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Aquatic Philosopher
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, I want to do an experiment! (sort of) :read::nuts::lol:

So we know that automatic water change units exist but they are expensive (ish). So what about the rest of us? I have always argued that more water changes are better so I might as well put it to the test. I would also love for anyone else with some free time and/or nutrient problems to give this a whirl. I prefer would be a multiple case study analysis with multiple tank conducting about a 1% water change per day. I am looking for both qualitative and quantitative results. I personally will only be measuring nitrates (phosphate test is out of date and I really do not care about PH4 as much as I "should"). I figured a 1% WC would be easy since I am used to dosing vodka daily so daily habits are built in right now.

Ok details (called a methodology)... kinda

1% water change per actual max volume. I have a 40B with 10g of water in a 20L sump. For me that is exactly 1/2 gallons. I luckily have a 2 quart pitcher is I will remove water with the pitcher and add water with the pitcher. The goal is continual 1% water change per day. This is about 6.8% WC per week and a 13.6% water change bi-weekly. If I miss a day, I will note it but I will not make up for it. I will take photos and parameters weekly or more often as I feel. I am going to keep track of a very small piece of red monti to note SPS growth. I have a Ca Reactor so Ca/Alk changes are difficult to assign to WC alone but if there is someone else that is not supplementing Ca/Alk and wants to give the daily water change a try, I think it will be a good idea.

I mix vats of new salt water in a Rubbermaid Brute with a powerhead providing circulation. I will only calibrate the water for salinity (1.025) and will ignore temperature (normally unheated... I guessing the temp is around 65 degrees). I do heat the water before I add salt since it dissolves better but it is left with the heater unplugged to prevent calcium depositing on the heater while mixing. I will simply dip water out of the container and pour into the tank. Keep it simple. I should be able to do this is less than 30sec to a minute and I will do it when I feed the fish.


So where did this come from?
OK, so I was reading my most recent issue of Coral Mag. and was liking the ORA method of "consistently mediocre" over "occasionally excellent". I was thinking how I could apply the concept to my tank. Afterall, a lot of recent post on TRT have been talking about dosing (often dosing too much) and ORA's calcium levels were described as being below what most hobby would consider normal. So instead of daily dosages of two-part, give the tank a daily dose of new salt water! (Remove the old water first).
 

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Good idea Doc! I wish I could do it... I would just have a hard time doing it everyday. :( To much stuff going on. But I plan to tag along and see the results
 

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have you consider setting the skimmer roughly remove 1/2gal of dirty water daily and replacing what is taken out each night? I've thought about trying this for years.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
have you consider setting the skimmer roughly remove 1/2gal of dirty water daily and replacing what is taken out each night? I've thought about trying this for years.
You mean "wet" skimming (See my bad ideas in reef-keeping in my signature below... it is listed there).

Unfortunately it does not work as well as it seems. It reduces the skimmer's ability because it does not let it build a head (concentrated organics)... this the skimmate is not as concentrated as it would be otherwise. We want air to do out work for the skimmer not the water. Otherwise, this method reduces the skimmer to a air-stone. It is better to let the skimmer remove that 25-35% of the organics and then remove that 1%.
 

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Hmm... I haven't heard that before but I think the logic makes sense. So you're saying that dry skimming actually pulls out more junk then skimming wetter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, Dry (or drier) skimming works better with waterchanges than "wet skimming" works as a constant waterchange method. When you overly "wet skim" you are basically removing the skimmer from the tank's filtration. Consider it like "putting the pedal to the metal" while the transmission is in neutral.

It is the air that removes skimmate, not the water. Water pulled from the tank via skimming is "collateral damage" if you will.
 

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You are full of experiments Doc.

I am curious to see what results this will yield though. You are not exporting a large amount of nutrients over the duration of a week or 2 weeks. You will be adding a decent amount of trace elements back to the water, which could have some great results depending on coral uptake.

