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[APD] RE: water changes

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> >I've got kind of a stupid question. I know for sure that one of the
> >to we do water changes in a established tank is to reduce the nitrate
> >in your tank. 

Many add KNO3 to keep enough NO3 in the tank since plants gobble it up if
you give them a good place to grow.
This can be  true for both non CO2 and CO2 enriched aquariums.
Adding more fish alone will not satisfy the N needs for plants in most
tanks, topping off with KNO3 is wiser than maxing your fish load to the
plant need.
Too many fish=> algae, this is NOT due to excess NO3. It is clearly due to
excess NH4.

That's why we can add high levels of NO3= no algae and add even a small
amount of fert's with NH4/urea preset in them and get algae.
Fish waste are first NH4=> NO2=> NO3. Plants will get some of the NH4, but
if you add too much, then that system will fail and then you'll get algae.

>But what happens when you put a lot of fast growing plants in
> >your tank? I would think that these undemanding plants will use up the
> >excess nitrates.

You are right, even picky plants will as well.

> >
> >You can just add more water as it evaporates from the tank and fertilizer
> >for the plants. Do you still need to do water changes in this case?

Depends, non CO2 tanks grow slow, so this allows a great deal of wiggle
room for a routine.
More light= less wiggle room.

Water changes are used for re setting the tank after you mess up your
dosing routine, whether it be from feeding fish too much/too little, dosing
too much, too little ferts.

They are useful for remaining dirt and detritus as well.

For new folks, and older hands......water changes can be used to avoid
testing and to maintain a constant level of nutrients/environmental
Done often, this provides a very stable place for plants/fish etc.

Your skill at this can be improved over time.
Reducing the need for water changes, but if you want to do lots of water
changes, it will simply drive things to higher level, but there is a trade
off with the amount of work you get vs the results.

That is much more subjective. Some folks do not mind a little algae, some
have easy to grow plants and do not care about scaping.
Others are very picky about their garden and would rather keep up on things
with a simple way to maintain the environment. 
Water changers are very easy if you use a python or similar device or add
an automatic water changer.
I turn a valve and the water drains in a  few minutes, I turn another and
the water refills.
Add a 1/4 teaspoon of ferts and a couple of other items and I'm good to go
for a couple of days, then dose again, then once more before the next
week's water change rolls around.

Looking at the plants, you can see if you need to add the ferts or not.
Once you get a feel for the way good plant health and growth looks, then
you can try longer periods without water changes should you chose to do so.
I prefer a simple weekly routine for the higher light tanks, keeps me
involved with the tank and is easy to do with less work or testing,
something I do a great deal of and am not looking to do when I come home. 

> >-WC

> I don't personally think it's possible to achieve 0 
> nitrates through plant absorption.
> - Chris

Oh that's very easy to show, anyone can do that, simply remove a few more
fish till the NO3 drops to zero or add more weeds.
Plants will remove PO4 down to about 50 parts per billion (0.05ppm), below
this, they are no good.
About the same for NO3

Tom Barr

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