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Thread: Water Changes Redux or, 'Now I'm Really Confused'

  1. #1
    Sansai almostgeorgia's Avatar
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    Water Changes Redux or, 'Now I'm Really Confused'

    I don't want to pull the very interesting on-going thread about 'Oxygen Saturation' in to a different direction, so thought I'd start this subject up, AGAIN, with its own dedicated thread instead. Based on some comments I'm reading there, however, I'm not ashamed to say 'I'm gettin' sorely confused.' And JR, I'll start with you if you don't mind:

    'But the art of the water change is the thing-- never too large as that is raw water * not mellow water. 10% a week is better than 30% a month. And 50% a month is reckless and counter productive.'

    -- JR

    Now, perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but this comment and some others recently made seem to fly in the face of everything I've learned about the importance of regular, and fairly 'large' water changes. I seem to remember much higher rates recommended by some of these same authors on previous threads in this forum. And worse, I've been preaching this as the 'gospel' to other new koi keepers. In fact, I liken the importance of water changes to that of regular oil changes on your prized car -- only MORE critical if that is possible.

    So here's the rub, I'm operating under the belief that small (10% or so), more frequent H20 change-outs are best, and that makes sense as we are dealing with 'raw' water after all. But I'm also working under the assumption that 30-40% a week, over all, is desirable, given reasonable stocking numbers and reasonably generous feeding rates. (i.e. -- 10% changed out 3 or four times a week) I'm also under the impression certain filters such as bead systems are notorious for 'stripping' and metabolizing minerals out of the water and changes at these rates are even more important.

    So what gives, am I wasting water if I'm changing it out at the rate of 30-40% a week, or am I just misunderstanding some of these comments?

    Thanks, fellow koi-kichi, for shedding a bit more light on the subject.

  2. #2
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by almostgeorgia View Post
    I don't want to pull the very interesting on-going thread about 'Oxygen Saturation' in to a different direction, so thought I'd start this subject up, AGAIN, with its own dedicated thread instead. Based on some comments I'm reading there, however, I'm not ashamed to say 'I'm gettin' sorely confused.' And JR, I'll start with you if you don't mind:

    'But the art of the water change is the thing-- never too large as that is raw water * not mellow water. 10% a week is better than 30% a month. And 50% a month is reckless and counter productive.'

    -- JR

    Now, perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but this comment and some others recently made seem to fly in the face of everything I've learned about the importance of regular, and fairly 'large' water changes. I seem to remember much higher rates recommended by some of these same authors on previous threads in this forum. And worse, I've been preaching this as the 'gospel' to other new koi keepers. In fact, I liken the importance of water changes to that of regular oil changes on your prized car -- only MORE critical if that is possible.

    So here's the rub, I'm operating under the belief that small (10% or so), more frequent H20 change-outs are best, and that makes sense as we are dealing with 'raw' water after all. But I'm also working under the assumption that 30-40% a week, over all, is desirable, given reasonable stocking numbers and reasonably generous feeding rates. (i.e. -- 10% changed out 3 or four times a week) I'm also under the impression certain filters such as bead systems are notorious for 'stripping' and metabolizing minerals out of the water and changes at these rates are even more important.

    So what gives, am I wasting water if I'm changing it out at the rate of 30-40% a week, or am I just misunderstanding some of these comments?

    Thanks, fellow koi-kichi, for shedding a bit more light on the subject.
    No your ok. the old water change recommendation from the aquarium hobby really is 25% a month. The other common one is 20% weekly. I actually prefer the smaller more frequent water change of 10% a couple of times a week, but who has the time! This does not include the daily sump dumps that should be done in summer. But all in 50% is usually too much of a water change as it disrupts the biology to try and add that much raw water.
    As mentioned, water changes is an art and it must match the situation. Sometimes the 'situation' requires bigger water changes ( at the risk of stability but can't be helped). And example would be quarantine where the fish are over crowded. or a mediated pond where you MUST dilute the residual charge before adding another active charge. It is true that the 50% water change might be bad on one level but absolutely needed on another ( toxic effects of compounds for instance).

