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Why do we do water changes so religiously if we can remove the nitrates?

kingkapoor

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This question is pertinent to my fish only tank though I have seen/and been told of many reef anecdotes.

It seems like there is an obsession to do water changes every week. But is that really necessary, especially for Fish only (and in reef cant you dose the removed elements back in)?
When parameters like these are important:
1) Bioload/# of fish
2) Feeding
3) Type of filteration/protein removal systems + Chaeto
4) Volume of tank

I have a 130 gallon waterbox system with an octopus protein skimmer. I also have chaeto and I only have 4 fish, 2 small tangs, and 2 small clownfish.
Further, our local fish store tells us about a lot of families who cancelled their cleaning/water change service during the virus and their tanks reef and fish only are doing fine.

Do I really need to be changing my water weekly? Especially if my nitrate levels are being kept so low between the low bioload, quality protein skimmer, and chaeto.


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802ScubaFish

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90's reefer

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I run a no scheduled water change system on my 120 reef.
I have done 1 9gal at 12 months and saw no difference. It does remove things you cant test for though.
I did 1 12 gal at 14 months after a fluconazole treatment to eliminate all hair algae.
I did setup my system to run that way. I use a carx and dose trace.
If you are new do water changes and test until you understand your system as it has worked for as long as the hobby has been around.
 

Spare time

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It tends to be simpler than dosig everything and corrects for mistakes in dosing and what not. You can go without them if you have proper waste export and run some good carbon and what not. I just run rox carbon (and red sea carbon sometimes) and a refugium (plus filter socks). I dose alk, calcium, and chaetogro with the occasional red sea iodine and potassium.
 
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kingkapoor

kingkapoor

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It tends to be simpler than dosig everything and corrects for mistakes in dosing and what not. You can go without them if you have proper waste export and run some good carbon and what not. I just run rox carbon (and red sea carbon sometimes) and a refugium (plus filter socks). I dose alk, calcium, and chaetogro with the occasional red sea iodine and potassium.
How often do you change your carbon?
 

Tired

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Water changes are to remove excess nitrates and/or phosphates, and to replace calcium, alk, and magnesium. Before you do a water change, test your water. If none of those things needs to be done, then no, you probably don't need to do a water change. Barring any sort of emergency like a kid dumping paint in the tank.
 
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living_tribunal

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This question is pertinent to my fish only tank though I have seen/and been told of many reef anecdotes.

It seems like there is an obsession to do water changes every week. But is that really necessary, especially for Fish only (and in reef cant you dose the removed elements back in)?
When parameters like these are important:
1) Bioload/# of fish
2) Feeding
3) Type of filteration/protein removal systems + Chaeto
4) Volume of tank

I have a 130 gallon waterbox system with an octopus protein skimmer. I also have chaeto and I only have 4 fish, 2 small tangs, and 2 small clownfish.
Further, our local fish store tells us about a lot of families who cancelled their cleaning/water change service during the virus and their tanks reef and fish only are doing fine.

Do I really need to be changing my water weekly? Especially if my nitrate levels are being kept so low between the low bioload, quality protein skimmer, and chaeto.

IMG_1245.jpg
I don't do water changes for nutrient export, or to raise alk/calc. I do water changes to maintain trace elements which I find difficult to keep balanced when dosing.

You simply can't do enough water changes to remove nitrate/phosphate nor maintain calc/alk when a tank has a certain amount of fish and corals. You can however keep trace elements in a healthy range with weekly 10-20% wc.
 

dimik

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I do water changes to replenish other elements, ammonia spikes or get rid of smelly water. I can normally tell when it's time to do a water change by either the smell of the water or the way my coral look. Other than that or an ammonia spike I don't bother.
 

92Miata

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Most people can measure Nitrate, phosphate, calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium.

There are about 40 other nutrients/minerals/etc in your salt mix, and countless organic compounds floating around in your tank. Water changes are to moderate the things you can't measure.

We could dose trace minerals - but unless you're willing to monitor those via frequent ICP tests - water changes are less risky.
 
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