How I Never Do Water Changes.

Kasshan

Member
water changes for me at least are absurd, I refuse. despite keeping very sensitive, advanced level fish.
ive stated the no water change method before, but ill repeat myself.
Substrate: miracle grow organic topsoil, fine mesh sand, some gravel, slate.
Filtration: rinse that out when it gets clogged. the 60 gallonhas a eheim canister and two AC50's with only sponges in them.
Biological Filtration: Malaysian trumpet snails, ramshorn snails, pond snails. I collect them with ease and discard them routinely. a bowl with algae tabs with the light off. there are also live tubifex worms that escaped being eaten too.
Live Plants: babys tears, java moss, duck weed, java fern, anubias. when the duck weed gets too thick I discard it.
Led light: it is almost always on.
top off the water as it evaporates and feed the fish. this is all I do. I sell all the fry I get to my LFS. and this is scientifically repeatable, since I moonlight and set up other people's tanks this way.

this won't work for every biome type, or every fish type either. it is based on a narrow set of stocking parameters.

its no secret, the theory is by removing the duckweed and snails. I'm cleaning the tank. I mean plants and animals are made of heavy elements, minerals, protein etc. protein is made from nitrogen. snail shells are minerals. I just did the "math" and its worked for years, and my fish make lots of babies. I didnt figure out over night, I just make it look easy now. the last time I did an officially/standard water change was approximately 7 years ago, but I honestly can't remember.
 

BeanFish

Member
Are water top offs enough to keep mineral contents at a decent level? I mean, you can't expect people to just believe something that is completely different from what everyone has told them with no hard facts and even if you show your breeding fish many will just say "he is changing their water and just trolling". It would be interesting to see more arguments for your point and to delve a little deepr in the logic behind your system.
I don't think its necessary to do weekly water changes, I have a planted tank where I need to dose nitrogen because the fish poop can't keep it up with the plants, but I still do weekly water changes (probably I could go weeks without them) because it makes me feel like a good parent lol, plus it adds stuff like calcium and other minerals back to my water.
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
I'm not trolling, iknow it sounds like I'm nuts, but I swear by it.
there's trace minerals in tap and in in the food.
ive only stated hard facts, so I'm insulted by you saying so. there no opinion in what ive stated. I wish someone would try to prove me wrong, I live for it, cuz I like to learn new things and not be stubborn and set in my ways.
 

BeanFish

Member
By hard facts I meant some scientific paper, something you can't just disprove with "he does water changes but doesn't tell us".
If tap and water has trace minerals why do we need to supplement them in planted aquariums? Do you use fertilizers too? A lot of people say daily water changes are necesssary with Discus to keep bacteria levels low. Do you agree with the fact that keeping bacteria levels low is important? How do you do it without water changes?
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
no, the fish hobby is a racket to sell you accessories. I'm a diy cheapskate. I know some one will try it. someone will ask me to PM my ph# and we can have nice chat. how can I give as "proof" peer review article when no one is clamoring for it, it doesn't exist. I mean how do companies expect to make money doing it the way I do it. btw there is no such thing as "proof" in the definition of science.
the vast majority of the hobby is anecdotal, I heard this from this guy and so forth..... now I'm trying to try a cheap easier method and people think I'm a liar or an idiot or both.
 

AngelTheGypsy

Member
I actually have a friend with a 75 gallon tank and she never does water changes either. Just top offs. Fake decor. Stocking all over the place with various cichlids, DG, Oscar, glo tetras. All fish from Walmart. Changes all of her filter media at the same time, regularly, because it makes the water clearer. Has never tested her water, doesn't own a test kit. Somehow, she is successful, and has had this tank running for over a decade.
Everyone does it different.
 
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Kasshan

Member
yeah but what is blowing peoples minds is that I keep discus, angels, BN plecos, and elephant nose. notorious sensitive fish. and they are top form and breed. I can't give a peer reviewed article cuz one doesn't exist for this topic. I mean in school it is hard enough to find specific articles on JStor, why would anyone expect someone to find one so specifically niche'd in a hobby? that is unfair.
that why I posted it here. someone will try it and see it works. free advice. I'm not even trying to make a dime by promoting this shift in hobby paradigm. I'm patient, I can wait.
 

BeanFish

Member
You can setup a bunch of tanks and measure everything out, then share your results, there are a lot of practical problems as I don't think you will setup a bunch of tanks and spend money on them just so people believe you tho. And what is your no directed to?. Is it a no for the bacteria question or a no for the trace elements question? And what do you mean by "there is no proof in the definition of science". How could I possibly say that there is no proof ammonia kills fish?
 

