Water change questions

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AesSedai

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Zen is still very much thriving but....I better check on this here.....I don't know for sure if I'm doing the water changing/conditioning correctly for the 10 gal. so before he goes back into it...is this right?

When doing water changes in the 10, I remove 2 gals of water while vacuuming. I've already brought 2 gals of clean, cold tap water to the temp of the tank it's going into using a heater in a kitty litter bucket when I do a water change so it's ready temp wise.

The bucket I do this in is a big Fresh Step plastic litter bucket (was worried about this, called around, consensus was use if it's clean and w/no chemicals ever in it...that there aren't 'aquarium safe' buckets per se'. It hasn't hurt him yet but I still wonder if it's a safe plastic bucket to use for conditioning water in.

To the warmed 2 gals I add 1 Bowl Buddies to condition. When it's dissolved, it's added to the 10 to replace what I took out.

I see vacuums for sale that hook to the kitchen faucet. I'm confused because I don't add tap water to my tank and then treat the whole tank, I treat just what I replace from vacuuming. Are they putting tap water in their tanks and then treating the whole tank? Is this why this kind of vacuum works??

Are you supposed to condition just the water you're replacing or the whole tank after adding tap water for a 10 gal?

Note: I haven't vacuumed since I started over with cycling. I won't until right before Zen's tankmate or mates go in. I'm going to wait another week before adding tankmate and will vacuum right before adding them. Zen will follow a few days later and with a tank divider first for a day or so (think that's overkill?). Tank tested on the 9th for zero ammonia and nitrite. Still feeding it a pinch of flake a day and not touching filter or gravel.

Another question I have... Rose, I think you said you use bowl buddies and prime together? I want to switch to only Prime and stop using bowl buddies once Zen goes back into the 10 gal. The lady from the company who helped me figure out how much Prime to add to the 2 gals I condition when doing a water change said to add 0.5 ml for 2 gals (says on bottle to use 5 mL for each 50 gallons).

It just didn't look like enough to me so I haven't dared use it yet. Is that measurement right for 2 gals... 0.5 ml, do you think? Should I use both? I wanted to use just Prime because it's supposed to be concentrated.
 

chickadee

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Well, I will answer the last part of the question first. No I do not use either Prime or Bowl Buddies and never have. I use Amquel+ in the cycled tanks with a hint of StressCoat once in a while. If I am cycling a tank it gets NOTHING but StressCoat. Prime, Amquel, Amquel+, and most of the dechlorinators that say anything about neutralizing ammonia, nitrites or nitrates will interfere with your cycle. Amquel+ is used 1 teaspoon (5 ml) for 10 gallons and while it may not go as far as something that says 5 ml for 50 gallons, unless you have a very large tank you are going to have a hard time using the correct amount of that product. If you have a 10 gallon tank and you are using Prime and it says 5ml for 50 gallons then you need to give 1ml or 1cc. I could do that easily because I am diabetic and can measure down to the 1/100th of a cc with a clean insulin syringe but most people do not have access to them. I had a really good lesson on the danger of overdosing and underdosing of chemicals in the studies of some of the medications we use with our fish. I think we forget that the dechlorinators are also chemicals added to the tank and should really be treated as if they were medications as far as dosing is concerned. They are foreign to the fish's nature and even though it is for the fish's good, we still need to be careful with them.

As for the Pythons, or the other vacs that hook to sinks. They are really meant for LARGE tanks and in my opinion would make me very nervous because basically you are adding chlorinated water to your tank and just pouring the dechlorinator in the tank as you do. I have heard of people losing fish doing this, but I have also heard of people having super good luch with them (but all of them have really big tanks) I think they are dangerous for small tanks because the chlorine cannot get mixed out fast enough to protect the fish.

You condition just the water you mix in the bucket and the rest of the water has already been conditioned. When I was much (not much) younger and more stupid I did not use dechlorinator at all but boiled all the water I used and cooled it and added it to the jugs that the spring water came in and would take a day a week and boil 30 gallons of water, but then I "grew up" and realized that dechlorinators are not the enemy if you use them right. I still use spring water at times but for now it is as easy to rely on just mixing up what I need for each tank at a time so I can get the temperature right. (I run the tap over a thermometer and make it a couple degrees warmer than I want it so that it can sit while I drain the tank.)

