Tank Maintenance Tip Share

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish and Invertebrates' started by tfreema, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    I did not want to highjack the "How many tanks do you have" thread so I am quoting this in a new thread to start the conversation around weekly maintenance.

    @NavigatorBlack, With almost 50 tanks, I would love it if you could share how you complete the weekly water changes and maintenance in 3 hours.
    I have 13 tanks and I spend way much more time than that. I am not even thinking about the daily feeding, plant care, etc.
    Thanks for your tips!

    This is also open to anyone else to share tips on how you get through without devoting your whole life to water changes and filter maintenance. (We need time to sit, watch, and enjoy our fish right?)
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  2. AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    I use a python to do my water changes and it makes things so much easier! I usually only have to clean the outside of my tanks once a week, and I might do the insides of the tank every few weeks, to once a month. Depends on the tank really.
    Magic erasers work for my hard water stains that I am to lazy to scrub with vinegar (or I simply don't have the time to). I also take my filters apart and clean the insides of them about once a month as well....well, the ones that need taken apart and cleaned.
  3. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    I have a Python and do filters monthly as well. I rotate so I'm am only doing 3-4 filters each week.
    Explain what you mean by insides? Do you do weekly water changes and vacuum substrate?
    How many tanks do you have and how many hours a week do you spend?
    I can spend a full 8 hours and that does not include plant pruning, scape adjustments, and me just playing around with the looks of the tank.
  4. AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    By insides I mean cleaning any algae off of the inside of the walls of the tank. I do weekly and bi weekly water changes ( my cichlid tank gets a water change twice a week). I vac a little substrate each week (about half maybe, sometimes a little less).
    I also change the rocks around in my cichlid tank every month or two (well the whole scape really), that takes up some time. Doing a water change in my brackish tank takes a little bit of extra time because I have to add salt water, and I have a sw aquarium now as well.

    I'd say that I spend about 3 hours a week, on average doing things with my tanks. If I have a lot to do, it can take me up to 5 hours though.

    I have a 55 gal cichlid tank, a 60 gal brackish tank, 20 gal sw tank, a 10 gal fry/qt tank and a 10 gal tank that I'm breeding copepods in that I don't really have to do much to but add top off water.
  5. Lchi87ModeratorModerator Member

    subbed because I am currently devoting my life to water changes and tank maintenance and only have 5 tanks going LOL. I have a python but being on the third floor means my water pressure sucks :( I usually have to give my tap a break in between doing the bigger tanks in order to get some sort of pressure and hot water back.
  6. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    I currently have 9 tanks running and spend about 3 hours each day and 5 hours each day at the weekend just cleaning them all and feeding so I'd love to hear some tips!
  7. OldFort ExoticsValued MemberMember

    I currently have 40 tanks and plan on setting up at least 8 more in the next few weeks. For anyone wanting to make their life easier and save time here is what I suggest.

    1-- Move all the tanks to one area if you can. You will waste lots of time going from room to room caring for the tanks.
    2-- Put all the tank lights on timers
    3-- Find a way to drain the tanks to a central drain. This will save you from using buckets. I have 1" PVC at the bottom of my main racks I can drain tanks right into that and it drains to my central drain in the basement. I have a basket to catch any big stuff before it goes down the drain.
    4-- Buy more than one gravel vac. I have 4 gravel vacs
    5-- Buy a water hose to fill tanks and don't use if for anything else. I have a ball valve to shut off the water at the tank while I move it around.
    6-- Put heaters very low in the water so you don't have to unplug them for water changes.

    I spend less than 10 mins every morning before work checking on the fish and feeding. After work but before dinner I will check on everyone and feed again. After I eat with the family I will spend time enjoying the fish and might do some water changes on fry tanks or tanks I didn't get done over the weekend, that is normally less than a hour.

    Saturday is my main day for water changes. For water changes I will start with one tank draining the water as low as I want then put the fill hose in the tank and let it fill up. The refilling is the limiting factor in my room I can drain tanks faster then I can fill so I will have 3 or 4 tanks drained down at one time. I will take a break after 10-15 tanks to give the hot water heater time to catch up but it has never been a issue so this is more for my peace of mind.