AngelTheGypsy

Member
The thing is that this method may not work for many people. I honestly wouldn't try, but that's because I've had very tough experiences in the past, and now what I'm doing (weekly water changes, testing, etc) works for me and I am being successful. For this reason, I also don't try to change the way my friend does it. It works for her. (Honestly she does lose fish from time to time. Her husband tossed about 30 glo danios in with cichlids, and they all were eaten in 48 hours, and soon after a bumblebee cichlid died from overeating. She's not terribly attached to her fish and just gets new ones.)

Do you test your water? Just out of curiosity.
 

sassymomma

Member
I have heard of "no water change methods" before. One person used no filters either- only plants covering the top of the tanks
The concept fascinates me, because I have to WC weekly and feel like I'm missing something in my routine.
I run two filters on my 38 gallon, and a combo sponge,aquaclear30 on my 29. Both are understocked. Both get brown stuff that looks like a light dirt on the sand if I let them sit too long.

I recently swapped one tank to organic pond soil, because no matter where I looked, I could NOT find an organic potting soil. I'm hoping to see improvement in my plants with the swap.

Personally, I'm not calling ****, but I would love to chat with you about your fishkeeping habits. Perhaps you can suggest some cheapscate tricks, to help me keep my water healthy

I keep Betta in my tanks
 

MissRuthless

Member
I totally believe you. The soil at the bottom provides the excess minerals and what not that you're not adding back in with water changes, and of course you get some from the tap too. I don't have a crazy water change schedule like most people here - when nitrates are high I change water. Top off otherwise. In my planted tank I went many months just topping off with no issues, though I believe eventually the minerals were too depleted due to gravel substrate and plants started to decline. I moved the whole tank over into a new one recently with just sand, but I really want to try soil. When I get around to shopping for stuff to repot my cactI I'll be picking up some MGOPS to re-do my shrimp bowl with and am hoping for a successful Walstad setup that won't require water changes once it's established.

So where do your nitrates usually sit? I know most plants prefer to feed on ammonia but have read that some do a great job of removing nitrates - perhaps one of the species you have? May have read that pothos in the filter is good for that too. Or perhaps it's that with the plants sucking up so much ammonia, the bacteria don't work as much therefore less nitrate buildup? I'm curious to hear your readings and thoughts on this. I'm all for lazy, cheapskate, DIY fishkeeping, that's how I do
 

BeanFish

Member
I don't like the "different things work different for everyone", I find it inconclusive. If something works for someone that defies general concensus there must be a logic and a reason, saying "it just works for me" teases me!
I can see how Kasshan keeps nitrates low, it is not that complicated, just get plants, he has duckweed and removes it which promotes new growth which equals nutrient uptake, so I have no problem believing he has good water quality, but what sounds weird to me is the snails thing and the water top offs. They sound too random to me. What if my water does not evaporate much? How often do you top off and how many liters do you put back up per week? I also use soil in my tanks but it eventually runs out of nutrients, and without adding Iron to my tanks I will probably start having problems.
 
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Kasshan

Member
there is no such thing as proof in science, only laws, theories, etc.
there are mathematical proofs, just none in science.
I know it sounds like I'm playing semantics, but I think it is important to make the distinction.
ammonia doesn't kill fish, the concentration of ammonia kills fish. "proof" is a bad word in science often misused. a rubber ball can bounce a billion times, but on one billion and one it doesn't bounce. that's how scientific laws work and such. one must always be able to accept an anomaly in science into the data.

snail meat is made of protein, a nitrogen based molecule. snail shells are made of minerals, phosphorus and other chemicals people are concerned about are in the body matter of the snail. physically removing snails is no different from a gravel vac.
 

BeanFish

Member
Ok, if you want to play into the Paracelso and semantics world I am fine with it. Still, there are a lot of questions unanswered for me...
 
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Kasshan

Member
it only sounds like semantics but it really isn't when you talk nitty gritty science. this isn't a conversation for the lay-person
but I do enjoy your candor and open mind, please ask away, I don't know everything. and I try to answer questions if can account for them. but that's why ive posted in forum. I can't think of every variable and if one is mentioned that I was ignorant of; of course I will take it into consideration. I enjoy being wrong, because that means I was ignorant before and someone has taught me the error of my ways. ive been wrong many times, but so far in this, no one has swayed as to why I'm wrong in this instance. I was wrong when I said glo-fish couldnt breed, I now know they do. I often genuinely apologize, but rarely say sorry because I did it on purpose.

