The Reef Tank banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know this is going to create a firestorm and a huge debate, but everything I thought I knew about this hobby was turned upside down Sunday on a visit to a friends house. He had just taken down his 125g, which I am buying from him by the way, and was in the process of cleaning it. During our discussion, he mentioned his favorite thing about keeping a Saltwater tank was that he didn't have to really do anything to it. My response was, "Well, except for the monthly water changes, ha ha ha". He then told me that HE HAD NOT PERFORMED A WATER CHANGE IN THREE :3: (3) "3" YEARS!!!!. He has some of the healthiest, biggest, hardy fish I have ever seen. I didn't know Clowns got that big, and his damsel is huge. All of which he has had for three years. I remember when he got them, it is his fault I am in the hobby. He has a few softies that he keeps and several fish. The softies look good and the tank is awesome. Now, let the barage of "Oh my Goodnesses" and "Jeez louises" begin. Somebody fill me in on the no water change thing. I really like that idea and I'm considering giving it a try. Here are his tank specs:

125Gal
1 Hallide attached to his homemade canopy
10 Gal sump w/bio balls and filter (Filter changed monthly, sits in drawer)
Skimmer
UV Light
30lbs of live rock (roughly)
About 1 1/2 of live sand
10 Fish of various kinds (All huge and healthy)
Mushrooms
GSP
Water changes?? (Not in 3 years)
Water Parameters?? (He stopped testing 2 1/2 years ago) :eek:




Let the Debate begin.......READY!!! FIGHT!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
perhaps it is a way for salt makers to send thier kids to college. Maybe your friend ment that he did not do a thorough cleaning and only did a 20% water change. What kind of plants did he have...where did the nitrate go?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Bubbashrimp said:
perhaps it is a way for salt makers to send thier kids to college. Maybe your friend ment that he did not do a thorough cleaning and only did a 20% water change. What kind of plants did he have...where did the nitrate go?
There was no doubt about what he told me. There was no 20% water change, no plants, just the bio balls and a filter in the sump that sat in a drawer that he changed monthly. He did top off with freshwater, but NO WATER CHANGES. My Nitrates are at zero and I'm guessing they will stay there since I have a refugium. Before I installed the fuge, they ran anywhere from 20 to 40 before I changed the water. Now that I have the fuge, they stay steady at zero. So if the purpose of performing a water change is to remove Nitrates, then should I have to? If his bio-filter was removing Nitrates, should he have to perform a water change? Apparently not, because he didn't!
 

·
NFMAS
Joined
·
3,516 Posts
I bet if you tested the water you would find low low calcium levels, low alk, low or no amounts of trace elements. Thats fine for a FO tank but when you start getting into a heavily stocked reef tank you will have problems. Also if he stoped testing his water there is no way to be sure how great his water quality was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
694 Posts
Test parameters. I think you will find that some species of coral are very resilient to poor water quaity. Not a reccomended strategy though.
 

·
Protect the Worlds Reefs
Joined
·
1,152 Posts
Hey, well at least you got a nice tank aat a great price....On the no water changes, I have heard that before, but really it depends on the tanks inhabitants. I have been around this hobby enuogh to know that what works for you. will probably not work for me. I am one that like to do the least amount of maintenance. I do 20-25% water change every week. I have a problem with testing. I tend not to test as much as I should, maybe once a week or every other week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
The refugium and the Anaerobic bacteria take care of the nitrate. I would call making no water changes a poor approach at best. questions come into my mind such as what is the percentage of the work load carried by the refugium and the bacteria. Since oxygen can kill bacteria what kind of emergency procedures are in place to safegaurd the life of your inhabitants from neglect.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
PelagicMagic said:
post pics when you start setting up the new tank, Congrats
I plan on making this the last (I know you are saying yea right) move in aquaiums I make. I am going to take my time and put some true thought into this one. I'm going to really look over equipment, I'm only getting the 125gal tank and stand w/canopy. The plumbing (I have PVC in mind) and everything else will come slowly as time permits. Unfortunately, running several companies takes its toll. So I'm looking at automating what I can and cutting down as much as possible on maintenance. Now if that means keeping my 30gal as a reef and setting up the big one as FOWLR for now, so be it. I will try and document the process and add it to the boards like so many of you have done.
 

