How much/often tank change?
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How much/often tank change?

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How much/often tank change?
Old 12-04-2011, 09:15 PM   #1
 
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Question How much/often tank change?

Hello! I've had a 29 gallon tank with a b/n pleco, a few neon tetras, and 2 danios I used for cycling. I usually do a 10-15% tanks change every week, but according to my mom, the fish "expert", I should do like a 30-50% tank change every 4-6 weeks, because I'll destroy the ecosystem and all the beneficial bacteria along with it. I'm not entirely sure with that explanation, but she's usually right! Anyways, could someone inform me of the optimal tank change times? Thanks!
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:00 PM   #2
 
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You can do WEEKLY 100% water changes if you wanted to and not disturb the bio-filtration (bacteria). The bacteria lives in your filter media and on the hardscape of your tank. It's not in the water. Weekly 50% water changes are a common practice with many aquarist, myself included. No ill effects to date.

Last edited by Nubster; 12-04-2011 at 10:03 PM..
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:27 AM   #3
 
"The solution to pollution is dilution."

Nubster is correct...the beneficial bacteria colonize in the substrate, decor and filter media - not the water column. 50% weekly water change is a very good practice.

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Old 12-05-2011, 12:48 AM   #4
 
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I would agree with other's but with a word of caution.
If the aquarium has been receiving infrequent water changes say,,every four to six week's, I would not be inclined to suddenly begin performing large water changes which could stress the fishes but would instead,,perform more frequent smaller ones for a couple week's, and work my way up to larger water changes.
Fishes try to adapt to the water (enviornment ) that they find themselves in, even poor condition's.
Sudden changes in the enviornment can/should be done gradually in my view.
Changing 50 percent of water or more will not hurt anything if the tank see's this amount changed on regular basis from the outset or beginning.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:18 AM   #5
 
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I would agree with other's but with a word of caution.
If the aquarium has been receiving infrequent water changes say,,every four to six week's, I would not be inclined to suddenly begin performing large water changes which could stress the fishes but would instead,,perform more frequent smaller ones for a couple week's, and work my way up to larger water changes.
Fishes try to adapt to the water (enviornment ) that they find themselves in, even poor condition's.
Sudden changes in the enviornment can/should be done gradually in my view.
Changing 50 percent of water or more will not hurt anything if the tank see's this amount changed on regular basis from the outset or beginning.
Interesting. You may have a point. On the other hand, if I was in a smoke filled bar with a burning in my throat and tearing eyes and stepped out into fresh air - would I be stressed? If a fish swam from stagnant, polluted waters to fresh water, would it be harmful?
I could be wrong, but I think diluting polluted water by 50% would not be stressful. Then again, since the fish are used to far less, changing say 25% every other day or so a few times, then switching to 25%-50% weekly would not be bad either.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:42 AM   #6
 
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Yes, I think acclimating the fish gradually to larger water changes would be much less stressful in much the same way as the acclimation we perform when fish are introduced to our tanks is less stressful.
No doubt the water in many fish store tank's is of poor quality, and the gradual acclimation to cleaner enviornment with reduced Total dissolved solids,waste, is less stressful on osmoregulatory function's.
Now if the poor quality is a result of elevated ammonia, or nitrite level's, then larger water change immediately would be less harmful than the ammonia and or nitrite poisoning.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:00 AM   #7
 
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Yes, I think acclimating the fish gradually to larger water changes would be much less stressful in much the same way as the acclimation we perform when fish are introduced to our tanks is less stressful.
No doubt the water in many fish store tank's is of poor quality, and the gradual acclimation to cleaner enviornment with reduced Total dissolved solids,waste, is less stressful on osmoregulatory function's.
Now if the poor quality is a result of elevated ammonia, or nitrite level's, then larger water change immediately would be less harmful than the ammonia and or nitrite poisoning.
Yes, I use drip acclimation for new fish, but mostly for possible differences in pH and hardness, not pollution.
Regardless, as I said, doing 25% every other day two or three times, then a weekly water change of 25%-50% seems like a good plan to me.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:06 AM   #8
 
I usually do a 25% Water change weekly and about 50% percent change every 4-6 weeks. My plants are flourishing and the fish are doing fine. I guess it varies for all.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:04 AM   #9
 
The amount of water you need to change really varies depending on how your tank is set-up. The general rule most people abide by is weekly water changes. However, I have heard of people who change their water daily and also of people who change their water once a year. Both having healthy, active fish in their tanks.

For most unplanted tanks, the general recommendation is change more water more frequently. The more water you change, the "cleaner" the water in the tank will be. However, if you are running a planted tank, you can work on changing less water less frequently.

Your bioload also affects how frequently and how much water needs to be changed. If your tank is fully stocked or over stocked, you will need to change much more water. However, a under-stocked tank will not need as much water changed.

Additionally, changing water may not be great for your tank either. Some people have more heavy metals than others in their tap or a level of water hardness that may not be suitable for the fish in their tank. Although this really doesnt have as much an affect for most fish keepers, it is a concern for those who have more sensitive fish. Some water conditioners can help mitigate these issues but its another thing to take into account.

For my 6g puffer tank, I have changed the water once in the 6 months that I've had the tank set up. Water chemistry is stable. The tank has 1 puffer, and a controlled population of ~20 malaysian trumpet snails. It is heavily planted. My water parameters are stable and my water is "clean" according to my test kits. No nutrient build up, plants are happy, fish is happy. I opt to change water less frequently because my water is very hard and my puffer prefers a more neutral PH, my tap is 8.4 so less water changes actually means more stable water parameters for my fish.

However, if i miss a weekly 25% change on my 46g tank, my water tests go crazy, nitrates go up, i start getting more algae than normal, etc.

To determine if your tank is getting enough water changed or if you can get away with less, you need to test your water more frequently and see how altering your water changing schedules affect those numbers. Changing more or less water, as stated before, will not have a large effect on your biological filtration. Free-floating bacteria has a smaller effect on your water chemistry than the large colonies in your filter and decor. Some people feel more comfortable with more water changes, even if their water would be stable with less, but that's just a preference. There is no rule as to how much water needs to be changed. Just go with what your fish are comfortable with.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:05 PM   #10
 
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thanks...for the time being, I think my tank is a little understocked, so I'll just do 10-20% changes every week. Does that sound about right? If I can slack off a little more and do it every other week that would be great, just tell me. Also, my pH is 7.0 ish, so my fish probably won't be too stressed. Thanks a lot guys, especially SinCrisis!!!
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