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 Water changes - whats your routine

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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Water changes - whats your routine   Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:59 pm

Recently, the topic of water changes came up when discussing stress in relation to your fish tank.

My arguement is that larger water changes (50%) every 2-3 weeks is less stressful on the fish community. The fish get stressed out with the activity in the tank, and you introduce new water (and new water perameters) into the tank less often.

My buddy argues that smaller water changes more often are less stressful, 10-20% weekly.

What is the opinion of the forum?

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:58 pm

I think big frequent water changes are probably best Smile

If I had to pick, I would probably pick the big ones less frequently. The reason is you need big water changes to lower the build up of nitrates and other contaminants.
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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:58 pm

Just my humble opinion, but this question is almost like asking the IRS to explain something. The more people you talk to the more answers you will get and not always the same or correct. Awhile back we had a Rep from API come talk to us and he said 25 to 30% once per month was all that was needed. As you read in other Forums, as well as other informational sites they say 10 to 20% 1 X week all that is needed. We have many members in the Forum that perform 50% water changes faithfully every week. I personally lean toward 25% weekly, however, I have also gone with 20 to 25% every two weeks and have never had issues. I guess whichever has been successful for you keep on doing it. I kind of think (only my opinion) that 50% changes are a little more stressful as a large part of the already cycled water is removed, and possibly a little more chance of chlorine shocking the fish when adding fresh water. Not an expert nor a chemist but just seems like a risk. That being said, I know Flippercon, Liz, and a few others in the Forum do 50% weekly without issues and they have extremely healthy fish.
Will be interesting to see some others chime in to see what they feel or do.

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:55 am

For me, it depends on the tank and the water parameters. I have found that I need to do 30% water changes twice weekly in the 40 gallon to keep the nitrates at 10 for the rams-although the wisteria is finally taking off so hopefully that will change. The 75 gallon gets a 30% change weekly and the nitrates stay at 5-this is a heavily planted tank. The 10 gallon platy tank gets a 40% change every 1-2 weeks depending on how lazy I'm being. I started out with the frequent changes because my tap water has nitrates in it and larger changes threw the chemistry off too much (this was before planting the tank)
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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:36 pm

Thanks for the input.

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:02 am

What I think and what I do are two different things.  There is a formula out there, proposed by aquarium writer David Boruchowitz, which explains how if you only change amounts under 50%, you are essentially never changing all of the water.  Over time the part of the water which was never changed gets older and older, and its water volume increases, too. I agree with logic of this hypothesis and have seen the tables showing the percentages.  

As verbal says, it's not just the nitrates.  Every dissolved compound in your water - from dechlorinator, pH up and down adjusters, buffering salts, rift lake additives, plant food - adds to the total dissolved compounds count in your water (sometimes called "total organic solids" or TOS; or "dissolved organic compounds" or DOCs).  Basically, at some point it's an ionic soup.  This is why some like to change vast amounts of water, either weekly or on some other schedule.  

That said, I agree with Ryland in that it's an individual tank judgement call.  What's best for that tank?  What's keeping that tank algae-free and fish swimming?  

Depending on how much I've been feeding, or whether it's time to change the leaves, I do around 25% every one or two weeks, and every fifth pwc or so, I do 50% or more.  

I don't happen to think that water changes bother or shock fish, unless you mishandle equipment or forget to add dechlor BEFORE you return the water.  In their natural environment, many fish, including many popular suckermouth catfish, live in very turbulent water.  The area is so rocky and the water so swift, that collecting from these areas is dangerous - resulting in some very high-priced fish!  Seasonal torrential rains, in many areas worldwide, result in sudden water chemistry and temperature changes not to mention chunky terrestrial debris flying past them in the water.  By the same token, there are seasonal droughts and times when the water levels are very low, altering yet again the usual water chemistry and creating a new environment for those creatures to adapt to.  

This is why I don't think changing water is particularly stressful for the typical freshwater setup.

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:49 am

Great comment and info again Deb.
This brings a question in mind for those of you who have planted tanks. As the plants now become more mature as well as all the rock and wood addition it boggles my mind how you clean substrate? Especially those of you that have a lot of grasses, moss and etc. that nearly covers the tank bottom. Do you not worry about siphoning and just do water change? As my plants have grown and spread out, it is becoming nearly impossible to perform a thorough substrate vacuum. As I view on line some tank photo's and videos and see displays where no substrate is even visible anymore, I can't help but wonder how cleanings are possibly performed?

