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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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:? 20+ fish in a 75? wild discus? no water changes? no co2? i'd call/raise the tilter. :lol:
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
lloyd said:
:? 20+ fish in a 75? wild discus? no water changes? no co2? i'd call/raise the tilter. :lol:
fishoverlivingspace said:
Its definitely do-able.
Of course, it's definitely doable. He is doing it. What surprises me is that he is doing it and having a great success with discus. I wouldn't mind not doing so much water changes in my 265G discus tank, but can't risk messing around and killing my fish along the way. But I am intrigued to say the least. Such lush planted look with minimal maintenance.

I do have an experience with my 20G setup a few years ago in which I never really did much maintenance and I had plants growing like crazy. Didn't lose fish either, but I had a few hardy fish. But the plants stopped growing as much and I started having hardtime maintaining the plants, and now I am thinking it may be when I got more serious with fish keeping and started doing regular water changes. I have the same 20G going again in my basement, and I have a few plants in it. I am going to experiment with it again and see how it goes.
 

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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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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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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! :)
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As for the delicate balance thing... I don't think it's that sensitive, especially if the tank is bigger. I think the tank will balances itself out if the bio-load increases or decreases. But that's just a guess on my part. Don't really know how it will work out.

But with my 20G that I had, what I did can not have maintained any balance as everything I did for that tank was random. But plants grew like crazy and all my fish did pretty well. I actually kept a pair of German Rams for a long time in that 20G, I haven't been able to keep other German Rams since then over the last few years as long as that first pair even though I am much better fish keeper.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
By the way, a few pics of the discus tank.

I wouldn't say that these are the best looking discus out there, but I have seen some that are in a far worse shape than these that are under great care.





 
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