No Bioload = No Water change?

foxrain4

I have crystal shrimps, Ramshorn snails and chili rasboras.
Ramshorn snails are the best cleaners in my fish tank and I do not really feed them, their best part are keeping the glass tank walls ultra clean which makes the planted tank more attractive.

So I could say I do not mind making a planted tank with ramshorn snails so I can feed less frequently and do less water changes. Because my new big tank is 32 gallons, trying to do water changes are like 10% = 3.2 gallons, this is 6 times more than my previous 5 gallons fish tank, I find it too much work. What I want to say if I just keep a planted tank with no shrimps, snails and fishes, does this means my planted tank is zero bioload? And because I have zero bioload I can skip water change, or perhaps I still have to do water change but much lesser like just 2% = 0.64 gallons, same as my previous 5 gallons fish tank water change amount?

The purpose of water change is to remove ammonia, nitrates and other waste water to avoid hurting the livestock, but I was taught that these ammonia, nitrates are good for aquatic plants, so really, I do not have to do water changes, right?
 

V1K

Low (doesn't have to be 0) bioload does allow to skip water changes. You'd only need to top up evaporation, and maybe vacuum it once in a while for aesthetical reasons. Keep in mind that lower bioload might mean you will need to fertilize the plants more. You might be interested in Walstad method.
 

ruud

Yes, agree. If you like to go with the least amount of maintenance, adding shrimp and perhaps snails will actually serve that purpose. In a 32 heavily planted gallon tank you can easily keep a few fish that can live from what the tank naturally has to offer. You perhaps need to do some research what fish are suitable for this and how to create microfauna that isn't terminated by the fish after a week or so.

I own a couple of these low tech tanks (unheated, dim/no light, no co2/ferts), with Dario fish, and my maintenance is mostly defined by topping off water 2 times a month. I do a handful of water changes per year; I would say 5% per water change. In my 40 gallon planted tank, I could go lower, but the 5 times maintenane schedule is also for the smaller tanks that I keep. I simply include my 2 larger tanks in the schedule.
 

ProudPapa

Changing 3.2 gallons of water is too much work? I did 25% water changes on a 65 gallon tank, a 20, and three 10's on Saturday, and a 40 and 5 yesterday. I use a long hose on the siphon tube for the larger tanks, so don't have to carry the old water away, but I refill all of them with buckets.

I'm 60 years old, by the way.
 

jtjgg

maybe less water changes, but not no water changes.

how do you replenish trace minerals and carbonates that are consumed?

how do you remove heavy metals if you're not exclusively using RO water?
 

foxrain4

maybe less water changes, but not no water changes.

how do you replenish trace minerals and carbonates that are consumed?

how do you remove heavy metals if you're not exclusively using RO water?
I have Brightwell Aquatics Shrimp Florin Multi - Multi-Nutrient Fertilizer for Planted Shrimp and Sl Aqua Blue Wizard for Bee Shrimp, I guess they can replace trace minerals but I am not sure what is carbonates. But it does seems like the Brightwell fertilizer gives complete nutrients for aquatic plants according to it's description.

I am not sure why I would have heavy metals? I am not using any rocks but I did consider lava rocks, will they leech heavy metals into my tank? I need the lava rocks because many plants are sold in the form of being attached to lava rocks like petite anubias and buce plants.
I am currently using distilled water because I still have shrimps so I guess I have even lesser heavy metals.
 

JeremyW

I think an appropriate water change schedule depends on more than just bioload. Your water hardness and pH are also important to consider. Bio-load is a big part of it, but not the whole story.

My water is moderately hard, with a high pH. 6gH, 6kH, and 8pH. My experience with doing minimal water changes is that my pH creeps up. After doing only top-ups for about 3-4 weeks, I've seen my pH rise up to 8.2. I've never pushed it farther than that because I see no benefit in it for me. But I assume that it would continue to change as things accumulated in my water. And eventually that change will cause a problem for me. I don't know when it would happen, but I think its just a matter of time.

With the right water, and the right setup, it might take a very long time to see any problems. But I think that for most people, problems will come eventually.

I know that people claim to have tanks that have gone very long periods of time with minimal or no water changes. In the right circumstances, I believe its possible. But with that said, I suspect that only a portion of those setups are stable over the long term. I think that many of them are likely heading for a crash that just hasn't happened yet.

I think that you're better off doing regular water changes. But if a no-water-change plant-only tank appeals to you as a project, then go for it.
 

