Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Sekutur 07-29-2011 05:53 AM

Confusing advice
I currently have 2 17L (4.5g) tanks on the go.
The first contains 1 Betta and 6 Pristella, it has been runing for roughly a month with the fish. When i purchased the tank the store owner said changing the water as little as possible would be best. The fish seem fine and I dont see any problems with the water quality.
My problem is this
I know the water will need changing Im not certain how often and how much as every where I go I get different advice and so far have decided not to tempt fate (my father attempts at fish keeping in the past often resulted with mass culls when changing water).
So how, how much and how often should i change the water in these tanks?
Should i leve the guys in there?

The second tank is being preped for shrimp or lobster anything special I should do to prepare this tank, the store owner said just to prepare the tank as I would for fish.
Thanks for any help, I just dont want to kill off the fish by leaving them in rancid water or shocking them when i change the water.

Grimmjow 07-29-2011 06:52 AM

If you dont have an API liquid test kit, get one. Testing the water will let you know when to change the water, especially while it's new, once it's well established you should be fine with regular once a week changes and I think think 10-20% is a regular amount to change. And, just in case you don't know, use dechlorinator when adding in new water and make sure the temp is as close as can be.

I dunno how much you know so sorry if I'm saying anything you know.

A betta and 6 pristella ina 4.5g tank sounds pretty cramped and not changing water in an overstocked tank sounds like the opposite of what you should have been told. I'd upgrade to a bigger tank if you could.

For the tank you're setting up, yes do the same as far as cycling it. Take everything a pet store employee says cum grano salis and research before buying and/or ask people here.

Sekutur 07-29-2011 06:57 AM

Thanks for the advice,
I have the stick testing kits tetra 6 in 1 they show no problem,
But to be on the safe side im going to give the tanks a water change tonigh or tomorow 10%.
I thought the same about the amount of fish but I do trust the guy who sold us the tank its a small family run tropical fish specialist shop and their fish always seem in top condition and well looked after in comparison to the local larger stores.

Grimmjow 07-29-2011 07:09 AM

The pet stores like that are usually better. I dunno why they said to not change the water though, unless they are thinking it'll help the beneficial bacteria grow... I dunnno. If you have the paper test strips, I hear they can be pretty inaccurate.

Sekutur 07-29-2011 07:13 AM

Yeh I thought as muchabout the sticks but I use them as a guide line to anything drastic happening in the tank Im just glade theres nothing of the scale going on and why Im going to be giving the tanks a water change this weekend and start the regular changing schedule.
thanks for the help

Bluebirdnanny 07-29-2011 07:46 AM

I can definably say the test strips are not accurate. I did a test with them which said everything was ok. Then I immediately did my test tube tests. Water was NOT ok and needed to be changed quickly.

I agree also on the size of the tank.... they need more room. For the Betta I would go for a 10 gallon as show or 15 for fish health and ultimate happiness! You will see a definite change in personality, fin positioning, and color display improvement.

AbbeysDad 07-29-2011 10:59 AM

I disagree with the advice here - test kits are good, but you really shouldn't use them to determine water changes. Frankly, I don't have a test kit and have yet to have a need for one! (although I do have ammonia alert monitors in my tanks). Once you have an established tank and practice good maintenance, test kits are really unnecessary... nice to have, but really not required.

In Nature fresh water is fresh because it is constantly being renewed by rainfall - which results in creeks, streams, rivers, springs for ponds, lakes, etc. Our aquariums are very small systems of confinement and in order to keep the water fresh, we need to remove and replace amounts of 25% - 50% weekly.
In the N2 process, bacteria processes ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate, but this is only part of the story (discussed at great length in many threads). There are all sorts of dissolved 'crud' in the water that we remove and dilute during the weekly water change. Don't be fooled, these 'no-see-ums' are in there and must be routinely removed to keep the aquarium water quality at a level the best promotes the health and well being of your stock. Even if you have a lot of living plants (which dramatically aids in water purification) the weekly water change is an essential part of aquarium maintenance.
While we're on the subject, along with routine filter maintenance, unless you have a well planted tank, periodic gravel siphoning is also beneficial in keeping the aquarium functioning well.

I have no idea why any LFS/LPS would suggest not routinely doing water changes - everyone in the business 'should' understand this requirement.

As far as your fathers issues, when doing water changes, if your tap water has chlorine, you must use a water conditioner to neutralize it. Also, the water needs to be at a temperature close to the tank temperature or 75-80F in order to not shock fish (who often tend to come and swim in the fresh water fall as new water is added).

I hope you find this helpful.

Byron 07-30-2011 10:23 AM

I concur. Rather than repeat all the reasoning for regular substantial water changes, I recomend you read through this linked thread which deals with this very issue and has received a lot of techical and scientific data over the past few days.

I know it is long, but it is a good discussion of the many aspects of this issue, and every aquarist should understand these matters in order to provide a healthy environment for the fish. Fish are forced to live (or "exist" sometimes) in the conditions we create, with no hope of escape except death, and they deserve better.

This is a scientific hobby, dealing with living creatures and biological processes that must be understood.


kitten_penang 07-31-2011 07:45 AM

i just take out around 20% and add ro water amazingly easy less frustrating

Sekutur 08-12-2011 05:33 AM

Thanks for the advice guys.
Due to the advice given here my GF invested in a 65L tanks for me ( a reward for getting a new job).
Before i transfer the Betta and Pristella is there any tips you guys have on making the move as stressless as possible?

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