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Thread: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

  1. #46
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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Zak,

    Do we have definitive evidence that doing waterchanges offers the best water quality we can realistically achieve? To answer that, you would first have to know what good water quality is to begin with. How do we know when we are doing water changes we are not removing significant amounts of beneficial bacteria? And I don't just mean bacteria that filters the water, but I mean probiotic bacteria and other organi
    This statement is problematic to me. Many discus keepers here have been raising Discus for decades. In that time period you try a few things here and there, see what works and doesn't. Nothing does a fish better than an influx of clean fresh water.. I think even you recognize that from your previous posts. I know what you are getting at with the question .But it seems like arguing a point you dont even believe.

    How do We know this?. ..trial and error on my part. Lacking concrete tests we do have markers so to speak and evidence. Honestly, Gorgeous, healthy Discus are raised by the thousands with no significant filtration and just water changes in Asia. . For me though the proof is in the fry. Breed discus and raise Discus fry in various water qualities and you will learn alot about the subject that isnt theoretical..

    Fry will tell all you need to know about how clean and healthy your water is.. Have you tried breeding and raising fry yet under various conditions? You really will learn a lot by how well they grow.

    Im sure theres work arounds to clean water.. but I know what works too.

    2018-06-20 20.11.07.jpg
    Bare tank..1 air driven sponge...1 heater..90%.water change per day..tapered off as they age to less .

    Older fish are more forgiving ...but not discus fry.

    So to answer your question, do we know definitively about water changes? I dont think thats the question to ask... its is there a better way and if so prove it by some demonstrative method.

    al
    Last edited by brewmaster15; 06-20-2018 at 08:41 PM.
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    Registered Member zhuls1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    For the most part I agree with you Al, nothing beats first hand experiences in raising fish. I already know that it is possible to raise young discus in tanks with low water exchange rates. Aquaculture industries that are located in places where good water is sparse use many means of filtration to accommodate fish that are sometimes even more sensitive than discus. I have no doubt that its possible to raise discus without as many water changes as it has been done before. Its just a matter of making a system that works. Their have been many advancements in the science fields over the last couple of hundred years. I am sure if you asked people a couple of centuries ago if man would ever fly, or even go to the moon, they would had said it is impossible. People trying to achieve what others say is impossible is how we progress, and continue to develop more sophisticated technologies that were once thought of being as impossible. I do have plans in the works for numerous experiments, will they all turn out successful with young fry growing to be nice big adults? I would say almost certainly not. But I have complete confidence that I will find something that works consistently. And even if I didn't someone else would. many years ago most believed that a reef tank with corals was not possible. If no one challenges the norms and goes beyond what is common knowledge, how would the hobby grow and develop? We literally have the technology to filter water to 99.99% purity using systems such as RO - DI Units, remember, the water from your tap was likely not always that safe for raising fish, it first had to go through a filtration system to ensure its safety for the consumers. My purpose is to bring more people to this hobby. Unfortunately, all the waterchanges frequently turn people off from keeping discus. If we could prove a method to be reliable, affordable, easy to use and implement and not overly time consuming, it would allow many more people into the hobby. I do believe that experimentation is the means of accomplishing an entirely new standard of what is the "ideal" method of raising discus for the average hobbyists. Once I do that, if possible, I would like to refine the process to achieve the highest feed to growth ration possible.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Quote Originally Posted by zhuls1 View Post
    For the most part I agree with you Al, nothing beats first hand experiences in raising fish. I already know that it is possible to raise young discus in tanks with low water exchange rates. Aquaculture industries that are located in places where good water is sparse use many means of filtration to accommodate fish that are sometimes even more sensitive than discus. I have no doubt that its possible to raise discus without as many water changes as it has been done before. Its just a matter of making a system that works. Their have been many advancements in the science fields over the last couple of hundred years. I am sure if you asked people a couple of centuries ago if man would ever fly, or even go to the moon, they would had said it is impossible. People trying to achieve what others say is impossible is how we progress, and continue to develop more sophisticated technologies that were once thought of being as impossible. I do have plans in the works for numerous experiments, will they all turn out successful with young fry growing to be nice big adults? I would say almost certainly not. But I have complete confidence that I will find something that works consistently. And even if I didn't someone else would. many years ago most believed that a reef tank with corals was not possible. If no one challenges the norms and goes beyond what is common knowledge, how would the hobby grow and develop? We literally have the technology to filter water to 99.99% purity using systems such as RO - DI Units, remember, the water from your tap was likely not always that safe for raising fish, it first had to go through a filtration system to ensure its safety for the consumers. My purpose is to bring more people to this hobby. Unfortunately, all the waterchanges frequently turn people off from keeping discus. If we could prove a method to be reliable, affordable, easy to use and implement and not overly time consuming, it would allow many more people into the hobby. I do believe that experimentation is the means of accomplishing an entirely new standard of what is the "ideal" method of raising discus for the average hobbyists. Once I do that, if possible, I would like to refine the process to achieve the highest feed to growth ration possible.
    I for one would welcome your success Zak. You won't be the first one to try and buck the water change system in one way or another though. Many here and elsewhere have. Its one reason I set the forum up with an experimental section. Do the experiments, build in the appropriate controls and document everything.

