Please! Keep UP With Water Changes For Your Fish!

Discussion in 'Water Changes' started by Aquarist, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning everyone,

    Everyone please, keep up with the water changes for your fish and tanks. I'm seeing so many threads with My Fish Are Ill, What Medicines should I use? It really saddens me that so many folks in the hobby are too quick to jump the gun and want to start treating their fish with medications. Over medicating can lead to fish loss and may be worse than the disease you are trying to fight off.

    Without frequent water changes, and I suggest at the very least, weekly 50% to 75%, your fish are swimming in their own waste. Nothing beats fresh water for your fish! It doesn't matter how much filtration you have or how many plants you may have, or if your aquarium is under stocked, these fish need fresh water! Even if you have 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and under 20 Nitrates, your fish still need fresh water!

    Freshwater will help prevent swimming in their own waste and also help to prevent disease. The fewer chemicals and medications you use, the better off your fish are going to be. Too, fresh water will help to maintain the water parameters that the fish should have.

    When doing water changes, there is nothing wrong with doing a larger percentage such as 50 to 75% weekly. This will also help to maintain your water parameters which should be 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and under 20 Nitrates (under 40 not so bad).

    Doing a larger percentage of water changes will also help to prevent Old Tank Syndrome. If you are doing water changes once per week, pick a week and give them 2 water changes just for good measure.

    Old Tank Syndrome:

    Drat!! Old tank syndrome got me!!!

    Make sure to match the new water temperature going into the tank to the water that is already in the tank within 1 or 2 degrees. You can purchase aquarium thermometers at a very low cost, usually under $3. Sudden temperature changes can be fatal to your fish, and may possibly lead to ICH.

    Check the pH of the aquarium water and the water from the tap before adding the new water. These should be matched as closely as possible. If the water in the aquarium is LOWER than the water coming from the tap, everything should be fine. I've never had an issue by increasing my pH levels.

    If the water in the aquarium has a HIGHER pH value than that of the tap, add the new water slowly. Reason being, sudden changes in pH, especially drops in pH can be fatal to your fish.

    For testing water parameters, I recommend using the API (Liquid) Master Test Kit.

    Remember to use a good water conditioner such as Prime.

    Quarantine! Quarantine all new fish, I recommend 1 month, before adding new fish into your display tanks. Adding new fish without Quarantine may wipe out your entire stock. There are many threads about Quarantine and Quarantine set ups that you can find by doing a Search Fish Lore for Quarantine.

    Also, your aquariums do not always have to be stocked to 100%. Remember, your fish need room to grow and swim.

    Keep your aquarium water as pristine and fresh as you can. Your fish will be much happier and if your fish are happy, then you can kick back and enjoy the environment you have created for your fish! :)



    NOTE: It is not necessary to remove your fish prior to a water change. Eventually your fish will adapt to the procedure and get familiar with your hands and hoses and pumps being in the aquarium.

    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  2. LyndaBFishlore LegendMember


    Couldn't agree more. On the defense of newbies though, I am hearing a lot of "but the lfs told me not to change the water" or "but the lfs told me to only change 10% a month".

    Research is key...... and it's free.

  3. Fall RiverValued MemberMember


    At present I'm keeping 4 tanks. Less than 3 hrs per week total maint. time. 50% water change for each and every one.
    Well worth the small bit of time to keep my fish safe and happy!

  4. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Thanks for the reminder Ken.

    As someone who is still recovering from a poor water change schedule in my planted tank, I can't stress how much easier it would have been to spare just 20 minutes a week to do even a 10 or 15% change, something is better than nothing.

    Every week without fail now, I'm changing 25% water, and 5 months later, my problems are finally starting to disappear. (Black beard algae)
  5. tommy jr.Valued MemberMember

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!!!!
    Time spent on water changes is time well spent for sure.
    Good reminder Ken.

    (Just noticed that rap anyone)?:;laughing
  6. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    Great Thread!!!!!!

