Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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FishN00b 04-29-2007 04:08 PM

How much water change in 1 day?
I performed a 25% water change this morning. I've taken the nitrate reading again this evening and it could still do with diluting. Would performing another water change affect the fish?

MattD 04-29-2007 04:11 PM

Well, frequent water changes won't harm the fish, so long as they're done properly. Fish stores change the water in tanks sometimes up to 3 times a day! Or so I read. This is to deal with the huge bio load in the tanks (as we've all seen), which would skyrocket the ammonia and nitrite levels otherwise in record time.

As long as your water is conditioned properly, the correct temp, and suits the desired parameters, they can never be overdone. Remember, in nature the biggest form of filtration is dilution.

I'm assuming your tank is on the newer side? Once the biological colonies are established in the tank and filter, standard weekly water changes are all that's needed. Hang in there!

FishN00b 04-29-2007 04:22 PM

I've got a 3 and half week old tank. the 5 neons I've had in their from the start are on death's door.

I added 5 guppies from my LFS the other day and they've all died, I went back to the store and the tank they came from was riddled with corpses, I was gutted. Never going back there again.

They're floating upside down, on their side, rapid breathing. They're well off colour too. I'm gutted to see them this way. :( From reading a few web sites, these symptoms seem more attributed to poising from nitrite, ammonia or nitrate. I've performed tests though, Ph between 7 and 8, nitrite 0.1 (Which I understand shouldn't be too deadly), nitrate is about 50.

I want to try anything to try and save some of them and hope I dont have to start a whole new cycle again. Maybe a water change will help them? I hope so!

MattD 04-29-2007 04:31 PM

How exactly do you perform your water changes? Without proper conditioning, you basically kill any beneficial bacteria in your tank and filter - which will obviously allow nitrite and ammonia spikes to continue unchecked. What's your tank size? Too many fish with an immature filter and improper size is a deathbox.

FishN00b 04-29-2007 04:41 PM

I syphon the water into a bucket I use just for the tank and nothing else. I replace approx 15 litres at a time. My tank is 2ft by 1 ft by about 1.5 ft high. I think its about 65 - 70 litres.

The bucket holds about 10 litres at a time. The water conditioner I use takes 1 cap (4ml) per 36 litres of tap water. I try to pro-rata the quantity of conditioner to suit the quantity I am replacing. For example, for a 10 litre change i try to add approx 1/4 of a cap. I fill two bucket fulls, condition both with a 1/4 of a cap but only use 1 and a half buckets, the remaining quarter I chuck.

I use a mixture of hot and cold water to get the temperature to about 25 degrees C, i use the tank thermometer to check the temperature.

When its about right I add the 10litres in one go but at a slow rate.

I may change some more water, rinse the filter in the water removed from the tank as there's a quite a bit of plant debris in it.

I'll just have to pray!

jones57742 04-29-2007 04:44 PM

Except in emergencies I never exceed a 30% daily WC when it is an atypical WC.

Trying to explain better:
If you do 25% weekly WC's on weekends I would not do more than one 30% daily WC during the week except in an emergency.

This recommendation has more to do with stress to the biological digestion bacteria than to the fish.


FishN00b 04-29-2007 04:49 PM

Yeah, I've been told not to exceed 30% in one go. Just didn't know if that meant in one sitting or the same day. I'm just running out of ideas really and almost clutching at straws.

There are 4 silver tipped tetras in the tank also, they've seemed fine but are now beginning to go the same way.

I may be wasting my time with a water change? I'm kind of thinking of starting all over again if they die?

If they do die, I'm worried that if I dont clean the filter it may contain something that contributed to the deaths I have now and will threaten the new set up? It will have a lot of good bacteria though I'm sure, after 3 weeks.

MattD 04-29-2007 04:52 PM

Your water changes are done properly indeed, so we can pretty much pinpoint this down to an immature filter and overloading. New tanks should not be stocked with anything over 25% of the max. population limit. Your tank is an 18 - 20 gallon (you aren't sure so let's say it's in that range). 10 gallons are notoriously difficult to maintain, and 20 gallons are only slightly better. Combine small size with an immature filter, anything you put in that tank is really a gamble. Since fluctuations in water parameters are common and normal with new tanks, it's a rollercoaster ride for anything but the hardiest fish. Tetras are very sensitive, and should NOT be used to cycle tanks. Guppies are hardy (NOT Fancy. They won't tolerate new tanks and if they DO survive, their tails would have become ragged and ugly), so if their home tank was diseased, they may have been too.

Falina 04-29-2007 04:52 PM


If they do die, I'm worried that if I dont clean the filter it may contain something that contributed to the deaths I have now and will threaten the new set up? It will have a lot of good bacteria though I'm sure, after 3 weeks.
My guess is that they are dying because the tank has not been cycled prior to them being introduced and therefore your filter wouldn't have anytjhing in it that would harm other fish other than a lack of good bacteria. Was the tank fully cycled when you introduced the fish?

Sorry to hear it's not been going well for you.

FishN00b 04-29-2007 05:04 PM

Thanks guys, really appreciate your advice and comments. I put the neons in the tank about 3 weeks ago. They were what I was using to cycle the tank, maybe not the best choice looking back. The thing is, they were absolutely fine for 2 weeks. They were swimming around happily in their little shoal.

Since starting the tank, I've used liquid testing kits. The weird thing is, I've never detected ammonia. Nitrites were there at the start but Nitrites have been high and remained high for about a week. Nitrates also high. Still the fish remained unphased. When the Nitrites got down to 0.1, I diluted the nitrate. So I had 0 Ammonia, 0.1 Nitrite, about 50 Nitrate. I began to get impatient and put 6 guppies in. All died.

My "warrior" neons that'd gone through all the high nitrite and nitrates are on their last fins now. If they dont survive, I'm going to get a bigger tank when I come back from travelling in the summer. Have a decent planted aquarium, carry out a fishless cycle and stock very slowly. I'm gutted seeing the fish go through this, I really am. I suppose everyone has to learn.

I've always wanted a tropical aquarium and am determined to make it work, I think it could be a very rewarding hobby.

I don't think there's much hope for my little buddies in my tank at the moment though :(

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