    Keep in mind you dont just have to show that your can raise young discus with less water changes. You have to show that you can raise these fish to look as good as those that get lots of water changes in size and shape. It really is a hard thing to do this.

    People say you need lots of water changes to keep discus and it makes it hard for them to do so. Thats not true you can keep discus with less work already. They just will not be as good in size and shape as possible . Its better to have adults if the care commitment is low. Water changes may keep some people away from.the hobby just as needing to walk a dog keeps them getting from one. Keeping chickens has husbandry tasks as well.You get out of a hobby what you put into it though. The actual time it takes to change some water in a tank or two is really nothing. For the more hardcore hobbyist with many tanks..technology that decreases water changes would be a boon as it would save time and resources.

    I look forward to your experiments with fry. I am sure you will learn alot about water quality then. Im pretty sure theres a few here who can tell you how easy it is to take a beautiful group of fry and ruin them by insufficient tank hygiene, husbandry and water changes. These things not only affect the overall health of the discus fry but their shape and physical development.

    good luck,
    Al
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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Your diabetes drug analogy is putting the cart before the horse again.

    In the late 1800's there was an observation that people dying of heart attacks had cholesterol deposits in their arteries. The first statin wasn't released until 1987. In terms of DOC's as the culprit for growth inhibition the state of knowledge is pre-late 1800's.

    As a single data point. I do once or twice a week 30% water changes on a planted discus tank with a mattenfilter. I bought them as 2.5-3" fish from Hans and after 18 months they aren't as big nor do they look as nice as some of the breeders and pros here. Some have grown into nice discus in my opinion but I won't be taking them to NADA, or breeding them and that was never my intention. I have never had to deal with anything worse than a bit of bloat when I switched them to pellet food so I think that they are quite healthy.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    James
    My carts hitched properly. and from your point of view I am sure you feel yours is as well.

    As a single data point. I do once or twice a week 30% water changes on a planted discus tank with a mattenfilter. I bought them as 2.5-3" fish from Hans and after 18 months they aren't as big nor do they look as nice as some of the breeders and pros here. Some have grown into nice discus in my opinion but I won't be taking them to NADA, or breeding them and that was never my intention. I have never had to deal with anything worse than a bit of bloat when I switched them to pellet food so I think that they are quite healthy.
    That this is possible and true with fish bought at 2 1/2"-3" isnt in question. to quote myself..
    People say you need lots of water changes to keep discus and it makes it hard for them to do so. Thats not true you can keep discus with less work already. They just will not be as good in size and shape as possible . Its better to have adults if the care commitment is low.
    If you are happy with your results thats really all that matters but you probably would have had better results with more water changes and more food. I think you recognize that too. Id love for you and others to improve their systems and am not nay saying its possible. Im saying.

    "Show me". what can be done relying on heavy water changes is documented.Show me alternatives.

    al
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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    I'm no longer sure what cart we are talking about right now! Oh well.

