Originally Posted by heyhi
Ive had this 55 gal fresh water tank for a year. Ive been doing preety good with beginners fish.
I have 6 neons 3 red and 3 black tailed tetras, 3 kuhli loaches,1 golden loach,3 panda corys 2 ghost shrimp, 1 florecent, 2 upside down cat fish,a pleco and a Semaprochilodus taeniurus.
Im gonna start getting rid of smaller fish and get into the simi aggresive family. As far as water conditions whats the difference. Ive always been good with ammonia nitrate and nitrite.
I can never keep the ph steady. it goes from like 6 to 7.5.
Few questions is how do i keep the ph steady, how often do u change the filters.,I have a 3 step filter. Do I change 1 at a time.
I vaccume out the gravel at least once a month,about a 1/4 water change. When I replace the water I put the nitrate nitrite detox and ammonia detox. I feed the fish 2 or 3 times a day the light stays on 8 to 10 hrs a day Ive only change the filter sponge maybe twice
I have driftwood, a air pump aqua clear filter and a water heater. the heaters on about 75, no plants, I do have some hiding spaces like a castle and a skull
Previous posts were correct, partial water changes (including light vacuuming of the substrate [gravel] should be more often, most do it every week. You can change minimum 25% up to 40-50% of the water, but the important thing is that it is more often and weekly seems best for most people. This is extremely important to the fish, for the reasons in my comments below on the pH problem.
As Twistersmom correctly (in my opinion) stated, filter media (sponge, foam pads, rock material or whatever) should be rinsed periodically but the media does not need to be replaced unless it is literally falling apart and not doing what it's supposed to do, which is removing particulate matter from the water passing through and providing a surface for bacteria to grow and perform biological filtering. How often the filter media needs rinsing depends upon the tank--you don't want the filter to clog up but as long as it is doing its job don't bother it. The bigger the fish the more waste will probably accumulate in the tank and the filter, so having larger fish than you do now may require more frequent filter rinsing.
The pH fluctuation is a very serious issue. Fish are very closely tied to their environment. As an example, fish like all living matter require water but fish can't "drink" so they take in water through their cells by osmosis. The fish must adjust its internal pH to equal that of the water passing into its cells. The composition of the water (hardness, pH, salinity) affects how hard a fish's body must work to maintain its physiological equilibrium--that is, the complex chain of internal chemical reactions that keep the pH of its blood steady, its tissues fed, and its immune system functioning. When pH and/or salinity stray outside the ideal range for any given species, the fishes' bodies must work harder and use more energy to maintain this equilibrium. Having fluctuating water conditions means the fish is constantly having to adjust its metabolism, and this stresses the fish and can lead to poor health, disease, and even death if not corrected. The point of regular water changes is establishing an equilibrium in the tank and therefore in the fish, resulting in healthier and happier fish. Changing 25-40% of the water every week is maintaining such a balance, because it ensures that the pH will remain relatively constant, along with the levels of minerals in the water, and the nitrate level. In addition, it is a fact that fish urinate regularly and without water changes there is no means of removing/diluting this, and that is not healthy for any fish.
To find out why your pH is fluctuating between 6 and 7.5 and remedy this serious problem, we need to know a few things:
How long a time period occurs between these two extremes, that is, when is it 6 and when is it 7.5 and then 6 again?
What is the pH of your tap water?
What material is the substrate (type of gravel, anything added to it, etc)?