Big Q&A Please Take A Peak

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Skyy2112, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. Skyy2112

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

    So, a lot of people talk about water changes.

    I want to know opinions, and hopefully everyone can learn something new. =]

    (Please note I do 20% weekly in my tanks)

    Does waterchanges remove BB?

    How often should a waterchange be done / how much?

    I estimate 20% change will remove 25% Nitrates. (Vac'ing gravel) my total guess. Opinions?

    I also do think it is possible to over-vac. If you vac substrate daily will it cause a BB recycle? (Also depends on filter media)

    How often should you change filter media? Carbon, bio-wheel/bio-cubes/bio-noodles (look like giant macaroni), squeeze sponge, swap removable inserts.

    Obviously a lot of things change while people are cycling tank. (Whether fish in or fish out)

    If cycling w/ Ammonia, there shouldnt me any 'mess' in your tank. How long does this take? Just moving water, and yeah.
    - then should you still do waterchanges?

    If cycling w/ flakes (no fish) you should expect a mess. How much should you feed, how often, how long does it take?
    - how often to waterchange? Wouldnt you want to keep all the ammonia/nitrite to keep cycle going full blast? Or start changes when Nitrates are present?

    If fish-in cycling, you obviously need to provide regular Prime/conditioner/amm neutralizers to keep them safe for fish, along w/ water changes. How often? And how long does this take?

    I have heard of plants that eat Nitrates (of course), yet I have also heard of them eating ammonia? Fact check?

    Opinions on driftwood? Necessary for a tank? Or simply for look?

    What/when is it appropriate to add/remove the following?
    -mineral rocks
    -real/fake plants
    -BB (ie waterchanges, redoing ornaments, redoing substrate, etc etc)
    -water conditioners
    -water chemicals (pH up/down, cloudy water, anti-bacterials for sickness, UV-Sterilizer, chemicals for GH KH, etc)

    Quick explanation for pH values, (most fish are 6.0-8.0)
    Quick explanation for GH/KH (dont personally know this minus soft/hard)

    Any other questions, please add!

    Ich, when to QT, and when to not. Raising/lowering temps, etc.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2016
  2. codyrex97

    codyrex97Well Known MemberMember

    Water changes do not remove BB as long as you dechlorinate your water. BB resides in your filter cartridge/sponge and chlorine and chloramines in plain tap water will kill the BB. Water changes can be used to lower nitrate levels but they also replenish minerals in the water.

    Vacuuming your substrate often shouldn't have too much affect on BB. Your main source of BB is the colony living in your filter.

    Cartridges and sponges should not be changed until they're falling apart, only rinsed in old tank water during a water change every so often if there's excessive gunk build-up. Not sure about carbon and those bio-things.

    I believe a fishless cycle with pure ammonia doesn't require any water changes, just letting stuff spike as it needs to til it settles out.

    Plants can absorb some ammonia and nitrates and some are better than others at it. Duckweed is specifically known to absorb a lot of nitrates and I believe it's the reason I've never seen nitrates in my tank yet. Note: just because you can create a cycle where fish>ammonia>nitrite>nitrate>plants without any toxic buildups doesn't mean you shouldn't still do water changes. The water still gets dirty with other gunk, and minerals need to be replenished via water changes.

    These are the things I can comment on :3 look forward to seeing other questions and answers for these.
  3. OP

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

    Forgot to mention. Many people will do 30% weekly waterchanges. Sometimes 50% for a semi emergency, and even 90%. Wouldnt 50/90 shock your fish?

    Also if waterchanges remineralizes the water wouldnt that also be possible to stress a fish?

  4. codyrex97

    codyrex97Well Known MemberMember

    I haven't heard anything about the mineral replenishment effecting the fish in a stressing way. Many people do 50% as their weekly water change. Ways to reduce shock to fish is by adjusting temperature of the water to the same temp as the tank, and adding the new water slowly.

    If some others could elaborate more on this I would appreciate it.
  5. BluMan1914

    BluMan1914Well Known MemberMember

    I will try to answer.
    1: Vacuuming will not harm the BB too much, most of it lives in your filter. So doing a deep vacuum will not remove of the BB.

