WATER CHANGES- Serve an important role in your aquarium, yet you either love them, or hate them. We at Dallas Aquarium Experts are in the “love them” camp and when we are designing an aquarium for a client, we’re often asked to make water changes as easy as possible.
The role a water change plays is to export nutrients out of your saltwater aquarium. By removing existing water out of your system and replacing it with fresh saltwater, nutrient levels are reduced and other important levels (calcium, magnesium, trace elements, etc) are increased. Here’s the key thing to note about the reduction of the nutrient levels though: unless a large (50% or more) water change is performed, you’re not going to reduce nutrient levels by a large amount. I often hear people talk about having a high phosphate or nitrate levels and the advice given is to a 10-20% water change. The water change isn’t going to provide the large drop in levels that are needed to maintain proper water quality and keep your aquarium looking its best.
Why even do smaller water changes then if they aren’t useful unless the quantity of water removed is large? Several reasons:
1) When water changes of 20% are done on a weekly basis or 30% are done on a bi-weekly basis this should be sufficient as long as the aquarium is not over stocked and feeding is done appropriately. This will greatly reduce larger issues down the road that are difficult, expensive, and usually slow to correct.
2) Replenishment of elements. Until an aquarium is well stocked with corals, calcium, magnesium and alkalinity levels can be maintained simply through water changes.
3) Promotes good habits. When doing a water change, you have to pay attention to your aquarium as you are turning pumps on/off, removing water, changing filter media, checking fish health, etc. The water change exercise is a great time to look over the aquarium to make sure everything is looking good and running well. Maintaining a weekly water change routine forces you to give your aquarium a good look over which will help catch any problems faster.
Our way isn’t the only way however it is the way that has worked for Dallas Aquarium Experts and our clients time and time again.
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