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Old 07-16-2011, 06:42 PM   #1
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Making sure im doing maintenance on my tank right

Hey everyone. I have been keeping fish for 5 years now, but I wanted to make sure that I am doing things right. Some questions are: How often do I change the carbon filter, How to keep the beneficial bacteria alive and not accidentally kill them off. What to clean, and not what to clean. I have been doing the water changes every two weeks, is that bad to do. I also have a aerator for the tank. Is there anything special I should do with goldfish? Also I have four goldfish in a 55 gallon tank, and i was also wondering if I could add more to the tank. Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:15 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site . First, never change your filter until it is literally falling apart. Just swish it around in a bucket of tank (not tap) water during pwc's to clean the debris off...then stick it right back in. The vast majority of your beneficial bacteria lives in the filter media, so by replacing it you lose a huge portion and it can lead to mini-cycles and ammo spikes. Carbon in general isn't necessary unless you are trying to remove medicine or odor from the tank. It's just a sales gimmick to make you buy something every month.

Weekly pwc's are recommended. The goal is to keep your nitrAtes at or below 20. The water changes also provide other benefits...so don't only judge when you need to do them off your no3 level. Just a good weekly 25% pwc and a gravel vac is all that's usually needed.

The normal recommendation for goldfish is 20 for the first, and 10-15 gallons for each additional fish...so IMO 4 puts you right around the limit. Make sure you have good filtration on the yank because goldfish are notoriously messy and have a large bio-load. Try to shoot for double the recommended amount of filtration. For example, on my 46 gallon tank I have a canister filter rated for 100 gallons.

It won't apply to your situation...but the guide and FAQ in my signature addresses how and when to replace filters and keep your biological filtration healthy. Check it out
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I believe you about the filters never needing to be changed, but I heard that after a while the carbon can release ammonia or something like that, I'm guessing that's the gimmick. I was also wondering does carbon keep the water clearer? So I will definitly do all of those things that you said, and thanks again.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldfish lover
Thanks for the info. I believe you about the filters never needing to be changed, but I heard that after a while the carbon can release ammonia or something like that, I'm guessing that's the gimmick. I was also wondering does carbon keep the water clearer? So I will definitly do all of those things that you said, and thanks again.
As far as the research I've done...carbon won't leech any toxins into the water, it simply becomes inert and turns into part of your biological filtration after its absorption properties are exhausted.

As for keeping the water clear...your best bet is simply keeping the tank clean and putting fresh water into it every week. There are water polishing materials that catch fine particles, for example I have poly-fil (pillow stuffing) in my canister filter which catches all the tiny things that make it through the mechanical filtration. You can look into options like that, but always try to avoid chemicals that claim to do things. Despite what the pet store may tell you...the only things you need for a healthy aquarium are fresh water, a good test kit and a bottle of quality dechlorinator.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:50 PM   #5
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Ok thanks but one more question, should I clean the decorations. My decorations always seem to grow algae on them fast. Also should I just leave the filter alone or should I clean certain parts. Haha thanks for being patient with me, I just really want to know what I'm doing
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Goldfish lover
Ok thanks but one more question, should I clean the decorations. My decorations always seem to grow algae on them fast. Also should I just leave the filter alone or should I clean certain parts. Haha thanks for being patient with me, I just really want to know what I'm doing
No problem, happy to help . The key to cleaning things is not to go crazy, and to always use either water from the tank...or a bucket of dechlorinated water. Most of your bacteria is in the filters...but it's also on every single item in the tank. So, don't pull everything out at once and scrub it all on the same day. Try to pull a couple things out and clean them during each pwc, and do the same for a couple items the next week. I do lightly clean the buildup out of my filter housing about once a month. Again, I use water from the tank and an algae sponge to lightly scrub off and rinse the built up debris...otherwise all that gunk can potentially cause some issues down the road as far as nitrAte buildup from what I've heard.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:03 PM   #7
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Ok thanks. This is going to help me a lot, and save me some money. Haha I replaced the filters ounce a month.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Goldfish lover
Ok thanks. This is going to help me a lot, and save me some money. Haha I replaced the filters ounce a month.
How would the pet store make any money if they told you to never replace it? Lol. When you do need to replace it, make sure you "seed" a new one. There's info on that in the guide I linked before in my signature
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldfish lover View Post
Thanks for the info. I believe you about the filters never needing to be changed, but I heard that after a while the carbon can release ammonia or something like that, I'm guessing that's the gimmick. I was also wondering does carbon keep the water clearer? So I will definitly do all of those things that you said, and thanks again.
As Eco23 said, when Carbon becomes full of the materials it absorbs, it just becomes part of the bio filtration. The link below explains further.

Activated Carbon In Aquarium | Aquariums Life

Poly-fill is a great addition to the mechanical filtration ... really picks up micro debris that pads miss ... it happens. And yes .. it is surprising just how much money you can save by

1. Not "having" to put unnecesary chemicals in your tank .. like pH stuff etc.
Dechlorinator, aquarium salt and maybe a couple of meds (when needed is about it)

2. Not "having" to change the filter media every month (One quickest ways to start killing off your fish if you did every month .... IMO)
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:40 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info. I did look at that link. I also hope my fish arnt to damaged iv had the biggest guy for 5 years and the others 3.
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