I would not recommend this set up for african cichlid tanks or "insert another biome archetype", it would never work in every instance. that is why I keep fish it does happen to work for. so the statement "what works for some won't work others" shouldnt be disregarded.
as for some other folks, I'm sure theyve blocked me sadly. change is always a hard pill to swallow.
 

goldface

Member
I believe it. It actually makes a lot of sense to me. I have a shrimp tank that sits on the windowsill with no filtration. Although I don't have soil in it, and the only plants are a huge wad of java moss, the shrimp were thriving, both RCS and one Amano. (until I took it apart). I mostly just do water topoffs when the water level gets low, like you, but sometimes I did do a water change, but only to break up the biofilm that forms on the surface. Now the tank is redone with organic miracle potting soil capped with sand and heavily planted. Again, no filtration. Haven't stocked it with anything yet, but will probably repeat what worked before: water top offs with occasional water change to break up biofilm, since there's no water movement.
 
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Kasshan

Member
some people, who ignore data and don't like their traditional beliefs rattled, still think I'm a crackpot for this
 

BeanFish

Member
Kasshan said:
it only sounds like semantics but it really isn't when you talk nitty gritty science. this isn't a conversation for the lay-person
but I do enjoy your candor and open mind, please ask away, I don't know everything. and I try to answer questions if can account for them. but that's why ive posted in forum. I can't think of every variable and if one is mentioned that I was ignorant of; of course I will take it into consideration. I enjoy being wrong, because that means I was ignorant before and someone has taught me the error of my ways. ive been wrong many times, but so far in this, no one has swayed as to why I'm wrong in this instance. I was wrong when I said glo-fish couldnt breed, I now know they do. I often genuinely apologize, but rarely say sorry because I did it on purpose.

I would not recommend this set up for african cichlid tanks or "insert another biome archetype", it would never work in every instance. that is why I keep fish it does happen to work for. so the statement "what works for some won't work others" shouldnt be disregarded.
as for some other folks, I'm sure theyve blocked me sadly. change is always a hard pill to swallow.
Yeah, clearly this won't work for some dudes. I can't rely on the trace minerals from my tap to keep my planted tanks going and I personally don't mind doing water changes on saturdays. I don't do huge water changes neither, probably 20% and that's it. I don't need more, and if I don't feel like I just don't do them, my fish suffer no illeffects from it, but I want to keep my routine going.
And I don't disagree with "what works for some won't work for others", cause it is true, all aquariums are different, but I preffer to know why exactly than to just receive a "it works for me".
Probably what puts off a lot of people is the snail theory lol. I have no trouble believing you can keep water clean in terms of NH3-NO2-NO3 with just plants because I have seen it first hand in the form of nitrogen deficiencies in plants but I don't really know how much the removing snails things helps.
 

clk89

Member
It's simply not something I would do nor recommend others do, especially beginners.
 

lookijustneedhelp

Member
do you ever have illness outbreaks? and if so, are there any types that seem to occur regularly or not at all? and how do you treat your tanks/fish?
 

Zahc

Member
What about growth stopping hormones that fish release into the water, particularly when breeding ? How are they removed ? I'm astounded you don't do ANY water changes. I couldn't imagine your fish grow to their full capabilities, at typical growth rates.
 

Thunder_o_b

Member
Ok, I did not read the entire thread. But I will agree with the opening post to a point.

The whole point in doing water changes (aside from stimulating spawning in some fish) is to export harmful things from the system. I use RO/DI water that I remineralize. We have lots of plants and watch the upkeep of the tank (that is where there is some water change, the gravel vac). I have not done a water change in a very long time because the readings do not call for it. (for a new tank I will do water changes till I am sure it is stabilized). With fast growing plants and moss the nitrates and other things are exported from the system as I keep the plant growth under control.

So I will agree that under the right conditions water changes may be unnecessary. But if I was using city water with the unknown amount and kind of heavy metals in it I would do the water changes.

Water changes have become almost a religious act to be done without question because that is the way it has always been done. There are many things that people do because they have always been told that is just the way it is done. Take the 20% twice a week water change. Why not a 50% every other week, or 10% every day, or 100% every day or once a month? I go by the readings or the spawning needs with RO/DI water.

Zahc said:
What about growth stopping hormones that fish release into the water, particularly when breeding ? How are they removed ?
That is an interesting point worth pondering over. Thank you for bringing it up.
 

