New tank water changing advice please...
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New tank water changing advice please...

This is a discussion on New tank water changing advice please... within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hi, I just started my 46 gallon tank with fish (2 neon rainbow, 2 celebes rainbow, 1 raphael spotted cat) yesterday. I am using ...

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New tank water changing advice please...
Old 01-26-2012, 11:08 AM   #1
 
New tank water changing advice please...

Hi,

I just started my 46 gallon tank with fish (2 neon rainbow, 2 celebes rainbow, 1 raphael spotted cat) yesterday. I am using both Prime and Stability as per the directions. It been 15 years since Ive cycled a tank and can't remember how often to do the partial water changes during cycling. Is it 20% every other day or every 2 weeks or am I not even close?

And once its established, I believe I used to do a 20% change every 2 weeks. Is that still the general recommendation?


Any help would be appreciated :)
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:27 AM   #2
 
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ive had massive problems cycling my tank, i bought 2 guppies yesterday, my only fish at the moment but im just testing my water everyday for toxins and do my water changes according to my readings, my ammonia keeps spiking at the moment so im changing 20% every day till its settles, i think it depends on your tank and your paramiters, if you are getting high levels of ammonia then change water accordingly
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Old 01-26-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
 
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You don't mention live plants, that makes a difference. Without plants, you need to monitor ammonia and nitrite. A partial water change (half the tank) should be done if either rise. Some say up to .25 is OK, but if it were me I would not allow any as even this low a level of ammonia or nitrite can cause issues for fish. A water conditioner like Prime that you have that detoxifies ammonia and nitrite is also good during the initial cycling. Remember that ammonia or nitrite will still show in tests even though they may have been "detoxified." A water conditioner is generally effective for 36-48 hours. A 50% change every second day may be needed.

Live plants if there are enough and some are fast growing, will reduce and even eliminate the need for water changes other than the basic weekly as below.

Once a tank is cycled and established, a water change should be carried out no less than once per week. The volume depends upon the fish load, water volume, plants, etc. I have heavily planted tanks and I still change half the water every week. Provided parameters are similar between tank and tap water, this is not a problem.

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Old 01-26-2012, 03:39 PM   #4
 
Thank you Byron. I only have artificial plants. I do remember doing many partial water changes during cycling (almost 20 years ago) but back then I remember being told never to change more than 25% of the water. I take it the school of thought on this has evolved or changed?
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Old 01-26-2012, 03:57 PM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by memorygirl View Post
Thank you Byron. I only have artificial plants. I do remember doing many partial water changes during cycling (almost 20 years ago) but back then I remember being told never to change more than 25% of the water. I take it the school of thought on this has evolved or changed?
I would say yes. Water stability is actually better the more often and more volume is changed, other things being equal. During cycling though, diluting the ammonia or nitrite is essential, though we now have Prime and a couple other conditioners that help.
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Old 01-26-2012, 04:00 PM   #6
 
Thanks again Byron. I am also using Stability by Seachem. Do you have any opinion on the product?
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Old 01-26-2012, 04:09 PM   #7
 
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Thanks again Byron. I am also using Stability by Seachem. Do you have any opinion on the product?
I recomend it. With sufficient live plants, this is not necessary as the plants grab the ammonia, but without live plants I would always recommend a good bacterial supplement, and this is one of two I recommend; the other is Tetra's SafeStart.

One has to understand that these are not "instant cycling" products. They are simply live bacteria that "seed" the tank initially and get the nitrification bacteria going faster. And there is scientific evidence that they do this. If one has few fish in sufficient water volume, and uses one of these, there should be no issues.

I still prefer live plants though; nature herself knows best.
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Old 01-26-2012, 07:25 PM   #8
 
Yes, I understand that I'm just seeding the tank so to speak. The directions say to continue to add the Stability for 7 days and I will do that in addition to water changes. Do you see any benefit in continuing beyond the 7 days? I was wondering if stopping would somehow create an imbalance with all the partial water changes? Or am I over thinking this?

Also, the LFS recommended adding additional fish in about 2 weeks (3 small angels). Would you agree with the timing?

Thanks again :)
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:12 PM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by memorygirl View Post
Yes, I understand that I'm just seeding the tank so to speak. The directions say to continue to add the Stability for 7 days and I will do that in addition to water changes. Do you see any benefit in continuing beyond the 7 days? I was wondering if stopping would somehow create an imbalance with all the partial water changes? Or am I over thinking this?

Also, the LFS recommended adding additional fish in about 2 weeks (3 small angels). Would you agree with the timing?

Thanks again :)
You're very welcome.

I see no reason to continue Stability beyond 7 days, but if you still have some left, might as well. This is live bacteria and thus it has a shelf life, and once opened should be used. But beyond that, I would not buy more once the initial period is up.

Water changes have no direct effect on bacteria. All bacteria adhere to surfaces in what is termed a biofilm. Some bacteria are naturally "sticky" and some use various methods and chemical/biological processes to attach themselves, but the end result is that they stick on surfaces. They are not easy to remove, by which I mean that rinsing filter media or similar will not dislodge them. [Rinse in tank water or dechlorinated water, as tap water will kill them with the chlorine.]

Some aquarists advocate that water changes slows the establishment of bacteria because it removes ammonia and nitrites. While it is certainly true that ammonia and nitrite are being removed--otherwise why do the water change--the fish are being spared toxic poisoning which even at very low levels does affect them and weaken them. Plus it is debatable just how much this might delay the multiplication of bacteria. Keeping the fish healthier is preferable to short-cuts that won't.

On adding fish in general, once you are obtaining zero for both ammonia and nitrite for consecutive days, more fish (few) can go in.

On the angelfish, I would not go down this road. With no other fish in a 46g tank, a group of angelfish could work. But you mention already having two rainbowfish, and both these species need a group. One is in our profiles, the Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish [I assume this is the species] so you can click the shaded name to see the profile information. The other species, Celebes Rainbowfish, is not in the profiles so here is some reliable information on this one, which also mentions a group of 6-8 but preferably more. My advice would be to up the shoals of these two fish, assuming you like them, so they will be at their best.
Celebes Rainbowfish (Marosatherina ladigesi) - Seriously Fish

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Old 01-27-2012, 11:12 AM   #10
 
Thanks Byron. I will carefully consider the Angels after the tank cycles completely. I just lost one of the Neon Rainbows, but I will post that issue and question in a separate thread.
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