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Who has successful low water-change setups?
I don't want to give beginners ideas, since this is experimentation
and can easily lead to a disastrous tank if you don't know how to look
for and resolve tank problems...
Who's had a successful long-term setup (approaching a year or more) with
minimal and/or infrequent water changes (<10%/month or so on average). If
you had one for less, what caused you to return to frequent water changes?
I'd like to know a little bit about your setups, the plants that do best
in your setups, and compromises you had to make to make the tanks run
smoothly. Was there a breaking point when you had to do a large water
change? What was the top-off or water change rate? Any fertilizers?
What is your top-off water make-up? Any useful anecdotes?
I've been inadvertently just topping-off over 4 months now and my plants
are still doing great, though growing slower than at first. I turned
off my CO2 injection 3 months ago, and my light levels are around 2
Watts/gal, with morning light hitting the clear back side of the tank
and ambient sky the rest of the day. I've got a light fish load, soil
w/ Jobes pieces deep under the gravel, no filtration, one powerhead
circulating the water in my 45 gal breeder. I've got my nutrients ready
in case I notice any deficiencies, but I've only had to dose once for
potassium early after my tank settled in. My water is still pretty clear,
though it's definitely yellowed some since my last real water change.
I'd like to keep running in this ultra-low-maintenance mode, but I'd like
to get some pointers from those who've been here before. I'm looking for
ballpark numbers on the amount of time it takes for high concentrations of
toxic chemicals to build up and possible correlations between plant species
used and the prevention of this build-up.
Carlos E. Munoz
<cmunoz at crystal_cirrus.com>