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Effects of no water changes with fish in low tech Tanks.

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by 1077, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    I am realizing the effects of water changes and sudden increase of CO2 with respect to plant growth in low tech tanks and how plants might struggle with these fluctuations.
    I am wondering as to how fish might react with sudden water changes after say a month or longer of no water changes. Would it be best to perform smaller water changes after this period of time has elapsed say over a period of three days daily at 25 percent,,? or would 50 percent water change once every couple months not affect the fishes osmoregulatory functions too severely?
    Would not the sudden change in DOC's or TDS have negative effect ?
    Or would possibly using a scaled down version of EI dosing in this type of set up which would maybe allow weekly water change to re-set the balance of nutrients be a better choice with respect to the fishes overall health?
    I am trying hard to leave the tank alone and resist the urge to perform weekly water changes for the sake of the plants, but am also concerned with health of fishes.
    I want plants to thrive but fishes as well and welcome thoughts reagrding same.
     
  2. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    I believe life is all too short ,and shall take my queries elsewhwere in search of more knowledge.

    Regards.Lee
     
  3. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Lee,

    We're sorry no one answered your post. Sometimes we overlook one.

    EI uses 50% water changes as a guideline, and doesn't have to be used rigidly. Of course it's possible to change less water, like 25 or 30%. The buildup of nutrients will be different of course. I can't tell you if the change in TDS affects fish, because I don't measure TDS. I've never observed any adverse effects of changing 50% water, but I maintain a fairly constant level of nutrients as I dose again right away after the water change. If you can keep your NH4 levels low there's no problem to change less water.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  4. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    I just did a 60% water change after nearly a year of no water changes and had no problems. I guess that answers the question :)

    AC
     
  5. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    When your thread falls out of the first (home) page, it's difficult to find it again.
    There are too many similar sub-forums to dig into.

    Actually I've been searching for a not so old thread for half an hour now...
     
    #5 nipat, Sep 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2010
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    [​IMG]

    No water changes for 9 months.

    There's a non CO2 EI modification the non CO2 method detailed in the EI section already.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks all.

    Clearly, from my research thus far.. Plants in low tech tank will perform better with stable CO2 or at the very least, no sudden additional CO2 that may be introduced through frequent (weekly ) water change.
    My rececntly planted 80 gallon tank is approx a month and a half young and other than some Diatom, plants are growing albeit slow which is what I wished . (low maint).
    However,, The tank also holds the following fish. 20 Neon Tetras,8 Ruby Barbs,10 Flame tetras,8 Schwartzi Corydoras.1 Juvenile Bristlenose,and 6 Otocinclus + ?Trumpet snails.
    Substrate is 80 lbs Ecocomplete, capped with approx three inches of fine gravel, Lighting is Two 36 watt 6700K CFL bulbs with ten hour photo period.
    Filter is Eheim 2217.
    Water is moderately hard with pH 7.6 and temp of tank is 75 to 76 degrees F.
    Have forever changed 50 percent of my water weekly, and it is the fishes health that concerns me more so than the plants which can easily be replaced. (swords,anubia,penny wort,leopard val's,java fern,Crypt Pontederiifolia,Aponogeton.)

    If I were to store the water for water changes thus allowing any CO2 to off gas, would weekly water changes still cause issues with plants ?
    Also with numbers of fish listed,,could the waste from same along with weekly 10 Ml of flourish comprehensive I am currently dosing be all that is needed for ferts?
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Part of the point of low maintenance is low maintenance, this does include water changes.
     
  9. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Here is the thread Tom recommended. You should try to follow the dosing as suggested, KNO3, KH2PO4, Equlibrium, etc. Both Tom and SuperColey use this modified EI method successfully in tanks containing fish since +80% of the nutrients come from the fish load. http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2817-Non-CO2-methods
     
    #9 Tug, Sep 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2010
  10. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    Link is broken. Is this just pointing to the non-co2 thread? It sounded like Tom was talking about a modification and I don't see a separate sticky for it.

    Thanks
     
  11. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tanks aman74. I went back and fixed that link and yes, it is the non-co2 thread. The fact is we all put are own spin on things and of course Tom is always modifying something depending on the circumstance. In this case, I think he is suggesting 1077 read the non CO2 method detailed in the EI section. This answers whether 10mL of flourish is all that is needed as well as can be expected without looking at the tank and more information. I've forgotten the exact amounts, but this method doesn't add a lot of nutrients to the water column. Only about 5ppm NO3 and 1.5ppm PO4 a week or so and should be adjusted based on fish load, etc. As for whether 10mL of flourish is all 1077 needs - imo, it is not. http://www.fishfriend.com/fertfriend.html


    Tanks Seachem equivalents:
    KNO3 - SeaChem Nitrogen
    KH2PO4 - Seachem Phosphorus
    Trace mix(CMS+B etc) - SeaChem Flourish
    GH booster - SeaChem Equilibrium
     
    #11 Tug, Sep 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2010
  12. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    Thanks, the way it was phrased I thought he was referring to a modification of the non-co2 method. Thanks for clearing it up for me.
     
