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[APD] RE: Water changes for a non CO2 planted tank

> I wouldn't recommend across the board that tanks without
> added CO2 not get large regular water changes -- Not saying
> Tom said otherwise, I'm just want to express a point.
I was specific => non CO2 methods.
Not across the board, some folks might not see the non CO2 planted tank
I think that's the part you sought to clarify and point out. 
That way I am not addressing every possible method, 1/2 method, or odd ball
set up.
Not other methods or not tanks overloaded with fish.
Not tanks with wet/drys, 5 plants in a large tank etc.
Water changes are not safer if you use the non CO2 method correctly anymore
than water changes are using the CO2 method if you want it include
potential issues.
I have far less algae issues helping folks with non CO2 tanks than folks
that add CO2 with planted tanks in general.
Once set up properly (I am not including otherwise), non CO2 methods are
Having too many fish is an issue for all tanks, not specifically for non
CO2 planted ones.

The point is why non CO2 do well without water changes and why water
changes cause issues. 
Diana Walstad proposed a few ideas which I found not to be true and these
ideas are also __testable__ (which I have tested). 
> Not all tap has a lot of CO2 in it and in places where it
> does, it's not all year round. 
If you measure it, I think you'll find in all of the cases, there is higher
CO2 content in the tap than a non CO2 planted tank.
Think about that for a moment. Even ambient tap water at the same temp will
have more CO2 than a non CO2 planted tank water.
You have plants removing the CO2 below ambient levels (none is being added
via gas/Excel etc) when the lights are on, most folks do water changes
during the day and when the lights are on.
I'm not going to discuss all the exceptions here. 
That's not the point.
The point is that messing with CO2 levels with a low CO2 adapted plant is
not good, it takes time for the plants to gear up for low or high CO2
levels, roughly a week.
There is no "exception " to that. 
Rather than finding every exception and getting lost with all the
variables, look at what is best for the plant.
Look at what and why they respond to changes in their environment.
> Also, diff tanks without
> added CO2 can vary from each other a lot in terms of fish
> load, how fast organics build up, amount of light, etc.
True, but then we are no longer doing a non CO2 method, rather, a 1/2
method focusing on too many fish to have a balanced non CO2 plant tank.
This statement is true for any tank. I can say the same thing about a CO2
method, adding too many fish and not doing enough water change will cause
algae and other problems.
I don't have to qualify these issues each time I suggest something with
respect to CO2 enriched tank, no need here either. 
When folks have issues and ask for help, look into setting a non CO2 tank
up, these questions (fish loading) come up(hopefully). 
I talk about them each time, that is the main dosing non CO2 plant tanks
get. Perhaps other folks don't, but I'm not other folks either. 

> addition, folks without added CO2 are often beginners that
> aren't going to be using a lot of test kits and water
> changes are a good way to keep things from building up too
> much. 
Again, I can certainly say the same thing about CO2 use and testing.
I use non CO2 tanks, I think I am not a beginner.
What is too much(I can think of NH4/NO3, otherwise I have no idea) ? Why
would someone have too much in a well set up non CO2 tank?
If I give someone advice and they do not take it or only do 1/2 of it,
heck, that sure ain't my fault.  
Part of the point of non CO2 tanks is not using test kits. 
Same for EI or PPS if you use the plants and algae rather than test kits.
Most folks get into the hobby not to test water, rather to grow plants and
keep fish in a healthy environment.
How many got into this hobby to test their water and to collect test kits?
By the same token, the same can be said about water changes, they can be
automated and avoided(indicator plants or test kits), but there's some
utility in the cleanliness and removal of organics, but............... the
non CO2 method avoids both water changes and test kits effectively. 
Avoiding testing for CO2 makes it even easier. CO2 is a tough issue for
many and not easy all and all to test for and stabilize.
ONe has to decide between possibly needing to dose
> ferts if doing regular large water changes and possibly
> having unwanted accumulations if one foregoes them.
Well then CO2 additions should be considered if large water changes are
needed, or better yet, less fish in a small glass box.
Excel or CO2, alternatively for non CO2 plant tanks: allowing the CO2 to
degas might help from the tap water for adding it to the non CO2 tank if
you like to do frequent water changes.
Which is what I'm getting at..............in terms of a solution but it'll
still have higher CO2 levels in general than the non CO2 plant tank due to
the plant uptake of CO2, only during the early hours before the lights come
on will the CO2 be relatively similar with ambient degassed tap water at
similar temps 
> Water changes are probably a safer bet as a general
> recommendation. 
For "general" tanks............but I was specific about non CO2 planted
tanks that are properly set up.
Once a tank is relatively established, one
> can start to space water changes farther apart and see how
> far one can go without developing problems. But I'm sure
> others have diff views, too.
You can add activated carbon in the beginning. Works for Amano(removes the
Mulm, detritus from an established tank works very well. Automatically
> Regular waterchanges also help some of us to remember to do
> some of the more thorough maintenance ;-)
So do Saturdays/Sundays:-).
> Scott H.
My point is WHY a lack of water changes stabilizes a non CO2 tank and
reduces algae. Diana proposed allelopathy, competition and limitation.
I have not found these to be true, for competition to occur, the algae and
plants need to be in the same/similar niches, they are not. Light is the
main competitive element for them if you wanted to chose some overlap.
Limitation: plants will be limited..........whether or not substrate ferts
are added (plants will leak these same nutrients out into the water column
to the extent algae will be far from limited) long before algae will be.
This is true for either a CO2 enriched tank or a non CO2 tank. 
Allelopathy: what are the odds that all 200-300 species of submersed
aquatic plants have the same effect and the same chemical to repress
algae(all species)?
CO2 plays a huge role in plant growth, as well as algae's growth. 
Not doing water changes and adaptations to a low CO2 environment is a far
more plausible mechanism and something that would be significant. 
High/low CO2 adapted plants and algae have been studied extensively.

Tom Barr
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