·
Ô¿Ô
Joined
·
834 Posts
Did he mention what suppliments? I don't find it that hard to beleive really, with a good skimmer and no real LPS or SPS load this could be done, with a little bit of suppliments when needed with good control on feeding and nice quantity of porous LR to help buffer the system.

The problem is when you introduce more dependant things like SPS, I can see this theory falling apart quite fast. But for a basic system I've seen people go 6 months without issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Nyles said:
Did he mention what suppliments? I don't find it that hard to beleive really, with a good skimmer and no real LPS or SPS load this could be done, with a little bit of suppliments when needed with good control on feeding and nice quantity of porous LR to help buffer the system.

The problem is when you introduce more dependant things like SPS, I can see this theory falling apart quite fast. But for a basic system I've seen people go 6 months without issue.
No suppliments, only the few softies and maybe 20-30lbs of live rock in a 125g tank. He had a very nice skimmer and the UV filter. As to the feeding habits of the fish, I don't know. I know he fed them pellets and the seaweed every now and then. All I can say is I didn't know they could get that big. Let me see if I can remember what fish he had in there...
3 False Percula
1 Bicolor Angel
2 Damsels (3 line and something else)
1 Lemon Peel Tang
1 Hippo Tang
2 or 3 other misc....(Which means I can't identify them)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Being one that went 6 months without changing my water before the 'BIG NITRATE CRASH OF 06' due to adding a macro that went a-sexual. I would have to say that it is possible. With the right top off water, UV, protein skimmer, Cleaning crew, live stock and other suttle maintenance. Anyone will be able to have a successful running tank. My new setup has a coiled-denitification unit and trying to go with out water changes. Only time will tell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
It's definitely possible, I never did any water changes in the last 2 years. But I do dose a lot of stuff, including vitamins, minor and trace elements. Nitrates and Phosphates have been at 0.00ppm in the last months (was carbon dosing, now using Prodibio). My goal always was to minimize required maintenance.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,278 Posts
I guess I am not really that surprised. I would think he may have a little algae from phosphates, but he doesn't really have anything very sensitive. If water quality drops slowly fish can respond pretty well to it. I once when 18 mos w/o a water change on a pirhanna tank. My roommate did a 70% w/c and killed them. There is something to be said for stability.

Is there a ticking time bomb in the sand? Maybe. I would chuck the sand and consider cooking the rock before setting it up. But there are many ways to keep SW fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
well on my very first tank i had no idea i needed to do my water changes so frequently. so i did changes almost everyother month granted i only had mushrooms and a kenyan tree and all fish and an anemone but everything was always good when i checked my parameters. but again i was young and stupid lol i dont do that anymore.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
879 Posts
Filter feeders are obviously going to contribute to healthier water quality but that lack of water changes without dosing a plethora of things will not lead to a sustainable water quality suited for a balanced ecology.

For instance. Shrimp will have a very hard time if he was able to keep them at all. Molting will be so difficult it would kill them if the high nitrates already did not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,597 Posts
All he needs is to dose a bit like others said and keep the water clean.
Show me one tank that looks great and has not had a water change in three years. I have not seen one, have you? I want a picture. I have been blessed to have the ability to see more tanks than most in our hobby and the best tanks ALWAYS include water changes on a frequent time line.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,350 Posts
The initial post is from 2006. Chances are that few of those people are even still in the hobby.

As for water changes, it's not just about supplementing trace elements. Water changes also remove all of the unknowns that build up in a tank over time that you can't possibly test for. Chemical compounds put off by fish, coral and algaes along with those produced by other biological processes need to be removed. In addition to the naturally occuring ones, the chemical products used in your home will also make their way into the tank. If you can smell it in your home, it's getting in your tank in some minute portion. Given enough time and usage, these could become toxic.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top