Stocking and maintenance facts
I am not going into huge detail here just trying to give some useful information to help others understand why someone says the tank is overpoulated and why water changes are so important.
First, the rule of thumb is 1 inch of of the adult size of the fish per gallon of water. A 10 gallon tank has about 8.5 gallon of water in it after you take away the water loss for the gravel space and the fact that that most are closer to 9.5 gallons instead of a true 10 gallons when full without a substrate. Plecos need a 20 gallon tank for space and the fact that they produce more waste than the normal fish because of their vegetative ways. Neons are smaller and you can break the rule somewhat but they also need room to swim and school together so even 10 neons can be too much for a 10 gallon. Amphibians need at least a 10 gallon tank for themselves with no other animals in the tank. An Oscar needs at least a 50 gallon if not a 75 just because of their growth needs and the recuring fact they produce a ton of waste. There are other fish that have specific needs so ask about them and we will do what we can to help you get the "proper" setup for them.
Also remember that the 1 inch per gallon is the adult size of the fish. So if you have 25 baby swords in a 10 gallon, the tank is overpolulated.
Then there are water changes. I have seen some falacies on the site that some think that water changes are not needed just because there is no fish waste in the gravel because of overfiltering. This is not true. If you do not perform regular water changes, dissolved solids such as coppers, salts and not just table salt but any salt inculding Sulfate salts and Phosphate salts not to mention other dissolved solids. They will build up and cause fish stress and death ever though all the parameters are perfect in the tank. An unexplained fish death in a tank can often be attributed to dissolved solids and we will never know it because we can't reliably test for most of them. In nature, the water is changed by the minute, weekly water changes are the least we can do for our fish to maintain the cleanest water possible and prevent buildups of dissolved solids.
I hope this helps a little and encourages others to post a lot more questions about stocking their tanks and how to properly maintain their tanks for the benefit of the hobby and the health of our fish.
extremely informative and a great help. i do 2 weekly water changes of 20-30% is this ok??? maybe i should lower it and do weekly wat would u suggest?
20-30% twice a week is just fine. Remember that 20% twice is not 40% weekly because you are removing old and new water and 30% doesnt come out to 60%. But both are fine. If you have a heavy biolaod it wouldn't hurt to change more but as long as the tank is healthy and the fish show no signs of distress then your current water changes are removing the dissolved solids that we can't test for.
i mean every 2 weeks, sorry!!! all my fish seem happy and healthy and i check parameters weekly
One note to add to F4A's comments concerning water changes.
Nitrates can only be removed via plants or water changes.
Bacteriological digestion of nitrates via filtration is not available in the fish keeping community.
As for the water changes, the amount is a guildeline. 50% is an accepted weekly amount for a lot of keepers but I have seen some that say 30% a week is fine and others that say once a month is fine. There are keepers of fish that will argue for all different amounts. The main idea is to do them and not to go too long without changing water in a tank. I do 50% weekly because I have time to and I only have three 10 gallon tanks. I will admit sometimes it is 10-14 days between and sometimes it is only 3-4 days if I see a possible problem or have some cloudiness to the water.
I would say a good guideline might be this:
A 10 gallon tank stocked with 50% of the bioload needs to have 25% of the water changed out weekly or an equivelant over a 2 week period. If it is maxed out or over the bioload then more water and more often changes need to be done.
All I know for sure is anything is better than nothing and two weeks is about as long as I would ever go without a water change.
Oh and topping off is only diluting the problem and will not help except to keep water levels high enough for the fish.
a bacteria that lives in anaerobic spots eat nitrates and changes it to nitrogen which then leaves to the atmosphere
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