil.
 
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MnFish1

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My reef is very old so I guess my 20% water change 4 or 5 times a year is enough to remove "Ugles", "Nasties" and anything "Undesirable" as my tank is full of old corals, some probably 20 years old and old fish, some 30 years old. :cool:

I still feel, and I am as old school as you can get, that too many water changes, especially if you use ASW is detrimental as I feel, and I didn't make this up, that seawater gets better with age, Up to a point which is why new tanks with all new ASW look lousy and have the most problems.

As for waste plastics, I don't drink bottled water and almost never use plastic bags. :p
You have said yourself - that you cant keep certain acorapora- right? Due to your husbandry? and techniques - thats great - your tank looks great - all good - but - is it fair to compare this to an acorapora specific tank?
 

MnFish1

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My reef is very old so I guess my 20% water change 4 or 5 times a year is enough to remove "Ugles", "Nasties" and anything "Undesirable" as my tank is full of old corals, some probably 20 years old and old fish, some 30 years old. :cool:

I still feel, and I am as old school as you can get, that too many water changes, especially if you use ASW is detrimental as I feel, and I didn't make this up, that seawater gets better with age, Up to a point which is why new tanks with all new ASW look lousy and have the most problems.

As for waste plastics, I don't drink bottled water and almost never use plastic bags. :p
PS - agree with plastic use:)
 

Have you ever used a spoon, hose and rubber band together to remove algae?

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  • What the heck? (see the thread)

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