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I have had my 55 gallon planted aquarium for about 10 months now, it is wonderful to have! I can't figure out as to how often and how much to do on water changes. I have been taking out 8 gallons every week. I am unsure if that is enough or not, and if every week is to much or to little. Water changes are a huge task because my tank is up a flight of stairs in my room. So taking buckets of water up the stairs is not fun! I want to be able to do it as least as possible but still have a healthy tank. This being my very first tank ever I was a little ambitious at first and didn't realize just how much water weighed when being carried up a flight of stairs.... The tank is now cycled, I'm pretty sure of. I'm unsure of the exact number of fish; it's not possible to count, as I've learned :roll: I can give you an estimate as to how many there are though; 3 African dwarf frogs, 4 zebra danios, 3 red and blue tetras, 3 black skirted tetras, 4 platties, uncountable number of neon tetras, 3 spotted cory catfish, 1 Chinese algae eater. I think that's all but who knows how many there actually are! And if anyone knows a good algae eater that will do well in a tropical planted community tank I would love to know, I have a bad algae problem too. Also how often should you test your water and what for? Thanks! (I would attach a picture of the tank, but I don't know how to)
 

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I have had my 55 gallon planted aquarium for about 10 months now, it is wonderful to have! I can't figure out as to how often and how much to do on water changes. I have been taking out 8 gallons every week. I am unsure if that is enough or not, and if every week is to much or to little. Water changes are a huge task because my tank is up a flight of stairs in my room. So taking buckets of water up the stairs is not fun! I want to be able to do it as least as possible but still have a healthy tank. This being my very first tank ever I was a little ambitious at first and didn't realize just how much water weighed when being carried up a flight of stairs.... The tank is now cycled, I'm pretty sure of. I'm unsure of the exact number of fish; it's not possible to count, as I've learned :roll: I can give you an estimate as to how many there are though; 3 African dwarf frogs, 4 zebra danios, 3 red and blue tetras, 3 black skirted tetras, 4 platties, uncountable number of neon tetras, 3 spotted cory catfish, 1 Chinese algae eater. I think that's all but who knows how many there actually are! And if anyone knows a good algae eater that will do well in a tropical planted community tank I would love to know, I have a bad algae problem too. Also how often should you test your water and what for? Thanks! (I would attach a picture of the tank, but I don't know how to)

First, I would get rid of the CAE. When it gets older it will start eating all of your smaller fish.

You can attach a picture of the tank by going to Go Advanced while posting. If already there scroll down and you will see a button called "Manage Attachments". Click there to upload the picture.

I would recommend doing 30-40% weekly water changes and doing a 50-65% water change at least once a month.

4 zebra danios
3 red and blue tetras
3 black skirted tetras
3 spotted cory catfish

These above fish are shoaling fish, along with your neons but you said you have a lot of them. These fish prefer to be in groups of 8 or more. The lowest suggested number per species would be 5. I would get rid of the Black Skirt Tetras because they will become bigger and start to nip fins. I would also get more Zebra Danios, Red and Blue Tetras and the Corys. This will ensure their happiness and make their lives longer.

I would suggest you get a Bristlenose Pleco AKA Bushynose Pleco. Click on the grey to find out more about it.

Instead of using him to fix your algae problem I would lessen light. This will ensure the problem will be taken care of.

Do you have real plants? If not, your tank will TRULY benefit from this as it will allow you to lessen water changes, lessen the amount of water per water changes, it will better your water quality and LESSEN the algae because it will fight against it.

What kind of substrate do you have?

Also, what kind of lighting.

I suggest Java Fern, Java Moss and Hornwort for starter. Don't bury any of these plants, you can tie them down or just let them float. The fern doesn't like to be buried.

If you have plants you could probably take your water changes to 3 times a month and 30-35% every water change. Or you could do 25% water changes every week. I would never recommend doing less than a 25% water change.

Also, I would still recommend at least a 50% water change once a month.
 

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I do a 20 to 30% change every 2 weeks and my water stays pretty balenced
How many fish do you have in your tank?

I would not expect that to stay balanced if you have a fully stocked tank because the nitrates would go overboard. I would think....

What size tank do you have?

Do you test your water with a water based test solution?

--

Edit: Personally, I get so worried about waiting over a week to change my water I just do it at least once a week. Maybe once I really see my tanks mature I could cut back.
 

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Welcome to TFK!

There really isn't a definitive answer to the volume and frequency of partial water changes. The underlying motivation is to remove 'polluted' water, replacing it with fresh, thereby diluting the remaining polluted water. But there are so many variables like the size of the tank, amount of stock, plants or not, tank maintenance, filtration/purification and on and on.

In some respects, we might agree that smaller more frequent water changes represent less of a potential upset or shock to the tank water chemistry.
There are many that advocate up to a 50% weekly water change. Since discovering very high nitrates in my well water (and having to filter water for water changes) I have cut back to 10g weekly in my 60g tank.