    Other maintenance in the tanks are done at the same time, while the water is low I will clean the front glass, move decor, trim plants or other stuff in the tank. I will vac about 1/3rd of the substrate every other week and I clean my sponge filters every 3 months. My HOB filters get new floss every week because they get full.

    If I work on just tank maintenance I can get it all done in less than 3 hours. But I normally stop to eat or hang out with the family so it takes much longer. I will try to make a video on my process because I do get asked a lot about how long it takes to keep up with the tanks.
  8. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    A video would be great! I cannot put all my tanks in one room with my house layout and a central drain is not an option.
    Other than that, I have multiple gravel vacs and use the Python mostly so the water out, water in part is not so bad.
    It takes me hours and hours so I am obviously getting hung up with stuff you are not.
    I do squeeze out the sponge filters and sponges on powerhead intakes weekly.
    Canisters take a good hour to clean every 1.5 months and I have three of them. I used to wait longer, but they get so nasty. I rotate so only one during a weekend is done.
  9. OldFort ExoticsValued MemberMember

    I understand nothing being able to keeps the tanks together.

    My guess is it takes you so long because of the water changing, putting water in the tank is pretty quick because of the water pressure but draining water with just a siphon can take a long time. I have never used a Python but looking at them I worry about the size of the hose when you are draining the water is kinda small so it would take a long time to drain the tanks. I have 3 gravel vacs that use 3/8" hose and those do fine for vacuuming gravel but if I want to get the water out fast I have a DIY vacuum that uses 5/8" hose it will move twice the water of the smaller hose.

    I have a canister filter on my shelf but I don't use it. They do take longer to do maintenance for sure and you really can't skip it because it holds so much waste and gunk. Which is why I don't use them, doing 1 or 2 isn't a big deal but with 40 tanks I don't have time.

    Here is a video I did on my maintenance over the weekend. If you want more info on anything let me know

  10. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    Wow! Great video. Thanks for sharing. I would love to have a fish room. My tanks are spread from one end of the house to the other.
    So you just have sponge filters and only squeeze those out real good every 2-3 months? No other filters to clean? I have always considered sponge filters supplemental.
    I just did two tanks that I did not get to over the weekend and one that is getting daily water changes. It took me two hours.
    The two were due HOB filter maintenance which consists of cleaning out the box with a shop paper towel and brush where the propeller sits, cleaning the propeller, piping, cartridges, etc in tank water. I also squeeze out a small sponge filter in tank water. The tank water used is siphoned into buckets.
    I am thinking the time suckers for me is the filter maintenance done on 3-4 tanks each weekend and lugging the hose all over the house.
    I also have a compulsion to move some of the rocks and wood to get the stuff underneath while vacuuming the substrate.
  11. OldFort ExoticsValued MemberMember

    Thanks, I started with tanks around the house but they started to find their way to the basement a few years ago. My work room got converted to a fishroom then the movie room got converted. I'm about done at this point I do see going past 45-50 tanks.

    Yes all my tanks have sponge filters but a few do have HOB for mechanical filtering. Those are my african cichild tanks, mostly my breeding groups because there is a lot of waste there. Once a week I throw away the filter floss from the HOB and replace it with new, I don't worry about the cycle because that is handled by the sponges.

    To stay on topic of the thread I won't go into sponge filters vs other filters but just will say sponge filters are the best option for me.

    You could be right the filter maintenance could be eating up the time too. On moving decor to vacuum I only vacuum about 1/3rd of the substrate every week that way once a month it is all cleaned out, plus some of my tanks that have plants rooted in the substrate so I don't vacuum those near the plants at all.
  12. allllienWell Known MemberMember

    Wow, daily. I think you either have OCD, love messing around with your tanks for hours, or are simply doing more than you need to ;) I do mine approx. monthy. Best tip I can give is zeolite and carbon in the filters, then you can go longer without doing water changes :)