    If you have a 5000 gallon pond and a 500 gallon prefilter or sump, and you dump 10% daily, you are also doing a 'targeted change' which is very effective ! that ironically is a 'better water change' than 50% of all water as your are getting the bulk of organics out without the disruption 2500 gallon water change will cause. Less in more in that particular case.

    Finally, don't confuse any of this with the idea of an open system where 100% of the water can be exchanged over a two day period. In that case, however, you'd better have some very good source water as the raw water can be counter productive- meaning you get the nitrates way way down and the pH rock solid but the rawness of the water could really cause problems with the skin ( minerals and other irritants).

    Clear? clear as mud? JR

  3. #3
    Oyagoi Eugeneg's Avatar
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    Thanks, fellow koi-kichi, for shedding a bit more light on the subject.[/QUOTE]

    If the water is OK you can have a flow through system and no filtration this is done on most trout farms.
    Angel koi near the Keys raises koi and does 50% a day water change no filtration
    Regards
    Eugene

  4. #4
    Nisai APOLONASGR36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by almostgeorgia View Post
    I don't want to pull the very interesting on-going thread about 'Oxygen Saturation' in to a different direction, so thought I'd start this subject up, AGAIN, with its own dedicated thread instead. Based on some comments I'm reading there, however, I'm not ashamed to say 'I'm gettin' sorely confused.' And JR, I'll start with you if you don't mind:

    'But the art of the water change is the thing-- never too large as that is raw water * not mellow water. 10% a week is better than 30% a month. And 50% a month is reckless and counter productive.'

    -- JR

    Now, perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but this comment and some others recently made seem to fly in the face of everything I've learned about the importance of regular, and fairly 'large' water changes. I seem to remember much higher rates recommended by some of these same authors on previous threads in this forum. And worse, I've been preaching this as the 'gospel' to other new koi keepers. In fact, I liken the importance of water changes to that of regular oil changes on your prized car -- only MORE critical if that is possible.

    So here's the rub, I'm operating under the belief that small (10% or so), more frequent H20 change-outs are best, and that makes sense as we are dealing with 'raw' water after all. But I'm also working under the assumption that 30-40% a week, over all, is desirable, given reasonable stocking numbers and reasonably generous feeding rates. (i.e. -- 10% changed out 3 or four times a week) I'm also under the impression certain filters such as bead systems are notorious for 'stripping' and metabolizing minerals out of the water and changes at these rates are even more important.

    So what gives, am I wasting water if I'm changing it out at the rate of 30-40% a week, or am I just misunderstanding some of these comments?

    Thanks, fellow koi-kichi, for shedding a bit more light on the subject.
    If you are doing 30-40% water changes a week (10% at a time every other day or so ) you should be able to look at your fish and know if what you are doing is the right thing or not. If you did 10% a week water changes only for a long period of time, I would ask you to do the same and you will be able to tell the difference.

    A 10% water change on an average stocked pond that supports a healthy and growing fish population will not be remotely enough.At least not in the long term. Now if you keep only one fish per 1000 gallons of water and feed very modestly for slow growth 10% might do it.

  5. #5
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by APOLONASGR36 View Post
    If you are doing 30-40% water changes a week (10% at a time every other day or so ) you should be able to look at your fish and know if what you are doing is the right thing or not. If you did 10% a week water changes only for a long period of time, I would ask you to do the same and you will be able to tell the difference.

    A 10% water change on an average stocked pond that supports a healthy and growing fish population will not be remotely enough.At least not in the long term. Now if you keep only one fish per 1000 gallons of water and feed very modestly for slow growth 10% might do it.
    10% at a time. 10%-15% at a time. If your water is city water, the dilute factor will save your fish ( how many times have we heard of someone leaving a hose running and chlorine wacking the entire collection?- Often). 10% assures a drop in nitrate back to the base line ( if you are stocking properly). you can do 10% three times a week ( although that is not necessary) or you can do 10-15% a week and the dumping of the sumps and filters once a day in summer and once a week in Saturday.
    If a system is 'young' this will avoid new pond syndrome and if it is old you can step up the changes from there. I've seen big water changes with well water keep skin poor due to iron and aluminum. I've seen pH both sky rocket and crash ( C02) in well water or hard water. I've seen chlorine drive koi's gills wild. I've seen winter water changes oruse koi in statis into swimming. I've seen 50% water changes chill fish. 50% is an emergency level change only-- better to do 10% a day for five days then one 50% water change.

