Why should I do water changes?

BRS

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What are the benefits of doing water changes?

I have a heavily stocked stony reef tank. SPS, LPS, Clams, a lot of fish.

My nutrient levels are good in my opinion. Nitrates 10-15ppm phosphate: .04
I started dosing NOPOX to lower nitrates a little bit.

I dose and maintain calcium, alk, and mag. Levels are very stable and consistent.

As for trace elements: I dose Red Sea trace colors.

I run filter socks, protein skimmer, and a bag of carbon in sump.

The only thing that I’m thinking will require water changes is because I have 2 leather corals in the tank. Would that warrant water changes?

I’m tempted to do an ICP test. What benefits would doing water changes have on my tank?
 
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LEOreefer

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I’m my experience and my opinion water changes help keep things stable. A few years back I stopped doing water changes similar to why you don’t do them. What I found was issues crept up like nitrates and phosphate. I realized to keep up with the nutrients piling up I kept having to up my dose of NOPOX.
Best way I can describe is it was like a car driving down a highway with a loose wheel. Eventually the wheel just flew off.
Now this is just my experience and opinion, there are other people on here who have beautiful tanks doing minimal water changes.
 

Jason Arego

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If everything seems to be thriving in your tank, I suppose there is no reason why you should. Leathers can manage just fine without w/c.
 

srobertb

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I have a hard time with this. Build up of minerals and metals and a lack of additional things that are found in saltwater mix but not typically dosed by the average reefer.

I’m sitting here looking at my 10g tank. It has a bubble tip, 20-30 Maxi/Mini’s, and a wild rose coral hitchhiker that lives in the sand bed. I haven’t changed the water in 6 months+. I change the filter sock every month or so. There is a bag of chemi-pure in the back that also hasn’t been changed in months. I feed about a teaspoon of pellets a day and spot feed everyone silversides 3x a week.

Excuse the dirty glass. Maybe water changes would fix that?
 

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HB AL

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Sounds exactly like the way I run/dose my tank which has not seen a water change in over 4.5 years. I have a large bioload of fish and corals. I sent in the first ever icp test just to see levels of things I couldn't test for and was actually surprised everything was good. I do have a new 180g waiting thats going where my current tank is just planning everything out carefully and really only thing worried about is all the new water I'm gonna need. Here's a couple pics I just took yesterday.
20210620_162730.jpg
20210620_162656.jpg
 
OP
Miami Reef

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Sounds exactly like the way I run/dose my tank which has not seen a water change in over 4.5 years. I have a large bioload of fish and corals. I sent in the first ever icp test just to see levels of things I couldn't test for and was actually surprised everything was good. I do have a new 180g waiting thats going where my current tank is just planning everything out carefully and really only thing worried about is all the new water I'm gonna need. Here's a couple pics I just took yesterday.
20210620_162730.jpg
20210620_162656.jpg
That reef tank looks super successful! Do you dose any trace elements? Please let me know because if your levels came back as perfect that must mean that you have a balance trace element dosing schedule.
 

dank reefer

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Read up on Triton and Dutch Synthetic reefing methods as both of those do not require water changes.
As long as your replenishing the exhausted elements in your tank you should not need a water change at all.
 

HB AL

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That reef tank looks super successful! Do you dose any trace elements? Please let me know because if your levels came back as perfect that must mean that you have a balance trace element dosing schedule.
Yup, Red Sea ABCD, 30ml of each once a month. Going to work, pm me if you want to compare things as I have a simple setup like you and I'm always looking to learn/help.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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What are the benefits of doing water changes?

IMO, it is mostly for things you do not or cannot measure.


Water Changes in Reef Aquaria by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com

Conclusion
Water changes are a good way to help control certain processes that serve to drive reef aquarium water away from its starting purity. Some things build up in certain situations (organics, certain metals, sodium, chloride, nitrate, phosphate, sulfate, etc.), and some things become depleted (calcium, magnesium, alkalinity, strontium, silica, etc.). Water changes can serve to help correct these imbalances, and in some cases may be the best way to deal with them. Water changes of 15-30% per month (whether carried out once a month, daily or continuously) have been shown in the graphs above to be useful in moderating the drift of these different seawater components from starting levels. For most reef aquaria, I recommend such changes as good aquarium husbandry. In general, the more the better, if carried out appropriately, and if the new salt water is of appropriate quality.

