17 Tips That Prove Water Changes Are Worth It
1. Dilution is the solution to pollution!
A water change effectively removes and dilutes toxins, contaminants, and nutrients in the aquarium water to help maintain a more stable environment for your aquatic pets. Ultimately, aquarists who perform a regular water change experience a much higher level of success and these are the 17 reasons why that is the case.
2. Water changes are a replacement for filtration
A regular water exchange schedule will reduce your aquarium's reliance on filtration and maintenance.
3. Food creates excess nutrients
Fish food is the #1 source of nutrients and other contaminants in your aquarium water - water changes help remove and dilute those pollutants.
4. Additives contain pollutants too!
All aquarium additives contain impurities that will accumulate in your aquarium. Over time, those pollutants can build up and pollute the aquarium water, and if left unchecked, those pollutants can rise to toxic levels.
5. No trace element solution is perfect
All corals take up trace elements at different rates which means the amount of trace elements you need will be unique to your aquarium based on the exact combination of corals. For this reason, there is always some level of imbalance when adding trace elements to your aquarium and over time, those imbalances can lead to an undesirable build-up of certain elements. Water changes help remedy and balance those trace element levels on a regular basis.
6. Two-part solution creates sodium chloride imbalances
The use of a classic two-part solution will create an imbalance of sodium chloride in your aquarium water and the best approach to remedy this imbalance is regular water changes.
7. Aerosolized toxins can be a real threat to your aquarium
Just because you can't see the toxins, it doesn't mean they don't exist. Toxins can be aerosolized and enter your aquarium through the air! This could be perfumes, air fresheners, cleaners, and other household chemicals.
8. Your hands contain toxins too
Soap, body spray, lotion, degreaser, or pretty much any chemical product that is commonly used on your hands can pose a threat to your aquarium. Always wash your hands before and after putting them in your aquarium and do your best to reduce the need for putting your hands in the tank.
9. Carbon dosing accumulates organic carbon
Biopellets, carbon dosing additives, and even vodka dosing will cause an accumulation of organic carbon over time. Excess organic carbon often leads to an outbreak of undesirable pests such as algae, diatoms, dinoflagellates, or cyanobacteria. Water changes help reduce those effects and prevent the risk of pests!
10. 10% weekly or 35% monthly water changes reduce the risk
Based on the effects of dilution, a 10% weekly water change will never allow pollutants to rise beyond the level they would accumulate in two months' time without water changes! The point is, 10% weekly water changes will keep pollutants under control and never allow for a harmful accumulation as long as the regimen is maintained.
11. 1.5% Daily water changes equivalence
A 1.5% daily water change has the same dilution effect as a 10% weekly or 35% monthly water change. This can be useful when calculating an automatic daily water change.
12. No filtration is necessary
Water changes are so effective that you can maintain a perfectly healthy aquarium without any filtration if water changes are performed daily.
13. Water changes are a partial solution to maintaining trace elements
While regular water changes will not maintain trace elements perfectly, they do help to replenish them.
14. It all adds up!
Just because it's not toxic today, doesn't mean it won't be toxic next month. Small additions of pollutants build up over time and if left unchecked (no water changes) those trace levels of pollutants will eventually accumulate to a level that causes problems in your tank.
15. ICP Testing isn't the answer
Relying on ICP testing to constantly check and adjust aquarium water parameters instead of a regular water change is difficult and somewhat flawed. While in theory, this approach might work, the rate of success is much lower and it is easier to mess up. A regular 10% water change using a high-quality salt mix is a tried and true method that works, is easy to accomplish, and doesn't allow for the dangerous accumulation of toxins or imbalances of elements.
16. Waiting until your animals are suffering is irresponsible
When your animals start to show signs of illness or irritation from water quality problems it's often far too late. You wouldn't wait to feed your dog until it didn't have enough energy to walk so why would you wait until your fish are suffering from poison before addressing the problem?
17. Testing nutrient levels can help dial in water changes
The goal is to never allow nutrient levels to perpetually rise in your aquarium because keeping nutrient levels stable means you're removing the same amount of nutrients you are adding on a regular basis. Adjusting the amount of water changes can help you remove and dilute more/less nutrients as needed.