Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   nervous about first water change... (

slickscustoms 11-07-2010 02:41 PM

nervous about first water change...
so my tank has been running for a while now and its time i try a water change. i got a 5 gallon water jug from work that i plan on filling and letting sit a few days to get the chemicals out. i plan on using a suction tube to vacume out the gravel and refill with the water in the jug. how do yall go about your water changes?

thefishboy 11-07-2010 02:44 PM

Well i get my bucket clip the water siphoner on, put it in the water shake it gravel the front of the tank, fill 2 buckets. Fill up the bucket with luke warm water approximate temp to my tank, put prime and stress zyme min wait for 10 mims and pour in tank!!
Dont you use water conditioner??

Byron 11-07-2010 03:39 PM

It is always wise to use a good water conditioner when new water is added to an aquarium with fish. Aside from the issues below, a good water conditioner will alleviate shock and other issues associated with changes in the water chemistry. Adding the appropriate amount to the pail of water once it is at the right temperature is adequate; conditioners work instantly.

Assuming you have tap water as your source water, it probably contains chlorine which would dissipate if left standing for 24 hours. But many municipalities also use chloramine, which is ammonia-related, and this cannot be removed other than with a water conditioner that specifically detoxifies chloramine. There may also be ammonia, nitrite or nitrate in tap water; it is good to test for all three so you will know if further precautions are necessary for any of these. Then there are heavy metals (iron, lead, copper, zinc, manganese...) which may be present in very minute amounts that are safe for humans but not for fish.

A water change should normally be done every week. The amount of water changed depends upon the tank size, number and type of fish, and if live plants are in the aquarium. The more fish, or the larger the fish, in relation to the tank volume, the more water should be changed. Live plants allow for less water, provided the fish are in balance. Overfeeding also necessitates larger and/or more frequent water changes. Somewhere between 30 and 70% depending.

I use warm and cold water from the tap, close to the temp in the aquarium; a slightly cooler temperature (2-3 degrees) often stimulates the fish, reminiscent of a tropical rain storm.

If the aquarium is not large, a bucket and hose will work; you can buy water changers at fish stores, and these let you clean the gravel while drawing out the water.


slickscustoms 11-07-2010 07:24 PM

thanks yes i do have some water conditioner. i guess i amd more nervous about the shock on the fish introducing new water. its a 40 gal. tank with5 fish and 4 or 5 live plants. i havent started stocking yet really. i want to get my plants and setup the way i want it then i will start putting in more fish. thanks!

zof 11-07-2010 08:06 PM

If you are still nervous about water changes then go with smaller more frequent ones until you feel comfortable pulling out at least 35% of your water in one go. Such as do a 10% water change every 2 or 3 days.

tanker 11-07-2010 10:55 PM

Don't worry. Your fish will be fine. I now fill my tanks with a hose and the water wooshes out the end. You'd think that the fish would all hide up the other end of the tank out of the way, but they swim up under the current from the hose. They seem to like it.

All of us on the forum are doing regular water changes and our fish are fine. It's the muck and chemicals in the water from their waste that'll hurt them, and changing the water gets rid of those so it's a good thing. Go for it!

Byron 11-08-2010 12:21 PM

Agree, and to follow up on "shock" of water changes--the aim behind water changes is to create more stable water parameters and conditions. It is quite true that if you let the tank "go" for whatever reason, and then do a major water change, it can do harm. But regular (weekly at the minimum) partial water changes work to keep the water stable. And here we are talking pH, hardness and nitrates. If your tap water is relatively similar to the tank in pH and hardness, it will not be any shock to change even 75% of it. And your nitrates in the tank shuld be at or below 20ppm and provided the tap water contains no nitrates a major water change will do no harm in this respect. "Stability" in water is achieved through live plants and regular water changes.

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