Here is a cool water change calculator
http://www.theaquatools.com/water-changes-calculator

The test in your case is different, but if it was some one with a high nitrate problem, lets say 100ppm. If they did this test for 100 days they would get their trates down to 36. This is assuming their new water is nitrate free, which is very unlikely.

For you, the daily addition of trace elements has huge potential given that salt mixes have lots of components that we do not test for. Having these elements readily available on a daily basis could make for some great results. Especially since typical water changes provide a high volume of said elements all at once. Then the question is, what happens when you stop doing this???
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Makes sense.
No worried, wet skimming was all the rage a few years ago. The problem is that the really wet skimmate needed to do a 0.5-1 gallon of daily water change just is not concentrated enough with organics. The organic concentration does not happen till there is foam thus making wet skimming enough and foam mutually exclusive. Even with drier foam, we are still exporting mostly water.
 

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I saw a thread quite a while ago where they showed with math that a 30% WC once a month actually removed more waste than 30 daily 1% WC's. Something to do with part of the 1% WC's being made up of the clean water added the day before. Sounded wierd to me, but I couldn't find a flaw in the math. Looking forward to seeing how this works out. Thinking the occupants will like the consistency of the small changes enough that even if it is slightly less efficient, it will still yield better results.
Good luck.
 

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I'm feeling it doc I'm gonna try this on my 36. I don't think I'll be able to perform 1 a day but maybe 5 a week. My 1% will be roughly .5 gal as well.
 

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I am tempted to give it a try, but it would not offer any information for your purposes, seeing that I don't test for anything.

It would be fairly simple too given that my total water volume with sump is around 10 gallons.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I saw a thread quite a while ago where they showed with math that a 30% WC once a month actually removed more waste than 30 daily 1% WC's. Something to do with part of the 1% WC's being made up of the clean water added the day before. Sounded wierd to me, but I couldn't find a flaw in the math. Looking forward to seeing how this works out. Thinking the occupants will like the consistency of the small changes enough that even if it is slightly less efficient, it will still yield better results.
Good luck.
Yes and no... it depends on when you decide to count the data. After 30 days, you will have less organics in the water after the 30% than with the 1% change... but it is not that simple as it seems. Here is a 1% WC vs a 14% bi-weekly WC over one year. As you can see, it is about which day to count the organics as on the day before the big WC, there is more organics than in the daily WC tank.

<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/2/7/2/8/8/1_v_14_505530.png" alt="1 V 14 505530" />

Also, for those folks not keen on WC... look at the difference when the organics plateau with a 20%WC and with a 10%Wc
<img src="http://www.thereeftank.com/gallery/files/2/7/2/8/8/10_v_20.png" alt="10 V 20" />


*** Edit*** I guess I should claim I assumed a 5 organic unit increase per week (or 0.7143 increase per day). This is theoretical and assumes a constant steady increase of a defined "organic" per day and does not reflect actual aquarium data
 

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I saw a thread quite a while ago where they showed with math that a 30% WC once a month actually removed more waste than 30 daily 1% WC's. Something to do with part of the 1% WC's being made up of the clean water added the day before. Sounded wierd to me, but I couldn't find a flaw in the math. Looking forward to seeing how this works out. Thinking the occupants will like the consistency of the small changes enough that even if it is slightly less efficient, it will still yield better results.
Good luck.
I concur. Aside from the hassle of daily water changes, I believe the there is no benefit and no dilution property.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It is interesting to consider the water changes are more of an activity that sets the theoretical MAXIMUM of the organics in the water compared to the idea that WC define the minimal ammout of organics in the water.


I also have a hunch that the rapid increase in the first 1/3 of a year of available organics (organics are increasing fast per day than in the latter 2/3 of a year) might also be correlated with "the uglies" while also waiting for certain algaes and other micro-organism reaching their peak carrying capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
either is fine... just note which one you do please. I will mostly scoop water out with the occasional siphon/vac
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Start whenever... I plan to post pics and start tonight
 
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