OnTheFly

Member
Kasshan said:
some people still think I'm a crackpot for this
I don't think that at all. I share your opinion that the level of WCs in the hobby borders on absurd. Your method seems risky for delicate fish for the average hobbyist though. Our water supplies are diverse and setting up the exact same balance of plant species and fish stock would seem problematic. If expensive fish start dropping dead I wouldn't own the testing equipment to know why.

How long did it take your tank to mature to a level of becoming basically self sustaining for delicate fish?
 

lookijustneedhelp

Member
Zahc said:
What about growth stopping hormones that fish release into the water, particularly when breeding ? How are they removed ? I'm astounded you don't do ANY water changes. I couldn't imagine your fish grow to their full capabilities, at typical growth rates.
ive heard the hormone thing being mentioned a lot but never seen a source (as in scientific testing for these hormones in the water), do you happen to have a link?
 
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Kasshan

Member
no illnesses. I have a hospital tank for isolation, I look at my tanks everyday and I'm to the point where the tank is like an old friend, and anomaly is now easy to spot, when my Angels were breeding I noticed a cardinal with a bad back, guess he got too close to the eggs, stuck out like a sore thumb.
as far as hormones in the water that is neglible, hormones are quite complex molecules and outside the organism they don't last very long because prokaryotes devour them with relish. fish aren't pumping out hormones en-mass it would be a waste. fortunately for that there are peer reviewed articles which I will gladly reference when I find them, but the the myth about feminized fish is largely a myth, the study was conducted in seepages and drainage ditches, concentrated hormones were present but they didnt last very long cuz the bacteria consumed them quickly.
my neons, corydoras, and other fish are now years old and they quite large. so I excluded hormones as statistically significant as a variable

as for mineral content, well the snails have to be coming from somewhere since I'm always removing them. they must build their shell somewhere... minerals of course, primarily calcium and phosphate. the quality of the shell of the snail indicates whether theyre getting enough minerals in their diet since they are so prolific and fast growing. they all have healthy shells. so I excluded that as variable as well.

I took about 6months to a year before it became stable. in the beginning 5 years ago it only had cories and a few neons, over the course of a year I stepped up the stock. I got bored with Kribensis, I wasn't making money on them anymore, because the local market was getting saturated by me, two years ago if you bought a Krib in modesto from a LFS it was from me. we wanted to get more exotic fish, my wife wanted discus two years ago, I said no. we got 3 baby Angels instead in winter 2015 that are still alive and thriving. then in December 2016 I fell in love elephant noses; my local dealer had a hundred wild caughts. I researched and took the risk and got three. one died. the other two are still alive and now are play like minI dolphins, they are still elusive and hide in the shadows, but that's normal for their behavior. getting discus after that was a no brainer since elephants are more sensitive. so I added 3 discus, then just last week I added 1 more discus
it took a lot of self control and patience. but I try not to rush things. so yes, this method isn't for the average keeper.

I will gladly provide my phone number if someone wants to chat about it. despite my hating typing(I use two fingers) I opened a can of worms and forced myself in this heavy topic to explain myself thoroughly so folks don't think I'm nuts.
 

lookijustneedhelp

Member
I was thinking that hormones will fall apart in the water one way or another... how interesting. did you ever intentionally try to introduce strains of bacteria into the system? I have heard that from another guy who set up no waterchange tanks
 

JRS

Member
I think this is an interesting topic and I can see the logic in it. Say in a case like mine where the tap water has practically no KH or GH, it seems to me you would have to add something to make that work. Maybe coral? How would you combat that issue? As topping off the water would add a negliglbe amount of mineral.

My issue would be that to me snails are still a living creature and unless I had a place to rehome them, I could never just remove them and destroy them. This is why I am paranoid about pest snails. I would end up with a 100 gallon tank full of snails.

JRS said:
My issue would be that to me snails are still a living creature and unless I had a place to rehome them, I could never just remove them and destroy them.
I wanted to add that I wouldn't judge anyone for getting rid of snails, just it isn't something that I could do.
 
