Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Tundra9 04-07-2009 04:04 PM

Ok i have a quick i ever need to do a 50% or more water change?

Tundra9 04-07-2009 04:06 PM

a filter question.....
I was wondering instead of using a regular filter can i use the marineland active carbon that cleans out the ammonia too in a media bag?

aquakid 04-07-2009 05:11 PM

I do a 50% every 6 months. IT IS REQUIRED

JohnnyD44 04-08-2009 08:45 AM

Sometimes, a 50% water change is needed if you see a huge spike in nitrates or other parameter problem.....otherwise, a 15-20% water change weekly will elminate the need for a 50%

Mikaila31 04-08-2009 08:59 AM

I do 50% weekly on my tanks. If stats are all ok then you can change how ever much you want. As long as it is >15% IMO.

Tyyrlym 04-08-2009 09:28 AM


Originally Posted by Tundra9 (Post 186108)
I was wondering instead of using a regular filter can i use the marineland active carbon that cleans out the ammonia too in a media bag?

No, not really. First off you would need to put this in an area with good flow. With no filter on the tank you'd need to buy something like a powerhead. It's also not a permanent solution, it's a wear item. The media will eventually saturate with ammonia and need to be replaced. Between a powerhead and the cost of replacing the media a conventional filter will quickly become a far cheaper option.

The media also has no flexibility. When you first put it in the tank it starts sucking up ammonia. If enough media is present it'll be able to adsorb the substance as quickly as the fish make it. Unfortunately the media simply stores the ammonia. As more and more are adsorbed the media loses the ability to store more rapidly. Eventually the media can't store the ammonia as quickly as your fish are making it. Now ammonia starts to build up in your tank, the media is considered spent, and you have to replace it. How long does this take? No one knows, so regular testing is a must, at least every other day. Even if you figure out the duration each bag of media lasts you still have to test because if something causes a nutrient spike in the tank the surge of ammonia can wear out the media sooner. If you don't test you won't replace in time, the ammonia builds up and the next bag of media wears out quicker again exposing your fish to ammonia.

Both from a cost standpoint and a fishkeeping standpoint the ammonia chips are not an acceptable replacement for an established biofilter.

Byron 04-08-2009 10:51 AM

I concur with all previous posts. I'd like to expand a couple of points.

Rewgular water changes are in my view (and most others) mandatory. It is better to change less water more often than more water less often. [Aquakid, you mentioned 50% every 6 months, but I'll assume you do less every week and you are not really saying you only change water twice a year.] The reason is fish health, which I thnk I explained in detail in my 04-06-2009 resonse in the thread "what is the reason for water changes" in this same forum section, so I won't repeat all that; I don't know your level of experience, so you may gain some new insight by reading that post.

Tyyrlym said it clearly, the only good filtration is an established biological one using nature. You don't indicate when this tank was setup, but once the initial cycling process has run its course (2-8 weeks) the biological equilibrium in a tank is established and will maintain itself with no problems--PROVIDED you do not interfere with it by suddenly overloading the biomass (too many new fish, overfeeding, dead fish or excessive dead plant material not immediately removed, etc), overcleaning the filter and substrate, or doing something to the water that affects the biological equilibrium.

As you can see from our responses we have varying amounts of water (15% to 50%) but one constancy--weekly. I do at least 35%, sometimes almost 50% every week. As long as it is regular you should have no problems related to water chemistry. And your fish will thank you with less stress which equates to good health and normal (interesting) behaviours.

lovemygoldy 04-11-2009 03:07 PM

Don't remember where I heard it, but I believe someone said that as long as you do water changes that add up to 100% a month you should be fine. Like a 50% twice a month, or a 25% once a week. I usually do like a 25-50 every 1-2 weeks, depending on how the water looks and what the levels are.

Byron 04-11-2009 05:13 PM


Originally Posted by lovemygoldy (Post 187028)
Don't remember where I heard it, but I believe someone said that as long as you do water changes that add up to 100% a month you should be fine. Like a 50% twice a month, or a 25% once a week. I usually do like a 25-50 every 1-2 weeks, depending on how the water looks and what the levels are.

It's worth bearing in mind that some people do not like doing water changes, and knowledgeable staff in good stores and other aquarists know this, and may sometimes suggest less-than-optimum schedules in the hope that at least some water will get changed on a somewhat regular basis. I obviously do not subscribe to this school of thought. If one is going to keep fish (just like any animal pet) one has to recognize that the responsibility to look after it is part of the experience. And with fish, that means regular water changes.

Doing 50% every other week is better than nothing, but doing 25% each week is much better. In nature, fish live in water that is either constantly moving past them (streams, rivers, creeks) or in a lake that has considerably more volume that will be affected by the fish population. In both cases, the water around them is not static but changing, which means the toxins the fish expel (ammonia through respiration, excrement, urine) is not staying where the fish is forced to live in it, but moving away. At the same time, the water is bringing minerals and oxygen to the fish, and there is no danger of the fish using all the available minerals or oxygen because of the water movement. In a lake the thermal currents constantly keep the water in motion to avoid stratification. The African rift lakes are a good illustration. They are so deep that the lower water strata never mixes with the upper surface water. It is no surprise therefore that the cichlids do not live in the lower levels. They would in fact asphyxiate if they moved into those regions.

I mentioned my earlier post before, but as it is germaine to this particular issue, I'm going to repeat some of it. As was the thrust of that thread, the issue is not how the water looks or what the nitrate reading might be that determines the need for a water change; its an absolute necessity (for the health of the fish) regardless of how good the water quality may be.

The aim is to maintain consistent water quality permanently. This is not as impossible as some may think. There are fluctuations that occur naturally, in nature and in our aquarium. Fish have evolved to adapt to these minor fluctuations. This involves temperature and pH (there are diurnal fluctuations both in nature and in an aquarium), hardness, and dissolved organics in the water. Fish are very closely tied to their environment. As an example, fish 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. In an excellent article on "Fish Growth vs. Tank Size" in the December 2006 issue of TFH, Laura Muha notes that "Both salinity and pH affects a fish's growth rate because they affect 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." We all know how stress affects humans, and it is now known that this occurs with fish as well. 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 fsh. Changing 25-40% of the water every week is maintaining such a balance, because it ensures that the pH will remain relative constant, along with the levels of minerals in the water, and the nitrate level.

Many who keep discus change this much water every day. It would obviously be good for all our fish if we could manage a partial water change every day, but I know that I would have difficulty achieving this.

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