Oh and on the Prime for the 2 gallon tank, actually it would be more like 0.2 ml but you can do it by saying 5 drops if you have a dropper. That stuff is so strong that I would just continue to use the Bowl Buddies on the small tank until you move him.

You could add the tank mates any time you want to with those readings and Zen does not have to wait to days if you do not want. Just so long as it is a day or so. He just needs to know he is not the first one there. I do think the divider is a bit of overkill and maybe not the best of precedents to set. You are going to make him think that that side of the tank is HIS and the other side is THEIRS. He will then have a territory staked out that he may defend if he is a mind to. Do what you decide but it could be a little problem if he is going to decide to be a stinker and unfortunately you never know that until you try.

Rose
 
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AesSedai

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Rose, I need to run some of this by you one more time. I want to make sure I'm really getting this. I pulled out parts of what you said to hopefully make it easier.

>>If I am cycling a tank it gets NOTHING but StressCoat.

Is that because you aren't doing water changes while you're cycling and there's no fish in the tank? If there were fish in the tank and you were doing water changes, you'd have to add a conditioner to the replacement water whether cycling or not?

>>Amquel+ is used 1 teaspoon (5 ml) for 10 gallons

Since I don't add tap water to the 10 gal and then treat the whole tank I wouldn't use that formula I don't think. I'd only be conditioning the 2 gal's in the bucket during a water change so I'd need to use a lil less than 1/4 teas. for the 2 gals if I used Amquel+? <sigh> Still not too accurate is it?

>>If you have a 10 gallon tank and you are using Prime and it says 5ml for 50 gallons then you need to give 1ml or 1cc.

I don't condition the whole tank during water changes, only the 2 gals that I put back, so I'd have to work that dosage down too wouldn't I? Like you said, I can't get an accurate dosage using Prime either since I don't want to add tap to the tank and then treat the whole thing. Like you, that makes me uncomfortable, using tap and the faucet vacuum, so won't be going this way.

It seems like Bowl Buddies might be the best thing for me to continue using. Says to use 1 fizz tab for up to 2 gal's so the dosage is so much surer. I can only seem to find packages of 8 and it'll get expensive this way I think but I may have to deal with that

>>I think we forget that the dechlorinators are also chemicals added to the tank and should really be treated as if they were medications as far as dosing is concerned. They are foreign to the fish's nature and even though it is for the fish's good, we still need to be careful with them.

I agree. Good advise and a good reminder that conditioner is a chemical too and to use it carefully and the right way, at the proper doses.

>>You condition just the water you mix in the bucket and the rest of the water has already been conditioned

Yes! While cycling, though, no because I'm not doing any water changes to need to add conditioner and Zen's not in the 10 gal. to have to do the water changes.

>>(I run the tap over a thermometer and make it a couple degrees warmer than I want it so that it can sit while I drain the tank.)

I tried this but there was sediment in the water, lil floaties, that weren't there when I used just cold water so I use cold and just heat it up with a heater. A pain but worth it to avoid the floaties.

>>Oh and on the Prime for the 2 gallon tank, actually it would be more like 0.2 ml but you can do it by saying 5 drops if you have a dropper. That stuff is so strong that I would just continue to use the Bowl Buddies on the small tank until you move him.

The 2 gal glass container that Zen's in temporarily....I'm not messing with that at all. Bowl Buddies has worked great for that. No reason for me to be messing with him and that for sure. It was just the 10 I wanted to go to just Prime with but changed my mind on that too. Can't measure it accurately enough.

>>I do think the divider is a bit of overkill and maybe not the best of precedents to set

Oh I think you are soo right on this and I'm glad that I mentioned it and that you shared your thoughts. That's exactly what I'm trying to avoid, Zen taking over, by putting him in last, for me to then go and mess it up with a divider? UGH. TY! No divider.

