Water Change And Media Gunk Questions

EricDRubin

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Ok I have 2 questions that I figured I'd combine into one post.

Basic info. 38 gallon freshwater. No real plants, all silk. Aquaclear 70 filter. Medium sand substrate. 5 harlequin rasboras, 3 serpae tetra, 2 honey gourami, 1 tiger platy, 2 sterbai cory, 4 bandit cory. Ammonia 0. Nitrite 0. Nitrate currently around 20 but I need a water change as its been over a week. Temperature 78.8 degrees. Water changes normally about 25-30% volume removal.

Now...

1) I do water changes every week on Monday or Tuesdays. Never go more than 7 or 8 days between changing. However.... this week my job has caused me to work long hours and I haven't had a chance to change it yet (and my work schedule the next 2 months are similar) Gonna do it Wednesday or Thursday. My question.... is 9 or 10 days too long between changes?

2) whenever I do a water change, turn off the filter and clear the filter media.... whenever I turn it back on, a LOAD of debris flies out into the tank.... nasty. I even let the filter sit 30 to 60 min to let debris sink but it still discharges. How bad is this for the fish? How do I prevent this?
 

Asomeone

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Junk will always come out of your filters when you clean them because youre freeing up all the stuck stuff under your filter pads/media. No worries It'll get sucked back up through your cleaning or filtration. it was already there and wont be much of an issue if you already had a semi clean tank.
You can go a bit longer on your changes if your schedule doesnt allow you to work on your tanks. its not optimal but fish can deal with the nitrate...as long as you arent seeing ammonia you should be okay. Waiting 2 extra days should be a huge deal....some might disagree with me but sometimes I leave for 2 weeks at a time on my tanks and levels get a bit high for my liking, 40ppm nitrates, and things are just fine.
If youre especially worried about the junk coming back into ur system from ur filter you just have to clean out the filter itself instead of just the media. You could unplug it and wash it in tank water and that would probably clear up the issue. I personally wouldn't worry about it but we all have our finicky things about our tanks.

Also: for admins who saw my unedited post. I wasn't aware the word I posted was considered a curse word. Please dont ban me. And no it didnt not start with an s.
 

GuppyDazzle

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Ok I have 2 questions that I figured I'd combine into one post.
.... is 9 or 10 days too long between changes?

2) whenever I do a water change, turn off the filter and clear the filter media.... whenever I turn it back on, a LOAD of debris flies out into the tank.... nasty. I even let the filter sit 30 to 60 min to let debris sink but it still discharges. How bad is this for the fish? How do I prevent this?
I've kept lots of fish for lots of years. I've had problems just like everybody else. Of all the problems I've had a long the way, I could trace it back to not being aggressive enough with water changes. If water changes are on your back burner, you're going to have trouble. My advice is to find time to do water changes even if you're busy. Taking an hour to maintain your tanks is a lot better than trying to save your fish room from an outbreak of ich or poisoning from toxins. It's also going to help you sleep better, making you more productive during your waking hours.

When you're changing out water, rinse or squeeze your filter media in the tank water you've just removed. That's how you get rid of the gunk. Sure, you can let your gunk explode back into your aquarium, then wait for the filter to suck it back up, but then your filter goes right back to being all gunked up so it can't absorb anything. That's not smart. Clean it in tank water, and it will actually function like a filter for a while.
 

Asomeone

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I've kept lots of fish for lots of years. I've had problems just like everybody else. Of all the problems I've had a long the way, I could trace it back to not being aggressive enough with water changes. If water changes are on your back burner, you're going to have trouble. My advice is to find time to do water changes even if you're busy. Taking an hour to maintain your tanks is a lot better than trying to save your fish room from an outbreak of ich or poisoning from toxins. It's also going to help you sleep better, making you more productive during your waking hours.

When you're changing out water, rinse or squeeze your filter media in the tank water you've just removed. That's how you get rid of the gunk. Sure, you can let your gunk explode back into your aquarium, then wait for the filter to suck it back up, but then your filter goes right back to being all gunked up so it can't absorb anything. That's not smart. Clean it in tank water, and it will actually function like a filter for a while.
Just to touch on this. Even if you completely rinse and squeeze your sponges its likely it will still cloud the water for a short period. When you pull the sponges youre stirring things up and gunk will release into the water. Hence why I suggested cleaning the filter itself. You can squeeze your sponges all you want but its not gonna take care of the excess water/junkthats left in the filter upon shutdown.

To further this if your levels are still stable at 9-10 days then you have no issue. If they increase, then you do, and need to change more frequently. Some people have tanks that can handle longer periods between changes. There is no set schedule for water changes it is simply based on what your tank can handle. Some people never do water changes....do I think theyre dumb? Yes. But their fish still live. So can we really comment?
 

Momgoose56

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Ok I have 2 questions that I figured I'd combine into one post.

Basic info. 38 gallon freshwater. No real plants, all silk. Aquaclear 70 filter. Medium sand substrate. 5 harlequin rasboras, 3 serpae tetra, 2 honey gourami, 1 tiger platy, 2 sterbai cory, 4 bandit cory. Ammonia 0. Nitrite 0. Nitrate currently around 20 but I need a water change as its been over a week. Temperature 78.8 degrees. Water changes normally about 25-30% volume removal.

Now...

1) I do water changes every week on Monday or Tuesdays. Never go more than 7 or 8 days between changing. However.... this week my job has caused me to work long hours and I haven't had a chance to change it yet (and my work schedule the next 2 months are similar) Gonna do it Wednesday or Thursday. My question.... is 9 or 10 days too long between changes?
2) whenever I do a water change, turn off the filter and clear the filter media.... whenever I turn it back on, a LOAD of debris flies out into the tank.... nasty. I even let the filter sit 30 to 60 min to let debris sink but it still discharges. How bad is this for the fish? How do I prevent this?
1. Let your nitrate level be your guide. If you do a 40-50% water change each time, and vacuum substrate good every couple weeks, you probably can go longer between water changes.
2. To keep gunk from shooting back in your tank after removing and rinsing your filter media, every other water change or so, take the HOB off the tank and dump and rinse it out. You will extend the life of your HOB anyway if you take it off every 6 months or so and give it a thorough scrubbing with plain water and a brush. Remove impeller, intake tube and strainer and clean them all. Just brush them out/off with soft-ish brushes and tube brushes and rinse. Removing the gunk from the inside of tubes and filters also helps keep nitrates down and water flowing good.
 
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