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Kasshan

Member
well modesto water is relatively hard, so ye I lucked out there. another reason I don't do water changes is I don't want to replace the tannins.
I suppose I don't have compassion for the malaysian trumpet snails, since their removal is integral for the success of my method, I apologize for that, I put them in a ziploc with vinegar throw them out. if people werent disgusted andturned off by them; id mail the buggers for free, just pay the stamp. lol
 

NavigatorBlack

Member
You are running tanks as they were run from the 1860s until the 1990s. They were successful. But they were limited.
My anecdotal contribution is here:
I did what you describe for 20 years. I had one tank that did not get one single water change for close to 15 years.
When the magazines started discussing the benefits of water changes, I tried it. I believe in challenging my assumptions. I didn't do a controlled experiment, but I was hoping the water change deal would not work, because it was a lot of work. I have many tanks, and I had 14 then.
I observed a marked increase in breeding, to begin. They bred before, but results were better. Fry growth was radically faster. And the great intangible, behavior, is what made me into a diehard water changer. I would change 100% daily if I could (in tanks a lot like yours). My fish were more vital.
In the wild, in dry seasons, fish go into energy conservation if they get caught in oxbows or ponds as the rivers and lakes dry. They survive. Sometimes they breed. I got mollies once, collected by a friend in Mexico from a pool that was gone the day after. They died 3 weeks after I got them, but left me a generation to carry on with.
I believe we reproduce the natural conditions of dry season waters if we use the ancient techniques.
I also like surface and rapids fish that would die in your tanks. You always tailor your tanks to your fish. Slow water Discus, angels and elephant noses are ideal possibilities for what you are trying.
Put my Orthochromis or Phenecogrammus in there, and they'd be dead in a week.
Case by case, species by species. You are no crackpot, but maybe a throwback in your methods. Just remember, as you promote your techniques, that they will only work for fish from some habitats, while water changes work across the board.
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
lookijustneedhelp said:
I was thinking that hormones will fall apart in the water one way or another... how interesting. did you ever intentionally try to introduce strains of bacteria into the system? I have heard that from another guy who set up no waterchange tanks
no I did not add any sort of special bacteria. I just let it occur naturally like everyone else does.
 

fredhoon

Member
BeanFish said:
I have no trouble believing you can keep water clean in terms of NH3-NO2-NO3 with just plants because I have seen it first hand in the form of nitrogen deficiencies in plants but I don't really know how much the removing snails things helps.
The logic for snails removing nutrients from the tank is the same as Algae removing Nitrogen and Plants removing N,P&K.

Plants are a more complex life form than Algae and thus require a larger quantity and wider variety of nutrients, which is removed from the water column and stored in their biomass (if they stay in the tank and rot these nutrients are returned to the water column). A snail is again more complex than a plant and also removes "heavier" minerals from the water column via the creation of its shell.

lookijustneedhelp said:
did you ever intentionally try to introduce strains of bacteria into the system? I have heard that from another guy who set up no waterchange tanks
I've noticed that "gunk buster" strains of aerobic bacteria are for sale for this purpose, however the dosing requirements suggest that they don't form a stable colony similar to nitrifing bacteria. I'd instead suggest that the anerobic bacteria in the substrate / mulm are consuming leftover waste and this mulm is then consumed by snails.


@Kasshan - you hinted that the presently simple/elegant non water change solution for your tank(s) are the results of rigorous trials over a long period of time. Would you care to share any of this process: was it iterations trial and error, were you aiming to create a semi-closed eco system, did you go through a period of water testing and estimation of nutrient uptake to achieve the present equilibrium?
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
NavigatorBlack said:
You are running tanks as they were run from the 1860s until the 1990s. They were successful. But they were limited.
My anecdotal contribution is here:
I did what you describe for 20 years. I had one tank that did not get one single water change for close to 15 years.
When the magazines started discussing the benefits of water changes, I tried it. I believe in challenging my assumptions. I didn't do a controlled experiment, but I was hoping the water change deal would not work, because it was a lot of work. I have many tanks, and I had 14 then.
I observed a marked increase in breeding, to begin. They bred before, but results were better. Fry growth was radically faster. And the great intangible, behavior, is what made me into a diehard water changer. I would change 100% daily if I could (in tanks a lot like yours). My fish were more vital.
In the wild, in dry seasons, fish go into energy conservation if they get caught in oxbows or ponds as the rivers and lakes dry. They survive. Sometimes they breed. I got mollies once, collected by a friend in Mexico from a pool that was gone the day after. They died 3 weeks after I got them, but left me a generation to carry on with.
I believe we reproduce the natural conditions of dry season waters if we use the ancient techniques.
I also like surface and rapids fish that would die in your tanks. You always tailor your tanks to your fish. Slow water Discus, angels and elephant noses are ideal possibilities for what you are trying.
Put my Orthochromis or Phenecogrammus in there, and they'd be dead in a week.
Case by case, species by species. You are no crackpot, but maybe a throwback in your methods. Just remember, as you promote your techniques, that they will only work for fish from some habitats, while water changes work across the board.
of course! the tank set up is not ubiquitous to the success of every fish. you are correct. while I do not have that much time in the hobby. only 16 years, I'm 32. I love learning and trying stuff out. while I don't if the size of brood is affected, since the tank is so busy fry are gna get eaten (unless I had Kribs) however the Angels and Corydoras lay eggs alot. but in a 10 gallon that I use the same method on has a pair of rams, that I moved from the big community to their very own 10 gallon dream home and they are now spawning like clockwork prolifically; their water hasnt been changed in two years since it was setup.
I am wary someone will take my advice incorrectly set up a tank and have a disaster to blame on me. but my science method relies on lots of variables and tweeking those variables.
 