Thank you for your response ((Rose)) I feel a lil guilty/thick for needing further clarification. I know you'd rather I ask again if I'm not sure rather than hurting Zen and his tankmates so...I'm going to push "Post"
 

chickadee

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First of all, StressCoat is a conditioner and will remove chlorine and chloramine and heavy metals just like Prime and Amquel+ but it does not mess with ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. The reason I do not use any of the OTHER products when I cycle a tank is that when I am trying to get ammonia produced for the bacteria to eat and make nitrites and then produce nitrates (cycle) and then I put Prime or Amquel+ or some other type product in that says that it REMOVES ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, my cycle is working up hill. It is trying to PRODUCE those things to feed the bacteria so it will grow and the dechlorinators (other than StressCoat) are REMOVING them so the tests you run are telling you NOTHING. It makes your readings false and your cycle go on forever. You may have wonderful readings but NO bacteria because it is the conditioner removing the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates and not the bacteria. In the material that is put out about Bio=spira, it specifically says not to use Prime, Amquel, Amquel+ and that type of conditioner that says anything about neutralizing ammonia, nitrites or nitrates when using it as it will stunt the formation of bacteria. That is good enough for me. Is that perhaps a little clearer? I had fish in a hospital tank and used NOTHING but StressCoat on that tank even after it was cycled and would continue and I may do the same with Sonny's tank. I have Amquel+ but I also use StressCoat.

Yes, the recommended use of Amquel+ is 5ml for 10 gallons. That does not mean to put it in the whole tank. I am just saying that is how you mix it. I keep gallon jugs that contained spring water (about 50 of them) and I make the water up in big batches and put double the amount of conditioner in it that is recommended. I measure 1/2 gallon into an empty gallon sometimes and fill with warm water if I am in a hurry and it is automatically the right concentration. I can mix in big lots and use in small ones that way. If you are only going to be changing 2 gallons at a time, it would almost be cheaper to just buy 2 gallons of spring water and forget the conditioner all together. You should be aware though that eventually it is going to happen that a 20% water change is not going to be enough. I do a 50% a week and there are some times I wonder if they could use a bit more than that. Bettas are very clean fish but they do occasionally need a major overhaul.
The 1/4 teaspoon for the 2 gallons is not going to be so bad. It would be okay and cause no problems at all that I am able to figure. Prime would be MUCH worse trying to deal with I am afraid. It is just too concentrated.
Yes, YOU NEED TO PUT CONDITIONER IN during cycling even if there are no fish in the tank. You may not be doing water changes but you will be adding water to accomodate evaporation and such. So yes, you still need to add conditioned water.

The most important thing about conditioners is that once in a while you have to be flexible. The important thing about my conditioner in the spring and summer months when all the farmers are using chemicals, is to use something that is going to help with keeping the nitrates under control (although I rely on the plants to handle the big load), but during the winter when the fish do not need that harsh a conditioner they are more likely to get StressCoat as the aloe in it soothes them sometimes. I do not usually give them all StressCoat and try to measure it 1/8 teaspoon per gallon as it will make foam on the surface if you get too much and so every now and again you need to use something different to cut the aloe a little. But I like it very much and so do the fish.

If I can help more please let me know. I may not be on much tomorrow as I am going to be busy with some healthcare.

Rose
 
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AesSedai

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God I'm thick but I finally get it!  TY so much for your time with this ((Rose))

Motto:?  Don't kill the bacteria! 

It all fits now.  I have to see if Bowl Buddies harms or kills ammonia or nitrite.  It's ok that it kills clorine and cloramine, it's supposed to, but the bacteria need the ammonia and nitrite...one type of bacteria eats the ammonia and then creates nitrite that the other type of bacteria eats.  The nitrate is created by the bacteria that eats the nitrite.  I have 13 plants in the 10 and 3 bulbs sprouting in there now so help with nitrate shouldn't be far off.

The idea is to have ammonia and nitrite dealt with by the *bacteria* and **not** a chemical.  When a chemical gets rid of the ammonia and nitrite instead of the bacteria getting rid of them, false readings that say I'm cycled are...well, false.

Right? 
Right  

This reminds of going for my A+ certification (which I did get) and had to learn to convert hexademical to binary and decimal and back (or something like that...rofl...I could do it! in a pinch...really, heh).  It took awhile to get but once I got it, I kept it.

Thanks again Rose.  You're soo helpful.  Everyone here is.
 

LZ Floyd

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I think I'm pretty thick, too.  Your post and Rose's response helped me avert a potentially large problem.  In my case, it was setting up a new aquarium, not merely changing it's water.

I had set up our Betta's new Hex 5 to make sure everything was working before adding the Bio-Spira and the Betta.  In doing so, I found the heater was inoperative, so I ordered a 25W Stealth from the drsfostersmith.com site.  Neither the Betta nor the Bio-Spira were introduced into the tank.  Nonetheless, I had started the tank using water conditioned with Amquel+; I'd not yet ordered the Bio-Spira and, so, had not read anything on the packaging about it's capacity to nullify ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.

