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Old 02-07-2011, 01:55 AM   #1
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Water changing/tank health

I keep reading about changing the water in the tank on this forum. There have been fish tanks in my family since I was 8 and we've never changed the water, and our fish have always been healthy. Even when the tank had maybe 6 more fish than it should the fish always stayed healthy. Maybe we've been lucky? Anywho~ water changing has come up on this forum frequent enough for me to ask what is it? Do you just pull out water from your tank and new water?

Also, I keep reading about tank cycling? What is this? To my understanding you're suppose to allow NH3 to manifest, then allow bacteria to colonize in your tank to consume the ammonia and produce NO2, thus allowing a new bacteria to colonize and consume the NO2 and give NO3 as a byproduct? And that it's recommended to do this without fish?

I just got fish a week ago and put them in a old tank we had in my room. In the old tank I threw out the rocks (didn't want to clean the pebbles cause I just cleaned out my mom's 40 gallon). I wiped the sides of the tank and bought a new filter. Before I put the fish in I waited an hour (the filter said it filters ten gallons in ten hours) then let the fish out the bag. I read that they produce ammonia and can start a cycle. Three of them are mollies and I know they're pretty sturdy fish. All the fish are still alive and none of them are exhibiting any abnormal behavior except the platy (but he's been twitchy since before I but him in the tank), however he's finally swimming with two of the mollies now.

Anything else I should know about keeping a tank healthy? I don't a have testing kit or strips (don't plan on getting strips cause I hear they suck), so I can't tell you parameters
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:03 AM   #2
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The fish create ammonia, which burns their gills and body, which is why people recommend fishless cycling. You have to do water changes to keep that below .25 ppm, sometimes 2 a day.

You might have thought your fish were healthy, but they could have had burns, parasites, etc. Goldfish, for example, can live a LONG time, but when people put them in bowls they only live for a few years.

With water changes, yes, you suck out the old water (25-50%) and add new.

If the platy is twitchy, he might have ich, and it can be in his gills where you can't see it.

I recommend the API Master Freshwater Test Kit to test your water parameters.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:01 AM   #3
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Yea I already plan on getting that one

So for the water change I take out nearly half or so refill with tap water? Should I use a water conditioner when I do this or is that unessary? Why do I need to change it twice a day? I've read once a week is good enough.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:14 AM   #4
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If your ammonia or nitrite is above .25, you need to do a water change since you have fish already. Some people have so much ammonia, they have to do two water changes a day. When a tank is established with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and 5-40 nitrates, you only need to do one water change a week
The reason I say 25-50% is because if you have 1.0 ammonia, you need to bring it down as close to .25 as possible. And then most people on here change 25-50% of their water once a week after the cycle has finished.
When you fill the tank back up, put the dechlorinator in the tank, then fill with water. If you are using buckets, you can put the dechlorinator in the bucket, and then pour the water in the tank.
We recommend Prime water treatment, especially when you are going through the cycle. It will help with the ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. Beware though, that it binds to the ammonia and nitrite, which means it doesn't get rid of them, but makes them non toxic to the fish, so you will get a false positive reading with the API test.
Another reason we like Prime is because it gets rid of chloramines, as well as chlorine, which the cities/towns put in their water.
When you refill the water, make sure you temperature match the new water as close as possible to the tank water.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:19 AM   #5
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Yea I knew about the temperature thug already thanks! This helped a lot. I'm going to be having lots of fry soon so I want to make sure the tank is healthy enough for them
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:29 PM   #6
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If you're doing weekly PWCs on a reasonably stocked tank, aim for 20%-30%. 50% is overkill.

Some fish are very hardy and will survive in bad conditions. Others appear healthy, but have short lifespans. Some just defy all logic. My striped raphael is approaching seventeen years of age and he survived in a neglected tank with no filter for nearly five years when I was an ignorant fish owner.

Regular PWCs control not only your nitrate levels, but they replace trace elements in the water and remove contaminants you don't test for.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:33 PM   #7
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Alright thanks!

what are PWCs?
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:45 PM   #8
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Partial water changes.
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Old 02-08-2011, 02:27 AM   #9
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50% is not overkill, fresh water is always better.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:46 AM   #10
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I agree with Darby
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