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AW: More musing on water change.
If you look up really old aquaristic books from the first half of the
century up to the fifties, you will find that they followed the reverse
policy than we do ourdays. The rule was to never change the water and to
leave the mud resulting from food decomposition in the tank.
Getting a tank to run was of course difficult because no equilibrium was
attained. But after awhile you had a very strong equilibrium. One german guy
reported in the web about his trials. He left a tank without changing water
for about one year, solely replacing the water which had damped out. The
tank had plants and fish.
He regularly measured the water parameters. They first started changin as
the water grew old. Thus no equilibrium was attained. The PH went down and
the KH also went down. The nitrite first went up, then down. Instead the
nitrates went up and first grew to very high levels, then started to go down
again. Same with phosphates which went up and up until it lowered again.
After some time, he noticed no further changes. The water had completely
stable parameters. Even after adding fresh water to replace that which
damped away, the parameters shortly changed and got back to its usual range
within minutes. He comcluded that the mud had some kind of buffer function.
He tested it further and mage a water change without taking off the mud. The
level of Nitrates of course diminished at once. But within minutes, it was
again at the same level. He tried to put some nitrates into the water and
within minutes it was back at its usual level.
It seems that such old systems have a ample biologogical system which acts
as buffer to keep the parameters stable.
For that reason it is recomended to leave the mud which accumulates in
filters or behind the sponge filter system which covers one side of the
> There is no equilibrium. and that is a common thought, that there
> must be. One adds food, the fish produce waste and evaporation adds
> to concentration. Partial changes only remove portions of it. The
> same food, fish waste and evaporation continues to build.
> There is only one way to get back to the start . . . Change it all.
> "Change as much water as often as you can."
> Charles H.
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