An important observation from tropical regions where aquatic plants grow in the streams is the current in the flowing water because the current washes metabolic waste away and new nutrients are provided to the plants.
Pumps and spray bars can provide the flow in the aquarium, but waste products are not removed. When we change the water on a weekly basis when first starting an aquarium this is the only method for removing those waste products. How much do we change? I recommend twenty five percent per week.
Filters should be cleaned and the filter material rinsed in the old aquarium water you just removed, every two weeks! Don't forget that when topping off evaporated water you need to use either distilled water that you can buy by the gallon jug, Reverse Osmosis water if you have an R/O unit, or R/O water from your local pet shop. Why not just use tap water? You are increaseing the hardness of the water when adding additional hard water to your aquarium!
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