Would Only Water Top Offs Do!?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by danelch, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. danelch

    danelchValued MemberMember

    Hey everyone. I have this newly cycled 87 gallon tank with an internal filter( 3000 L/hr ) and a sponge filter in there

    There's like 15 small plants of Amazon sword, 3 small anubias, a log (8 " long) of java moss, 5 bunches if cabomba and 3 stems of pothos plants in there
    (plants covering ~ 40 % bottom area)

    I've got 9 guppies in there currently

    Now my question is : if i continue to stock my tank with more fish GRADUALLY, would it be possible to do just water top offs once every few days or maybe do a 10% water change per week without having water quality issues ?

    I plan to stock it with :

    A school of 8-10 neon tetras
    3-4 angelfish
    4-5 GBR
    1 betta
    A school of 8-10 of some other small tetras
    3 bristlenose plecos

    P.s : there's a ton of MTS and bladder snails in there already

    Thanks :)
  2. leftswerve

    leftswerveWell Known MemberMember

    No, you'll need to test. Water top offs only cover evaporation, nothing more. 10% pwc would be very very very very very hard to pull off. Next to impossible for the standard home aquarist.
    Good luck
  3. Coradee

    CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

  4. MaddieTaylah

    MaddieTaylahWell Known MemberMember

    Water that evaporates still leaves all of the waste behind, so if the water is then topped up it doesn't mean the concentration of waste has decreased at all.
  5. Nauthes

    NauthesValued MemberMember

    I believe you mentioned all those plants as you think it will be removing excess nitrates from your water.
    Allowing you to only need to top off the tank water.

    But as coradee said.
    Water changes arent just about removing nitrates.

    With a water change you are adding nutrients back, reducing nitrates, vacuuming the substrate of any left over food/waste and also oxygenating the water quite a bit.

    There is no replacement for water changes. If there was aquarists would have found it by now.
  6. adh/smile

    adh/smileWell Known MemberMember

    I see a small stocking error in your plan if you would like to discuss it. :)
    You should definitely do water changes because, as the others have said, topping off the water only covers water evaporation loss but doesn't get rid of the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. It should be easier for you though with that 87 gallon tank because it is so big and has two filters. You should be able to get away with a water change about once every month or 3 weeks. You can watch your water parameters constantly for the first several months (AFTER YOUR STOCKING IS COMPLETE) and then change the water whenever you see something getting too high. *That is just my opinion, I have a relative with a 50 gallon tank and it gets cleaned once a month and everything in the tank is fine. So you might be able to go more than a month.****
    In my 10 gallon tank, I clean it every week just because my 3 guppies produce so much waste it drives me crazy seeing it on the top of the sand but my water parameters are normal in a week. I was gone 2 weeks once and when I came back the nitrates were around 10 so I had to clean it.
    :;bananamaskHope this helps!!!
  7. purslanegarden

    purslanegardenWell Known MemberMember

    I would recommend that you do water changes. However, that doesn't mean there are no people that have only done top-offs for a long period of time, and their tank seems to be still running OK. Fish will get used to the environment, until it begins to make them sick or kill them. Depending on the load, that could be a short few months or even a year or two, or more, before seeing that effect. They also see the effects of it when they add new fish (after a long time) and wonder why the new fish isn't doing well, or might have even died. It's because it was thrown into an environment that is really high in all those wastes and nitrates. It didn't get used to living in it, like the current inhabitants.
  8. BottomDweller

    BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    When water evaporates only the clean water leaves so all the bad stuff is still in the so you still have to do water changes.

    You have some stocking issues if you'd like to discuss them
  9. OP

    danelchValued MemberMember

    Umm wouldn't the plants be removing the nitrates? Do i not have enough plants for that?