    I certainly would've had better results with more water changes and more food that's been well demonstrated by breeders and hobbyists around the world. I probably also would no longer have a wife! That was a trade off I was willing to make.

    Honestly no one can 'show you' right now, there is absolutely nothing of substance. Water changes ARE the solution. What can be done with heavy water changes has been documented, and shown repeatedly. The obvious question is: What do water changes remove and why do heacy water changes improve growth? The answer so far is, it works do more water changes. To me, that's a fairly unscientific answer.

    Tomorrow if someone offered me a product and promised I could get the same results as Al Sabetta doing once weekly 30% WC's I'd bite. I would guess that you would too. It doesn't exist yet, maybe it never will but asking, even as a thought experiment, what a water change removes that inhibits growth and considering alternatives is the first step towards that product.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    I'm no longer sure what cart we are talking about right now! Oh well.

    I certainly would've had better results with more water changes and more food that's been well demonstrated by breeders and hobbyists around the world. I probably also would no longer have a wife! That was a trade off I was willing to make.

    Honestly no one can 'show you' right now, there is absolutely nothing of substance. Water changes ARE the solution. What can be done with heavy water changes has been documented, and shown repeatedly. The obvious question is: What do water changes remove and why do heacy water changes improve growth? The answer so far is, it works do more water changes. To me, that's a fairly unscientific answer.

    Tomorrow if someone offered me a product and promised I could get the same results as Al Sabetta doing once weekly 30% WC's I'd bite. I would guess that you would too. It doesn't exist yet, maybe it never will but asking, even as a thought experiment, what a water change removes that inhibits growth and considering alternatives is the first step towards that product.
    James,
    At least we agree on this. but honestly, I think you and Zak and others could further your ideas more with experiments. A partnership with university grads could be a great first step. Water samples can be submitted and analysis done. DOC's and other impurities, bacterial and protein analysis can be done. Things can be identified and quantified. Get enough data on what they are in tanks and they can then be added and effects noted. Its a long road, but as much I feel we need more info, I do feel its possible to move it forward if someone has the drive. Its a series of baby steps. Kicking around the ideas as done here is a good start. If someone Lays the ground work . We could make it a forum initiative.

    Al
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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Large scale breeders are really the ones best equipped and most incentivized (if their water/heating is expensive) to conduct experiments. Ideally, you would have an ample supply of genetically similar fish and could experiment with different water exchange rates to find what is optimal. I have a feeling these experiments have already been done (Stendker has figured out that 10% per day is sufficient for breeding).

    The problem with aquaculture studies is that they're on the far end of the spectrum with nitrate levels exceeding 1000 mg/L. I'm sure it's a similar case with DOM levels.

    From the papers I've read, most carbon ends up as fulvic acid and that's what most studies on dissolved organic matter try to measure using UV spectrophotometers ($6,500).

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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    The obvious question is: What do water changes remove and why do heacy water changes improve growth? The answer so far is, it works do more water changes. To me, that's a fairly unscientific answer.

    Tomorrow if someone offered me a product and promised I could get the same results as Al Sabetta doing once weekly 30% WC's I'd bite. I would guess that you would too. It doesn't exist yet, maybe it never will but asking, even as a thought experiment, what a water change removes that inhibits growth and considering alternatives is the first step towards that product.
    Maybe an ion exchange resin optimized to remove fulvic acid:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23116827

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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Quote Originally Posted by Megalodon View Post

    The problem with aquaculture studies is that they're on the far end of the spectrum with nitrate levels exceeding 1000 mg/L. I'm sure it's a similar case with DOM levels.
    Thats not true at all, when it comes to rainbow trout fry, studies have shown that mortality rates occur at 5 - 10 ppm Nitrates. Yet they are kept in recirculating aquaculture systems.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Quote Originally Posted by brewmaster15 View Post
    James

    "Show me". what can be done relying on heavy water changes is documented.Show me alternatives.

    al
    Thats what I plan to do, in saying that though, we already know of breeders using low water exchange rates. Im sure most here have heard that alexander Piwowarski did it, as well as stendker.

