Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/forum.php)
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I was just wondering how often people change the water in their tanks? Mine seems to smell quite bad but I don't know if this is just normal for a tropical fish tank?? I don't change the water really often but I have got lots of fry to look after now so I am doing it more regularly. Also, I bought a gravel vac the other day because there was so much poo and dirt in the gravel, but when I used it, it stirred it all up and the tank was really clowdy. Are gravel cleaners good and how often should they be used?
I use my gravel vac every week when I change about 30% of the water. Sometimes I will do another 30% change during the week but geerally will only gravel vac once a week.
Any less and I think the water would become smelly.
With fry you will have to gravel vac quite often as there is always quite a bit of uneaten food left lying around. I don't have gravel in my fry tank, but i use the gravel vac to simply lift up the uneaten food every 2-3 days and do a small water change. From my experience fry tanks must be treated quite differently from normal tanks when it comes to water changes and gravel vaccing.
I have a little plastic floating breeding tank for the fry in the larger tank - do I need to clean this separately? I haven't been doing anything to the fry tank in particular, I just do water changes of the whole tank. The fry tank does look a bit clowdy though. How can I get any bits out of it without sucking up the tiny fry? (There's about 50 of them)
Use a pipette to remove any uneaten food without sucking up the fry.
If they're in a floating breeder then I think this should be done daily, as well as daily changes. If it's a plastic one what i did was slowly and very carefull life the breder out of the water so that there's only a small amount of water left in it for the fish, and slowly lower it back down again. That way pretty much 100% of the water has been changed but it's tank water, so no need for the usual worries about changing large volumes of water at once.
How are your water parameters? Are they normal otherwise?
Does smelly water correlate with unhealthy conditions?
For me that answer is easy.
My tanks all have an "earthy" smell. Not bad, sort of like clean mud? Outdoorsy without being nasty! If it smells bad to you, look for a dead fish, or even just fish food stuck in the rim or the filter can make a tank really smelly! If you were not using a siphon before the water will be really smelly, so just the siphoning of the gravel alone might clear up that problem. Siphoning of the gravel is a must!
How often you need to change your water depends on the size of the tank and how stocked (or over-stocked!) it is.
My 12 gallon gets 20% of the water changed weekly, using a siphon, so the gravel gets cleaned at the same time. I also change the filter media at that time, and give the interior a quick wipe off. It is slightly overstocked, so I stay on top of that, and never had a problem.
My 3 gallon gets 1 gallon changed out every 10 days or so, it's understocked right now so it's not very dirty. I follow the same procedure using a siphon to clean the gravel and I change the filter media.
My one gallon that houses our betta gets a 100% water change once every 10 days also.
The best way to figure this out is to test with a liquid kit and watch what happens every other day or so. That will give you idea how often you need to change your water. The smaller the tank, the more maintenance it will need really.
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