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Old 09-01-2014, 02:08 AM   #1
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Water changes

Before I start the following is a subject that I have noticed and not something I condone.

I have a 300l tank with a couple of JDs and a couple of fire mouth fish. The tank has been up and running for about 3 years now. I have two external power filters and a UV sterilizer. I do a 75L water change every 5 day give or take. I don't get many issues now and the tank is stable. Like most fish lovers I do not like other touching the glass feeding my fish or even making loud noise near the tank. Call me over protective I would agree.

I recently went on a 18 day vacation to Australia and as a result had to get a friend to come in each day to feed my fish. Although I trust her there was no way I was going to let her mess with my tank so before I left I did a massive water change.

I was not expecting anything good on my return when I consider they have missed 3 water changes in my absence. However I was shocked to see that they were looking really well. The JDs had given birth and the babies were bigger then they ever got left in the same tank with little or no care. The fish seemed really happy fat and healthy.

My question is this. Has anyone else noticed anything similar in there tank and could I be doing to many water changes. Is it possible to over do water changes or should I be doing them maybe every 10 day and not 5. The sand was not as clean looking as I would have it normally but as I said the fish looked really happy. Any ideas.

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Old 09-01-2014, 02:35 AM   #2
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if the water you are putting into your tank is very different chemically or temperature wise the fish could be stressed
that tank is also to small for those 4 fish
you also could have not fed the fish for 2 weeks without harming adult cichlids
if someone else that does not know about fish has to feed your fish it is best to have pre measured ziplock bags with instructions to feed 1 bag every day only or less often
over feeding is more of a problem than under feeding
there was a time back when I was a kid ( 50 years ago) when yearly water changes where common and people beleaved water changes where bad for your fish
check your water chemistry and if your fish are happy try to keep it that way
if they bred and produced live fry the water is close enough to perfect Jd's are tough
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:32 AM   #3
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Best tank I ever did was one that was left alone for 5 months while I was working away. Live bearers bred and plants went wild. Broke the tank down and gave the lot to a friend. They didn't adjust well.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:50 AM   #4
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Regarding the healthy condition of the JD fry, perhaps the lack of water changes allowed for a bloom in micro fauna which benefited them with additional food. That's the only thing I can think of.
You raise an interesting question though.


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Old 09-01-2014, 09:35 AM   #5
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Water Changes

Hello VOZ...

I don't believe you can go wrong by changing half the tank water every week. Tanks shouldn't go longer than two weeks between large water changes. The toxins from the dissolved fish waste should be removed regularly so the fish aren't stressed.

You were right to do a larger than normal water change before leaving. that's what I do. The flush of a lot of pure water run through the tank reqularly keeps the fish healthy. No doubt this helped the fry.

Fish can easily go several days without food. The water stays much cleaner this way. That's the way nature does things.

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Old 09-01-2014, 10:27 AM   #6
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Water changes

As BBradbury says, the best thing you did was a massive water change. Now just imagine doing more frequent massive water changes!
There is no such thing as too many water changes or "how much water to change" Most likely your water always comes from the same source so the more, the better. Your fish will grow at a faster rate and healthier.
Of course, always make sure that the new water's temp is equal to the tank's water and it's de chlorinated .


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Old 09-01-2014, 10:48 AM   #7
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Fish can easily go several days without food. The water stays much cleaner this way. That's the way nature does things.

B
WHAT??????
How nature does things????

what does "nature" do?
change 50% of the water in the pond, lake, ocean every week??
or does "nature" put all the fish in the world on a fast every week??

In nature fish feed/graze CONSTANTLY, there is no such a thing as "3 square meals" in the wild.
The ONLY type of fish who regularly only eat every few days/week are large carnivores who consume large meals and it takes a few days to digest, all other types feed constantly.


Honestly the best advice I can offer in this thread is to completely ignore whatever BBradbury says because his/her advice is not very sound nor intelligent advice at all.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:06 PM   #8
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While the percentage of water that should be changed in a tank is debatable and reliant on several variables, fish do prefer more frequent water changes to less frequent changes. More frequent water changes result in less change in water chemistry. Fish do not like sudden alterations in the chemical composition of their water.

I always recommend that water changes be done at least once every week. In your case, with a 79 gallon (300 L) tank, you have some wiggle room. You might want to consider changing out 15-20% of the water every 5 days or so.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:14 PM   #9
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It makes sense to me to imagine an enclosed system as a curved graph of stability. The peak of the curve is when the tank parameters and chemistry have stabilised and the fish are at their most comfortable the time axis would be an unknown quantity though, one week, two weeks, three?

The point in time where toxins have risen too high and buffers and minerals are depleted amongst other chemical changes would be the point where the curve starts to decline.

Perhaps you fish were most comfortable in their environment round about the time of your return?

Or am I talking rubbish here?


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Old 09-01-2014, 01:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
It makes sense to me to imagine an enclosed system as a curved graph of stability. The peak of the curve is when the tank parameters and chemistry have stabilised and the fish are at their most comfortable the time axis would be an unknown quantity though, one week, two weeks, three?

