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Old 04-27-2012, 11:33 AM   #1
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Water Changes- How much and how often?

I think I have my two tanks stabilized now. I bought a water test kit and am testing regularly for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Nitrates are in control. One tank is reading zero for ammonia and nitrites. The other is showing traces of ammonia and nitrites.

I have a question about water changes though. One tank is a 40 gallon tank with an AquaClear 50 filter- Biomax Rings, Charcoal Filter and the Sponge. When I do water changes should I rinse out the sponge in the tank water? How often should I change the sponge (if ever)? How often should I change the charcoal filter? How often should I change the Biomax rings? I've read you shouldn't change your filter media at the same time you're doing a water change because you could throw off the bacteria balance.

The 10 gallon tanks has an Aqua-Tech 5-15 filter with the all-in-one cartridge. Same questions. How often should I change that cartridge? And, should I try to do it when I haven't done a water change. The tank is still fairly new (two months old) and I recently traded in the Comet Goldfish I had in it for (4) Neon Tetras, (2) Mollies and (2) Amano Shrimp. I don't want to lose those guys so I've been doing water changes at least weekly on that tank until I'm sure it's stable.
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:45 PM   #2
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Whenever you do your PWC, it is a good idea to rinse your sponge (I'm assuming you mean it's like a sponge that goes in the filter along with the activated carbon and it is meant to catch large debris along with being a host for bacteria). To rinse the sponge-biomedia-just rinse it in old tank water to dislodge any large debris, but don't scrub it or rinse it with hot/cold water from tap, or you'll disrupt the colony of bacteria that helps your nitrogen cycle. The Charcoal filters can be rinsed every change as well, but last longer than the 2 week period that the instructions usually say. I haven't changed my sponge media in a year now, as it is simple to rinse it out and, barring some catastrophic event, it will remain good for a long, long time. I've read that you can wait up to two years to change them, and then I've read you shouldn't have to change them at all, as long as you maintain properly.
It sounds like you're doing great so far, and the questions are certainly welcome, just remember that your fish will tell you first if you're doing something wrong. Clamped fins, listless swimming, laziness, inverted bodies are all signs that something is out of whack, and it sounds like you'll be able to prevent those from happening. With your water changes, you'll want to change 10-15% weekly, and even more during the early stages of your Nitrogen cycle.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:00 PM   #3
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Watr Changes

Hello brian...

Many will tell you to change anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent of the tank volume anywhere between every week to once a month.

Unless you keep just a few fish in a large tank, then water changes less than half the tank volume every week won't keep your fish as healthy as larger, more frequent changes.

If you look at your aquarium as an "unflushed" toilet with fish living in it, then that should be enough motivation to commit to an aggressive water change schedule.

I have large, heavily stocked and well planted tanks and I change out half the water in them every 7 to 10 days and more often if I have time. The reason is fish wastes build up in a tank over time and hurt your fish. By changing out half the water every few days, there's no time for pollutants to build up before the next change. It's a good practice in order to keep fish healthy and to maintain high mineral levels in the water for the plants.

Just a couple of thoughts to consider or not.

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Old 04-27-2012, 02:38 PM   #4
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It also depends on the fish you get. Some are dirtier than others, which would merit more frequent pwcs. Also some fish are less tolerant of dirty water.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianwestchest View Post
When I do water changes should I rinse out the sponge in the tank water?

How often should I change the sponge (if ever)?

How often should I change the charcoal filter?

How often should I change the Biomax rings?

I've read you shouldn't change your filter media at the same time you're doing a water change because you could throw off the bacteria balance.

Yes, rinse out the sponge weekly, at least, and rinse out the filter housing as needed, when sludge builds up.

Change the sponge only when it's falling apart.

Change the charcoal (if you decide to even use it, it's not mandatory) every 30 days.

Do not change out the biomax.

I do all tank maintenance at the same time. This means, while I'm doing a water change, I am also rinsing out my sponge/filter media.

We do weekly 50% water changes in all our tanks.
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