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Old 05/22/2014, 02:55 PM   #1
watchguy123
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Water change--how much is too much

I have never understood the rationale for the amount or frequency of water changes. I do understand the basis of water changes. ie, replacing trace elements and removing unwanted elements. I realize there are those that prefer no water changes but what I want to know is how much is too much

I have a 180 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump and 20 gallon refugium but between the rock and sump equipment (skimmer, etc), I estimate 180 is the water volume. Lots and lots of coral and a good assortment of fish. Calcium reactor, chaeto and occasional gfo in a reactor. Parameters stable and appropriate.

I have historically done 10 gallons weekly because it was convenient.

What happens if I start 5 gallon water changes daily. Am I going to adversely remove plankton that my corals are feeding on or create some other unintended negative effect. The goal is help keep the water near ideal conditions. I want to make sure sure there is no buildup of unwanted elements as well as no depletion of desired water elements. I don't plan on changing any of my current husbandry efforts (skimming, chaeto, parameter testing, etc).


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Old 05/22/2014, 04:44 PM   #2
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I'm curious as we'll ...... 5 gallons a day to me seems small enough to not cause major perimeter changes or if it does would be gradual ..tagging along


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Old 05/22/2014, 04:48 PM   #3
Randy Holmes-Farley
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I show what different sizes and types of water changes can accomplish here:

Water Changes in Reef Aquaria
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-10/rhf/index.php

I generally recommend about 1% daily, but more isn't a concern and is likely beneficial if you have good quality salt water. Your 5 gallons daily is probably about 3%.


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Old 05/22/2014, 04:58 PM   #4
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As long as its not causing shifts in your water parameters and temp on a daily basis I think the more the better.


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Old 05/22/2014, 07:37 PM   #5
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My tank is very similar to yours(in terms of volume). I went from changing 15-20 gallons a week to 4 gallons daily over the past few months. Tank never looked better. It is a mixed reef and SPS are thriving. A 4 Gallon change only takes a few minutes.
I vacuum and clean sponges in sump every 2 weeks


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Old 05/22/2014, 10:04 PM   #6
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My idea is certainly not original. I don't remember if it was on this forum or another where a fellow reefer has been doing these sorts of water changes. And I am clear on making sure that the new water has similar parameters as the display ( temp, pH, alk, salinity, etc)

My thoughts were that I could diminish nitrates and phosphates through these water changes as per Randy Holmes-Farley: Water Changes in Reef Aquaria http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-10/rhf/index.php. And as I've already said I currently have a skimmer, use occasional GFO in a reactor, I also have a small bag of carbon (the black carbon not bio pellets ), Chaeto.

What I would most like to do is avoid long term accumulation of anything toxic and avoid depletion of anything essential like a trace element.

I believe I test parameters reasonably regularly but I hate test kits because of their seemingly poor consistency and accuracy. It is difficult to be committed to testing regularly when you are doubtful about the results. And yes I have tried Hanna checkers, Red Sea, Salifert, etc. My favorite test kit is the Hanna alk checker because it does seem accurate and consistent. I only test for alk, mag, ca, salinity, less frequently for nitrates and phosphates. I know there are more test kits for more elements but I am limited by my drive, frustration with current test kits reliability and quite frankly my unwillingness (laziness) in wanting to add a gazillion trace elements

My tank has been up for years with lots of live rock and a deep sand bed.

Changing only five gallons means I don't have to turn off my return or power heads. The only thing I have to turn off during the water change is my ATO. It's fast and reasonably easy, plus it gives me an excuse to stand in front of the tank for a few minutes and observe and enjoy

What I don't know is if there are organisms in the water column that are beneficial,and whether I am removing too much of these with the frequent water changes.


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Old 05/22/2014, 10:29 PM   #7
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This is a very interesting thread for me..I am quit new, and have been doing a lot of research..

As for the very last question, I would understand it, as No you are not pulling out and beneficial organisms when you do a water change, and if so, it would be very minimal..most of your beneficial organisms are in your rock, and your sand bed, and as you have it the cheato......

I say this because my way of thinking is, if you did pull out that many beneficial organisms, than things could not thrive..and quite obviously they in fact do..they thrive even when a 50% or large water change is done..

