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Water Changes, do you do them?

Printed From: Utah Reefs
Category: Main
Forum Name: General Discussion
Forum Description: Posts that don't fit in any of the other categories.
Printed Date: February 20 2019 at 1:35pm

Topic: Water Changes, do you do them?
Posted By: Kevin
Subject: Water Changes, do you do them?
Date Posted: May 11 2018 at 9:31am
I am considering setting up a 120G tank.   I currently have a 30 gallon, and rarely do water changes.    If I upgrade I will be even less likely to do them.

How many of you do regular water changes on a larger tank?

If you don't do them, what do you do instead?

In your opinion can you have a beautiful tank without water changes?   Is it something that can be done long term or are you really just setting yourself up for failure?

Posted By: Krazie4Acans
Date Posted: May 11 2018 at 9:42am
I setup auto water changes on my 90 because I hated doing them manually.

I think you are really just trading work if you don't do them. The trace elements and nutrients that are being replenished with a water change still need to be replenished if you don't do them so you are either doing water changes and adding less extra stuff or not doing water changes and adding lots of extra stuff to make up for it.

The Triton method proves just that. No water changes with this method but you trade that for 7 different additives that you have to dose and monthly tests that you send in to monitor the levels.

My ocean.
90g (yup, won it!), 40g, 28g, & 10g Systems
PADI Advanced Open Water" rel="nofollow - Tank Thread:

Posted By: Adam Blundell
Date Posted: May 11 2018 at 8:56pm
I don't believe water changes are needed to add trace elements.
I believe water changes are purely for waste removal.
I also believe water changes are the best, and really do fix all water related problems.

A good debate for many years. They can't hurt, but certainly a huge population never performs a water change.



Posted By: WildBill
Date Posted: May 11 2018 at 9:07pm
I do water. Hangers faithfully, weekly. Mainly to maintain trace elements, and I wouldn’t like to swim in my own waste.

Posted By: Jesterrace
Date Posted: May 16 2018 at 1:45am
I do water changes weekly on my 90 gallon.  I know there are some fancy methods some folks use for going without, but they often end up being more work than the water change itself.  

Posted By: knowen87
Date Posted: May 16 2018 at 8:17am
 I also set up auto water changes. I hated doing them before. Now I just mix salt about 1 per month. Whenever I have stopped doing them I end up having issues. One time I had a massive algae outbreak with green hair algae everywhere. I was determined to conquer it and it took a lot of time. A lot of picking algae off of the rock and doing 10% water changes 3 times per week. I feel like I could have avoided that whole catastrophe had I just kept up on the water changes. Instead of creating a nightmare for myself I just automated the process and it has done well for me. 

As a person who always struggled doing water changes before I automated them, I will say that the best my tank ever looked when I was slacking on maintenance was when I was running bio pellets. But a large refugium with a very good light is looking promising too as that is what Triton commends. 

Posted By: Kevin
Date Posted: May 16 2018 at 10:17am
With your auto water changes, how often do they run, how many gallons are you changing per month, and how large is your tank setup (sump + tank) in gallons?

Posted By: knowen87
Date Posted: May 16 2018 at 3:15pm
I use an apex dos for the water changes. I change about 2gal per day which equates to 60 gal per month. I have a 180 gallon tank. I do have a fish room behind my tank which has a 60 gallon storage container and a drain so that makes it even easier. I refill the mixing tank about once per month. The dos spreads out the water changes so I think it runs once per hour. throughout the day. 

Posted By: sleepingdeep
Date Posted: May 16 2018 at 3:31pm
25 gallon tank, i change 3 gallons out every week. takes me about 10 minutes. i love having a nano tank.

Posted By: badfinger
Date Posted: May 16 2018 at 10:24pm
150 gallon w/40 sump. 5 gallon water change, every 4-6weeks.

Tank has started to do alot better once I cut back on water changes.

But then again, I have a oversized skimmer, bio-denitrater, and refugium.
The last Triton test I had low phosphates. So it all seems to be working well

Posted By: MadReefer
Date Posted: May 17 2018 at 7:45am
I've had some success without often water changes. Sometimes going a year or two without a change and things just grow and look happy. But without regular testing and additives, it seems like things go downhill slowly. I'm a terrible example of how a tank should be cared for and so I'm trying to sell my system.