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:47 pm

From what I know, the serious planted tank folks do not do substrate cleaning.  They leave the plants to clean the substrate naturally.  Some add a weak powerhead and set it low in the tank to move debris toward the filter intake.  Usually, planted show tanks of the kind you describe are understocked and do not contain catfish or diggers.  

I'll just add that I rarely clean the substrate in my ten gallon, which is the most heavily planted with the fastest growers.  If it weren't for the almond leaves that I add, there would be no debris at all.  In the 75 with so many catfish there is debris but not as much as you might think.  The tank is understocked, which helps.  Every four weeks or so I hand siphon the sand and change leaves.

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:56 pm

Plants pump oxygen into the sand/soil around their roots.  If you dig a hole in a wetland, you'll see rust-colored lines ("oxidized rhizospheres") where oxygen from the roots has rusted the iron in the surrounding anaerobic gray soil.  So yes, a dense network of plant roots keeps the substrate healthy and you dont need to vacuum out dirt under the gravel.  I vacuum off some of the crud laying on top in the open areas in planted tanks, but only to the extent that I dont disturb the plant roots.

I agree with Deb, there's no such thing as "too much" water change if the WQ params are close enough to not cause harm.  I did a 100% change a few days ago on a really filthy 10-gal with mouth-brooding Bettas, where the pH had dropped into the mid-5's.  I refilled it with neutral water and they spawned within a few minutes.  Sometimes a little shock can be your friend.
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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:09 am

Give me some time to make a video and ill show you how and why I do water changes the way I do. P.s. it might make you jealous Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:47 am

@Robby wrote:
Give me some time to make a video and ill show you how and why I do water changes the way I do. P.s. it might make you jealous Wink
Very Happy  I'm looking forward to this video.

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:35 pm

Me too!

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:43 pm

I do close to 50% religiously every week.....

I'm weird, for some reason I love changing water. I guess it's because I think my fish appreciate it.


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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:42 am

Let's have it, Robby! I am very interested to see how you do it.

I do 50% weekly on all tanks, and it is done in under an hour, usually, unless I'm fussing around a lot. This would NOT be possible without the Python.

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:04 pm

I wanted to set this up for my fish room and save some time and trouble but I never could figure out how to keep the carpet dry so my spouse said NO!

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:31 pm

I love that video!! It is really the best way to keep discus healthy, I guess, lol.

It sure would make my life easier to have some sort of automatic water change system plumbed in to my pipes so I could drain the tank and refill by hitting a lever or two.

So amazing that when I first started keeping fish 30 years ago (yikes) I had a collection of 5-gal water cooler bottles, some plastic and some *gasp* glass, and I'd haul them to the grocery store and fill them with spring water at the machine, haul them back home and do water changes.

Then I got the Python maybe 10 or more years ago it was like a walk in the park in comparison. Now I whine about having to drag that heavy hose all over the house, wah wah wah. I wish it could all be automatic so I wouldn't have to fool with it....! good one!

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:26 pm

With my discus aquarium, it is recommended 50% daily water change  until they are full grown, then three times a week 50% w.c.
And if your wondering, YES, my husband makes me pay the water bill!! It's a lot of work, but If done correctly, and your discus reach their full potential, it's soooooooo worth it!!


Last edited by krislewis3 on Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:02 pm

Kris -

Go up a few posts to my thread with the link of Lucky Tropical - are those Discus normal size?

They look HUGE!

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:51 am

Kris -

Go up a few posts to my thread with the link of Lucky Tropical - are those Discus normal size?

They look HUGE!




Yes...those are beautiful discus that reached their full potential. Dinner plates! I wasn't experienced enough to grow mine to that size.
These are some of the reasons they grew to that size....,when raising baby discus, it's important to:
#1- NO SUBSTATE, no sand, gravel etc.
#2- Daily 50-75% water changes
#3- 6 daily feedings of foods (varity) with the correct nutrients.
#4- once they reach juvenile size, they need 10 gallons of water, for each discus.
#5- purchase high quality discus from a reliable breeder...(no neighborhood fish stores)
#6- have at least 5-6 fish....( meaning that your tank should be at least 50 gallons, preferably larger, as they are schooling fish, and do better in groups.

