Water Changes - Good or Not?

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by Jaco Schoeman, 6 May 2010.

  1. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman MASA Contributor

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    Hi Guys

    I have been wanting to open a thread like this, more as refference for newbies. ;) There are a couple of FAQ's that floats inside many heads like:

    What are your thoughts about water changes?
    What are the pro's and con's?
    How often must one do a water change?
    What volume of water change should be done?
    Is water changes "diluting" your good bacteria life?

    Please feel free to add your 2c or even R2 here...

    Thanks ;)
     
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  3. Manic

    Manic Moderator

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    I've personally have had bad results with water changes and in particular sps corals. Since I've slowed down on my water changes I've noticed improved growth and colouration. I do however use tropic marine bio-calcium which actually contains all the elements that they add to their salt water. I dose this every day for my alk and calcium and as a bonus it adds trace elements every day.
     
  4. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    What are your thoughts about water changes?
    Best thing that 1 can do for your tank.

    What are the pro's and con's?
    Pros:
    Dilution of dirt
    Replenishing of trace elements
    ensuring that your water is stable
    Cons:
    Costs Money

    How often must one do a water change?
    Depends on stocking level of tank but ideally once a week

    What volume of water change should be done?
    usually 10%
    some people do 1% daily

    Is water changes "diluting" your good bacteria life?
    No
     
  5. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    1. In the ocean, the reefs actually gets a 100% waterchange on a daily basis

    2. Waterchanges dilutes excess nutrients

    3. It replaces used up trace elements like iodine

    4. More frequent smaller changes like 10-15% per week is better than 50% per month, the reason being that iodine for egg is removed fairly quickly out of the water by skimming and unless you dose iodine, your inverts and corals will "suffer" without it over a long term.

    5. You might get away with no waterchanges over long periods if you dose certain trace elements. But, this is mostly for experienced reefers and you must be able to test for what you dose. You never dose anything you cannot test for, cause how do you know the current levels and how much to dose of a certain chemical if you cannot check?

    6.Just take not that the new made up water must be the same temp and salinity than the current tank water to minimise shock on sensitive inverts.

    This is my opinion about waterchanges and what I read from most gurus.
     
  6. inflames

    inflames

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    Hi Jaco,

    I also started a thread about water changes sometime ago.
    After a hell of allot of posts and allot of reefers commenting, I came to a conclusion..

    We dont really know why we do water changes. There is no scientific proof that they need to be done on a regular basis, and then again what is regular? 10% once a week or 20% every 6 months? Also when we mix in the salt brands that we buy, the analysis of percentage mix of all the elements found in natural sea water are frightning to say the least! Some of the quatities were found to be 15 000% more than in Natural sea water.

    There are also reefers out there that have NEVER done a water change in a tank running for 6 years!!

    You will not get an answer of why we do them, or are they good or bad. You will get allot of personal comments and reasons (pro's and con's) on various systems that some guys do 10% religiously every week, and guys that maybe get around to a water change once a year! Is there any difference in their general health of thier systems?!?!

    Water changes are for you to decide on the benefits (if any) of doing them!
    Thats my 2cents!
     
  7. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    It's simple, it happens in the ocean and to keep it as natural as possible for the corals, it needs to happen in your tank ;)
    We are all trying to keep inverts and fish in a glass box and I know that is not natural, but at least try to make their stay as close to natural as possible by providing excellent water parameters, and a waterchange can do that if done correctly with good quality salt.
     
  8. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Hmmm, interesting inflames. I must agree there is a lot of "myth" and unanswered questions.

    I think water changes has A LOT to do with your filtration, and whether you are dosing or not. If you have calcium reactor for example, you actively dose, and water changes does then not "dose" calcium anymore. If your biological filtration is up to scratch, water changes may also be done less. If you run carbon, and replace it regularly, it helps to make the water "clear" and not turn green...

    So there are many factors to consider when deciding to "do" or "not do" water changes.

    My 2c is that it is much less effort and complicated to just do water changes. The "negative" effects of doing waterchanges are far less than NOT doing them.
     
  9. inflames

    inflames

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    Agreed with Tobes and Jaco,

    Don't ask why...just do them! If you really want to know why, go get a degree in scientific water makeup. Otherwise just do that water change...IF you want to!

