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Water Changes, Smarter Not Harder

Posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 at 8:57 am by

I recently read about a very unique approach to flawless water conditions titled Two Times Five Equals Success, by Scott Fellman. The concept is exceptionally simple and demands very little from the hobbyist. Change FIVE percent of your aquarium’s water TWO times per week and you will gain stability and save money on additives.

If you really think about it, we have all been drilled by every advanced hobbyist to change 20% of our water on a bi-weekly, or monthly for the lackadaisical reefer. This seemed to work fine, yet we all would still fall victim to organic waste/protein buildups and depleted trace elements. So is this the way to avoid potential crashes and have beautifully harmonious environment? I think so. I challenge all of us to try this method of quality control for two months and record the findings on the Parameter App featured on I have a feeling you will be surprised by the lack of nitrates, phosphates and nuisance algae, not to mention the lack of visible detritus.

The entire process should take less then 10 minutes and save you tons on chemical additives. In addition to this little challenge, you could really take the time to go above and beyond and recommit to your mini-ocean. Change out or clean any filters, collection cups, and media and I am certain that you will find absolutely brilliant results. The environmental consistency of the water will become predictably flawless. What do you have to loose other than a few minutes of internet reefing? You’re tempted aren’t you?

The benefits of such regimented practices will become apparent rather quickly. In addition to saving some green, not loosing stock to poor water conditions, and advancing your skills; your fish will be brighter, more alert, eat more, and perhaps even take a little time to bump fins if you know what I mean. This system seems genius and huge props to Scott Fellman for inspiring us to work smarter not harder.

By Shawn Gustafson

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4 Responses to “Water Changes, Smarter Not Harder”

  1. TheDogFather says:

    I setup a fully automated water change system using a LiterMeter III to exchange 1.5 Gallons (1% of total volume) per day. Our tank has never been healthier and happier and I spend only 30 minutes a month mixing up a new batch of fresh saltwater!

    • RT says:

      That’s an excellent system TheDogFather. Continuously removing nutrients and adding trace elements to your system is a double bonus!!

  2. Matt says:

    This is more or less my plan for my pico tank. It’s a 5.5g that’s still cycling now, but once it’s ready for corals my plan is to change out a gallon every other day with pre-mixed water that has all the Ca, Mg, KH, and so on in it already so that I won’t have to dose any of those into the tank.

    Changing a little water every day is also what most aquarium stores do in their large (500+ gallon) fish/coral holding tanks. Great idea for home aquarists diligent enough to stick to the schedule.

  3. Chris says:

    A couple of years ago I began the practice of multiple weekly water changes for a 5 gallon pico. I was experimenting because all I read was that it was too difficult to keep corals in in a small tank. I did 24oz changes every other day. It sounds time consuming buy it wasn’t. I used a large cup to remove the water and replace, took maybe 2 minutes every other day.

    For the last 9 months I have been working on a 27 gallon reef. I didnt want to use a skimmer so I did a similar practice. I change out 5 gallons every 3-4 days. In my years of reef keeping this simple set up has been by far the healthiest and over all easiest to maintain. I find testing water parameters to be stressful and takes away for enjoyment.

    In my research I found that the best way to restore healthy water parameters was water changes. So I figured if I just went ahead and did multiple weekly water changes there would be no need for additives, testing, sump or protien skimmer. I was correct inky hypothesis.

    With that said I’m not sure I would be up for this theory with large systems. Changing out more than 5 gallons at a time several times a week would get old quickly.

    Happy reefing!

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