Are Water Changes Really Necessary?

FishesForLife

HI Everyone!
I was wondering if I actually “need” to do water changes in my tank? It’s a 3 year old system. 10 gallons, 4 corydoras, 1 anubias plant. Standard hang-on-the-back activated carbon filter. Small bubbler. pH seems stable and sits somewhere around 6 (I use API liquid test kit, and it always turns yellow. Is there a low-range pH kit, so I can find an exact number?) Even 4 weeks after the last water change, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate <1. Fish all seem healthy and happy - active, great barbels, great fins, great color, even laying eggs occasionally. So, as long as all my numbers are good and the fish are healthy, can I just top off the tank with distilled water (to maintain dissolved solids, which don’t evaporate), and skip the “water changes”? Or is there some other reason to perform water changes besides removing nitrates?
Thanks in advance for the help!
 

Heron

Nitrates are only one reason for water changes. There are minerals in the water that your fish and plants use up and water changes replenish these. Also there is kH, essentially the kH is a measure of the tanks ability to resist pH dropping . If all the kH gets depleted then your pH becomes highly unstable. Water changes replenish the kH and keep your pH stable. In theory it is possible to house a complete and ballenced ecosystem in a tank but in practice it's almost impossible so I would stick with what works, ie water changing.
 

Vinh

Why we need to do water change? Not for fun I guess.The concept is very simple.If the tank water is dangerous or harmful to your fishes ,plants then change it.If not why change?If the tank water out of range of water parameters why keep it there for harmful. Mostly,Member change the tank water before it is too later and do 30% of water each time..Why? We need tank water bio circle.if we replace all water in tank then the water circle will restart from 0 or 1 and take about 3 weeks to 2 months to completed the water cycle,to not created the ammonia to alert level to harmful to tank environment .
I will not do water change if my test read are all 0 and ph is solid at my set as acid water or hard water tank for my fish and plants.
So!it is your decision to change water and how much should be
 

FishesForLife

HI Heron. Thanks for the reply! So then, how often would you recommend doing water changes? If I’m adding something like Aqueon Aquarium Plant Food, does that extend the time between water changes? What are the warning signs I should look for, besides increasing nitrates and obvious distress in the fish, that tell me I should do a water change?

With other aquariums in the past, I performed 10-25% water changes every week or 25-50% water changes every month and always had problems - algae, disease, pH swings, etc. In the last couple years, I’ve taken a much more hands-off approach and had fewer problems. So I guess my question is, what am I looking for to find the “sweet spot” to time my water changes without hurting my fish?
 

FishesForLife

HI Vinh,
Thanks for your reply! So, if you had my tank, are you saying that you would not change the water until there is a detectable shift in water parameters, even if that doesn’t occur for several weeks since the last water change?
 

Heron

HI Heron. Thanks for the reply! So then, how often would you recommend doing water changes? If I’m adding something like Aqueon Aquarium Plant Food, does that extend the time between water changes? What are the warning signs I should look for, besides increasing nitrates and obvious distress in the fish, that tell me I should do a water change?

With other aquariums in the past, I performed 10-25% water changes every week or 25-50% water changes every month and always had problems - algae, disease, pH swings, etc. In the last couple years, I’ve taken a much more hands-off approach and had fewer problems. So I guess my question is, what am I looking for to find the “sweet spot” to time my water changes without hurting my fish?
It's hard to say how much water to change or how often. It depends on how many fish, what size of tank, how much and what kind of food, what plants you have, the water chemistry of both the tap water and the tank, what kind of filter you have and even what media you use
My smaller tanks which are quite heavily stocked get 30-40 percent per week whilst my largest tank which is medium stocked gets only 10-15 percent a week. My guppy tank which needs harder water and a higher pH gets two 25 percent water changes a week with salts and kH up to raise the GH,KH and pH.
You just need to work out through trial and error what is right for you. If all your water parameters are the same each week then your probably somewhere near the correct level. If you have a test kit keep an eye on kH and GH as well as pH nitrates, nitrites and ammonia.
 

Momgoose56

HI Everyone!
I was wondering if I actually “need” to do water changes in my tank? It’s a 3 year old system. 10 gallons, 4 corydoras, 1 anubias plant. Standard hang-on-the-back activated carbon filter. Small bubbler. pH seems stable and sits somewhere around 6 (I use API liquid test kit, and it always turns yellow. Is there a low-range pH kit, so I can find an exact number?) Even 4 weeks after the last water change, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate <1. Fish all seem healthy and happy - active, great barbels, great fins, great color, even laying eggs occasionally. So, as long as all my numbers are good and the fish are healthy, can I just top off the tank with distilled water (to maintain dissolved solids, which don’t evaporate), and skip the “water changes”? Or is there some other reason to perform water changes besides removing nitrates?
Thanks in advance for the help!
Water changes serve many purposes. They not only serve to remove nitrates (the end product of the breakdown of nitrogenous waste) but they also remove non-nitrogen waste byproducts, unused minerals, solid waste (plant, feces, etc.) and replace trace minerals, electrolytes etc. used by fish, inverts etc., regulate pH etc. etc...
 

FishesForLife

It's hard to say how much water to change or how often. It depends on how many fish, what size of tank, how much and what kind of food, what plants you have, the water chemistry of both the tap water and the tank, what kind of filter you have and even what media you use
My smaller tanks which are quite heavily stocked get 30-40 percent per week whilst my largest tank which is medium stocked gets only 10-15 percent a week. My guppy tank which needs harder water and a higher pH gets two 25 percent water changes a week with salts and kH up to raise the GH,KH and pH.
You just need to work out through trial and error what is right for you. If all your water parameters are the same each week then your probably somewhere near the correct level. If you have a test kit keep an eye on kH and GH as well as pH nitrates, nitrites and ammonia.

Okiedokie. Thank you. I will have to get a GH and a kH test kit and then watch all the parameters to see when they start to drift. Thanks again!
 

Vinh

HI Vinh,
Thanks for your reply! So, if you had my tank, are you saying that you would not change the water until there is a detectable shift in water parameters, even if that doesn’t occur for several weeks since the last water change?
Nature balance itself ,water circulation stand for water change.Fish tank water evaporate every day.Water and things you add in contains so many element and soon will become toxin to tank water in long run.Even thought the test say some thing might ok to fish and plant but would we did all the necessary test to have safe water for live stock And plants .Until then no need water change.Other than that I think clean water change is necessary in routing!
 

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