I've now changed the water and conditioned it with Nutrafin Aqua Plus (as that is what we had and it's what the Betta is used to).  When the heater arrives (possibly today), I'll verify it is working and hopefully get the Betta into the Hex 5 on Saturday (one week later than initially hoped for).

Anyway, I'm glad you posted this AesSedai.  Though I might have read about the Amquel+ problem on the packaging before using the Bio-Spira and moving the Betta, reading this thread prompted me to change the water and, therefore, likely saved some time allowing the Betta to get into the new tank sooner.  If I'd not read it here (nor on the packaging), the Betta would have suffered for it.  So, thanks for the post!

BTW, congrats on passing the A+ Cert.  Soon you'll be converting binary to hex to decimal in your head (if you're not already doing it  ).

Mike
 

chickadee

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I really do a lot of time on the computer and in books and it has gotten more so since the fiasco with the Melafix and Pimafix.  Chemicals in tanks are OUR responsibility and it is not one I take lightly but believe me I have had my disasters just like everyone else.  I just try to let you all learn from MY mistakes.   

I found out about the Amquel+/Bio-spira thing because I didn't read the instructions close enough and ruined a whole bag of the stuff.  Just like I forgot to SHAKE the first bag and ended up having to open the whole thing and rinse it in the tank water.  You don't NOT cycle, you just have to do it the hard way or you remove your fish to the old tank and order more Bio-spira and pay for it dearly.  (literally)

I will say again, when you use Bio-spira and are testing; there is going to be a spike of ammonia but not to a level that will hurt your fish.  There will be nitrites but not to a level that will hurt your fish.  There will be higher than normal nitrates but not to a level that will hurt your fish.  Just resist the temptation to change the water to bring the readings down, PLEASE.  It is the bacteria settling into the filter and if you change water before the first 7 days are up, you will delay the bacteria's settling into the filter and onto the gravel and decorations and stuff so PLEASE ride it out.

I hope this has helped somewhat.

Rose
 

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Just a few quick comments. 5ml per 10 gallons is the same as 1ml per 2 gallons or 0.5ml per 1 gallon if that helps any. I use the 1ml/gallon conversion ratio because it's easier small water changes and/or small tanks. 1ml is about 16 drops from a medicine dropper. For water conditioning I use NovAqua, I only use Amquel+ when I want to prolong water changes in unfiltered containers/tanks.
 

chickadee

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I have to use Amquel+ in the summer months due to the very high nitrate levels in our tap water (sometimes as high as 80). I sometimes cannot get out to get spring water and then have to rely on Amquel+ to help bring the levels down below what the plants can manage to do for me. I have lost fish to the super high levels.

Yes there are 16 drops in a ml from a normal eyedropper. There are eyedroppers available at most pharmacy outlets and they are not that expensive and for most people with small tanks they are invaluable. I would never use a conditioner to stretch out the length of time between water changes though. Water should be changed when it needs to be and in an unfiltered tank that should be AT least twice a week 50%. If the ammonia and nitrites are building up in the tank, then they should not be removed artificially but removed with water changes.

Rose
 
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AesSedai

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LZ Floyd, I'm so glad that you benefitted from my thickness, especially if it helps your Betta get back to his home quicker. Zen still swims in a 2 gal glass container because I got the Betta before I knew what a Betta was, for the most part. An impulse to buy my boyfriend a fish. I've studied my butt off since getting Zen (Oct 18th) but it's only by sheer luck that Zen didn't die due to my ignorance! He almost did. His first 1 1/2 quart acrylic tank....he got sick from ammonia and had tail rot. Once I have a live creature, I will do whatever I have to to keep them well and happy but it's so much wiser, though, to research an animal BEFORE you bring them home (and to have a cycled tank BEFORE bringing fish/Betta home!) TY for the congrads Net+ is next. Was going to a tech school but do it from home now.

((Rose)) {_} Ok, so that doesn't look much like an apple, heh. It's for the teacher TY for all your help. Zen and all the other Betta's out there thank you too!

AlfaBetta, the woman at the Prime company was wrong then. She said to use 0.5ml for 2 gallons...so it was half the dose that should be used! No wonder it didn't seem like it was enough! Glad I listened to my vibes and didn't switch to Prime and end up with underconditioned water!
 
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