Change water once a week VS continuous drip.

Byron

Supporting Member
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
18,557
Reaction score
10,119
Location
CA
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.

This was explained in the article I posted in post #5.
 

StevenF

Fish Herder
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,795
Reaction score
587
Location
US
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.

I watched some of the videos about this farm. They use well water. The green houses have barrels for tanks with fish and a lot of plants. water is continuously flowing through the all the barrels. When water levels drop due to evaporation the well pump tuns on and refill the system. But during the refill process some water overflows the barrels and collects on the floor and each greenhouse has a drain hole to allow excess water to escape. So there is probably a small occasional water change occurring but they don't monitor it.

Other people often refer to Ocean Aquarium in california as another place that doesn't do water changes However it is a fish store. Every time they sell fish some water from the tank goes with the fish. combined with evaporation the are adding waterdaily. they also have plants in the tanks.

Basically small water changes can help increase nutrient levels in the water which will help the plants. But if you restrict water changes too much or never do one Total Desolved Solids level can gradually get high enough to make the water toxic. And fish can die as a result. In general regular water changes do help maintain consistent water conditions which also typically results in healthier fish.
 
Last edited:

Colin_T

Fish Guru
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
36,175
Reaction score
19,768
Location
Perth, WA
You do water changes for 2 main reasons.
1) to reduce nutrients like ammonia, nitrite & nitrate.
2) to dilute disease organisms in the water.

Fish live in a soup of microscopic organisms including bacteria, fungus, viruses, protozoans, worms, flukes and various other things that make your skin crawl. Doing a big water change and gravel cleaning the substrate on a regular basis will dilute these organisms and reduce their numbers in the water, thus making it a safer and healthier environment for the fish.

If you do a 25% water change each week you leave behind 75% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 50% water change each week you leave behind 50% of the bad stuff in the water.
If you do a 75% water change each week you leave behind 25% of the bad stuff in the water.

Fish live in their own waste. Their tank and filter is full of fish poop. The water they breath is filtered through fish poop. Cleaning filters, gravel and doing big regular water changes, removes a lot of this poop and harmful micro-organisms, and makes the environment cleaner and healthier for the fish.

One single big water change each week will do more for the fish than a slow drip system, which regularly waste water.
 

AbbeysDad

Fish Gatherer
Joined
May 13, 2011
Messages
2,403
Reaction score
2,213
Location
Central New York, USA
I watched some of the videos about this farm. They use well water. The green houses have barrels for tanks with fish and a lot of plants. water is continuously flowing through the all the barrels. When water levels drop due to evaporation the well pump tuns on and refill the system. But during the refill process some water overflows the barrels and collects on the floor and each greenhouse has a drain hole to allow excess water to escape. So there is probably a small occasional water change occurring but they don't monitor it.
The above is not quite correct... The entire greenhouse floor is lined with pond liner. Water is pumped from the end of the greenhouse to the 300g stock tanks and 55g drums where it overflows back to the floor and to the re-circulation pumps (concrete block walkways allow water to flow back to the pumps). The water is purified by the huge array of plants - a forest of sorts. The only water added is for evaporation that occurs when the greenhouse vents open as required to control temperature. With that exception, it'is a closed system, so effectively there are no actual water changes. :)
Goliad Fish Farm Tour
 

georgieooom

New Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2022
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
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?
I have a 30 gal tank with lots of plants and 10 to 20 small fish. I have not done a water change in 20 yrs and things have been fine. I recently lost all my neons after introducing 5 new neons and was informed about neon disease. It was also recommended that I do water changes. I just started doing that, but now I am reconsidering. Maybe I shouldn't change what worked for so long. Lots of plants balanced by a small amount of fish.
 
OP
OP
R

Rosegardener

New Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
USA
I have a 30 gal tank with lots of plants and 10 to 20 small fish. I have not done a water change in 20 yrs and things have been fine. I recently lost all my neons after introducing 5 new neons and was informed about neon disease. It was also recommended that I do water changes. I just started doing that, but now I am reconsidering. Maybe I shouldn't change what worked for so long. Lots of plants balanced by a small amount of fish.
Over the past decades, I have had tanks that didn't get water changes for months if not years, and tanks that received water change regularly. My experience has been that fish load, fish types, and tank environment setup all play a part in how whole thing works. Some extreme cases to share:
  1. 180g fancy gold fish tank, with minimum of plants. I had to water change very regularly as these fishes have big bellies and bigger appetite, 24x7 non stop eating machine. Until I hooked the tank up with aquaponic, used the water to grow a whole vegetable garden. From that point onwards, no water changes just top up, then I got even lazier, I installed a float valve, so top up was automatic too.
    Fish tank didn't require much work except vacuum out some large debris, BUT the vegetable garden did need some planning as I need to ensure a more or less constant growing. i.e No one time harvest all. Luckily, I am in California, so more or less year around growing.