    There are 2 many variables to quantify consumption of various elements in Sea water in our tanks, yet we try to master them and keep them constant. We only really monitor (well some of us!) the main ones that are reletively simple to tests for with reletively accurate tests, Calc, Mag, Alk. But then again if the other "trace elements" (something like 70 odd!) cannot be tested for or even match in the salt mixes we use, then are we really 100% convinced its a good thing?!?!?
     
  10. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    only if what your putting in is better than what your taking out.
     
  11. inflames

    inflames

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    Great point...and how certain are you that the salt mixes have in what they claim they have. Do a little research on this, and then decide!:whistling:
     
  12. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    like everything in reefing, do what works for you...
    listen to what others say, and try, and if at first you dont succeed, try again using another route, eventually you will find a regime that works for you
     
  13. inflames

    inflames

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    :thumbup::thumbup::yeahdude::yeahdude::1:Agreed!
     
  14. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    spot on dallasg!:thumbup:
     
  15. Neil H

    Neil H Moderator MASA Contributor

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    See this is such a difficult topic....

    Newby comes alonmg and sees ohhh this water change business is nothing but a money making scheme, which is promoted by salesmen with the great logic of replacing "trace elements" not that many of them would be able to name more than 2 or 3 of these mythical elements.... is this the case ? Well IMO yes and no

    and one MUST distinguish between NSW and SSW, if you do a bit of reading as Inflames pointed out some values are several orders of magnitude higher in SSW than in NSW, i worked out the if i assume that one element (i honestly cant remember which one) was depleted from NSW levels to zero in 2 weeks in my tank (in itself fairly unlikely esp over 2 weeks) then it would take me 9.2 years to deplete the element from SSW elemental concentrations (average value of 6 diff salt brands if i remember correctly)..... IS this elevated trace element concentration not doing more harm than good....?

    there should be a seperation between SSW and NSW water change regimes IMO

    Water changes ARE required when you start out, using a DSB as an example it takes months for it to mature yet we stock after the cycle is done in 2 months if we are patient...... so in the beginning yes Wc are critical, later on when you understand your filtration you will also know very quickly when and how much water needs changing.... I strive for a system where my filtration takes care of cleaning the water and i dont have to rely on water changes in order to keep my water clear of pollutants. I dose with various elements to take care of the major depletion in my tank....

    So what am i getting at? well precisely that this is a difficult subject to quantify and always an emotive one, I am against using water changes as a control of nutrients in the water, that is what filtration is for !
     
  16. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    My post is aimed at noobs cause their filtration might not be up to scratch and then the nutrients needs to be diluted with regular water changes to prevent ammonia and nitrites to harm fish or high nitrates to harm inverts and corals.
    It was mentioned here before and I'll say it again

    "Dilution is the solution to polution" - Anthony Calfo


    Good post Neil :)
     
  17. PeterL

    PeterL

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    Tagging along ;)
     
  18. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    I have a client that has one of the only two sterile pharmaceutical labs in Africa. They also produce something like 60 or 80000 litres of RO per day, and lab tested 0.00ppm just as a note of interest...

    Anyway, het told me I could bring him a water sample and they can actually test for all elements, as well as ppm.

    I think I must do a bit of a test, maybe let him test newly mixed SSW, then let him test it after a week or two having been in the tank.

    I would also like having this test done with different types of salt, as I use TM. And even then maybe different systems too, like softies, SPS and LPS dedicated systems, as element consumption would differ in each.

    I think this might give me an indication of exactly how elements are used, and how often wc must be done if only done for refilling your trace elements.
     
  19. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    now that would be interesting jaco
     
  20. brentv

    brentv

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    My sytem is running a calcium reactor, I also dose Kalk etc... I think my main reason for doing water changes (10%) every 2 weeks is because I have access to natural sea water and I'm adding new 'bugs' as well as trace elements
     
  21. DragonReef

    DragonReef

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    Hell of a topic !

    My advice is this:
    When starting out do as the books and forums advise - Regular water changes.
    After 5 years or so, you start figuring it out for yourself, then do what works for you :)
     
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