I was woefully ignorant of most of the above when I bought my first batch of discus, I'm hoping that my next batch will be similar to beautiful discus in that video!
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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:20 am

Kris -

Go up a few posts to my thread with the link of Lucky Tropical - are those Discus normal size?

They look HUGE!




Yes...those are beautiful discus that reached their full potential. Dinner plates! I wasn't experienced enough to grow mine to that size.
These are some of the reasons they grew to that size....,when raising baby discus, it's important to:
#1- NO SUBSTATE, no sand, gravel etc.
#2- Daily 50-75% water changes
#3- 6 daily feedings of foods (varity) with the correct nutrients.
#4- once they reach juvenile size, they need 10 gallons of water, for each discus.
#5- purchase high quality discus from a reliable breeder...(no neighborhood fish stores)
#6- have at least 5-6 fish....( meaning that your tank should be at least 50 gallons, preferably larger, as they are schooling fish, and do better in groups.
#7- once your discus are full grown, and hopefully reached their full potential, you can add your sand/gravel, decor, plants, etc. and create a beautiful show tank!

I was woefully ignorant of most of the above when I bought my first batch of discus, I'm hoping that my next batch will be similar to beautiful discus in that video!
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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:22 am

Kris -

Go up a few posts to my thread with the link of Lucky Tropical - are those Discus normal size?

They look HUGE!




Yes...those are beautiful discus that reached their full potential. Dinner plates! I wasn't experienced enough to grow mine to that size.
These are some of the reasons they grew to that size....,when raising baby discus, it's important to:
#1- NO SUBSTATE, no sand, gravel etc.
#2- Daily 50-75% water changes
#3- 6 daily feedings of foods (varity) with the correct nutrients.
#4- once they reach juvenile size, they need 10 gallons of water, for each discus.
#5- purchase high quality discus from a reliable breeder...(no neighborhood fish stores)
#6- have at least 5-6 fish....( meaning that your tank should be at least 50 gallons, preferably larger, as they are schooling fish, and do better in groups.
#7- once your discus are full grown, and hopefully reached their full potential, you can add your sand/gravel, decor, plants, etc. and create a beautiful show tank!
#7- once your discus are full grown, you can add your substrate, driftwood, decorations etc, and create a beautiful show tank.

I was woefully ignorant of most of the above when I bought my first batch of discus, I'm hoping that my next batch will be similar to beautiful discus in that video!
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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:40 pm

I do water changes a little at a time constantly. I use my old tank water, to water all my houseplants. It works great, and my one picky plant(orange jasmine) does really well with it. So basically, the plants determine when water is removed and replaced in the tank.

I've also knoticed since the addition of all the live plants. I haven't really needed to Vac my sand... The poop just goes somewhere Shocked 

I feel like if I tell you this, someone is going to chew me out. But I let the local stores check my water parameters. Why? Im cheap Smile
Perimeters are always optimal, so I just keep up with my routine and watch my fish.


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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:06 am

Sorry for the above repeat of my post guys....I was attempting put a photo into the post, but was unsuccessful. Can you guys explain how to do this. I am able to find the upload page, and then choose the photo (existing on my iPad) and then I click on 'host' and the photo goes into my album, but not into my post!!
..HELP!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:07 pm

Well you can erase the extra posts by clicking the edit button that is located to the right of the time stamp...the time stamp is at the top almost center of the window that your post is in..

You can also use that button to edit the first post, add in an image after the fact or make a spelling correction ect*

I use an iPad as well. In order to save myself a head ache I just use my photobucket account along with the photobucket app on my iPad.

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PostSubject: Re: Water changes - whats your routine   Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:24 pm

@krislewis3 wrote:
Sorry for the above repeat of my post guys....I was attempting put a photo into the post, but was unsuccessful. Can you guys explain how to do this. I am able to find the upload page, and then choose the photo (existing on my iPad)  and then I click on 'host' and the photo goes into my album, but not into my post!!
..HELP!!!!!
Here's a tutorial that we put together.  Please look at it!   

http://cvas.forumotion.com/t60-how-to-post-a-picture

Are these the steps that you've been doing?  After you click BROWSE you need to wait a few seconds for it to load your pic.  Then it will offer you a choice of sizes.  Select Forum Size. Copy that, and then paste the link into your post.  Click PREVIEW to make sure the pic is there.  (The hosting pop-up box will go away at this point.) 

Let us know if you have any more problems.  We'd love to see more pix of your discus!

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