Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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pinkdiamond96 04-21-2013 03:06 AM

Water Changes
I am wanting to make my water changes easier instead of using a bucket all the time.
I'm considering getting a water changer such as the python water changer or the aqueon water
changer that I can hook up to my faucet to fill up my tank. When doing water changes I always
put prime in as im filling up the bucket and stir it around a bit before filling back up the tank. My
question is, since plain tap water is toxic to fish, how would I go about filling up my tank with the
water changer since I would not be able to add prime before the water goes in the tank? Should I
just add the prime after filling up the tank? I really dont want my fish being exposed to untreated
tap water if its going to harm them. Anybody have any advice for me? Thanks

JDM 04-21-2013 07:00 AM

Add prime to the tank as it is being filled, or right before. I assume that you are using chlorinated water? If you were on a well you wouldn't need to treat it.

I happen to have a tap that cannot use an adaptor so I have to bucket but I set up a pump now with the bucket in the sink, pump in the bucket and hose to the tank. Run the tap, run the pump.... the water going through the pail could be treated before it gets to the tank I suppose. I do envy the people who can just use the attachments to do this.


jaysee 04-21-2013 07:48 AM

Yes, chlorinated tap water is not good for fish, and it will kill them..... Eventually. It's not as toxic as I think you think it is, though. With the water changer, there are many kinds of fish that will actually swim in the inflow of new water, straight from the tap. You have some leeway. My point is not to fret about it... just don't FORGET to add it :-) Too, it depends on the size of your water change. For instance, if you do a 20% change and forget, the chlorine will probably dissipate without doing any harm. However, if you did an 80% change, the concentration of chlorine would be significantly higher as there's only 20% old water to dilute it. It will still dissipate, but that's a far more serious matter. Chloramine, however, does not dissipate in a timely manner.

MoneyMitch 04-21-2013 08:41 AM

just a heads up, instead of paying the like 60$ for 20 ft of rope and the adapter thing, you can get all of the same stuff at lowes/homedepot for maybe 20$ and that's with like 25ft of tube.

Tolak 04-21-2013 08:52 AM

You'll find plenty of older aquarists who do 25% weekly water changes with no water conditioners at all. This goes back to when they started, when chloramine was not in regular use in municipal water supplies. The chlorine would gas off in several hours, the slight amount of disinfectant caused no harm to fish or bio filtration.

Over time chloramine was seen more regularly in these water supplies, these veteran aquarists were unaware of this, and continued on as usual. Their fish thrived, as usual. One problem with municipal water supplies & chloramine is that there is bacteria growing in the system itself that is capable of splitting the ammonia/chlorine bond in chloramine, using the ammonia as a food source. These bacteria grow in the bio filtration of these aquarists, they don't know this for the most part, and really don't need to.

The amount of disinfectant in your water supply is enough to provide a safe product for human consumption to your tap. If there was enough disinfectant to wipe out your bio filtration & kill off fish you wouldn't be able to drink it, but it would probably make a great oven cleaner. Due to the nature of my setup, overflows for water changes, I do 50% water changes with untreated tap water, adding Prime after the tank drains down. This is due more to issues with metals in my supply, knowing a bit about my supplier there are times I will do without it.

A good article on what water suppliers are up against in regards to nitrifying bacteria in municipal water supply systems can be found here; Ammonia- and Nitrite-Oxidizing Bacterial Communities in a Pilot-Scale Chloraminated Drinking Water Distribution System Needless to say, adding dechlorinator before adding tap water to a tank is the safest way to go, adding it during or after filling really won't make a difference in a tank with healthy nitrifying bacteria & fish. If you look at the ingredients in Maroxy you'll find that it's a stabilized chlorine product, and while medicating healthy fish is generally frowned upon for a variety of reasons, perhaps these old timers giving their fish a little shot of disinfectant is part of the reason the continually have fish that do so well.

jaysee 04-21-2013 08:59 AM


Originally Posted by MoneyMitch (Post 1821433)
just a heads up, instead of paying the like 60$ for 20 ft of rope and the adapter thing, you can get all of the same stuff at lowes/homedepot for maybe 20$ and that's with like 25ft of tube.

The water changing kits come in 25 foot lengths. I suppose $60 ($45 is more accurate) might be full retail value, but I don't know why anyone would pay that when they can buy it for significantly less online, with free shipping.

The faucet adapter costs about $10 to buy separately, and the vac tube costs around $10 as well. Not sure how much a 25 foot length of hose costs. Maybe you could save a couple dollars building it yourself, if the hose costs less than $10. For $29 dropped at your front door, I don't think you can beat it.

AbbeysDad 04-21-2013 02:35 PM

You're always going to add conditioner after you drain, just before the refill. The real debate it about how much conditioner to use. Many members here report success with using just enough conditioner for the new water being added (as you would if you were doing it in buckets). For the tank method, I put the question to Seachem Tech Support on their web site and they recommended dosing for the entire tank volume.

Tolak 04-21-2013 02:50 PM

I would say it's advisable for someone just starting out, no doubt. As far as always adding it before you refill, no. With experience and depending on the setup & what you wish to achieve it may not be an always thing.

AbbeysDad 04-21-2013 03:12 PM


Originally Posted by Tolak (Post 1824321)
I would say it's advisable for someone just starting out, no doubt. As far as always adding it before you refill, no. With experience and depending on the setup & what you wish to achieve it may not be an always thing.

Chlorine and chlorimine KILLS harmful bacteria from our drinking also kills beneficial bacteria as well. Adding untreated chlorinated water to the tank could also harm the livestock and should be avoided. We always condition the water before we add it to the aquarium. In the case of adding tap water directly to the tank, we need to have the conditioner already in there at the ready. It is, or should be an 'always thing', as not doing so is just risky.

Byron 04-21-2013 03:21 PM

Chlorine levels vary from municipality to municipality, so it is wise to recommend caution.

I speak as someone who has killed off fish solely by forgetting to use the dechlorinator one day, and with a 1/3 tank volume water change. Within a few minutes, the fish were all at the surface, gasping with reddened gills flared. I instantly knew what I'd done, and squirted in the dechlorinator. Most of the fish luckily revived over the next couple of hours, but sadly I lost some rare ones.

That tragedy was back in 1998, and I've been more awake since then. Until a couple weeks ago, when I was filling my 115g tank after removing half the water as usual; when the tank got to about 3/4 full, I happened to notice the fish were all at the far end, not swimming around into the stream as they usually do during water changes. Again I knew that I'd forgotten the dechlorinator, and squirted it in. Fish settled down again.

I use a Python on all tanks except the smallest, a 10g which fills too fast. I add the conditioner to the tank just after I switch the faucet valve to refill the tank and walk back to the fish room. I only add sufficient for the water volume being changed. In 20+ years this has caused no issues, other than the few slip-ups mentioned above.


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