Posted By: shaggydoo
Date Posted: May 17 2018 at 8:24am
I've always done water changes. On my 120G I did 10G a week, and on my 60G I do 5G a week. Whenever I see problems I up that. At times I miss a week, but I generally stick to a weekly schedule. I'm a constant observer of my tank (literally hours every day), and I notice healthier looking corals after every change. I'll never stop! :)

60g LPS Cube

Posted By: BobC63
Date Posted: May 17 2018 at 10:08am
Originally posted by Kevin Kevin wrote:

I am considering setting up a 120G tank.   I currently have a 30 gallon, and rarely do water changes.    If I upgrade I will be even less likely to do them.

How many of you do regular water changes on a larger tank?

If you don't do them, what do you do instead?

In your opinion can you have a beautiful tank without water changes?   Is it something that can be done long term or are you really just setting yourself up for failure?

I always do regular water changes of (usually) 10% - 20% monthly. Yes, they are a pain. BUT you can make it easier:

 - Figure out the amount you want to change out (for a 120G I would suggest 20G once a month) and get a container (water barrel, old aquarium, whatever) of that size. To make it really easier, put the container on wheels so you can just wheel it over to your display tank... if you use an RO system, run a line with a valve on it next to your ATO line so you can 'remotely' fill your water change container easily.

 - Dedicate a small circ pump / prop pump (like a Jebao or Koralia), a cheap water pump (like a Mag pump), a siphon hose, and a heater just for the water change container. Doesn't have to be expensive; you can get everything you need used here on the Buy / Sell Forum or on KSL.

 - Fill the container, add salt, start the pump / heater a few days ahead of the day you change the water. This way everything is warm and ready for when you need it.

 - If you follow the above, the actual water change of 20 G will take literally less than 15 minutes to (A) turn off your return pump (B) siphon out 20 G of old water - another tip, get *2* water containers of the same size and use the 2nd one to drain the exact correct amount of water that you will be replacing - (C)  pump in the new water (D) unplug the water change container pump / heater / etc (E) restart your display return pump (F) and roll all the water change equipment away to the closet / garage until next month

 - the key IMO is to make the water change process quick and easy so that you WILL do it every month... if it is a half - day hassle, then yeah, I wouldn't bother either...

As far as SHOULD you change out water..?


Yes, I know there are people who have 'decent' tanks that never (or almost never) do water changes.

 BUT, the ones out there with truly awesome larger tanks, keeping beautifully colored, well grown out SPS corals, super healthy fish, etc. - the Brad Syphus', Jeff Martin's, Bryan Bench's, ...

They ALL do regular water changes. ALL of them.

- My Current Tank: 150g Mixed Reef -

* Marine & Reef tanks since 1977 *

Posted By: Wrogers
Date Posted: May 18 2018 at 7:02pm
do regular water changes 20% monthly. It works for me  ;] I have a water room. I hold 100 gal of RODI and 30 gal of salt. I do the water changes the old fashion way.. Takes me about 30 min every week..

200 Gal Mixed Reef & 65 Gal Mixed Reef

William Rogers

Posted By: speyside712
Date Posted: July 10 2018 at 8:56pm
I domt do them often enough, and my tank does not look as good as I'd like it to due to that. And when I say often enough, I mean ever....

I find there is no method capable of removing nitrate anywhere near as effective as a water change. Ive tried everything, with little success.

This thread is the first place I've heard of automating water changes with the use of 2 dosing pumps, that sounds genius! I'm going to give that a shot. I assume you can run 1 from the sump down the drain, and the other from your new water source into the sump. Then just leave both on for the same amount of time every day.

Posted By: knowen87
Date Posted: July 11 2018 at 9:12am
speyside712, you would want to make sure that the dosing pumps are up to the task of moving that much water every day. You wouldn't want to use 1.1ml/hr pumps. 1 gallon is like 3700ml. I have a 180 gallon and I am removing like 8000ml per day. Thats a lot of work for a dosing pump if it is not made for it. 

Posted By: speyside712
Date Posted: July 12 2018 at 8:12am
My extra dosing pumps are 1.1 ml per minute, if I ran them 24/7 that would work out to a 0.41 gallons a day, which is just under 3 gallons a week. That's still a little low for my system thiugh, I have about 100 gallons of water total volume in the system.

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