V1K

I am currently using distilled water because I still have shrimps so I guess I have even lesser heavy metals.
I guess that explains why you find water changes such a concern. Most people use regular dechlorinated tap water, so they don't find it troublesome to change a couple of buckets of it every week.
What kind of fancy shrimp are you keeping that they require distilled water?
 

TClare

Changing 3.2 gallons of water is too much work? I did 25% water changes on a 65 gallon tank, a 20, and three 10's on Saturday, and a 40 and 5 yesterday. I use a long hose on the siphon tube for the larger tanks, so don't have to carry the old water away, but I refill all of them with buckets.

I'm 60 years old, by the way.
I had the same reaction, how can it be too hard?Yesterday I did a150 g (25%), 63g ( about 35%) and 10g (40%), I also refill with buckets and am over 60!

Realistically I could probably get a away with fewer water changes in the two bigger tanks, they always have low nitrates, however I feel that regularly weekly changes help to keep things healthy and also probably replenish some nutrients that plants use. Doing the 10g only takes a few minutes….
 

foxrain4

I guess that explains why you find water changes such a concern. Most people use regular dechlorinated tap water, so they don't find it troublesome to change a couple of buckets of it every week.
What kind of fancy shrimp are you keeping that they require distilled water?
Blue bolts, black pintos.

I am interested in Fancy Tiger shrimps and Red Galaxy shrimps, but they are too expensive, so I always end up buying the cheap culls ones, like bolts, pintos and crystal red shrimps.

The less work for me the better, it is appealing for me to switch to non-livestock planted tank if it means no water change, so no I am not going to change myself and start lifting big water buckets even if I swapped to regular dechlorinated tap water, and my experience with tap water is that 10% of different types of livestock dies in the first few days of purchasing, I have never had a livestock die in the distilled fish tank on the first few days of purchasing, and their longevity is longer for unknown reasons making me feel like drinking distilled water as well.
 

GlennO

It’s safe to drink distilled water but I would be reluctant to rely on it completely for drinking and cooking. Your body needs essential minerals and so do the critters and plants in your fish tank.
 

Pfrozen

Depends on your water imo. It makes more sense to try this with remineralized RO water than it does with tap. You never know what kind of wild undetectable toxin might be lurking in tap water that will slowly build up over time. I had this issue with my tap water.. my inverts would be fine for a couple months and then slowly die off without explanation. I switched to RO and haven't had any issues since. The one day I did a water change with tap and all of my bladder snails died- that's when I knew to switch
 

CHJ

IMy water is moderately hard, with a high pH. 6gH, 6kH, and 8pH. My experience with doing minimal water changes is that my pH creeps up. After doing only top-ups for about 3-4 weeks, I've seen my pH rise up to 8.2. I've never pushed it farther than that because I see no benefit in it for me.
I'm not sure how high tank water will climb beyond the 8.7-9 that my parents well water was. When I was a kid my Malawians were happy and they got 1 water change per year when I ran a hose down into the undergravel and fed the water out the window into the iris bed. How far up do the salt folk run? Though they tend to run crushed coral substrate.
The top edge of the tank was all clear/ blue crystals. So some of the hardness was becoming permanent deposits. PH in the tank stayed about the same despite only getting top offs.
I do not recommend this but in those day if the PH strip was good, you were good. Hardness was not really a thing other than high PH... well and all those clear/blue crystals.
Man, eventually cleaning all those crystals off was not fun. CLR and razor blade + elbow grease.
It’s safe to drink distilled water but I would be reluctant to rely on it completely for drinking and cooking. Your body needs essential minerals and so do the critters and plants in your fish tank.
They are hitting it with the SL Blue Aqua Wizard to make it shrimp water.

They most likely want to get an RO setup off Amazon as gallons of distilled add up pretty quick. If they live some place humid they could look at getting a dehumidifier and collect the water from that. May want to make sure the coils have no exposed copper though.
For custom shrimp water RO is the one true way.

I'm also not sure a plants only tank will give you 0 bio load 100% of the time. My nattans throw piles of rotting trash on the bottom of the tank like no one's business. I have learned to hate these plants.

Shrimp are pretty close to 0 bio load (unless you get silly. A solid half gallon of scuds in a 50 gallon trash can will turn the water black in short order. Water changes 1-2x per day. I had a 5 gal sealed bowl (my NASA bowl) that supported 3 gold backed Neos for a year or few. I tried blue scuds after that but it wasn't cold enough.
Not so sure about snails once you have a bazillion of them.
A small group of Chilis is minimal.
 

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