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How often should water changes be done?

This is a discussion on How often should water changes be done? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by Termato I would suggest getting an API Master Test kit if you want to test the water yourself. Usually stores test ...

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How often should water changes be done?
Old 05-02-2012, 02:44 PM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by Termato View Post
I would suggest getting an API Master Test kit if you want to test the water yourself. Usually stores test with Strips which aren't as reliable.

Totally up to you and I have no idea how they test over at Jacks.
they have the strips with the multiple pads on them and then they have an ammonia test strip
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:48 PM   #12
 
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they have the strips with the multiple pads on them and then they have an ammonia test strip
I would HIGHLY recommend getting API Master Test Kit OR any similar water based test kit. It can be up to 10x more accurate on the test results.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:51 PM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by Termato View Post
I would HIGHLY recommend getting API Master Test Kit OR any similar water based test kit. It can be up to 10x more accurate on the test results.
thanks for the advise, I am so glad I found this site. I have been "flying blind" with my first tanks and I have learned so much in the 3 days I have been a member! thanks to everyone!!!!!!
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:02 PM   #14
 
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum, nags and NeonTetra2196.

I'm copying over a post I made yesterday in another thread on the issue of water changes, as this may put things in perspective. I will expand on this in an article i am working on concerning water changes, but for now this should help.

Water changes are the most important aspect of tank maintenance. You can let the fish go without feeding for a couple of weeks and it will not harm them. But you cannot fore-go water changes.

"Stuff" that I have often termed "crud" accumulates in any tank with fish, and the only way to remove it is with a water change. Plants can handle some of this, in time, and if not overwhelmed. But at the level of stocking most of us have, a weekly water change of half the tank is necessary. This crud is urine (about 30% of the fish's body mass is excreted as urine every day), pheromones, dissolved waste, bio-filtration end products and other pollution. TDS (total dissolved solids) build up quickly; these come from the water conditioner we have to use, from fish foods, from any medications, and from just about any substance entering the water. None of these substances can be removed by filters...only with a water change. And these substances affect fish big-time.

The other aspect is water stability. The larger and more frequent the water changes, the more stable will be the water. Now, this assumes we are relatively close in GH and pH and temperature. These are relatively easy to control--another reason for selecting fish that match your water parameters. They will be healthier than fish that do not match, either because of stress from inappropriate parameters or from stress caused by using chemicals with TDS to adjust the chemistry. Any biologist/ichthyologist will tell you this. The more water you change, the more stable the chemistry will be, and this is crucial for fish.

Jack Wattley is an acknowledged authority on Discus, having bred and raised them for most of his nearly 80 years. In almost every one of his monthly TFH columns he mentions the necessity of water changes, pointing out that in his tanks he performs 90% water changes every day. There are hatcheries in SE Asia that perform 3 and 4 such changes every day. With respect to the water stability and health of the fish, you simply cannot overdo water changes. As for those who say water changes stress fish, the more you do the more accustomed they will be to the commotion, and even come to enjoy it. I've had fish nibbling the hairs on my arm when I've been in the tank trimming plants. And a siphon sticking in one end pulling out water or adding fresh water is not going to stress fish.

Byron.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:29 PM   #15
 
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Do you have a local fish store near you that isn't a PetSmart or PetCo. A lot of smaller none corporate fish stores will take back fish as donations. They will then sell them. You could also put up an ad on craigslist putting him up for adoption.

Do you have any other tanks?
No I don't have a local fish store, the closest thing is petsmart and its over 15 miles away. Besides a 5 gallon quarantine tank, which isn't up and running at the moment, no I don't have any other tanks. I don't think I could ever catch the thing anyways, I have only caught it once and it took over 30 minutes.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:25 PM   #16
 
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No I don't have a local fish store, the closest thing is petsmart and its over 15 miles away. Besides a 5 gallon quarantine tank, which isn't up and running at the moment, no I don't have any other tanks. I don't think I could ever catch the thing anyways, I have only caught it once and it took over 30 minutes.
At least you have the option later of the 5 gallon quarantine. I'd set that up.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:34 PM   #17
 
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With regards to getting rid of the CAE, there is also the "classified" section of this website as well. If you dont get any luck on there, you can also try Aquabid.

This will involve shipping the fish though which is something you may not want to do.

Just a thought.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:46 PM   #18
 
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Craigslist!
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:24 AM   #19
 
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Welcome to the forum and the hobby, nags and NeonTetra2196!!

Just wanted to throw my $0.02 in here about water changes. I went along with the suggested guidelines of between 30% and 40% for the first few years of my fishkeeping hobby. When you're starting out, you don't really have all the knowledge so following guidelines is a good idea. Once I really started to understand the ecology of all of my tanks and fish tanks in general I began to mess with it. The only way I could tell if this was working was by a nitrate test (btw, the API test kit is probably my fishkeeping tool I use the most; a must have!) and a little bit of fishkeeping intuition. So for right now, I think you guys should follow the recommendations of between 30% and 40% weekly until you get a hang of things.

NeonTetra2196, I HIGHLY recommend the faucet attachment thingy (lol I don't know what it is really called other than a godsend) for the python hose. I had been changing water bucket by bucket on my 55 gallon for years while doing 50% weekly water changes. When I discovered that thing about 3 weeks ago it revolutionized water changes for me! I will never do another without that wonderful green dohicky.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:47 AM   #20
 
+1 Izzy.

As just a follow up, I was in the 50% weekly camp until I discovered EXTREMELY high nitrates in my (country) well water following a lot of young fish loss. This caused me to rethink filtration and water changes. I concluded that the average tank filter does very little to purify water and if we up that game, we could safely reduce the volume and/or frequency of partial water changes while continuing to maintain a very high water quality.

I would agree that as a general rule, a 25% - 50% WEEKLY water change is best.
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