Change water once a week VS continuous drip.

Rosegardener

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Just want to know your opinions on the pros and cons of continuous drip.

If one has a 100g tank and change 30% of water once a week, that is 30g per week If one would to drip at 1g per hour, 5 hours per day, that is 35g a week. I fully understand those 35 gallons do not replace equal amount of old water, according to this calculator, only 30% or 30g new water in the tank after 7 days, and 70 gal of older water remain in the tank. So a waste of 5g per week.

I would like to think the water parameter would be more constant without a large weekly WC? and once setup, quick automatic? But are there any CONS?
 

BrianK

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I haven't done this nor do I plan to but the first thing that pops into my mind is how would you match the outgoing water with the incoming? Seems to me like it would either make the tank go dry or overflow it unless the outgoing was just an overflow outlet.
 

Oblio

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I'm curious as why not drip 24/7 at a slower rate? If you did that, parameters would be more constant and you would just leave it on.
 

Byron

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The math proves the problem here.

When you remove water, you are removing a set amount of "pollution." Pollution is continually being added. So, the more water you change at one time, the more pollution gets removed. Therefore a 70% W/C once a week will remove considerably more pollution that changing 10% every day for a week. Result: healthier fish with a 70% W/C.

As for drip, this is so minimal as to be useless. Pollution is probably being added at a higher rate than being removed. With the removal of 70% once a week, you are not increasing pollution week after week, it is the same every week because you are removing more.
 

Byron

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There was an article in TFH in 2009 that explained the issue very well. Here it is.
 

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Oblio

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It's simple math (maybe not simple, but you can simulate via a spreadsheet). There is a point where frequent smaller partial water changes equals massive water changes. The issue is the setup/takedown labor costs.

As an (extreme) example, if I change 10% of the water every hour, this will exceed the pollution reduction of a 70% water change weekly, but you will likely give up fish after a day or two.
 

Oblio

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Similarly, at a high enough drip rate, you will be equal to periodic large water change pollution rates. The big CON, assuming water is plentiful and cheap, is treatment if required. A massive WC allows you to treat the changed water with accurate measurement. I would be hesitant to trust a auto dosage of water treatment chemicals.
 

AbbeysDad

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I'll confess having mixed feelings about flow through systems. As much as a large weekly water change replaces more polluted water at one time, it would seem that the flow through system (providing a sufficient amount of flow through) would result in a more stable and uniform water quality (as opposed to the peaks and valleys of the large weekly water change).

Most of the professional breeder facilities use flow through systems at sufficient rates to ensure very fresh water.
But for the average hobbyist, a flow through system just isn't really practical. Then again, we might consider a 50% water change twice a week over a 75% once a week???

And lets look at nature... when I think of a lake with constant inlets and outlets, it's clear that it's a constant flow through system.

Then there's Charles Clapsaddle of Goliad Farm in South Texas that never does water changes but instead uses a huge array of plants to purify the water.

In the end it all comes down to our best effort to provide as much clean FRESH water as consistently as we can. :)
 

itiwhetu

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I had a friend who diverted the creek on his property so that he could continually change the water in his Discus tanks, the water went through a heat exchanger to set the temperature then into his tanks the volume was changed twice a day. The water would run right through his fish room and out the other end. I always thought it was risky, but it worked remarkably well.
 

GaryE

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Then there's Charles Clapsaddle of Goliad Farm in South Texas that never does water changes but instead uses a huge array of plants to purify the water.
:)
For the record, Charles had a large greenhouse with an artificial mangrove swamp to filter with. There's always an aquarist out there ready to pop one Vallisneria into a tank, declare a balanced system and stop water changing. If that person is reading this - sorry.... What Charles was doing was WAY beyond my resources, and I have a good set up.

If you have unmetered water, a drip sounds good. It isn't enough. I tended a commercial system that did automatic water changes at over 100% daily in a large system (many tanks) and I have never seen fish that healthy and vibrant. It was destroyed by human error though, as one of the other people managing it accidentally turned off the warm water feed. But if you work alone, you can make this efficient. I thought about it, but decided all the plumbing wasn't worth it. It is tempting though. I would like someday to have a manual water change system with overflows that would do 30% 3 or 4 times a week.
 

outofwater

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There's always an aquarist out there ready to pop one Vallisneria into a tank, declare a balanced system and stop water changing
I feel personally attacked. 🤣
Interesting thread. I would go for a system like this one only when I get to the point where I have a fish room, multiple tanks and a source of clean water like @itiwhetu described. For tap water which has to be treated with chemicals, and not being a commercial hobbyist/breeder, I don't see benefit neither to the fish nor the hobbyist.
 

GaryE

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I feel personally attacked. 🤣
Interesting thread. I would go for a system like this one only when I get to the point where I have a fish room, multiple tanks and a source of clean water like @itiwhetu described. For tap water which has to be treated with chemicals, and not being a commercial hobbyist/breeder, I don't see benefit neither to the fish nor the hobbyist.
In my last few homes, I have only had chlorine, so treatment has been easy. You need a reservoir though, and that eats space and money. Great benefit for everyone, fish and human, but you do have to deal with it. If I had chloramines, I wouldn't even consider it.
 

AbbeysDad

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For the record, Charles had a large greenhouse with an artificial mangrove swamp to filter with. There's always an aquarist out there ready to pop one Vallisneria into a tank, declare a balanced system and stop water changing. If that person is reading this - sorry.... What Charles was doing was WAY beyond my resources, and I have a good set up.
Why do you speak of Goliad Farms in the past tense? Am I unaware that he shut down the business?? Last I knew he was talking of building another greenhouse.
In any case, I wrote that the plumbing issue makes a flow through system impractical for nearly all hobbyists. Even in the small fishroom, supply and overflow/drain lines can be a challenge - the room must nearly be designed around the system...and then there's the treated water issue that's easy for chlorine but not so much for chloramine.

So I've resigned to 50% plus partial water changes once (or twice for some tanks) weekly.
 

GaryE

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I don't know how Goliad will rebuild, so I stuck it in the past. Those wild type mollies they have - unbelievable fish.
 
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Rosegardener

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I'll confess having mixed feelings about flow through systems. As much as a large weekly water change replaces more polluted water at one time, it would seem that the flow through system (providing a sufficient amount of flow through) would result in a more stable and uniform water quality (as opposed to the peaks and valleys of the large weekly water change).

Most of the professional breeder facilities use flow through systems at sufficient rates to ensure very fresh water.
But for the average hobbyist, a flow through system just isn't really practical. Then again, we might consider a 50% water change twice a week over a 75% once a week???

And lets look at nature... when I think of a lake with constant inlets and outlets, it's clear that it's a constant flow through system.

Then there's Charles Clapsaddle of Goliad Farm in South Texas that never does water changes but instead uses a huge array of plants to purify the water.

In the end it all comes down to our best effort to provide as much clean FRESH water as consistently as we can. :)
I am in my fact finding stage, to drip or not to drip. The lack of popularity could be too much work to set up, or it doesn't work, or both. It seems like fish farms use the concept, few home hobbyist adopted it.

I am in California, a state experience drought regularly, For my future 100g tank, changing say 50g per day is not something I want to do. I am more like 7 g per day, and 49 g per week, or use the same amount of water as a 50% weekly wc.

Would 7g per day work as well as one time 50g after 7 days? I am starting to think that constant drip maintains water parameter better, but 50g removes more toxin etc., May be something like 5g per day, than a 30g on the 7th day? Whole thing on timer, so that is possible.

thinking out loud.
 

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