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Several years back I ended up having to spend 90 days away from my home and my tanks.

My 55 Gallon tank at the time was well planted with healthy plants and a light fish + shrimp load.

My wife, who is not very much into the hobby continued to feed the fish every other day and supplement any evaporated water. Filters kept running, and CO2 kept pumping.

I was convinced that I was going to come back to a disaster of tank. Algae, dead fish, water parameters all over the map.

After 90 days I came back to probably the healthiest tank I have ever owned.

The water was crystal clear. Ph was stable at 6.7. Nitrate and PO4 levels where fine. The fish where healthy and the plants looked incredible.

From my Phd days at MIT, I remember some friends of mine in the hydroponics lab that would create this self balanced, self regulating mini eco-systems and leave them alone for many months at a time. I was always amazed at the clarity of the water.

Water changes ?

I am not convinced they are all together needed.

The only reason that Tom Barr method requires them, is because he takes the probabilistic approach that "if one throws enough arrows at a target, one will hit bullseye."

The Tom Barr Approach:
Dump enough chemical nutrients (in some ratios) in the tank and hope for the best.
The plants will take up what the need. If anything is left over, no worries.
We will change 50% of the water and start all over again.

Is this a bad method ? Nope !. It actually is a pretty good method.

Is it bullet proof ? Nope !. You dump chemicals in a tank with no refference of its current state. You depend on the water changes to make everything reset.

Is it the ONLY method ? Nope !

I think the PPS method also has merits. I like the approach.

Would I eliminate water changes ?

Probably not. I would be highly satisfied with a lesser % water change than Toms method, where a 50% change is practically required every week.

I think I will try a modified version of the PPS, and drop my water changes to 25 to 30%. Observe the results and adjust accordingly.

Be open to new ideas folks. No one has the correct answer here. This is Chaos theory at its finest. We are trying to bring equilibrium to a dynamic system. Impossible to do under the best conditions. The laws of science are against us.
 

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Let keep this civilized folks.

I think both methods work. As I said earlier "There is no silver bullet here".

If there was, we would not have hobby.

One would go buy your "Chia pet planted aquarium", add water, and go back to watching TV.

Its the challenge that makes it interesting.

Pick and choose what you want.
 
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