Books&Fish

Member
AngelTheGypsy said:
I actually have a friend with a 75 gallon tank and she never does water changes either. Just top offs. Fake decor. Stocking all over the place with various cichlids, DG, Oscar, glo tetras. All fish from Walmart. Changes all of her filter media at the same time, regularly, because it makes the water clearer. Has never tested her water, doesn't own a test kit. Somehow, she is successful, and has had this tank running for over a decade.
Everyone does it different.
Yeah, but how long and how healthy are the fish living? My mom has had a tank running for 30 years. Didn't know about the nitrogen cycle (until I told her several months ago), no test kit and never did water changes. Every 6 months, they drained the tank, leaving fish in buckets, and hosed the whole thing down, replaced cartridges, scrubbed everything until it was shiny new.

She got away with it because she mostly kept koI fish and when they got too big, she'd toss them into her pond and scoop out babies for the tank. No one was ever in it longer than 2 years. She's blown away by weekly water changes. I don't know if something changed in her water, but now she keeps rosy barbs and platies and they are twitching from high nitrates after going a few days without a water change. She has 30 ppm nitrates in her tap.

My point is, you can skip water changes. That doesn't mean it is what's best for the fish. Surviving isn't thriving.
 

OnTheFly

Member
Kasshan said:
I am wary someone will take my advice incorrectly set up a tank and have a disaster to blame on me. but my science method relies on lots of variables and tweeking those variables.
That is a possibility without providing many more details of your challenges. On the surface it truly sounds like " just throw a dirt tank up and discard some snails and you too could have a near maintenance free discus tank".
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
fredhoon said:
The logic for snails removing nutrients from the tank is the same as Algae removing Nitrogen and Plants removing N,P&K.

Plants are a more complex life form than Algae and thus require a larger quantity and wider variety of nutrients, which is removed from the water column and stored in their biomass (if they stay in the tank and rot these nutrients are returned to the water column). A snail is again more complex than a plant and also removes "heavier" minerals from the water column via the creation of its shell.


I've noticed that "gunk buster" strains of aerobic bacteria are for sale for this purpose, however the dosing requirements suggest that they don't form a stable colony similar to nitrifing bacteria. I'd instead suggest that the anerobic bacteria in the substrate / mulm are consuming leftover waste and this mulm is then consumed by snails.


@Kasshan - you hinted that the presently simple/elegant non water change solution for your tank(s) are the results of rigorous trials over a long period of time. Would you care to share any of this process: was it iterations trial and error, were you aiming to create a semi-closed eco system, did you go through a period of water testing and estimation of nutrient uptake to achieve the present equilibrium?
ha the inception of this idea 7 years ago was in response to my mother and that is a story.... in 2010 I moved from SoCal back home to my hometown Modesto. I brought my 40 gallon breeder and a 35g I got off craiglists(in retrospect, bad idea, the tank had butt joint seams for the black rI'm instead of one piece and it was out in the summer sun). my family never allowed pets growing up, but I weaseled my way thru. while doing a water change on the 35g the tank seams burst cuz of the uneven water pressure on the glass, I can only guess. desperately I deadlifted the tank and tried to take it outside( it was a colony of marbled/marmokreb crayfish I was using as live food for my kribs) but alas the damage was done. downstairs carpet was ruined and they made move the main tank into the garage, soon after I gave up the hobby for the 3rd time in my life.

in 2012 I started the hobby again because I got married and had my own place(renting). I was loathe to return to the tedious routine of waterchanges. so I researched and used my own scientific method, trial and error, I killed more fish than I was used to in 2012 because of my ignorance and experimentation, but once I dialed in my procedures things became cake.

