Cleaning and water changes

  • #1
Once again I have been getting conflicting information and I am hoping someone can give me clarity.
I am pretty new to keeping an aquarium and want the best for my fish. I appreciate everyone's help. I have a 20 gallon half moon aquarium that I won at a raffle.

I did my fishless cycle and have had fish in the tank for a week and a half now. Right now I have 5 fish and plan to add a couple more on Saturday.
I think 8 will be a good number.

My question is how often should you vacuum and do water changes and how much water should you change? I have a penguin filter (100) with biowheel but I do not have an under gravel filter. I also have a bubble wand so I have good aeration.

I checked my ammonia, nitrites and nitrates this afternoon. All are at 0. Ph is 76 (we have hard water here but it is stable which I understand is more important). Temp is 76 to 78. Everyone is eating well and getting along perfectly.
They even come up to me when I approach the tank. They were all curious about the test tubes that I collected the water in!

Should I only change the water and clean when I see the levels go up? I have heard that the less you tamper with things the better. Is that true? Thanks for putting up with a Newbie!!
  • #2
Hello "newbie"......

May I ask what test kit you're using? You shouldn't have a 0 reading for nitrate if the tank is cycled.

What kind of fish do you have?

I change out 50% of my water in all 4 of our tanks, weekly. At that time, I also rinse out the filter media in used tank water (not tap water).

Glad you don't have an under gravel filter, they're not all that good.

Fresh water is good for your fish. You'll see the difference in their behavior if you get on a regular maintenance schedule. Plus, by checking the tank weekly, especially as a new fishkeeper, you'll be right on top of any issues that come up.
  • #3
HI Tumeria33!
Cool on the raffle!!

Hope you don't mind. I made your thread a little easier to read.
Many members find a block of text hard to get through without paragraphs and proper spacing.

25% or so once a week is usually ok.
This would depend on a few things.
What kind and how many fish you have, how much you feed as well as how quickly he nitrates rise.
Members have different routines. As you go along you'll find what works for your tank.

Good luck!
  • #4
If you have no nitrates, then your tank is not cycled unless it is heavily planted. I would not add more fish yet - two weeks is usually the bare minimum wait period between adding fish, and if your levels seem slightly out of whack, then I would not add any more. How did you cycle? Did you add fish food, pure ammonia, etc? Also, how are you testing? If you are using a strip kit, they are known to be very inaccurate, and a liquid kit would be much more reliable.

As for cleaning, you should do a weekly water change and gravel vac, even if your levels are where they should be (0,0,<20). Firstly it is important to remove debris from the substrate; secondly it is important to replace trace minerals that have been lost. Also, just like how air can get stale, your fish will greatly appreciate fresh water. Mine are always much more active after water changes. As for how much, that varies depending on the person. I remove 50% from my 10 gallon, but only about 30% from the 55 gallon.

Hope this helps!

Edit: I need to type faster..
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I cycled for a little over 3 weeks adding pure ammonia and added Stability every day for 2 weeks. I also added substrate from a friend's tank. The ammonia levels went down well but I never got a nitrite reading ever! Perhaps my test kit is faulty or just bad. The fish store recommended a product called Quick Start by API. It says it allows instant addition of fish. I tried that and it seemed to work. All my test kits are also API- Ph, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite. They are all liquid kits. The fish are doing great. I have 3 mollies, a red fire dwarf gourami and a betta. (Yes, I know, many of you said that a dwarf gourami and a betta will kill each other but they are getting along just fine. In fact they are hanging out together peacefully) I have spoken to other people who have kept dwarf gourami and betta together and never had a problem. I think it depends on the personality of the fish. This betta was already in a community tank and seems very peaceful. I am keeping an eye on them, however, and if I see any hostility I will remove the betta.
I will do a water change every weekend. I will also continue to test every few days for now in case the nitrites rise suddenly. any other advise would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • #6
I also have a question regarding filter cartridge change.

I rinse the cartridge each week, but between water change. The cartridge is replaced every 5-6 weeks. I have aqueon quietflow for my 35G tank.

I read some posting, it says replace every 6 months. thoughts?

  • #7
If you take the carbon out, there is no need to replace it until it falls apart or is so gunked up it can't be cleaned, this was prbibly what the post was refering to.

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