As to your bucket brigade, is there a bathroom upstairs? Even if not, you can get a hose adapter for a sink (or a Python device) to allow you to refill your tank with a hose instead of hauling buckets. (If you can't siphon to a toilet or a shower, maybe there's an appropriate window?? :))

Once you have an established, stable tank (especially planted), weekly testing for nitrates may be all that is necessary along with occasional testing for pH and hardness (GH/KH).

As for attaching photo's, in advanced edit mode, scroll down to
- click on the Manage Attachments button.
- expand the window slightly.
- click on the 'choose file' button.
- click on the upload button.
 
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Welcome to TFK!

There really isn't a definitive answer to the volume and frequency of partial water changes. The underlying motivation is to remove 'polluted' water, replacing it with fresh, thereby diluting the remaining polluted water. But there are so many variables like the size of the tank, amount of stock, plants or not, tank maintenance, filtration/purification and on and on.

In some respects, we might agree that smaller more frequent water changes represent less of a potential upset or shock to the tank water chemistry.
There are many that advocate up to a 50% weekly water change. Since discovering very high nitrates in my well water (and having to filter water for water changes) I have cut back to 10g weekly in my 60g tank.

As to your bucket brigade, is there a bathroom upstairs? Even if not, you can get a hose adapter for a sink (or a Python device) to allow you to refill your tank with a hose instead of hauling buckets. (If you can't siphon to a toilet or a shower, maybe there's an appropriate window?? :))

As for attaching photo's, in advanced edit mode, scroll down to
- click on the Manage Attachments button.
- expand the window slightly.
- click on the 'choose file' button.
- click on the upload button.
Thanks AbbeysDad,

You gave a much clearer picture on how to approach the matter.
 

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First, I would get rid of the CAE. When it gets older it will start eating all of your smaller fish.

You can attach a picture of the tank by going to Go Advanced while posting. If already there scroll down and you will see a button called "Manage Attachments". Click there to upload the picture.

I would recommend doing 30-40% weekly water changes and doing a 50-65% water change at least once a month.

4 zebra danios
3 red and blue tetras
3 black skirted tetras
3 spotted cory catfish

These above fish are shoaling fish, along with your neons but you said you have a lot of them. These fish prefer to be in groups of 8 or more. The lowest suggested number per species would be 5. I would get rid of the Black Skirt Tetras because they will become bigger and start to nip fins. I would also get more Zebra Danios, Red and Blue Tetras and the Corys. This will ensure their happiness and make their lives longer.

I would suggest you get a Bristlenose Pleco AKA Bushynose Pleco. Click on the grey to find out more about it.

Instead of using him to fix your algae problem I would lessen light. This will ensure the problem will be taken care of.

Do you have real plants? If not, your tank will TRULY benefit from this as it will allow you to lessen water changes, lessen the amount of water per water changes, it will better your water quality and LESSEN the algae because it will fight against it.

What kind of substrate do you have?

Also, what kind of lighting.

I suggest Java Fern, Java Moss and Hornwort for starter. Don't bury any of these plants, you can tie them down or just let them float. The fern doesn't like to be buried.

If you have plants you could probably take your water changes to 3 times a month and 30-35% every water change. Or you could do 25% water changes every week. I would never recommend doing less than a 25% water change.

Also, I would still recommend at least a 50% water change once a month.


Trust me I want to get rid of him but don't know how...... I can't give him to anyone. How would you recommend getting rid of it? I have only had those fish for a short time, I wanted to see how they got along with the others before getting 8 fish that didn't get along with the others, I am in the process of getting more for them. All of the plants in my tank are real. As far as substrate goes there is a layer of Flora max for the plants and a layer of gravel over that.
 

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How many fish do you have in your tank?

I would not expect that to stay balanced if you have a fully stocked tank because the nitrates would go overboard. I would think....

What size tank do you have?

Do you test your water with a water based test solution?

--

Edit: Personally, I get so worried about waiting over a week to change my water I just do it at least once a week. Maybe once I really see my tanks mature I could cut back.
I have a10 gallon, I take my water to Jacks Pets and they test the water for me. I have thought about doing it every week
 

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I have a10 gallon, I take my water to Jacks Pets and they test the water for me. I have thought about doing it every week
I would suggest getting an API Master Test kit if you want to test the water yourself. Usually stores test with Strips which aren't as reliable.

Totally up to you and I have no idea how they test over at Jacks.
 

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Trust me I want to get rid of him but don't know how...... I can't give him to anyone. How would you recommend getting rid of it? I have only had those fish for a short time, I wanted to see how they got along with the others before getting 8 fish that didn't get along with the others, I am in the process of getting more for them. All of the plants in my tank are real. As far as substrate goes there is a layer of Flora max for the plants and a layer of gravel over that.
Do you have a local fish store near you that isn't a PetSmart or PetCo. A lot of smaller none corporate fish stores will take back fish as donations. They will then sell them. You could also put up an ad on craigslist putting him up for adoption.

Do you have any other tanks?
 

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I would suggest getting an API Master Test kit if you want to test the water yourself. Usually stores test with Strips which aren't as reliable.

