General Aquaria Discussion • No water changes and no problem

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Postby kornphlake » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:27 pm

yeah, it seems to work out okay, keeping in mind most planted tanks don't have large messy cichlids. Plants make great filters but I'm still of the opinion that there are certain pollutants that the plants don't remove and some water changes are necessary for the health of the fish.

The tanks the guy on TPT has are more an exception than a rule. He's gotten lucky and balanced his fish load with the plant load, it could take years to recreate the same environment if something got out of whack.
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Postby lloyd » Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:40 pm

:? 20+ fish in a 75? wild discus? no water changes? no co2? i'd call/raise the tilter. :lol:
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Postby NorthShore » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:09 pm

Yep, even at the end of the thread Tom Barr makes references to water changes. In the smaller tank with the small group of tetras, fine. But with the fish load in the second tank? I guess it is quite possible he's doing without water changes, but I'd like to know his evap rate. :lol: I'm betting it's 10% weekly. :lol: :wink:
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Postby fishoverlivingspace » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:16 am

Its definitely do-able. There are still waters in nature that don't have much gas exchange going on at the surface, and don't have a lot of new water coming in or out. The thing is with this, that you can rarely have many fish in there. Its an interesting thing, and obviously its do-able, otherwise no one on a budget would have a planted tank, but having higher light, CO2, and dosing can expand your horizons as far as fish and plants go. He certainly has some great tanks for such low-maintenance though! Just the way nature intended it!
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Postby naegling23 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:10 pm

I noticed that he stated there were no water changes in the 20gal, but he didnt mention the discus tank, or did I miss that comment. It looks like no water changes in the 20, but its a tetra tank, so the bioload is low. He mentioned no co2 in the discus tank....its a nice looking tank for no co2, but if you do the right plants, its possible. Saw no mention of not doing water changes though.
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re: water changes in the 75..

Postby lloyd » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:36 pm

75 gallon
lighting 2x coralife t5 @ 56 watts each, 2x55 PC total of 222 watts/2.96 wpg
substrate is pure flourite
doseing - heaivy fish load and feeding twice a day. excell if i buy it.

thats about it for what do to these tanks. the 75 gets a water change every now and then but its none of that weekly waterchanges for discus nonsense.

-pasted this from his posting activity. apparently, the heavy fish load in the 75 is actually part of his success. (he spells worse than a college grad)
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Postby Number6 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:10 pm

Tom Barr is the master... and like any master, they are capable of bending rules further than anyone else.
I've had a "no" water change Discus tank... nutrient export is via plants and it takes a long time for wastes that plants don't remove to build up... in my experience it was 3 months. Even then, only a small 5g water change on my 60g was needed.
My bioload was high, but the Discus # was a single... so my experience isn't the same, but it's close enough.

These tanks are fun, but overall, I don't want another... way too boring.
I like change! :)
My WC cichlids are gonna be caught on rod n reel!
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Postby lloyd » Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:59 pm

i've read more on the topic since posting here. the idea seems to be much more popular than my ignorance had suspected. IME, every tank has a fuse in it somewhere. what is the Achille's heel of a set up like this?
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Postby fishoverlivingspace » Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:58 pm

I wouldn't say there's a weakness to it if you don't have a weakness to impulse-buying of new, cool fish, which we all tend to have at some point. I think every tank comes to a point where it needs a bit of an overhaul, but it can take a very long time for a tank like this, provided you balance the bio-load with the mass of the plants in the tank, which can be difficult for us impulse-buyers.
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Postby naegling23 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:17 am

as for the "weakness" in a tank like that. Sure you dont often do water changes, but your looking at frequent water testing, and a very careful balancing of the plants/fish/feeding/algae amoung other things. If the whole thing stays in balance, your golden, but if one thing, ie the lights stay on for an extra hour, the whole balance could be thrown off resulting in chaos. Beautiful job balancing the tank, I give him a world of credit, we should all understand our tanks and fish this well!

But of course, water changes are actually natural. It rains, and rivers/streams do drain off. I would also mention that in my weekly tank maintenance, water changes are only part of it, and really, they are not the majority of time I spend maintaining my tank. Trimming back plants, cleaning the gravel, glass, filter, etc take way more time than a simple water change. It seems like he is saving time and effort, but Id bet he spends a lot more time than you think on those tanks.
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