Water Change Debate

BTimms

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In a non CO2 aquarium, zero ferts nor excel dosing, minimal fish load, how often should one change water?
This seems like a raging debate and I would like to hear more input.
 

Phishless

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Are you growing plants in this tank?
Plants in a low tech environment have always seemed to leave more debris.

An old sign from my youth used to be posted at swimming pools.

"We don't swim in your toilet, don't pee in our pool."

Algae tends to thrive in rotting matter and or mulm.
 

tiger15

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The answer to your question depends on the set up.

I have a shrimp bowl with dirt substrate, heavily planted but lightly stocked, as I keep shrimp only. I never do WC, no dosing, but top with dirty WC water from my big tank weekly. It gets 3 to 4 hours direct sunlight in the afternoon. Plants are thriving with zero algae, not even green water as one expects with direct sunlight.
 
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BTimms

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I’m running a 55g. Stocked with a betta, two ancistrus, two angelfish and six panda cories. Running a canister and internal sponge filter. Temps at 78*f. My weekly 25% water changes seem to bloom algae, even if I dose excel. I run my lights for about 6-8 hrs per day. I will not deny that I may over feed, two small feedings daily.
I can’t seem to clear the leaves of algae on the plants...it has really beaten back my alternathera reinikii.
Thoughts?
 

tiger15

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Do you dose fert, co2 and what substrate do you use. Many factors can cause unhealthy plants, and unhealthy plants trigger algae. Until all factors are on the table, you can’t blame WC as the cause of algae.

In my planted 75 with very heavy stocking and moderate planting, I do 75% WC weekly, and transfer the dirty WC water to top my shrimp bowl. I dose my 75 with fert and co2.

I don't do WC on my shrimp bowl, because I have light stocking and heavy plant mass. I don’t dose my shrimp bowl but top it with dirty WC water from my 75, essentially doing regular negative WC.
 

BTimms

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I have not been dosing ferts, nor CO2. My I’m using fluval stratum sand. I have used root tabs. I was dosing excel weekly but it seemed to have melted some plants.
 

Phishless

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Excel can melt several species of plants.
Fluval stratum I believe is an inert lava rock type product with a minimal CEC rating.
Root tabs dissolve @ different rates.
Have you thought about dosing the water column?
 

tiger15

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I don't think WC caused your algae. I think low CO2 and certain nutrients make your plants unhappy and algae happy. Fluval stratum sand has no carbon source, and your weekly dosing of Excel is not frequent enough to provide adequate liquid carbon. Excel Glutaldehyde degrades in 24 hours and you need to dose daily. To control algae, I would dose 2x excel daily, and 5x after each WC as instructed. You may also need to dose macro and micro nutrients in the water column depending on what's in the root tabs. Fish poop and left over fish food do not provide balanced nutrients, typically deficient in potassium, iron and certain micro nutrients. Your melting plants may not have anything to do with Excel, just very unhappy.
 

BTimms

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Excel can melt several species of plants.
Fluval stratum I believe is an inert lava rock type product with a minimal CEC rating.
Root tabs dissolve @ different rates.
Have you thought about dosing the water column?
I used flourish excel for a while. But stopped after the bottle ran out.
Any suggestions on ferts?
 

BTimms

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I don't think WC caused your algae. I think low CO2 and certain nutrients make your plants unhappy and algae happy. Fluval stratum sand has no carbon source, and your weekly dosing of Excel is not frequent enough to provide adequate liquid carbon. Excel Glutaldehyde degrades in 24 hours and you need to dose daily. To control algae, I would dose 2x excel daily, and 5x after each WC as instructed. You may also need to dose macro and micro nutrients in the water column depending on what's in the root tabs. Fish poop and left over fish food do not provide balanced nutrients, typically deficient in potassium, iron and certain micro nutrients.
With that high of excel dose, will I melt my plants?
What do you recommend for dosing ferts?
 

tiger15

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With that high of excel dose, will I melt my plants?
What do you recommend for dosing ferts?
Depending on the plants, vals and mosses are sensitive to Excel, yet I tried to kill my volunteered mosses with 2x Excel daily and 6X Excel after WC with no luck
 

Jilrae

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I'm thinking that your plants might not be getting enough nutrients to beat back the algae. I had a similar problem in my tank recently, but after changing up my ferts it all cleared up in a very short time. Root tabs are great for root feeding plants, but they don't do much for plants that feed mainly from the water column. As for water changes, I'll do a small one if I see a bunch of matter lying around, but otherwise it's usually once/month or so. I've been using easy green and easy carbon, and flourish root tabs near some of my root-feeders, and they're working well for me. Do you have anything in the way of a cleanup crew? Snails, shrimps, algae eaters?
 

BTimms

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I'm thinking that your plants might not be getting enough nutrients to beat back the algae. I had a similar problem in my tank recently, but after changing up my ferts it all cleared up in a very short time. Root tabs are great for root feeding plants, but they don't do much for plants that feed mainly from the water column. As for water changes, I'll do a small one if I see a bunch of matter lying around, but otherwise it's usually once/month or so. I've been using easy green and easy carbon, and flourish root tabs near some of my root-feeders, and they're working well for me. Do you have anything in the way of a cleanup crew? Snails, shrimps, algae eaters?
A lack of nutrients is suspect indeed. How often do you dose? I am on week two of doing bi weekly water changes, so no great difference yet.
I was planning on grabbing frets soon. How do you like the easy green? I’m from Canada, so I might buy something locally.
 

Jilrae

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I dose once/week with the fert, and every other day with the carbon, because that's what the directions said for mine. They're working out well for me so far. Whatever fert you buy, just start with what the manufacturer recommends for dosing, as different ferts might have different directions. If they have multiple directions, start with their lowest recommended dose for your tank size and try that for a few weeks before moving up. It took somewhere between a few days and a week for me to really see a difference, but once I saw it, it cleared out pretty fast.
 

BTimms

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I dose once/week with the fert, and every other day with the carbon, because that's what the directions said for mine. They're working out well for me so far. Whatever fert you buy, just start with what the manufacturer recommends for dosing, as different ferts might have different directions. If they have multiple directions, start with their lowest recommended dose for your tank size and try that for a few weeks before moving up. It took somewhere between a few days and a week for me to really see a difference, but once I saw it, it cleared out pretty fast.
Great advice. Thank you!
I will be picking up some ferts today. Along with some otocinclus!