Totally up to you and I have no idea how they test over at Jacks.
they have the strips with the multiple pads on them and then they have an ammonia test strip
 

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I would HIGHLY recommend getting API Master Test Kit OR any similar water based test kit. It can be up to 10x more accurate on the test results.
thanks for the advise, I am so glad I found this site. I have been "flying blind" with my first tanks and I have learned so much in the 3 days I have been a member! thanks to everyone!!!!!!
 

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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum, nags and NeonTetra2196.:-D

I'm copying over a post I made yesterday in another thread on the issue of water changes, as this may put things in perspective. I will expand on this in an article i am working on concerning water changes, but for now this should help.

Water changes are the most important aspect of tank maintenance. You can let the fish go without feeding for a couple of weeks and it will not harm them. But you cannot fore-go water changes.

"Stuff" that I have often termed "crud" accumulates in any tank with fish, and the only way to remove it is with a water change. Plants can handle some of this, in time, and if not overwhelmed. But at the level of stocking most of us have, a weekly water change of half the tank is necessary. This crud is urine (about 30% of the fish's body mass is excreted as urine every day), pheromones, dissolved waste, bio-filtration end products and other pollution. TDS (total dissolved solids) build up quickly; these come from the water conditioner we have to use, from fish foods, from any medications, and from just about any substance entering the water. None of these substances can be removed by filters...only with a water change. And these substances affect fish big-time.

The other aspect is water stability. The larger and more frequent the water changes, the more stable will be the water. Now, this assumes we are relatively close in GH and pH and temperature. These are relatively easy to control--another reason for selecting fish that match your water parameters. They will be healthier than fish that do not match, either because of stress from inappropriate parameters or from stress caused by using chemicals with TDS to adjust the chemistry. Any biologist/ichthyologist will tell you this. The more water you change, the more stable the chemistry will be, and this is crucial for fish.

Jack Wattley is an acknowledged authority on Discus, having bred and raised them for most of his nearly 80 years. In almost every one of his monthly TFH columns he mentions the necessity of water changes, pointing out that in his tanks he performs 90% water changes every day. There are hatcheries in SE Asia that perform 3 and 4 such changes every day. With respect to the water stability and health of the fish, you simply cannot overdo water changes. As for those who say water changes stress fish, the more you do the more accustomed they will be to the commotion, and even come to enjoy it. I've had fish nibbling the hairs on my arm when I've been in the tank trimming plants. And a siphon sticking in one end pulling out water or adding fresh water is not going to stress fish.

Byron.
 

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Do you have a local fish store near you that isn't a PetSmart or PetCo. A lot of smaller none corporate fish stores will take back fish as donations. They will then sell them. You could also put up an ad on craigslist putting him up for adoption.

Do you have any other tanks?
No I don't have a local fish store, the closest thing is petsmart and its over 15 miles away. Besides a 5 gallon quarantine tank, which isn't up and running at the moment, no I don't have any other tanks. I don't think I could ever catch the thing anyways, I have only caught it once and it took over 30 minutes.
 

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No I don't have a local fish store, the closest thing is petsmart and its over 15 miles away. Besides a 5 gallon quarantine tank, which isn't up and running at the moment, no I don't have any other tanks. I don't think I could ever catch the thing anyways, I have only caught it once and it took over 30 minutes.
At least you have the option later of the 5 gallon quarantine. I'd set that up.
 

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With regards to getting rid of the CAE, there is also the "classified" section of this website as well. If you dont get any luck on there, you can also try Aquabid.

This will involve shipping the fish though which is something you may not want to do.

Just a thought.
 

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Welcome to the forum and the hobby, nags and NeonTetra2196!!

Just wanted to throw my $0.02 in here about water changes. I went along with the suggested guidelines of between 30% and 40% for the first few years of my fishkeeping hobby. When you're starting out, you don't really have all the knowledge so following guidelines is a good idea. Once I really started to understand the ecology of all of my tanks and fish tanks in general I began to mess with it. The only way I could tell if this was working was by a nitrate test (btw, the API test kit is probably my fishkeeping tool I use the most; a must have!) and a little bit of fishkeeping intuition. So for right now, I think you guys should follow the recommendations of between 30% and 40% weekly until you get a hang of things.

NeonTetra2196, I HIGHLY recommend the faucet attachment thingy (lol I don't know what it is really called other than a godsend) for the python hose. I had been changing water bucket by bucket on my 55 gallon for years while doing 50% weekly water changes. When I discovered that thing about 3 weeks ago it revolutionized water changes for me! I will never do another without that wonderful green dohicky.
 

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+1 Izzy.

As just a follow up, I was in the 50% weekly camp until I discovered EXTREMELY high nitrates in my (country) well water following a lot of young fish loss. This caused me to rethink filtration and water changes. I concluded that the average tank filter does very little to purify water and if we up that game, we could safely reduce the volume and/or frequency of partial water changes while continuing to maintain a very high water quality.

I would agree that as a general rule, a 25% - 50% WEEKLY water change is best.
 
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