Is water changing as easy as it seems?
So, I know this is a silly question (I warned y'all!) but whenever I take the hood off of my fish tank to change the water, all my black skirt tetras turn gray (that's what they do when they're stressed) and school. It would be cute, if I didn't know that it's possible to kill a fish by stressing it out (right????). It may have something to do with the fact that I only have a 10 gallon tank, so they can see me scooping the water out and stuff.
So... Is there a way to change the water without stressing them out?
Also... I only have 3 of the tetras and a snail in there right now. How often should I be changing the water?
Finally... I'm eventually going to get 3 more tetras for a total of 6. How often then?
Sorry for the three-in-one thing, but I figure I might as well get my bandwidth's worth! :-D
I'm a newbie so my advice my not be that great...But, i'm doing a fish in cycle with a goldfish right now on a tank thats way too small for it...so ALOT of water changes
I've found that the extra air-tube i have laying around works well as a sort of siphon to slowly remove water from my tank...the fish barely notices the extra tube and its slow enough not to stress it...i think a 10 gallon tank is small enough to use this method
You should get a test kit to get an idea of at what point you nitrates levels get above 15ppm. Most here proabably do water changes every week, 30-50%, because clean water will keep your fish healthy, and free of disease. A small syphon is all you need ($10 - approximately) at a fish store, to make your cleaning do what it needs to, which is to clean the substrate, gravel or to hover over sand, and to take out water.
Use a syphon, a jug,cup diving into the tank taking large volumes of water each time is going to be stressful for the fish, and with a syphon you can keep the lid on and only prop it up a bit for the tube to fit under.
I got mine in the uk, but it would be about $6 for mine very simple and effective.
To put water back in, I don't tip it in (stressful also) I just put the bucket on a surface higher than my tank i have a tall cabinet right next to it) fill it with water and syphon it back in. Takes longer but much easier on the fish :)
When refilling, i use room temperature water and put in dechlorinator, but with larger water changes 50-75% it seems like my fish is sitting in a low level of water waiting for me to fill it back up( picture him tapping the watch on his fin saying 'hurry up!')
If it takes 30 minutes to get the water to room temperature and another couple minutes to mix the dechlorinator in...is that ok? Or do most of you guys prepare the fresh water in advance before you drain out the old stuff?
My comments on the several issues raised in this thread, starting with the original poster's (Bob).
First, on stress. Stress is, well, stressful, and that weakens the immune system of fish just as it does humans. But a minor temporary stress is not the same as something permanent [watch out...more on this in a moment;-)]. My fish all move under plants or the opposite end during water changes, but you can't use this temporary and minor stress to counter the tremendous positive benefits of water changes. Some fish do seem to get used to them, I have had fish come up and nibble the hairs on my arm when I've been working in the tank.
A more serious stress is that being caused by the number of this species. I realize you are getting 3 more, good...I'm just noting that the stress of only 3 is more significant than the stress of a weekly water change.
In any and all freshwater aquaria, a water change should be carried out every week, without fail. There is just too much data out there on the mathematics for anyone to advocate anything less. However, it is true that some factors can mitigate weekly down to less often. Live plants with a small (moderate) fish load. A very large aquarium with few fish. One source I read mentions a 55g, well planted, with 6-7 neon tetra as being "balanced" to the point of not requiring water changes. Most of us have far more fish per volume that that, plants aside.
The volume changes is also somewhat related to the fish load and tank volume, and again live plants. I do 50% of my tanks every week, and have done for 15 years. I am absolutely convinced of the benefits solely from the response of my fish. With a 10g, and given this tetra I would do 1/3 to 1/2 the tank weekly, and when you have 6 tetra, definitely 1/2 the tank. I am assuming the parameters of the tap water are reasonably close to the tank. [We can discuss this further if you ask.]
The water changer Gwen mentioned is the way to go. With a small tank, a manual one is fine; I use this on my 10g. If you get larger tanks, a Python is a good investment.
Last on this, why change the water? Because there is "crud" in the water that you simply cannot remove any other way. Stuff that no filter can handle. Fish urine, dissolved waste, pheromones released by fish and chemicals by plants...all these have to be manually removed. Allowed to build up, they can be very detrimental. There are no tests for any of these; but believe me, they are there, unseen and undetectable--except by the fish that have to swim around in all this crud.
Someone mentioned nitrates; while water changes are one good way of keeping nitrates in check, it is not only for nitrates. My tanks have zero to 5ppm nitrates max, but I still do 50% water changes weekly.
Moving on to Ridewithme38's question. Use water from the cold and hot water taps, mixed to the approximate temp of the tank water, perhaps just a tad cooler. This works for most fish; there are only a very few that should have equal or slightly warmer water added. If we're dealing with a 10g and using a pail, get the water the approximate temp, then squirt in the conditioner and swish it for a second. Conditioners work immediately to neutralize chlorine, chloramine, etc. No need to wait.
If you have larger tanks and use a "Python" gadget, get the temp approximate at the tap then switch the Python to fill the tank. Squirt the conditioner into the tank as it starts to fill. I've done this for 15 years.
Hope that helps.
What he (Byron) said :-) :-) :-)
pouring the water in vs siphoning it in should not stress out the fish that much. Its likely the low numbers of fish as others have mentioned thats stressing them. Something I do is feed right after a water change. Its the one time a week my fish get frozen bloodworms and I'm pretty sure some have been conditioned to relate the two.
i would use a syphon, instead of dipping out water, even on small tanks.. going in multiple time and splashing around has to be more stressfull than a syphon
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