12-17-2006, 12:03 AM
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There is no reason to remove a fish from a tank during cleaning. All that does is cause further stress to the animal, weaken it's immune system, and can be deadly. No change in any established aquarium should be so drastic that it shocks the fish. Water changes should be done at least weekly, 20 - 25%, and gravel vacs once/month. When doing gravel vacs, do NOT clean filter media at the same time. Wait at least a few days after the gravel vac. You don't want to deplete your bacteria culture too much, and especially in a tank with fry, you don't want water quality or temp to jump drastically. Small but frequent changes is always the safest way to clean any tank. When cleaning filter media, do NOT rinse it under the tap. Any amount of chlorine coming from the tap water will kill the bacteria culture. Always use a bit of dirty tank water taken right from the tank to clean the media. You can do this and call it a small water change which is healthy. If you tank isn't overcrowded and/or overfed, there should be no need to do more than basic maintenance as I just desribed.
If intending to move the fish to a different tank, then we're talking a whole different story in setting up the new tank and getting it ready for them. If you need that kind of help, just ask, I can walk you through that, too.
Is there a reason for wanting to change the gravel at the bottom? If not, then I'd say don't do it. At least, not now. With fry in the tank, this isn't the time to be upsetting the biological cycle. In replacing the gravel at the bottom you will greatly hurt your bacteria culture, which can cause a tank to go through something called a "mini cycle". Waste levels will spike for a little while because there suddenly isn't enough bacteria to keep up with it, and as the culture seeds from filter media and decorations, plants, etc., the waste will go through the same breakdown process as when the tank was brand new and first cycled. The term "mini" come from the idea that there is SOME culture left in your system, so it doesn't usually take as long to replenish itself as when starting brand new. Even these "mini cycles" are highly toxic to all of the fish, but especially the fry.
Does this help?