    As far as mineral replenishing is concerned, my tank is dirted PLUS it has root tabs with almost every amazon sword in there. so do i need to be concerned about mineral replenishing? At least in the near future?
  10. BuddyD

    BuddyDWell Known MemberMember

    I wouldn't put a betta in with guppies. I don't know about the others.
  11. RedLoredAmazon

    RedLoredAmazonWell Known MemberMember

    Plants help with the nitrates, I wouldn't count on them solely to remove them. It's not just the plants that need the minerals, it's the fish too. :) I really can't think of any ways to compare it to without being TOTALLY disgusting. I guess it would be like never cleaning your home; dirt and filth would still accumulate and that would set yourself up for disease and illness. It's not quite the same, but for fish it is. They need their home cleaned by vacuuming out the poop and uneaten food and then adding new fresh water for them to "breath". Hopefully this makes sense and I'm not totally rambling!
  12. BottomDweller

    BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    The plants would help a bit but they can't remove solid waste. They probably won't remove all nitrates.

    I don't think dirt and root tabs add the minerals into the water that the fish need. Also the Ph slowly drops in tanks so you need to do water changes to keep the Ph up.
  13. OP

    danelchValued MemberMember

    Please see what i replied to @Coradee ^ :)

    Sure I'd love to know about my stocking issues if you think I might have some. I'm all ears. Waiting.

    And umm you think I'd be able to do fine if i do like a 50% water change once a month with the type of stocking options i mentioned ^ ?

    Like I asked adh/smile above, you think a 50% water change a month would be sufficient for my kinda stock that I mentioned above? ?

    Sure I'd love to know what issues i might have with the type of stock I've planned. I'm listening. Please do tell.

    Umm i think people do put them together in smaller tanks.. no?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2017
  14. BottomDweller

    BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    The neon tetras and BN need cooler water than the rest of your stock. You could swap them for cardinal tetras and clown plecos though. Do 2 angelfish or 4, with 3 two will likely pair up and bully the other to death.
  15. OP

    danelchValued MemberMember

    50% water change a month for my kinda stock ( i mentioned it ^ ), would it work? You think?
  16. BottomDweller

    BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    I would be doing 30-40% a week. Smaller amounts more often are much better than a large amount less often. 20-30% twice a week would be even better.
  17. RedLoredAmazon

    RedLoredAmazonWell Known MemberMember

    I don't know if it would or not since I am still new at this. For me, I find it pretty easy to do 30-40% every week (I have a 54 g). My fish, snails, and shrimp poop a lot! I would just err on the side of caution and just do a water change every week. Out of curiosity, why do you not want to do weekly water changes? I know it takes some time to do a water change, but it is worth it! :)
  18. OP

    danelchValued MemberMember

    I'm thinking maybe i should do a 20 % water change a week. Hopefully that'll help me stay on the safe side with ease..

    haha and why am I not willing to spend a lot of time doing water changes? Cuz I'm a fourth year medical student. And idk if you know, but medicine is like your wife, requires a whole lot of attention and time and whatnot lol

    No disrespect meant to any wives out there
    P.s I'm not married myself lol
  19. RedLoredAmazon

    RedLoredAmazonWell Known MemberMember

    Ah ha! It all make sense now! :) I figured there was a reason why you only wanted to do less water changes. School is hard and caring for something living at the same time is incredibly taxing. Do you have a python or some sort of gravel vacuum? If not, do buy a python! I love mine, it only takes me 30 minutes to do a 30-40% water change. If I do a bunch of maintenance like trimming plants and servicing the canister filter, then that takes a long time: 1-2 hours.

    I will say if you find it too much to care for your fish and your schooling, nobody will think less of you if you rehome your fish. Sometimes it is better to keep your life as simple and low maintenance during school. You'll have more time after school is done...but I know that takes awhile for medical school!

    None taken! :) Since I am a wife, I would say most wives don't demand a ton of attention and time. I'm pretty low maintenance! :) Just a bit of advice, if you find one of those "high" maintenance people and want to get serious with them; just run! It won't get any better in the long term! Sorry, I couldn't help myself had to give my two cents on that! :)
  20. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    I don't agree that frequent smaller water changes are better. If you had nitrates of 80ppm, that 20-30% isn't even going to bring them down by half. Then when you do another 20% in a couple of days, you're also removing the new water you just added.

    A larger water change at one time is more effective. I do at least 60-70% once a week and haven't had any issues. I do agree though that changes once a month is definitely not enough. :)