    2: I believe that you should clean the the filter if it's absolutely dirty. If the pads are falling apart, it's time to change. But make sure that you ad old media in with the new to keep the cycle going. Others will have more to say on this.

    3: I've never done a fish less cycle, only fish in, so I can't comment.

    4: In my opinion fish in cycling is easier, and the only way I have ever done a cycle. Once the tank is running for about 3 days, add Prime, wait 24 hours, add TSS+, add fish, and don't touch the water or test it for two weeks. After that, the tank is cycled.

    5: I am still learning about plants. Others should have a opinion on them.

    6: I love driftwood, makes a tank look natural, and has the added benefit of lowering pH. Decorating a tank is up to an individual. However you decorate it, is up to you. Your imagination(and money), are the only things to hold you back.

    7: Once Ich is present, there is no need to quarantine the fish, much better to treat the tank they are in. No need to infect two tanks.

    8: I would stay away from any chemicals as much as possible, including medicine. I would use medicine as a last resort. I don't believe that a person should use anything to alter the pH. I believe it's better for the fish to acclimate to the pH they will be in at all times. If you need to alter the pH for any reason, I would suggest peat moss, driftwood, crush coral, and almond leaves. I'm sure there are there natural ways to alter the ph. I am also still learning about kh and gh.
    Hope I answered some of your questions.

    When I first started in the hobby, I use to do a 90-95% water change every 4-6 months(and the only time i ever did water changes). I did this for years. This is not something that I would suggest to anyone. This worked for me, because of the set up I had at the time, and it mostly had to do with my filter, and size tank I had.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2016
  6. hampalong

    hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    A 20% water change removes 20% of the nitrates. As long as the incoming water is similar in temperature, hardness and pH (and lower in nitrates), you cannot change too much at one time. It does not remove bacteria. It's not necessary to clean substrate every day, or even every time you do a water change. Cleaning part of it with each water change is enough.

    Media should never be changed unless it is falling apart, as it contains the bacteria. Rinse/squeeze in tank water and replace. Again, not necessary to do this with every water change as long as the filter's flow rate isn't reduced. Carbon isn't normally necessary, and will stop working chemically after a few weeks. But then it will also become colonised with bacteria, so best not to use it rather than use it then throw it away.

    During a cycle you can change water at any time (just redose ammonia). Cycling uses up carbonates (KH). If KH is low to start with it may get totally depleted. Water changes are necessary here to replenish KH and to prevent a pH crash, both of which will stall the cycle. Cycling with fish is stressful and potentially dangerous to the fish. People who use this method are basically 'winging it'. Fishless cycling with a bacterial starter (TSS etc) is quicker, and doesn't risk the health of fish.

    Look after the water, and buy healthy fish, and you shouldn't get any diseases.
  7. OP

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

  8. hampalong

    hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    No, they're dissolved in the water. :)

    I see your point though... if the substrate isn't cleaned...
  9. WeepingShadesOfIndigo

    WeepingShadesOfIndigoValued MemberMember

    Just to add my experiences with vacuuming and plants. I had some ich a while back and had to do really good vacuuming everyday for two weeks then kept it up for another few weeks after the temp dropped back down just in case and quite frankly I was enjoying it more then my larger water changes that can be a hassle. I checked my water everyday during that period and it had no effect on my cycle. Same amount of nitrates when I syphon everyday as when I vacuum everyday. The addition of a lot of plants has drastically reduced my nitrates. I was getting up to 20ppm if I only did water changes once a week and with the higher number of plants I get 5ppm when doing water changes once a week.

    I have done some back to back large water changes and as long as I match my water with the tank water have seen no adverse effects, only positive effects. I do have to be careful as my tap has no KH and with the addition of crushed corral my tank now has 3 KH and a slightly higher PH so I do run a small HOB filled with corral on my bucket for an hour or so to bring up the PH/KH on new water if I am doing 50% or more. This hassle is the reason I usually do small water changes throughout the week, when only replacing three or six gallons out of my 55 gallon I don't bother matching the PH.

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