Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Neffiethenewguy15 06-10-2007 10:36 PM

How often should I do water Changes?
I have a 55 gallon freshwater tank and i use cycle and water conditioner. I hav only had the tank for 2 weeks and have had fish in the tank for only 3 days when should i vacuum?

Daz 06-11-2007 02:07 AM

You should vac during every water change. Just as common practice try to do 15-25% a week.

squiggles1 06-11-2007 07:49 AM

what we do is change about 25%-50% in our tanks (some of ours need the big change due to plants fertilization etc) and one week we vacuum the next we rinse out the sponges in the filter, nest week we vacuum, nest week we rinse out the carbon. that way there's never any ammonia spike due to the cycle trying to catch up. we dont use cycle anymore on a regular basis since this schedule seems to work good for us. But it depends on the fish you have in there, with our discus vacuuming everytime is a necessity.

leifthebunny 06-11-2007 08:03 AM

Another factor is type of fish. In most of my tanks, I do only a 50% substrate vacuum each week as the fish don't produce a lot of waste, but in my South American Cichlid tank, I generally have to get in as much substrate vacuuming as I can while doing the water change. I figure once the fish get larger, I might have to do more frequent water changes to keep up with the fish. :p

mHeinitz57 06-11-2007 09:49 AM

yeah, there is really no set schedule of when to do water changes and gravel vacs. You will get into your own rythm over time. Basically, if you stir the gravel a tiny bit and notice a good ammount of debris flying up, then gravel vac. A lot depends on your filter too. Generally if you have a 50 gallon filter on a 50 gallon tank, you will be doing water changes about once a week. I always use oversized filters, I have a 75 gallon canister filter on my 47 gallon tank. When I was raising oscars I had a 100 gallon canister on my 35 gallon tank :-) Having a large filter cuts down on maintenance a lot too, I change my water maybe every month or so, about 25%.
One trick you can do is to do a water change and then get the water tested (once it is established) Your nitrates should come down to a safe level. Then in a week, test your water again. If nitrates have built up to a dangerous level, then you know you need to clean your tank once a week. If it is still safe, you may be able to change water every 2 weeks. Just remember that changing smaller ammounts of water at a time causes loess stress on the fish. Instead of doing a 50% water change once a month, it would be better to do a 25% change once every two weeks. The later would be less stressful.

miagrrl 06-13-2007 06:48 PM

a lot of it will determine how many / what type of fish you have, if you have plants... some fish produce more waste than others. I would agree that the 25% weekly is a good starting point. i vac every time- in my large tank i can only get half at a time done, before there is too much water sucked out- so i alternate which side i do each time. i am a firm believer in leaving it alone until cycled, then doing your first water change and weekly thereafter

Andyandsue 06-14-2007 10:31 PM

All depends on your bio-load, but I do a 25% water change with my gravel vacuum one a week.

If your tank is newly set up you will need to test with a liquid test kit daily and watch your ammonia. As the ammonia goes up, start doing a 25% water change. Keep testing daily and do water changes as much as necessary to keep the water fish-safe (be keeping ammonia and nitrites down). Once your tank is cycled and you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and some nitrates showing, you can begin your weekly water changes.

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