The point in time where toxins have risen too high and buffers and minerals are depleted amongst other chemical changes would be the point where the curve starts to decline.

Perhaps you fish were most comfortable in their environment round about the time of your return?

Or am I talking rubbish here?


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I don't think its rubbish. You are describing that point in time when everything is ideal. I think the only way to truly maintain that state is through a constant drip system of sorts. Water is introduced at a slow rate and removed (via overflow) at the same rate. The total water exchanged over a weeks time would be 25-50% of the tank volume so it's not much different from a traditional PWC. What you would not see it a dramatic change in water parameters. Less stress for the tank inhabitants. Not the most practical method (not many have access to a drain from their tank) but it would allow for a sustained, stable system.


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Old 09-01-2014, 01:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Fresh2o View Post
I don't think its rubbish. You are describing that point in time when everything is ideal. I think the only way to truly maintain that state is through a constant drip system of sorts. Water is introduced at a slow rate and removed (via overflow) at the same rate. The total water exchanged over a weeks time would be 25-50% of the tank volume so it's not much different from a traditional PWC. What you would not see it a dramatic change in water parameters. Less stress for the tank inhabitants. Not the most practical method (not many have access to a drain from their tank) but it would allow for a sustained, stable system.


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Yeah I've thought about this many of times and wondered if people set there tanks up this way? I know I would if I had the cash.


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Old 09-01-2014, 02:15 PM   #12
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It's turned out interesting. I was expecting people to be in favour of water changes and lots of them. I did lots of research after putting this out there to see if I could determine any answer. I seemed to find point of interest then something to contradic it.

He's what I believe. I believe that once a tank has fully cycled there could be an optimal point when the bacteria in your tank builds up enough to begin to disrupt the water chemistry. How ever there must also be a point where so called good bacteria also reach an optimal point in the tank where they are able to feed young fry for example.

Also there are many fish out there that live in poor conditions in people's tanks. Mainly due to neglect. However some seem to adapt and do well in such a tank. Leads me in to thinking it's not completely dependant on water chemistry but stability of water be it good or not so good.

Another variable is the fish. Different fish have different levels of tolerance some do live in grim murky waters in the wild.

In my conclusion I will keep doing my water changes every 5 days to negate my theory about stable water. That's what they are use to then that's what I will do. However I might not panic or get so worried next time I am a day or two late. Each and every tank is individual and each and every fish is individual. Cheers people.

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Old 09-01-2014, 02:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Fresh2o View Post
I don't think its rubbish. You are describing that point in time when everything is ideal. I think the only way to truly maintain that state is through a constant drip system of sorts. Water is introduced at a slow rate and removed (via overflow) at the same rate. The total water exchanged over a weeks time would be 25-50% of the tank volume so it's not much different from a traditional PWC. What you would not see it a dramatic change in water parameters. Less stress for the tank inhabitants. Not the most practical method (not many have access to a drain from their tank) but it would allow for a sustained, stable system.


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This would be ideal and there are some that use this drip method, not the most practical for the average fish keeper.
From my experience and spending time with discus breeders, I've come to realize that water changes are paramount, the more the better, as simple as that without getting too scientific about it. Fish are swimming in their own waste while in captivity and the only way to correct that is by replacing that water with new one. I use discus as an example since they can be the least tolerant to water conditions and nitrates, breeders and discus keepers I personally know change water in their tanks daily or every other day, anywhere from 50 to 80%.
Some will argue is too much or it's too stressful, but success tells me different and as a discuss keeper (other fish as well) it wasn't till I started doing massive water changes that I saw my fish grow at a much faster rate... Any fish.
As far as I'm concerned and I stand by this, it's more stressful for the fish to live with any amount of nitrate and toxins than any water change.
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Old 09-01-2014, 04:36 PM   #14
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This would be ideal and there are some that use this drip method, not the most practical for the average fish keeper.

From my experience and spending time with discus breeders, I've come to realize that water changes are paramount, the more the better, as simple as that without getting too scientific about it. Fish are swimming in their own waste while in captivity and the only way to correct that is by replacing that water with new one. I use discus as an example since they can be the least tolerant to water conditions and nitrates, breeders and discus keepers I personally know change water in their tanks daily or every other day, anywhere from 50 to 80%.

Some will argue is too much or it's too stressful, but success tells me different and as a discuss keeper (other fish as well) it wasn't till I started doing massive water changes that I saw my fish grow at a much faster rate... Any fish.

As far as I'm concerned and I stand by this, it's more stressful for the fish to live with any amount of nitrate and toxins than any water change.

There is success with changing water everyday or every other day as this is a way of achieving stability since the water has very little time to alter it's chemical makeup.

Leaving the water a week and changing smaller amounts whilst keeping nitrates from reaching more problematic numbers is again a way of achieving stability.

Just don't drastically alter the routine that the fish have adapted to and they should be ok either way.

