06-11-2007, 09:49 AM
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yeah, there is really no set schedule of when to do water changes and gravel vacs. You will get into your own rythm over time. Basically, if you stir the gravel a tiny bit and notice a good ammount of debris flying up, then gravel vac. A lot depends on your filter too. Generally if you have a 50 gallon filter on a 50 gallon tank, you will be doing water changes about once a week. I always use oversized filters, I have a 75 gallon canister filter on my 47 gallon tank. When I was raising oscars I had a 100 gallon canister on my 35 gallon tank
Having a large filter cuts down on maintenance a lot too, I change my water maybe every month or so, about 25%.
One trick you can do is to do a water change and then get the water tested (once it is established) Your nitrates should come down to a safe level. Then in a week, test your water again. If nitrates have built up to a dangerous level, then you know you need to clean your tank once a week. If it is still safe, you may be able to change water every 2 weeks. Just remember that changing smaller ammounts of water at a time causes loess stress on the fish. Instead of doing a 50% water change once a month, it would be better to do a 25% change once every two weeks. The later would be less stressful.