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[APD] Water changes yet again

Art wrote:

>> I agree with most of what you said.  However, I don't think any of us
water changes.  We have been around long enough to realize that a good water
change can solve a lot of things and should be considered a good thing.

What I draw an issue with is having to do large weekly water changes to
counter the large nutrient input.  As I mentioned before, I would not like
to tell a friend that is looking to get into planted aquariums that he has
to be ready to commit to 50% weekly water changes.  This is especially true
if they do not have easy access to a semi automatic, hose system and must
rely on buckets.

What I would likely tell them is to use the mega dosing method until they
get the hang of things and can afford to invest in good test kits.  Then
begin to adjust nutrient input levels accordingly.

For what it's worth, I routinely do 25% water changes every 2-3 weeks, but
have gone 4-5 weeks when things get busy. <<

Gee, we still think alike, even this many years post-Fishnet.<g>

I would (and do) give beginners pretty much the same advice you do.  I have
to say that even without mega-dosing, (is that a new term?<g>) When people
have a half-decent water supply, and will REALLY do a 25-30% water change
every two weeks, even novices rarely run into problems that can't be
corrected with minor tweaking, with or without test kits.

For our school tanks, some of which are now into their EIGHTH YEAR, (That's
fantastic, when I think about it!<g>) We don't even HAVE test kits at
school.  Our teachers have learned to be very observant, and generally do
great with their tanks.  The tanks are moderate size, (mostly between
20-40G), moderate light, yeast reactor CO2 tanks.  They are heavily planted
with pretty "easy" plants for the most part, and the tanks are lightly
stocked with fish.  When we set up a new tank for someone, we usually can
populate it with both fish and plants grown in other tanks in the school.
The teachers are very good about doing their every-other-week water changes
during the school year.  During the summer, the fish get fed (lightly) only
3 days a week, and the teachers work in two teams to do water changes once a
month on all the tanks, so they each only have to come to school once in the
whole summer.

My experience has been that with these moderate growth tanks, if you USUALLY
stay on top of things and change enough water regularly, tanks can withstand
a pretty long period of neglect without running into much trouble.  I think
with stronger growth tanks, particularly with a lot of fast growing stem
plants, high light, higher dosing, etc., it's much easier to get things out
of whack without big and frequent water changes.  I think that's what Tom is
referring to when he talks about re-setting the tank.  It gets rid of a lot
of the variables.

Personally, I am too busy (too lazy?<g>) to push my tanks to the limit all
the time.  As I mentioned, if I have a problem with a tank, I will certainly
increase the water changes, both in terms of frequency and amount of water
changed.  But on a regular basis, like you, I tend to change 25-30% every
two weeks or so.  AND, like you, I have CERTAINLY let it go considerably
longer upon occasion. ;-)  Those who attended the convention this year, got
to see one of my tanks in a shameful state of neglect,  (the water was down
about 6" from evaporation, the plants were laying across the whole surface,
and there was just about every type of algae known to the aquarium hobby
growing rampant in the tank<g>) and also how quickly it came back around
with a few weeks of TLC. (and it really WAS just "TLC", not Intensive

To get back to your first statement, there WERE a few people here who were
claiming that big water changes were "dangerous" in various ways.  My
argument was with the idea that larger water changes (let's say 50-90%) were
somehow inherently risky.  They're not, unless the tank has been neglected
for a long time.


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