I believe the better way is to change smaller amounts more often.


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Old 09-01-2014, 08:30 PM   #15
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There is success with changing water everyday or every other day as this is a way of achieving stability since the water has very little time to alter it's chemical makeup.

Leaving the water a week and changing smaller amounts whilst keeping nitrates from reaching more problematic numbers is again a way of achieving stability.

Just don't drastically alter the routine that the fish have adapted to and they should be ok either way.

I believe the better way is to change smaller amounts more often.


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I agree. Also I find you can't set and forget to a water change size. Fish grow or tap water changes with the seasons.
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Old 09-02-2014, 11:38 AM   #16
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WHAT??????
How nature does things????

what does "nature" do?
change 50% of the water in the pond, lake, ocean every week??
or does "nature" put all the fish in the world on a fast every week??

In nature fish feed/graze CONSTANTLY, there is no such a thing as "3 square meals" in the wild.
The ONLY type of fish who regularly only eat every few days/week are large carnivores who consume large meals and it takes a few days to digest, all other types feed constantly.


Honestly the best advice I can offer in this thread is to completely ignore whatever BBradbury says because his/her advice is not very sound nor intelligent advice at all.

I agree, don't listen to Bradbury.... It seems that every post, whether it permits or not, he states that a 50 percent water change will solve all problems. Again I am not claiming to know everything, however water changes, as important as they are, are not the answer to every situation. I have not changed the water in my 55 gallon in over a month, and the tank is clean, plants are thriving and there are more babies then ever before. Though that isn't the best thing in the world i don't change it. I change small amounts of wAter in the tank each week just to clean debri off the bottom.


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Old 09-02-2014, 12:35 PM   #17
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BBradbury probably makes the most sense here promoting very frequent water changes which is something many seem to be shying away from and it is perhaps the best thing we can do for the health of our fish and to prevent and sometimes even cure certain diseases.
Fish are stressed enough living inside a glass box with water, we throw a filter in it and think it's going to "clean" it when they're just swimming in their own waste and rotting uneaten food.
Water changes are not going to fix every problem but most problems are caused by NOT doing enough water changes.
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Old 09-02-2014, 01:05 PM   #18
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I will take the side of more is better when it comes to water changes. In the individual case at the start of this thread, the change was caused by the "massive" water change, not because the next 2 were missed.
While I don't agree with everything BBradbury states, his advice is generally sound, and better than that given by the haters in this thread. I will agree that when in doubt, change water. It will cure a multitude of ills and give the fish a chance to naturally fight off disease, while you try an figure what the problem is and whether a treatment is worthwhile.
So, I will add that it is better to change larger amounts more often, rather than smaller amounts more often. A lot of small changes are a waste of time and water.
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Old 09-02-2014, 02:07 PM   #19
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@SFAquariums1 I'm curious to know where were your nitrates after a month?
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Old 09-02-2014, 02:25 PM   #20
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I will take the side of more is better when it comes to water changes. In the individual case at the start of this thread, the change was caused by the "massive" water change, not because the next 2 were missed.
While I don't agree with everything BBradbury states, his advice is generally sound, and better than that given by the haters in this thread. I will agree that when in doubt, change water. It will cure a multitude of ills and give the fish a chance to naturally fight off disease, while you try an figure what the problem is and whether a treatment is worthwhile.
So, I will add that it is better to change larger amounts more often, rather than smaller amounts more often. A lot of small changes are a waste of time and water.

Again I think it comes down to the individual tank. Using my tank as an example I am very under stocked, feed lightly and routinely and I'm planted enough to see my nitrates hover around the ten mark every week. This is with a third of the water changed every week. Would there be any point in me changing 50% 60% 75%?

Of course nitrates will creep up slowly but that is the same in any change routine.

I agree large water changes are better to aid a fix but for maintenance in my tank this just isn't necessary. You have to find the balance of your own tank as changing 75% of the water can just be as much a waste of water as changing 25% more often.

As for BBradbury, he/she obviously has a philosophy that has work for him/her for many years and I respect him/her for sticking to his/her guns and preaching this. After all, most of what he/she says is correct. Keep the water clean and the fish will be fine. How do you define clean in a tank that is different to your own? Especially when no problems have arisen from their method also.

The problem arises when people who clearly want to learn and understand different aspects of water chemistry or tank parameters are handed the same repetitive answer in most threads without actually addressing the posters original question.

This could be construed to some as ignorant and in most cases annoying but I just take it with a pinch of salt. BBradbury was here long before me and he/she is obviously not going to change his/her philosophy.

Maybe just helping the person to understand the fundamentals behind their question and then conclude with "however, I find that if I change out 50% if the water every week then I find that my fish are much healthier because....."

Rather than "you don't need to know all that chemistry nonsense"

Just a thought. Although I realise that I'm not the worlds best advice giver by a long shot and I'm
Certainly not a fan of talking about someone who isn't "here" to join the debate I just feel that this is where the problem arises.


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