Water changes in relation to water quality

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08 Dec 2007 21:58 #1 by sceilg (Craig Higgins)
Hi, I have a query regarding water changes.
In a lightly stocked, (reasonably) heavy planted aquarium, when ammonia is at 0, nitrite is at 0 and nitrate is at 0, because the plants are taking up all of the ammonia, is it neccessary to perform frequent water changes?
I have come accross a \"if it's not broke, don't fix it\" policy before but I am looking for your opinions,
Cheers.:)

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09 Dec 2007 13:09 #2 by Peter OB (Peter O'Brien)
Firstly, welcome to the site.

Frequent water changes are a must, even though your tank is only lightly stocked. Even only 10-20% a week.

Plants don't remove solid waste or Ammonia, they feed lightly off Nitrate.

What kind of filtration do you have in your tank?

Peter

Smoke me a Kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast.

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09 Dec 2007 19:59 #3 by sceilg (Craig Higgins)
Hi, I am currently just running internal filtration.
I have read that plants consume ammonia and nitrate, but prefer ammonia?
:blink:

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10 Dec 2007 00:57 #4 by platty252 (Darren Dalton)
If you are fertilizing the plants heavily( every day) i would say change about 20-30% of the water every 2 weeks.
This will remove excess nutrients in the water.
If you are dosing a little every week or so i would say change about 20-30% every month or so.
The fact that you are getting 0ppm for ammonia and nitrate the plants could be doing all the work. The filter is only removing the solid waste that would brake down eventually.
In theory you could remove the filter and let the plants do the work. But i dont recomend you do this. Just in case.
The plants will use up Amonia and nitrate's
Some plant substrates leach Amonia which i think is for the benefit of the plants as well as starting a nitrogen cycle to get the tank up and running.
A tank can balance out and only need the odd water change( some here may disagree). This is more of a benifit to the plants than the fish.

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10 Dec 2007 13:28 #5 by Peter OB (Peter O'Brien)
I thought plants use up Ammmonia in the form of removing Nitrate, almost secondary.

i.e Ammonia is converted to Nitrite, then Nitrite is converted to Nitrate and then the Nitrate is absorbed (in small doses) by the plants.

So plants do aid in the removal of Ammonia, but only by removing Nitrates. Correct me if i'm wrong?

(The above was not googled :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: )

I would still be doing the water changes and filtering.

Smoke me a Kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast.

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10 Dec 2007 19:02 #6 by platty252 (Darren Dalton)
Yes the plants will useuphe Amonia. Once the tank is lightly stocked, lightly fed fish and plenty of plant growth.
I have heard that it is easier for plants to use the Amonia than nitrate but the fish wont produce enough Amonia so Nitrate is added in fertilizers in the form of potassium nitrate.
Nitrate is added instead of Amonia because it is safer for the fish.

I hope this makes sense.

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10 Dec 2007 19:40 #7 by sceilg (Craig Higgins)
I thought that sometimes the plants can outcompete the bacteria which converts ammonia to nitrite by consuming the ammonia before the bacteria has a chance.

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10 Dec 2007 20:42 #8 by platty252 (Darren Dalton)
It is verry possible the plants consume all the Amonia before the tank has a chance to cycle.
If you were to remove the plants you would find the tank would start to cycle or at least a mini cycle.

I would still keep the filter going on the tank even if it is just to keep some circulation in the tank and removing some of the leaf litter etc.

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