Books&Fish said:
Yeah, but how long and how healthy are the fish living? My mom has had a tank running for 30 years. Didn't know about the nitrogen cycle (until I told her several months ago), no test kit and never did water changes. Every 6 months, they drained the tank, leaving fish in buckets, and hosed the whole thing down, replaced cartridges, scrubbed everything until it was shiny new.

She got away with it because she mostly kept koI fish and when they got too big, she'd toss them into her pond and scoop out babies for the tank. No one was ever in it longer than 2 years. She's blown away by weekly water changes. I don't know if something changed in her water, but now she keeps rosy barbs and platies and they are twitching from high nitrates after going a few days without a water change. She has 30 ppm nitrates in her tap.

My point is, you can skip water changes. That doesn't mean it is what's best for the fish. Surviving isn't thriving.
you didnt read the thread thoroughly, please do so from the beginning, there are many small essential details that are easily missed during a quick casual read. the fish are thriving in this setup, not merely surviving, please do not make judgements or assumptions about my tank or fish, just ask a question, and ill answer. if I don't know something, then I don't know, but ill try to find out. being ignorant is not a bad thing, because one can only stand to learn something. I'm quite ignorant on a lot of things, that is why I keep my assumptions to a minimum.
 

-Mak-

Member
I like to keep an open mind, I know this wouldn't work for me due to my extremely soft water, but if it works for you I guess you're doing something right! Do you do any water testing? Specifically TDS?
 

Books&Fish

Member
Kasshan said:
you didnt read the thread thoroughly, please do so from the beginning, there are many small essential details that are easily missed during a quick casual read. the fish are thriving in this setup, not merely surviving, please do not make judgements or assumptions about my tank or fish, just ask a question, and ill answer. if I don't know something, then I don't know, but ill try to find out. being ignorant is not a bad thing, because one can only stand to learn something. I'm quite ignorant on a lot of things, that is why I keep my assumptions to a minimum.
I wasn't replying to you at all, don't get angry with me. I replied to Angel.
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
Books&Fish said:
I wasn't replying to you at all, don't get angry with me. I replied to Angel.
oh dear. no worries. it was not clear in the last paragraph who the comment was directed at, since it was in contrast to the topic of no water changes, but after giving your post second read I understand.
my apologies and I am sorry (I don't say sorry often). I realize my error. the typed word can be vague and lacking in tone. also I speak plainly, I did not intend to convey anger. just read in the voice of Spock. if you don't know Spock's voice, its all on netflix anyhow and worth a watch.

I just remembered a failure. I will share. this set up doesn't work well with livebearers. fish like that are far too voracious, much too greedy. I forgot mention the loads of daphnia I have. livebearers tend to devastate the daphnia population. this tank setup did not work with platies or mollies, because it destroyed the ecological balance that daphnia play in biological filtration. therefore I do not keep them anymore. I feel like when livebearers are in search of food they will strip things bare.
 

BeanFish

Member
The topic is interesting, and I thought it was impossible to keep Daphnia with fish, I thought it was impossible to keep the balance. I think it would be interesting to live in a Utopia where you could get an identical tank like the ones where you don't perform water changes and follow the general concensus of weekly water changes to see if there are any differences.
I think it is just better for the average hobbyst to do his weekly water change, there are a lot of variables.nd some people think this is self-sustaining, it isnt.
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
thanks, good read, in the first article they tested African fish, so that doesn't match with my biome. also results were corollary not causative, but while hormones were present the reuptake didn't seem to have much of an affect of brooding behaviors etc plus stressed fish produce more hormones like cortisol. I suppose the less stressed the fish the less hormones are produced.
according to the 2nd article, hormones were negligible in aquaria but detrimental in farming conditions.. I wonder if they cycled the tank and had adequate biofiltration, a variable they may not have considered, they often do bare bottom tanks. I doubt they used a river model with mud and bacteria and other variables they could not account for.
here is a USGS link as well
 

Discusluv

Member
Kasshan said:
thanks, according to the 2nd article, hormones were negligible in aquaria but detrimental in farming conditions. in the first article they tested African fish, so that doesn't match with my biome. I wonder if they cycled the tank and had adequate biofiltration, a variable they may not have considered, they often do bare bottom tanks. I doubt they used a river model with mud and bacteria and other variables they could not account for.
What does the degradation of hormones in an open environment have to do with the closed environment that you are using as your example?