    TOO many times medications are recommended and the power of suggestion, can cause major turmoil. Sometimes the most simple thing as a water change, can do wonders!
  7. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Great advice! Fish also use minerals out of the water that need to be replaced with water changes.
  8. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    Here, Here! I do water changes every few days! I was told at the LFS I changed the water too much; I laughed right in their faces. Living in an aquarium is the same as being stuck in a used public outhouse; I would want someone to come clean it as often as possible.
  9. amber0107Well Known MemberMember

    I agree. My fish are so much more active right after a water change. I used to do the minimum 25-30% but have started doing 50% changes at least weekly if not more often and have noticed a huge increase in activity. Well worth the time/effort.
  10. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Excellent reminder Ken!
  11. allaboutfishWell Known MemberMember

    one time i was asked how much water i changed at the LFS and i said 50% weekly and of course they said that was too much, i just ignored them. what really gets me is that my science teacher has said 2 or 3 times that for fish you need to wait a minimum of 2 weeks before adding fish or the bacteria wont be there. everytime she says it i wanna yell out " that doesnt help at all! the bacteria need the food source(ammonia) to show up" but of course i wouldnt say it or id be put under the nerd catagory at school, and id rather not be, hahaha!
  12. EverythingzenWell Known MemberMember

    I needed this reminder. Thank you Ken, my fish appreciate it!

    You really should talk to her and get her to research this and then re-teach the cycle to the case. If not for any potential disasters your class mates may have in future, then at least for correcting blatantly wrong teaching! The thought of any teacher confidently teaching something so grossly inaccurate makes me really agitated!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2012
  13. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    Research is also much cheaper, too (as you'll make less mistakes!).

    ......Unless, of course, you acquirer the incurable MTS :p
  14. ploopyValued MemberMember

    I change water in all 13 tanks weekly 25-40%.I spend 6 hrs a week cleaning glass,wc and other maintence.I have my favorite lfs convinced to do more water changes to make the tanks healthier.They have a problem with black algae.
  15. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    Thanks for the reminder, Ken!

    I agree, nothing beats clean freshwater.

    And yes, live plants do wonders. But doesn't mean slack on water changes.

    Edit: I do 50% weekly on both my tanks.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  16. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    I'm actually heading off to do some of mine shortly! Its great advice, and thanks for the reminder ken
  17. uphill4meValued MemberMember

    Wow! Some of you are changing more than I do. Increased biological filtration and smaller, more frequent water changes reduce the need for such drastic amounts.

    eg. My 29 gallon tank circulates over 15 times per hour through a power head and an over the side filter both on an under gravel filter with over 2 inches of the most porous gravel I could find. Heavily planted, plenty of drift wood and a little bit under populated. I take a little water (1-1.5 gallons) out each day to water greenhouse plants and replace with fresh water. Each weekend I vacuum a section of gravel until 5 gallons of water are removed. By feeding tiny amounts very frequently there is little waste build up and the plants and fish do great. Everything is stable on the test kit. This much current must be well planned and only hardy fish and plants are stocked.

    50%, I remember what that was like. It doesn't have to be quite that difficult. Moderation is just as effective and much more convenient.
  18. snapperWell Known MemberMember

    It's not any more difficult to do an 80% water change than a 10% for me. In fact it is easier to drag the water changer out once a week and do a big change than several times to do small changes.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  19. uphill4meValued MemberMember

    Goodness Snapper!

    I hope that 80% is in a take a little out, replace it, take a little more out method. I would not consider changing more than 50% in a three day period unless I absolutely had to. That much change must keep the bacterial colony rather unstable, increasing the observed need for greater water changes.

    The best aquarium advice I have ever heard I have heard from many wise people; "Consider yourself a water keeper first and a fish keeper second." Doesn't sound like much water is being kept, just replaced. A biologist taught me that a properly balanced aquarium could sustain itself as a theoretically closed environment as long as the necessary usable nutrients continue to be added in moderation, with the absence of unusable nutrients.

    That doesn't mean I don't change a healthy amount of water each year, but I do it in small doses. Physiologically huge water changes are a little bit like doing all of your weekly physical activity at once instead of spreading it out over the week. Preventably stressful.

    I guess, after looking closer to my last post I am changing up to 11-14 out of 29 Gallons each week (approaching 50%), but never a large amount at once so the benefical bacterial colony is not greatly disrupted.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  20. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Thanks for the reminder Ken :)

    Mine get about 80% water changes done for various different reasons :) The fish love it! Since there's not much beneficial bacteria in the water column the tank parameters aren't compromised in any way.

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