How often should water changes be done? - Page 3 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #21 of 25 Old 05-03-2012, 09:01 AM
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A "Python" is a brand name for a faucet attachment water changer. Basically you screw it into the threads of a kitchen or utility room sink, and it has a long (25+ foot) hose that you use to fill your tank directly from the sink. So in other words, you'll never do the bucket brigade again.

Aqueon also makes something similar, they simply call it a "Water Changer", works just the same. I've found it on and it is FAR cheaper than Petsmart. For myself, I have the 50 foot version, but you can keep buying 25 foot extensions until you get the length needed.
On kitchen faucets you may have to unscrew a piece on the faucet to get to the threads, most already have something screwed in.

Another feature of these devices is they work in reverse aswell, they can create a siphon for you to drain the tank. If your sink is lower than the tank (in your case it would because it's going down a flight of stairs) all you have to do is get the siphon started and it will continue naturally due to gravity. If your sink is higher than the tank, a continuous siphon will not happen. However, with these attachments you can keep your faucet running cold water and it will create a continuous siphon for you, the downside is you waste a lot of water doing this. This is my case, so instead I can run the hose outside to water the lawn/garden or in the winter run it to the bathtub.
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post #22 of 25 Old 05-03-2012, 09:05 AM
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One more thing to add, when using this method you would add water conditioner directly to the tank right before you start filling (and of course make your tap water as close as possible to your tanks water temperature).

The amount of conditioner you use is debated. Some say to use just enough for the new water, others say the entire tank volume. Seachem Prime seams to be the only company that talks about this particular issue, and they say to treat the entire volume (but they of course have a conflict of interest since it's their product). In both cases people say no harm comes to their fish so really it's up to you.
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post #23 of 25 Old 05-03-2012, 09:31 AM
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Two follow-up comments on these water changes, for correction.

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.
Nitrate is not a reliable indicator of the need for water changes. The reason we do a water change is to remove stuff that cannot be measured in any way. Now one can measure TDS with specific equipment, but that is only a part of the issue. The other items cannot be measured. Nitrate rising is an indicator of trouble, true; but relying on nitrate is not wise. Water changes must be regular, which is weekly, whatever the volume. And the volume may vary, which touches on the intuition a bit, as I will get to below.

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.
There are situations where issues play into things, as here; the solution is not to stock heavily, stock carefully to avoid stress, and feed lightly, so the need for water changes in volume can be reduced, plus having live plants.

Filtration. You can have the back wall of the tank lined with filters and pumping the water through as much as you like through any media; this will not reduce the need for a regular water change one iota. The science is out there; there is no filter that will handle pheromones, TDS, urine and such.

The volume is variable, depending upon the tank biology (fish species, fish numbers, live plants, feeding schedule, tank volume). But they must be regular, and weekly is minimal. Changing less water more often can work, rather than larger weekly changes. But there is no doubt at all--the more water that is changed, the better, so the aim should be up rather than down.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 05-03-2012 at 09:34 AM.
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post #24 of 25 Old 05-03-2012, 01:41 PM
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I personally do 1/3's per week. Maybe a bit excessive but I have goldfish :) If yours is a larger tank it should be easier to keep its balance

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post #25 of 25 Old 05-03-2012, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by HMlairy View Post
I personally do 1/3's per week. Maybe a bit excessive but I have goldfish :) If yours is a larger tank it should be easier to keep its balance
With goldfish you should be doing much more. I have goldfish, too. (That's where my comment about the nitrates came from. My sleep-addled brain forgot the hormones and other crud.) I have to do 40% - 50% changes weekly in my 55 gallon tank to keep the nitrates down around 30 ppm (which is still higher than I want it). If you have young and growing goldfish, you should be doing 50% min to reduce the amount of growth hormone. Mine are older, but they still need the large changes for water quality.


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