Kasshan said:
thanks, according to the 2nd article, hormones were negligible in aquaria but detrimental in farming conditions. in the first article they tested African fish, so that doesn't match with my biome. I wonder if they cycled the tank and had adequate biofiltration, a variable they may not have considered, they often do bare bottom tanks. I doubt they used a river model with mud and bacteria and other variables they could not account for.
The purpose of the article was for the poster who desired documentation that hormones are excreted in aquarium.

Kasshan, Can I see a picture of your discus in the aquarium that you don't do water changes in.
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
Discusluv said:
What does the degradation of hormones in an open environment have to do with the closed environment that you are using as your example?
I tried to replicate it. and apparently I did. I have real dirt/mud/random shard of wood in my tanks. so obviously this isn't going to work in a tank with gravel only.
 

Discusluv

Member
Kasshan said:
I tried to replicate it. and apparently I did. I have real dirt/mud/random shard of wood in my tanks. so obviously this isn't going to work in a tank with gravel only.
Also, if you don't mind, please give specific details of maintenance procedures of the tank you have your discus in (specifically) . Are you saying that the no water change method is (specifically) what you are doing in the tank you house your discus in?
A picture Kasshan? Details of discus tank?
 

lookijustneedhelp

Member
thank you!

the first two links didnt work for me, but the third was very helpful.
 

lookijustneedhelp

Member
Kasshan said:
here is a USGS link as well
that link does mention hormone-degrading bacteria. do those normally occur in tap water or how are they getting introduced to a tank?
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
The only thing that gets removed from my discus tank is duckweed, and snails and Java Moss when I trI'm it. I also rinse out the filter media when it gets clogged with gunk. That's it.

lookijustneedhelp said:
that link does mention hormone-degrading bacteria. do those normally occur in tap water or how are they getting introduced to a tank?
Mud. I add mud. Miracle gro topsoil
 

Discusluv

Member
Kasshan said:
Okay, great... they look good. They are poor quality specimens aesthetically (peppered, beaked-noses, foot-ball shape) but that is not part of the equation. Now keep a log for the next 6 months of your procedures in this tank, all details. Maintenance, water chemistry, feeding, etc... and we will revisit this question. I, obviously, do not think your fish will be able to live long-term in this environment without succumbing to bacterial infections, stunted growth, etc... But, if successful, after 6 months, if you have proved me wrong you have a set of data to at least publish your claim, of course the world of aquaculture will want you to do a more controlled experiment...

Discusluv said:
Okay, great... they look good. They are poor quality specimens aesthetically (peppered, beaked-noses, foot-ball shape) but that is not part of the equation. Now keep a log for the next 6 months of your procedures in this tank, all details. Maintenance, water chemistry, feeding, etc... and we will revisit this question. I, obviously, do not think your fish will be able to live long-term in this environment without succumbing to bacterial infections, stunted growth, etc... But, if successful, after 6 months, if you have proved me wrong you have a set of data to at least publish your claim, of course the world of aquaculture will want you to do a more controlled experiment...
In addition, there are a ton of aquaculture related articles in the scientific databases. I assume you have access to more than JSTOR, which is quite inadequate to begin with. You shouldn't be looking in JSTOR.
 
  • Thread Starter

Kasshan

Member
direct me please. I'm ignorant. now that schools out itll be good to have some fascinating reading material. ive been restricted to jstor by professors so much that I guess I limited myself.
I got these guys for 40$ and I had visited them for 3 weeks in the store before I got them. online intrigued me, but I didnt who to buy from, so I wasn't going to risk it. and I am ignorant of the grades of discus and other adv hobby qualities that are considered desirable. but I'm fairly pleased with my price/discus/quality, likely because I haven't spent over a hundred bucks yet and don't know any better. someday.... when I have my own house and convert the 3rd garage into an insulated fish room. right now I'm maxed on # of tanks for my 1bed apt. lol
 

Discusluv

Member
Kasshan said:
direct me please. I'm ignorant. now that schools out itll be good to have some fascinating reading material. ive been restricted to jstor by professors so much that I guess I limited myself
*On affiliated library website, type in aquaculture in general search and a host of articles, books and references will open up.
*Go through "databases"- look for sciences databases, keep narrowing down until you get into databases that specialize in aquaculture. You have to play with it a bit, do some searching to get to the articles.
*Or, look on Google Scholar with a general heading like "Aquaculture in Aquaria." Then when find an article that is more specific to your search go through the abstract provided : name of data base it was published, title of article, author, date published. Take this info and either sign on to your institution through the abstract itself or take this information and look for article via your institutions "general search."
*You can also look up research articles in databases provided online through your local library.
Happy reading!
 

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