  13. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks all for the help and opinions which I'm near certain are based on much observations.
    I fear i have been guilty of absorbing way too much info from too many sources and am going to train my efforts on Tom's suggestions and obvious success , and those who have responded thus far and have expierience which I lack.
    I have grown plants before in pots with nothing other than soil and flourite for use in cichlid tanks where rooted plants were not an option.Have also failed in large part with efforts of planted tanks with plants rooted in substrate (algae farms).
    I have read the Text suggested and have ordered NPKand Plantex CSM+B package from Green Leaf Aquariums and have worked out a tenative dosing for 8O gallon tank . welcome indeed any opinions.
    I plan on..

    3/4 TSP KNO3 once a week
    3/16 TSPKH2PO4 once a week
    15 ML CSM+B once a week

    Will hold off on water changes and perhaps only change 25 percent every couple months?
    Again, Thanks to those willing to help in advance.
    Regards
     
    #13 1077, Sep 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2010
  14. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    As per previous posts. There really is no 'exact' method to follow here. I just did my first water change for a year but only because I disturbed the substrate substantially.

    As for the nutrient area. this will depend on light, substrate etc. The substrate can be producing a certain amount of CO2 and therefore a 'NPT' can have higher than the equilibrium level anyway. Lights are obviously the driver and therefore if CO2 is a little higher and the light is at the higher end of the 'non CO2 range' then this can alter the nutrient dosing requirements.

    My personal setup is somewhere in this upper region maybe a little more and I have very high plant mass with decent fish load. My substrate is 3 years old and 'unstirred' and I would assume it is 'composting' quite nicely and producing some CO2 there.

    However I find that I need add almost nothing to the setup. I still have my old EI mixes (from full EI) and I tend to use P as my indicator so if I see green spots appearing on the anubias I put a dose of the old EI macros in. Probs the amount I would used to have dosed 3 x a week. I then don't dose until I see the 'indicator' again which can be a month, 2 months etc.

    So all I do through the week is......feed the fish twice a day, watch the fish 'X' times a day. relax in front of the tank and turn the TV off (all day if the wife isn't at home. lol) and then every month or so dose 5ml of macro solution.

    There are some small tufts of BBA on the upper regions of the wood but I had this on any method I have ever done. Always up top, close to the light. Not really visible unless you are trying to gain an 'algae spotter's badge'.

    So that is basically my aim achieved. Absolutely no effort and lots of viewing time. No worries :) Thats not to say all will achieve as low maintenance as I have as all setups are different. Maybe I just got lucky and hit the magic setup in terms of substrate, fishload etc.

    It certainly is pleasurable (for me) though not to have to prune several times a week and being able to relax in front of the tank rather than labour over the top of the tank.

    One other change I did was to remove the Koralia Circulation Pump which was 'key' in making this tank a success in it's former hi-tec guise.

    No a lower energy setup, less nutrient uptake and therefore not as critical thinking about deadspots . In all probability the lower uptake means the former deadspots are no longer deadspots. Now I just have a 5.6x turnover from my filter and nothing else adding circulation. Filter and hoses are cleaned monthly.

    I am pondering turning the heater off permanently too and letting the tank 'rest' at the ambient 21-22. I turn it off for four days every now and again to get the Corys to spawn and the other inhabitants (cherry shrimp and Espei Rasboras) seem to liven up too.

    Apart from the filter I could end up with a completely self sustaining setup if I add a few more fish to wipe out that 'monthly' extra fert dosing.


    Personally I think the difficulty for anyone trying this kind of setup is having the confidence. Being able to take a jump and go against what we have learnt for years. Ignoring what we hear about water changes being vital, ignoring the claims of anaerobic substrate being a problem, ignoring lots of in built beliefs of 'necessity'. Even learning rules that aren't what you would understand of a hitec tank like high turnover etc.

    If the substrate is planned and done well it can make this setup so much more successful :)


    Good luck

    AC
     
    #14 SuperColey1, Sep 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2010
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think it unfortunate that more do not try this method, they carry on about wanting these specific things but cannot give up the gas............

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    I am on board ,and shall do away with water changes and dose as planned unless those wiser see a problem. I cannot see what harm can come from adding the dry fertz, and I am in hopes that the fertz will prevent the plants from being limited.
    Other than Diatoms which I have expierienced in quite a few newly set tanks,I have next to no algae.
    Anubias are sending out long stems with what appears to be bulb attached.Echinodorus Rubin and amazon swords are growing new leaves each week.Leopard vals enjoy the moderately hard water and Cryptocoryne Pontederifolia (sp) is growin much quicker than I expected.
    I have approx thirty plants and what i believe to be moderate fish load for 80 gallon and will be adding more plants as finances permit.
    It is indeed the lack of water changes thus far that have proved to be the most difficult aspect fro me to wrap my mind around but the more I read.learn the more sense It makes to me.
    Again,I welcome and am thankful for the advice and opinions.
     
  17. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    Not to worry. I have taken note of monthly, or bi-monthly dosing that may prove to be all that is needed.
     
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