I may very well be way off, but thats my 2c


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Old 05/22/2014, 10:36 PM   #8
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I doubt 5 gallons daily would hurt your system, but that is a lot, IMO. Probably not necessary. I do 4.6 gallons daily in my 450 net gallon system, or about 1%.


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Old 05/22/2014, 11:24 PM   #9
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I doubt 5 gallons daily would hurt your system, but that is a lot, IMO. Probably not necessary. I do 4.6 gallons daily in my 450 net gallon system, or about 1%.
Five gallons was chosen, because it is convenient. Drain five gallon jug of tank water, replace with five gallon jug of new water. I imagine I could find a smaller container like a 2 gallon as a possibility.

But the point of the thread and my question really is how much is optimal as well as easily manageable.


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Old 05/22/2014, 11:50 PM   #10
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Personally, do you real ally think you'll keep up with doing this daily? For how long? I think the objective of having a reef tank is to minimize the maintenance, or at least make it non-bothersome. Doing daily water changes seems like it might cause burnout.


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Old 05/22/2014, 11:58 PM   #11
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Personally, do you real ally think you'll keep up with doing this daily? For how long? I think the objective of having a reef tank is to minimize the maintenance, or at least make it non-bothersome. Doing daily water changes seems like it might cause burnout.
Perhaps but I feed my fish daily. I look at everything daily, check out skimmer if its functioning correctly as well as everything else, daily. Look at coral, polyp extension, fish daily. I have an apex controller but I still visually try to check each piece of equipment as well as livestock , literally everything daily. So far its been years and of course my diligence wavers in upkeep but not in observation. Best part of a reef tank is staring at it.

So even if I waiver a little bit, I don't think it will make much of a difference. I guess I think of it all like flossing, just get up every morning and do it.


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Old 05/23/2014, 05:44 AM   #12
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FWIW, It is easy to automate water changes of any size. Mine are automatic at ~1% daily, but the type of pump I use can be obtained in 15 or 30 gallon per day models, and a timer can drop that back to what you want.

FWIW, I think that big water changes daily might be among the best filtration methods for nanotanks, and they might not need anything else.


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Old 05/23/2014, 12:18 PM   #13
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FWIW, I do 1% daily and a little extra probably totaling another 10% per month( rarely as much as 5% at a time) for maintenance related tasks.


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Old 05/23/2014, 05:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watchguy123 View Post
Five gallons was chosen, because it is convenient. Drain five gallon jug of tank water, replace with five gallon jug of new water. I imagine I could find a smaller container like a 2 gallon as a possibility.

But the point of the thread and my question really is how much is optimal as well as easily manageable.
I emulated TMZ's and Randy's practice of 1% daily. Their advice is always good, IMO.

My water change is automated via a Cole Parmer Dual Head Masterflex Peristaltic Dosing pump. Bought the entire setup off ebay used for $225. Probably one of the best things I have done for my reef and myself.




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Old 05/23/2014, 08:38 PM   #15
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Now that is one very serious auto water changer. Very cool


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Old 05/23/2014, 09:36 PM   #16
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Now that is one very serious auto water changer. Very cool
Thank you. The thing about it is it needs no check valves, float valves, or anything. The three pump rollers keep the lines sealed at all times. Run it at whatever speed for 15 minutes to get a flow rate, then have it run via a timer to change the volume you need. Change out the tubing every 6-9 months. Hardcore equipment reliability, but a very functionally simple setup.


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Old 12/04/2017, 10:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcroporAddict View Post
Thank you. The thing about it is it needs no check valves, float valves, or anything. The three pump rollers keep the lines sealed at all times. Run it at whatever speed for 15 minutes to get a flow rate, then have it run via a timer to change the volume you need. Change out the tubing every 6-9 months. Hardcore equipment reliability, but a very functionally simple setup.
AcroporAddict, Do you mind if I ask you what tubing you use with your dual head cole-parmer pump and where you get it from? I have one such pump and looked into ordering new tubing from cole-parmer a while back. With so many choices on their site, I wasn't sure which tubing to select and ended up shelving the idea.

