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5 - 6 months, no water changes... test results

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hell ! the waters that good they are packing up and moving into the sump!!


I counted / spotted 4 or 5 so far, and no I didn't put them in there!

Beats me how they got through all the media???

heres a full tank shot, crap camera and skills but shows they aren't fake fish lol


Edited by ash
full tank shot added
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i believe, well all I can put it down to is that I am having nitrification occuring in my deep substrate layer, and also within the wet/dry section of the sump similar to a bacci shower style filter...

evap water top ups approx 30lires a fortnight

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Same thing with me... I know for a fact my test kits work, never clean any of the media except the sponge i used to trap the crap (which gets cleaned in tap water)

No denitrate filter

I haven't tried for 5-6 months but I know for sure that even after 2 months of no water changing the nitrates stay down

However knowing this, I still do water changes to replenish nutrients, minerals etc. as I don't really lose much to evaporation because my tanks are heavily covered

I experience this with both my setup in the garage all running off a sump and my display tank in the house with a canister and overhead filter

I think it's got to do with a very aged sand bed, slow flow rate in the overhead filter (for the display tank only) and for the system, the sump has wet/dry

For once, I agree with you Ash that it's possible :D haha

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Ignoring the sarcastic comments, I think it's awesome. Goes to show that when you have a REALLY well established tank that things go quite well! Sumps help. My sumped system shows barely visible nitrates after a month of no waterchanges (I was worried, and putting some bristlenose into a tank for 24 hours holding before bringing them to their final home so I tested the water, all good). My 6ft on an fx5 though? Everything else great, but the nitrates go through the roof after about 2-3 weeks.

I think it's a good sump that does it. =) I'll be putting a MASSIVE sump on my 8ft when I get it, no doubt about it!

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Congrats on never waterchanging your tank ! Your fish must be so happy

yeah its terrible, I hate how they are breeding in there

here you go vegasmick, photos are betterer :)

it is a very simple sump, built it myself

1200x400x500(h) mm

standard tees with drilled caps on all 4 drains (40mm) all pipe clear flexible for noise reduction


all 4 drains release into top of sump with outlets submerged to trap noise in pipework


-water filters through one layer of coarse (ish) washable foam

-then through 2 layers of micropad


-biocubes (wetdry area) for aerobic colonies


-coral rubble and shell grit mix for aneorbic colonies and buffering properties (neyund sells the shell grit, great stuff)

-japmat, bit more surface area for bio and stops shell grit dropping through


water then flows to each end of sump over baffles and is returned via 2 x 3500lph jhq (cheapy) pumps

the main reason I set it up with two pumps is for no other reason than having a pump failure, I still have one keeping everything going whilst I source a replacement.

the pumps are sitting on japmat off-cuts only to reduce vibration

the red line is the water level when pumps are shutdown.

next I am going to add an automatic water top up system, which will be sourced from a large drum maybe or even mains, not sure yet, but either way I will need to add an emergency drain, that drains directly outside from the top edge of the sump incase of float valve failure...



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Nice, thanks for all the detail.

What are the white caps for on the outlets behind the tank?

they help silence the whole system, eliminating sound of water falling down inside of pipes, they have small holes drilled in them allmost look like a salt or pepper shaker, to prevent siphon, but still trap sound.

How does the red line work?

it doesnt do anything at all really. When I bult it all, I didnt do any calcs to allow for what would happen when the power goes out and the amount of water that would drain back to the sump.... I was lucky, very lucky literally, I just lucked out and that red line is where the water level rises to when the whole system has the correct amount of water in it and the power goes out.

I was playing around with the drains though as I have elbows on them on the inside of the tank, so I could have them facing down to be fully submerged, or horizontal to have surface skimming, then I was gonna try have them facing upwards to raise the water level in the tank higher, but the rails prevented me from doing that and I gave up, so I think I drew that line anticipating that I would have another line to draw to compare too when I had the elbows facing up, but I couldnt, so I didnt.... hence the single red line lol

hope that made some sort of sense?

I have them all horizontal now for max surface skimming

If you get a mehanical float valve it should never fail and overflow your sump. Thats how I do mine.

I know, but i tend to hope for the best but plan for the worst:egrin:

Im even contemplating float switches for the pumps so they cant run dry..... maybe

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Why would you not want to do water changes? Who cares if your nitrates are zero after 6 months... I don't see that not doing water change is an advantage...

because IMO less water changes promotes a far more stable living environment, with alot less fluctuations in water conditions , everything finds its own balance, its has its limitations though, there are alot of different variables and is not suited to everyone.

Water is water, if the bacteria does its job correctly, fish waste goes into water > bacteria does its job > dirty water ruturns to clean water, simple process really...

If you have an efficient well set up filter, it will do this, it is a filter remember.


De-Nitrification is the only step in the cycle that most sytems lack, if you dont have de-nitrification happening, you will get build up of nitrates, which you can only remove via water changes, unless, you have de-nitrifying bacteria available to do it for you.

There is also 30 litres a fortnight of freshwater being added to replenish evaproated water dont forget. So its not like they dont get any freshwater at all

So the advantage I can see literally, is happy, unstressed fish :D

Edited by ash
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mate only pure water evaporates... i would imagine that the water would be packed full off hormones,very low mineral content etc..dont get me wrong i dont really care what you do and that first post was just a joke

imo the only way you can never really worry is when you run a constant 24/7 waterchange system ... nice yoyo chunky as

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very interesting

you planning on leaving it much longer?

As long as I can, but Ill take it month by month with water tests and monitor fish health day by day... as I have been doing...

To be honest, I have not seen any sign of ill health at all so far.

mate only pure water evaporates... i would imagine that the water would be packed full off hormones,very low mineral content etc..dont get me wrong i dont really care what you do and that first post was just a joke

imo the only way you can never really worry is when you run a constant 24/7 waterchange system ... nice yoyo chunky as

If you didnt care, you wouldnt have posted :egrin:

If only pure water evaporates as you said, which is true, minerals would be left behind wouldnt they? Just sounded like a bit of a contradiction to me...

Thats why I dont add any salts to my top ups, as salt is left behind during evaportion.

Yoyo is pretty cool hey, hes a fat lil fella. I think I may have a pair as the anal fins are very different between the two.... Not sure how they breed or what triggers them etc, but they are good mates, allways hanging out together...:)

Constant water change system would be cool, but why would I want one when the filter sytem is doing its job correctly? yeah doing a water change every week will replenish minerals etc, but if your not stripping the minerals from the water, how are they being lost? Yeah the fish will absorb some of them but with fortnightly topups it may be enough to replenish them? The coral and shell in the sump is constantly breaking down feeding minerals into and buffering the water as it goes, hormones on the other hand I cant imagine about, because I dont know much about them and there effect on the water, I dont know everything, Im learning as I go, If you can tell me more about minerals etc go for it, share thy knowledge! :D

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