  2. Small heavily tanked tank with small fishes, mostly endlers, like @georgieooom , I hardy ever change water, just topping up, which is 2-3 cups weekly. Fishes seems to be happy, ate a lot and spawn regularly.
Two extreme here, being in California, with regular draughts, using a lot of water isn't too harmonious to my karma,
 

GaryE

Fish Herder
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
1,889
Reaction score
2,480
Location
Eastern Canada
I'm a water change guy. Most fish can survive in concentrated wastewater conditions. The dry season in many tropical regions creates pools, cut off by sandbars and exposed river bottom. They gradually evaporate, causing the fish in them to hunker down and wait for rain. They exist. Systems slow down, breeding stops, etc. When the rains come, they burst out and live again.
I'm not sure I want to watch my fish go into that murky stage in life.

I used to have wild caught Mexican mollies that a friend collected from such a pool, a very shallow one. She went back the next day and the local birds were scavenging the ones she didn't catch. The pool was wet mud.

I grew up in the 'don't do water changes' era, and for the first 15 years of my 55 years in the hobby, I changed no water. If I compare lifespans, vitality and breeding, then and now, I won't double back. I'll never see that dwarf variatus strain I thought I had though. When I started water changing, they returned to normal size in a generation...

If I lived in a water shortage region, I'm not sure what I'd do. Probably move! But in all seriousness, I would probably reduce my choices to swamp species.
 
OP
OP
R

Rosegardener

New Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
USA
I'm a water change guy. Most fish can survive in concentrated wastewater conditions. The dry season in many tropical regions creates pools, cut off by sandbars and exposed river bottom. They gradually evaporate, causing the fish in them to hunker down and wait for rain. They exist. Systems slow down, breeding stops, etc. When the rains come, they burst out and live again.
I'm not sure I want to watch my fish go into that murky stage in life.

I used to have wild caught Mexican mollies that a friend collected from such a pool, a very shallow one. She went back the next day and the local birds were scavenging the ones she didn't catch. The pool was wet mud.

I grew up in the 'don't do water changes' era, and for the first 15 years of my 55 years in the hobby, I changed no water. If I compare lifespans, vitality and breeding, then and now, I won't double back. I'll never see that dwarf variatus strain I thought I had though. When I started water changing, they returned to normal size in a generation...

If I lived in a water shortage region, I'm not sure what I'd do. Probably move! But in all seriousness, I would probably reduce my choices to swamp species.
In some ways, no water change or less frequent water changes requires more planning and work than frequent water change.

But aquaponic industry or hobbyists do not change water, in fact, during growth season, they fed extra food to boost nitrates and nitrate's nasty friends to power the growth of vegetable. Aquaponic industry need rapid growth of their commercial food fishes, water quality means $$$, in case of aquaponic hobbyists, in stead of food fish, sometimes they use koi or goldfishes.
 

GaryE

Fish Herder
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
1,889
Reaction score
2,480
Location
Eastern Canada
I've seen aquaponics tanks so full of Tilapia or Oreochromis you could almost walk on them. It grows good veggies.

I'm not there. I can grow flowers and plants, if I select carefully, roots in on 10 gallon tanks with only one pair of 2 inch killies in them. I'm not producing industrial quantities of basil (although I have and will again grow basil out of tanks). It's a plan for this winter again.

The cash crop in aquaponics isn't the fish, it's the veggies grown. Yes, they sell the fish too. They have no interest in longevity or observation as we do - they measure fish by weight and not as individual creatues.
 
OP
OP
R

Rosegardener

New Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
21
Reaction score
3
Location
USA
I've seen aquaponics tanks so full of Tilapia or Oreochromis you could almost walk on them. It grows good veggies.

I'm not there. I can grow flowers and plants, if I select carefully, roots in on 10 gallon tanks with only one pair of 2 inch killies in them. I'm not producing industrial quantities of basil (although I have and will again grow basil out of tanks). It's a plan for this winter again.

The cash crop in aquaponics isn't the fish, it's the veggies grown. Yes, they sell the fish too. They have no interest in longevity or observation as we do - they measure fish by weight and not as individual creatues.
Fast growth, size, and weight are important to the aquaponic industry. If fishes grow slowly due to water quality or grow substandard sizes means less $$$. The few that I talked with, they took that seriously.
 

GaryE

Fish Herder
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
1,889
Reaction score
2,480
Location
Eastern Canada
The discussion is not about aquaponics though, but about water change systems for aquariums.
 

Colin_T

Fish Guru
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
36,175
Reaction score
19,768
Location
Perth, WA
I've seen aquaponics tanks so full of Tilapia or Oreochromis you could almost walk on them. It grows good veggies.
Tilapia aren't very nice eating. The PNG government released millions of them into lakes and rivers around the country to provide food for the growing population. But the locals don't like the taste and the cichlids are eating all the rainbowfish.
 

CarissaT

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
122
Reaction score
73
Location
Newfoundland
Just one thought as I was sitting contemplating how I could design something like this for my tank. Without manual water changes, wouldn’t an awful lot of dirt build up on the substrate? When I do a water change to me the benefit to water quality is not just the water but as much or more the waste that I’m removing that will degrade water quality if allowed to stay in there.
 
Last edited:

Colin_T

Fish Guru
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
36,175
Reaction score
19,768
Location
Perth, WA
Unless you have suckermouth catfish in the tank, there won't be that much gunk on the substrate. Plus the filter will trap a lot of it.
 

Most reactions

Top