    "James,
    At least we agree on this. but honestly, I think you and Zak and others could further your ideas more with experiments. A partnership with university grads could be a great first step. Water samples can be submitted and analysis done. DOC's and other impurities, bacterial and protein analysis can be done. Things can be identified and quantified. Get enough data on what they are in tanks and they can then be added and effects noted. Its a long road, but as much I feel we need more info, I do feel its possible to move it forward if someone has the drive. Its a series of baby steps. Kicking around the ideas as done here is a good start. If someone Lays the ground work . We could make it a forum initiative."

    A forum initiative, sounds good.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Also, thats a great Idea AL had in regards to sending a sample of the water to a university or another research facility with a powerful microscope and water chemistry testing equipment. In addition to sending a water sample, I would also like to send a fish if possible from each tank for an autopsy. Would be interesting to see what the glucocorticoids levels and fat to muscle composition is like in each of the experiment tanks. First, I would like to set up a bunch of tanks, a control with sponge filter and 50% daily waterchanges, one with an over sized matten filter and ~50% weekly waterchanges, one with a sponge filter and ~50% weekly water changes, one with DR Novaks biocenosis clarification basktets and 50% weekly waterchanges, one with a fluidised sand filter (to test effects of different ammonia levels) with 50% weekly waterchanges, one with green water and a sponge filter with waterchanges as required, one with an aquaponic style setup with 50% weekly waterchanges, one with a sponge filter and a drastically oversized UV filter recieving 50% weekly water changes (To test the theory on this forum that bacteria can inhibit discus growth) .

    To maintain consistent water parameters the test would be conducted using RO / DI water. The proposed test period could be 4 months. We could periodically weigh and measure the fish. Than send 1 sample of water and 1 discus from each of the setups for further analysis.

    If all goes well, more potential future experiments could include testing different salinity levels on the growth of discus, testing the effects of different PH levels on the growth of discus, testing the effects of light levels on the effects on the growth of discus and many more!

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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    This seems unnecessary when all you have to do is grow a tank of fish with high and low water change rates and then measure their growth. Like I said before, I'm sure certain breeders have already figured this out.

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    Default Re: Lets talk about water quality and waterchanges!

    Hey megaladon, the point of the experiment would be to identify the major growth limiting factors in discus. Another couple of things I would also like to add to this list would be oxygen levels (Maybe having "dirtier" water lowers oxygen levels to an extent where it can negatively effect the discus), a tank running a sponge filter with carbon and 50% weekly waterchanges to measure the effects of carbon on discus growth,a tank with a sponge filter and a foam fractionator with 50% weekly waterchanges (Will remove many things, but the point of this tank is to compare to the other tanks and identify the effects of micro debris on the fish, as this can irritate the gills and lead to poor oxygen exchange in their gills). their are more things that I can think of, but I think the combination of those filtration methods should allow us to identify all major factors involved in discus growth, in terms of water quality that is. Feel free to add to this list.

    just to be clear, this can be a group effort. I intend on in the future testing as many of these as practical, but others helping would be beneficial. These do not need to all be done at the same time, nor under the same roof. As long as it is conducted with a control tank.

    So I could for example, set up a control tank with 50% daily W/C, tank with sponge filter with 50% weekly W/C, a tank recieving 50% weekly W/C's with a fludised sand filter, and a tank with some BCB's and 50% weekly waterchange.

    And another person could, for example, set up a tank with 50% weekly W/C and a sponge filter and a tank with 50% weekly waterchange and an "experimental filter". This would be the bare minimum amount of tanks, 2, 1 control using simple, what we will call "standard" filtration, and 1 test tank recieving the same amount of waterchanges. This will indicate whether that filtration method is superior, and could identify possible growth limiting factors. But it would NOT be conclusive as to whether it is better than daily W/C and simple filtration.
    A better method would be to have a tank with 50% weekly W/C with a sponge filter, a tank with 50% daily waterchanges and a sponge filter, and a tank with 50% weekly waterchanges with an "experimental" filter. Of course, you could than have as many of these experimental tanks set up at any one time.

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