Having worked the retail marine LFS beat for many moons, we’ve seen countless people come in to the shop, day in day out, trying to get their water parameters right or worse, trying to figure out what the problem is. The chemistry of fish tanks and marine aquariums is very complicated, and sometimes the more chemistry you add to try to balance things out, the more the ions become harder to read.
Water changes are awesome; provided you are using better water than you started with, almost any water quality issues can be remedied by doing large partial water changes. It’s actually kind of amusing what percentage of aquarium products and devices are designed directly or indirectly with the notion to prevent you from doing a simple water change. Biopellets? Carbon? GFO and Poly Filters? Yup, those are all for improving water quality vis-a-vis delaying the next water change.
Now we’ve thoroughly advocated the changing of large volumes of water in nano reef tanks like Ecoreef One and Ecoreef Zero but this guy Jaime Andueza is taking the approach on a full on reef aquarium. Due to his own ‘pitfalls with chemistry’ compounded by an inability to read test results from color blindness, Jaime had the idea to due nearly complete water changes* on his reef aquarium, and it seems to be working for him.
That big asterisk in the title and in the text above is because if you couldn’t tell from his accent, Jaime is Australian and he’s pulling his water right off the reef. When doing large water changes, the greater the fraction of water being changed the more crucial it becomes to ensure the replacement water is of the utmost quality, completely mixed, oxygenated and of an appropriate temperature. With water pulled off the reef he doesn’t have any of those issues, except to keep his water warm.
What we wanted to bring to your attention with this video is that water changes trump all. Back when the previous generation of aquarists were trying to breed this or that species, or let alone keep it alive, the answer always seemed to be more water changes. If you’ve got some chronic aquarium chemistry issues and you feel like you’ve tried everything, do consider large water changes with high quality replacement water and see if that doesn’t improve the quality of your fish tank.