Thanks


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Old 12/04/2017, 10:21 PM   #18
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AcroporAddict, Do you mind if I ask you what tubing you use with your dual head cole-parmer pump and where you get it from? I have one such pump and looked into ordering new tubing from cole-parmer a while back. With so many choices on their site, I wasn't sure which tubing to select and ended up shelving the idea.

Thanks
It is going to depend on the heads you have. If you have Easy Load heads, then you want the norprene type tubing as it’s the most durable. There are different size tubing and different heads support different sizes. Ideally your pump would support LS17 tubing. If it were me, I would go from LS17 tubing to John Guest fittings and then use 1/4” RODI type tubing. For that combo, this is what you would need.
Several feet of this tubing. Each head needs about 8-10” but you want to have spare so you can swap tubing every 4-6 months or as needed based on how much water you are changing which impacts the amount of wear on the tubing.

LS17 equivalent tubing. Note, that is is for easy load heads that support LS17.
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=25534

Qty 4 1/4” x 1/8 John Guest fittings :
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=42009

Qty 4 1/4” x 1/8” barb fittings:
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=36204

Qty 4 snap rings:
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=34082


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Old 12/05/2017, 12:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
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but what I want to know is how much is too much
Every tank is different.


I'm set up for 100g water changes for about 260g ish total volume, currently I tend to do every 4-6 weeks depending on my time.

My problem is my sand bed has a 5-7 year capacity and when its new my tank will remain perfect sometimes with yearly water changes.

I just redid my DSB and I'm going to see if I change water every 4-6 without fail, if I can stretch the DSB to a decade.

My sand turns rock hard a inch or two down with time, and coral growth leaves me with a few inches in front only that I am able to keep the sand from turning solid. This time around I may throw a clean up crew for sand sifting. Problem in the past is that for over 2 decades I have had a hidden pistol shrimp that eats what ever I have put in the tank. This time around I think its gone. No more tapping in the midnight.


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Old 12/05/2017, 02:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slief View Post
It is going to depend on the heads you have. If you have Easy Load heads, then you want the norprene type tubing as it’s the most durable. There are different size tubing and different heads support different sizes. Ideally your pump would support LS17 tubing. If it were me, I would go from LS17 tubing to John Guest fittings and then use 1/4” RODI type tubing. For that combo, this is what you would need.
Several feet of this tubing. Each head needs about 8-10” but you want to have spare so you can swap tubing every 4-6 months or as needed based on how much water you are changing which impacts the amount of wear on the tubing.

LS17 equivalent tubing. Note, that is is for easy load heads that support LS17.
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=25534

Qty 4 1/4” x 1/8 John Guest fittings :
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=42009

Qty 4 1/4” x 1/8” barb fittings:
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=36204

Qty 4 snap rings:
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=34082

Hey Slief, Thanks for these links. This is most helpful. I checked and the pump heads support LS17 (1/4" inner diameter) tubing. They also support the slightly larger LS18 (5/16" inner diameter) tubing.
Should I consider the LS18 tubing since this is for water changes? I figure the fewer RPMs needed, the better. Perhaps 17 just works better for water changes with regards to vacuum or something along those lines?





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Old 12/06/2017, 01:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ReefKeeper64 View Post
Hey Slief, Thanks for these links. This is most helpful. I checked and the pump heads support LS17 (1/4" inner diameter) tubing. They also support the slightly larger LS18 (5/16" inner diameter) tubing.
Should I consider the LS18 tubing since this is for water changes? I figure the fewer RPMs needed, the better. Perhaps 17 just works better for water changes with regards to vacuum or something along those lines?


If it supports LS18 tubing than why not. You will run the motor at lower RPM's or for less time which is always a good thing. You will just need to look on the US Plastics site for the correct barbed fittings. You could still pair it with the 1/4" RODI tubing though.


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Old 12/06/2017, 06:30 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slief View Post
If it supports LS18 tubing than why not. You will run the motor at lower RPM's or for less time which is always a good thing. You will just need to look on the US Plastics site for the correct barbed fittings. You could still pair it with the 1/4" RODI tubing though.
Perfect! This will help me to start my own automated water changes. So Us plastics it is and I’ll be sure to include the fittings to pair the LS18 tubing with 1/4” rodi tubing. Thank you!


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