How do I do a water change? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-15-2012, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
Exclamation How do I do a water change?

I know this is a dumb question but I'm new at this and until now I didn't realize water changes were more than replacing evaporated water. I got 2 moss balls for my 36 gallon freshwater topical fish tank yesterday and (as instructed) put them in the water and pulled them apart a little like cotton balls to stretch them out and shape them to a cave in my tank. Obviously they released debris (spores? and pieces of moss) which now has made my water very cloudy. However the fish nip at them (which is why I got them, to give some of my plant eating fish something to nibble at bc my tank is too new for algae or for some reason algae won't grow...any suggestions on how to get algae to grow???). Anyway, the point is I need to perform a water change I just don't know if this will bother the fish as the mollys and angel fish are sensitive to water changes. I live in NY and have hard water, I have water conditioner for aquariums and good bacteria drops also. I have a cleaned out 1 gallon plastic milk container that I use to add water, that being said, how much water do I remove? And when I replace the water, do I add the water conditioner drops before dumping the water into the tank?..or just add the drops directly into the tank? And finally, will changing the water bother my fish that are sensitive? After this, how often should I perform water changes? I read once a week, that seems excessive, won't removing the good water from the tank disrupt the ecosystem and remove the good bacteria?

  1. 36 gallon bow front freshwater tropical tank:2 black molly's, 2 giant danios, 1 clown barb, 1 dwarf gourami, 1 plecto catfish, 2 spotted leaf fish, 1 angel fish,
  2. & 10 gallon freshwater tank: 2 small danios, 2 tetras, 2 pot belly molly's, 3 mini frogs, 2 silver hatchet tetras
3.2.5 gallon freshwater: empty/cycling
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post #2 of 5 Old 04-15-2012, 01:55 PM
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what part of NY are you from? I'm from the Buffalo area.
Yours is not a dumb question at all. Yes you should be doing water changes each week, how much depends on the quality of the water, how many fish you have and what kind, do you test the water? when your nitrates get high like 20-30 ppm then you should do water change. I change 50% a week but even 25-30% can be sufficient, cheapest way is get a 5 gallon bucket and keep it for just fish water, and use a gravel vacum to vacum half the tank, You could probibly start with a 10 galoon water change, empty out 2 full buckets then refill the bucket with fresh water and add your conditioner make sure tempature of new water is the same as the tank. all the good bacteria is in the filter media and the gravel thats why you only vacume half the tank at a time then next time do other half, rinse your filter media out in old tank water never rinse under the faucet.
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post #3 of 5 Old 04-15-2012, 02:01 PM
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Fish poop, excess food rots and the water in general gets just plain stale. Thats why we need to do water changes.

Yes this should be done every week.. and you're going to want a bigger bucket then a 1g as you should be changing 50% every week. Add the conditioner drops to the water before you add it to the tank. Dont bother with the "good bacteria" drops either. They rarely work.

Dont worry about "sensitive fish." These guys will probably appreciate the water change most of all. Bacteria grows on surfaces such as substrate, decorations and the filter. A water change will have nearly zero impact on the bacteria. The exception to this would be if you used a vacuum to dig around in the substrate you might disturb and shake up some of the bacteria.
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-15-2012, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
Post Successful water change, but should I have turned off the filter?

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Originally Posted by Hanky View Post
what part of NY are you from? I'm from the Buffalo area.
Yours is not a dumb question at all. Yes you should be doing water changes each week, how much depends on the quality of the water, how many fish you have and what kind, do you test the water? when your nitrates get high like 20-30 ppm then you should do water change. I change 50% a week but even 25-30% can be sufficient, cheapest way is get a 5 gallon bucket and keep it for just fish water, and use a gravel vacum to vacum half the tank, You could probibly start with a 10 galoon water change, empty out 2 full buckets then refill the bucket with fresh water and add your conditioner make sure tempature of new water is the same as the tank. all the good bacteria is in the filter media and the gravel thats why you only vacume half the tank at a time then next time do other half, rinse your filter media out in old tank water never rinse under the faucet.
Thank you so much for your help! I am from the Syracuse area but I have relatives in Buffalo.
Anyway, my water is a little clearer (few) it's still a bit cloudy but it does look a lot better! I ended up taking out about 1/4 of the tank's water and I only stopped when the filter started making a weird noise (was I supposed to turn it off for the water change?). The water was a greenish tinted color in the sink so I assume that was from the moss balls I put in. Strange but it seems to me like the fish look more content and almost brighter in their coloration...maybe it's my imagination.. Anyway I also have a 10 gallon, the water is very clear in that tank but I assume I should be doing water changes once a week in that one too? I don't have the test kits for nitrate nitrite and ammonia levels yet (when I set up the tank the pet smart people told me I didn't need that stuff until months in, along with the gravel vacuum....which are things that are all foreign to me as I had a ten gallon tank growing up and honestly never heard of water changes or gravel syphoning and had fish that lived what I thought was a long time- 6 years.) SO, I am glad to know how to make my fish have a healthier happier habitat, thanks again!

  1. 36 gallon bow front freshwater tropical tank:2 black molly's, 2 giant danios, 1 clown barb, 1 dwarf gourami, 1 plecto catfish, 2 spotted leaf fish, 1 angel fish,
  2. & 10 gallon freshwater tank: 2 small danios, 2 tetras, 2 pot belly molly's, 3 mini frogs, 2 silver hatchet tetras
3.2.5 gallon freshwater: empty/cycling
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-15-2012, 07:21 PM
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Glad we could help,As you saw your fish will benefit from a regular water change, Go ahead and unplug the filter when you do the changes, most important is adding conditioner and make sure temp is the same. I know I've been doing this for over 30 years and back then we didnt know about water changes or testing water but it is an important issue. we all still learn new stuff here. The people at pet smart arent the most knowledgable, you should get an API master test kit, anyone should have 1 from the start since you need to know when your tank is properly cycled. Good luck and let us know if you need anymore help
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