Can water be changed too often?

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by Franko, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. Franko

    Franko Guest

    It seems that many people do just a 10% water change weekly.

    I do 20% change weekly. Sometimes I'll throw an extra water change in if I'm feeling motivated. I use home made RO/DI and Instant Ocean Reef Crystals. This schedule and amount is working well for me but sometimes I wonder if I am overdoing it. My water parameters are all very good. Haven't had an algae breakout in quite a while. Corals (mix of LPS, SPS and Zoas) are doing well but I struggle with some branching SPS. Some of my branching corals are doing great but others (usually the expensive ones grrrr) can be frustrating.

    Anyhow I'd like to get some input on frequency and amount of water changes that people find optimal.

  2. euod

    euod Supporting Member

    Tell me about it. I'm in the same situation as you and resorting to 20% weekly change for my nano to get back to basic sps grow out or survival. We'll see where this goes.

    In my tank that holds sensitive fish, I change 20% every 2-3 days just to keep its health up.

    There's more to it with sps besides water changes but getting back to basic is good enough for now. In the long run I would go all out with a combination of t5, mh and led to keep a variety of corals.

    I think if you can afford the water changes, go ahead and experiment and give some feedbacks.
  3. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    I guess one question that would be important is are you doing water changes for removing bad elements in the water like phosphate, nitrate ect. or are you doing water change to replenish elements that your corals have used up like Magnesium, alkalinity, calcium ect...or BOTH?

    For me I like to do a water change once a month and I normally only do about a 13% water change, but I have been slacking and have not done one for about 3 months :eek:...but I have a Ca Reactor so I constantly am getting trace elements put back into the tank...and my bad trace elements are a bit higher then what I want (By my standers), but they have been dropping slowly every week when I do my testing...

    Yet I am in the process of designing and building a large water mixing & storage center and in the mix of my design I will have my tank on automatic water changes daily in small amount.....but this part of AWC is at least a year or so away, yet the design is in the works....;)
    Franko and Coral reefer like this.
  4. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    fish die? nem juice up in powerhead? algae outbreak? diatoms? cyano? corals not opening up? corals not coloring up? corals not growing? DO MORE WATER CHANGES... thats what I've heard from a lot of people & forums ;)

    Same here... For the last year I've been religiously doing 20% PWCs every week!
  5. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I would echo what @jonmos75 said. There are many reasons to do water changes:
    • Export Nutrients (especially Nitrate & Phosphate)
    • Top up Alk/Calc/Mg
    • Top up trace elements
    What problems are you trying to solve with water changes? You can definitely do too large a water change, that shocks the system by changing salinity, elements, or nutrient levels suddenly. You can definitely lower nutrients too low or too suddenly and shock sensitive corals or invertebrates.

    It sounds like you're using water changes to maintain your Alk/Calc/Mg levels for a high load of corals. Perhaps you'd be better off looking at a continuous solution like a dosing pump, a calcium reactor, or other tools.
  6. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Water changes are your best friend!
    Make them large, do them often
    With the assumption that the new water is ideal: proper salinity, temp, and chemistry
    I have fish and corals over 10 years in many different tanks, including 10 pairs of spawning clowns, gobies, damsels and cardinal fishes

    I test nothing

    Oh and Franko
    If that's your sun sympathies
    A beautiful flying can-opener!
    I had one
    Franko likes this.
  7. anathema

    anathema Guest

    For the tank? No.

    For the wallet? Maybe.
  8. Franko

    Franko Guest

    Interesting stuff.

    Yea I'm not really to solve any problem by doing a lot of water changes. Like I said the parameters are all good and things are mostly growing well. I have an auto-dosing system for Calcium, Magnesium and Alkalinity...and I hand dose Iodine and Amino Acids and Reef Builder Kh and yea there is a lot of stuff going in the water. Then there is the fish food and coral food too.

    So I guess I am paranoid about having another coral extinction or algae outbreak or flat worm invasion or fish die off. You know the usual stuff that happens in spite of our best efforts and makes us crazy enough to change 20% of the water once a week in the hope that more is better.
  9. Franko

    Franko Guest

    Thanks....Sunny Bird was awesome, my whole family still misses him. So friendly and sweet. He died about a year ago. You'd be amazed at how good they taste ;-)
    Enderturtle likes this.
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    This is the big assumption that will answer your question, if water going in is essentially same (minus nitrates, poop, etc) of what is coming out, then doing too many isn't bad in any way for the tank, how your water bill handles it will depend upon the volume of your water (I like to blame my wife's long showers on the water bill :D).

    However if you dose calcium/alkalinity/anything else due to the fact the salt mix you use is deficient in any way, then increasing your water change amount could pull out useful stuff (i.e. more calcium in tank than change water, then changing water lowers calcium in the tank). But assuming you're not changing size of the changes then I wouldn't worry at all.
    Franko likes this.

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