Re: [RML] Water changes.

Scott.Hunt at
Mon, 9 Dec 1996 13:40:00 +1000

Hey Tim, Welcome to the list.

>I am new to the mailing group and to the internet. If I stuff up with
>the etiquette please let me know, it is not intentional.

What's Internet etiquette?? ;-) Netiquette is a term often used but
rarely practiced these days. ;-)

>You will all discover soon that I can't spell, can't type (I
>hit the key next to the one that I want or get the order backawrd or >use
the wrong word) and just plain leave words out. No point in >telling me
>about these errors, I have been like it for years and can't imagine
>I will suddenly get over it.

You'll fit in well, 'round here. ;-)

>Why change the water? Yes, I know, if you don't the fish die, the >plants
look like sh#t, etc. How do I know when I am changing the >right amount?
>Yes, I know, look at the fish and you will know. I have no doubt that
>these answers are correct but my curiosity will not let it rest at

Looking a the fish is a good indicator, but by the time your fish show
signs of illness or stress, damage (broadly speaking) is already being
done. I prefer a more proactive approach of suitable water changes & basic
water quality tests. So *my* answer to how so you know if your changing
enough water is ... When your fish are healthy (ie. alive & unstressed),
the tank is asetheticly pleasing (ie. the water is clear, etc.) & water
parameters fall within the accepted ranges for the particular species.

>Over a two
>year period I changed the water very few times. At times my guess is
>that it went for more than six months without a change. Over the two
>years I lost no more than five percent of the fish.

When I fish started keeping fish as a youngster I didn't believe in
changes. The cat was well feed & I was the pet shop's best customer!!!

>Now curious I decided to do a few experiments. With the tank now
>and feed at more normal levels I maintained a reduced water change
>routine, ten percent a month. I expected the Nitrate level to rise.
>Still undetectable. I bought a new kit (what a waste of money!!) same
>result. I am unwilling to continue with reduced water changes to
>that the fish will die well before the Nitrate level rises to even
>10ppm. If you accept that this will be the end result then the reason
>for water changes is not to reduce the Nitrate level. Then why?

What sort of biological filtration do you have?? One reason for performing
water changes is to reduce nitrate levels, the other is to remove decaying
organic matter that would normally be processed via the Nitrogen cycle.

>My attention has now turned to phosphate. Yes, the phosphate level >
definitely rises in my tanks. I have resumed normal water changes >(30% /
>month). The phosphate level is about 10ppm. The level in Canberra's
>live in Canberra) water supply is about 0.4ppm.

I must admit I pay little attention to phosphates. One of the 'plant dudes'
on the list may be able to comment on the effects of phosphates in the

>My interest is in things that can be measured and proven rather than
>abstract even though the later may in the end be all we really have
>make our decisions by.

As far as aquariums go, I rely on common sense, experimentation 'around the
edges' & the best practices that after a while will result.

Scott Hunt