    In the end, the 'Goldilocks' water change is the best-- not too much and not too little. And less is often more when it comes to keeping your koi away from stress. The bottom line is found in the concept of keeping ideal ambient measurements. And the trick and art of the thing is to never let the parameters drift far from the ideal. Since this is done like a rheostat type control you want to 'dial back' pollutants and 'turn up' depleted minerals and micro nutrient. 50% suggests that the parametrers have moved WAY off the mark and need massive raw water to bring these parameters back in line. I hope that isn't true or the goal of any hobbyist other then the raw beginner?! JR

  6. #6
    Nisai
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    water flow rate on the Japan mate tank

    What will be accetable water flow rate per hour on the J.M. tank?
    Any suggestion ?

  7. #7
    Tategoi hewhoisatpeace's Avatar
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    Having recently seen some of your fish, Doug, I think you're doing well by them. I think 50% per week is awesome, if done in 10% increments and not all at once. That said, I 'm with JR, sometimes different times call for different measures. As far as bead filters stripping water, I have no real evidence for or against that.

  8. #8
    Nisai
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    Quote Originally Posted by jckoi View Post
    What will be accetable water flow rate per hour on the J.M. tank?
    Any suggestion ?
    Sorry, will start a new thread.

  9. #9
    Nisai APOLONASGR36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    10% at a time. 10%-15% at a time. If your water is city water, the dilute factor will save your fish ( how many times have we heard of someone leaving a hose running and chlorine wacking the entire collection?- Often). 10% assures a drop in nitrate back to the base line ( if you are stocking properly). you can do 10% three times a week ( although that is not necessary) or you can do 10-15% a week and the dumping of the sumps and filters once a day in summer and once a week in Saturday.
    If a system is 'young' this will avoid new pond syndrome and if it is old you can step up the changes from there. I've seen big water changes with well water keep skin poor due to iron and aluminum. I've seen pH both sky rocket and crash ( C02) in well water or hard water. I've seen chlorine drive koi's gills wild. I've seen winter water changes oruse koi in statis into swimming. I've seen 50% water changes chill fish. 50% is an emergency level change only-- better to do 10% a day for five days then one 50% water change.

    In the end, the 'Goldilocks' water change is the best-- not too much and not too little. And less is often more when it comes to keeping your koi away from stress. The bottom line is found in the concept of keeping ideal ambient measurements. And the trick and art of the thing is to never let the parameters drift far from the ideal. Since this is done like a rheostat type control you want to 'dial back' pollutants and 'turn up' depleted minerals and micro nutrient. 50% suggests that the parametrers have moved WAY off the mark and need massive raw water to bring these parameters back in line. I hope that isn't true or the goal of any hobbyist other then the raw beginner?! JR
    All valid points JR.

    I personally trickle city water, that first passes through a 2.5 cf centaur activated carbon filter, on all of my ponds and QT tanks. I was told that centaur AC is 100 times more porous than regular AC and removes not only chlorine but chloramines too. The water inflow changes with the season and feeding amounts from 3% to 10% daily in a 24 hour period. It can't get any smoother than that. lol

  10. #10
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I fully agree with JR's point that 10% water changes multiple times per week is better than one big water change. However, it is not practical for me to follow this practice. Dumping settlement gives a very small percentage daily water change on my pond. I have to rely on performing one major water change per week, which is in the 35% range. In doing this, it is important to be aware of water parameters so that overall stability is maintained. Having worked with the pond for nearly 8 years, I no longer test constantly. I can tell if something seems off (or think I can ?? ). I do test for hardness and pH if things look 'not quite normal', and adjust water changes accordingly. At the height of the Spring leaf & pollen attack (which Floridians with Live Oaks understand come together, and not in separate seasons), I have done 25% water changes on Saturday and Sunday in order to avoid too much shifting in basic parameters. I'd prefer to be doing 10% per day by continuous in-flow, similar to what Dick Benbow does with his pond.

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