Calcium and alkalinity, being rapidly depleted in most reef aquaria, are not well controlled, or even significantly impacted by such small water changes. In order to maintain them with no other supplements, changes on the order of 30-50% PER DAY would be required. Nevertheless, that option may still be a good choice for very small aquaria, especially if the changes are slow and automatic.
 

dedragon

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Sounds exactly like the way I run/dose my tank which has not seen a water change in over 4.5 years. I have a large bioload of fish and corals. I sent in the first ever icp test just to see levels of things I couldn't test for and was actually surprised everything was good. I do have a new 180g waiting thats going where my current tank is just planning everything out carefully and really only thing worried about is all the new water I'm gonna need. Here's a couple pics I just took yesterday.
20210620_162730.jpg
20210620_162656.jpg
What this person cant know what they mean, triggers with corals?!
Obv jk, beautiful tank you have there, maybe one day with a big enough tank (and even bigger balls) I will put in a clown trigger as it is one of my favorite fish.
Started slowing down on water changes myself and have seen better growth but lost some color in a couple acro frags, was thinking red sea abcd could be a good call. Definitely trying it now
 

HB AL

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What this person cant know what they mean, triggers with corals?!
Obv jk, beautiful tank you have there, maybe one day with a big enough tank (and even bigger balls) I will put in a clown trigger as it is one of my favorite fish.
Started slowing down on water changes myself and have seen better growth but lost some color in a couple acro frags, was thinking red sea abcd could be a good call. Definitely trying it now
I like fish more than corals and Triggers have been my favorite fish since I got my first one back in 1986, so they go in every tank I've had and have.
 

blasterman

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If the FDA regulated reef products like drugs Federal prison would be full of manufacturers making bogus claims about trace elements. For the billionth time salt makers do not put magical fairy dust in their mixes because there is no industry wide agreement on what trace elements are. ICP tests have proven salt mixes are all over the place.

Next, fresh salt mix doesnt return your tank to default. We get dozens of posts a week from beginners with dying corals and doing aggressive water changes.

HB AL has a big tank with no water changes. I have a small tank with no water changes and no skimmer or chaeto or nutrient export. I blast it once a week with a $40 ozone generator. I simply don't put anything in my tank I don't know where its going and keep stable nutrients.
20210613_145138.jpg
 

Celestion

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a guy on youtube has a stunning aquarium, 10 or 15 large marine fish in a 225 , and he said i do 100 gallon water change , like once a week...were talkin queen angel and the likes...and we see these amazing tanks with owners who see need to change water ..
 

Gtinnel

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I do water changes to remove some of the undesirable things that get added to the tank. For instance I will sometimes dose potassium nitrate and without water changes my potassium levels in the tank would just continously raise higher and higher.
 

SaltwaterGuruNeeded

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What are the benefits of doing water changes?

I have a heavily stocked stony reef tank. SPS, LPS, Clams, a lot of fish.

My nutrient levels are good in my opinion. Nitrates 10-15ppm phosphate: .04
I started dosing NOPOX to lower nitrates a little bit.

I dose and maintain calcium, alk, and mag. Levels are very stable and consistent.

As for trace elements: I dose Red Sea trace colors.

I run filter socks, protein skimmer, and a bag of carbon in sump.

The only thing that I’m thinking will require water changes is because I have 2 leather corals in the tank. Would that warrant water changes?

I’m tempted to do an ICP test. What benefits would doing water changes have on my tank?
Assuming that you have something that will eat up the nitrates and phosphates, have good filtration, and replace whatever the water changes do you should be fine. I mean, I'm not an expert but this is just the way my head is looking at it. But I'd recommend to get a very fine filter pad for the small stuff that most filters can't take out. Just don't go too small idk.
 

Pistondog

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What are the benefits of doing water changes?

I have a heavily stocked stony reef tank. SPS, LPS, Clams, a lot of fish.

My nutrient levels are good in my opinion. Nitrates 10-15ppm phosphate: .04
I started dosing NOPOX to lower nitrates a little bit.

I dose and maintain calcium, alk, and mag. Levels are very stable and consistent.

As for trace elements: I dose Red Sea trace colors.

I run filter socks, protein skimmer, and a bag of carbon in sump.

The only thing that I’m thinking will require water changes is because I have 2 leather corals in the tank. Would that warrant water changes?

I’m tempted to do an ICP test. What benefits would doing water changes have on my tank?
I think there are some organics that can only be removed via water changes.
Skimmers, gac and other forms of filtration may not get everything.
Icp test doesn't test for everything.
 
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