Water Change Tips

Lacey D

I know I'm overthinking this, but I've only had small tanks (2.5-10 gal) in the past, so I'm kind of intimidated by the idea of doing anything over a 10% water change anything larger. I have a 37 gal tank I will be setting up over the next few months (I won't have fish in it until after mid-July because of travel plans), and while I know that a 5 gallon bucket (or two, since lifting 5 gallons of water to shoulder height is a lot for me ) will be good enough to do the basic water changes, do people have advice for when I have to do 25-50% changes? This will be upstairs in our living room, about 5 feet or less from the kitchen sink, and I thought about the Python system, but our faucet isn't threaded (at least not without taking it apart), and it seems like an expensive system for an aquarium that can only barely qualify as a large tank. (Although let me know if it revolutionized your life!)

Also, we live in a very cold house (68-70 degrees, year round). I know getting the right temperature of water going in is important, but my habit has been to fill jugs with water, treat it, and then have it around when needed. Is mixing hot and cold water straight from the tap, treating it and adding it really OK?

A picture of my setup:
View media item 242468
 

PatientStars

I have a 29 and a 50, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the Python. It made water changes so much easier, way less messy, and less stressful for the fish.

Definitely reccomend it, hands down!
 

jdhef

I think the Python might just be the best invention ever! I lugged 5 gallon buckets for about 9 years and finally succumbed and bought a Python. All I could say afterward was...WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG!

You can mix hot and cold water from the faucet to get the proper temp. I add enough conditioner to the tank to treat the entire volume, just before switching the Python to the "fill" position.
 

mattgirl

I use 3 buckets to do my weekly water changes in my 55 gallon. I take out and put back in about 16 gallons each time (30%)
The 5 gallon bucket is for waste water. I usually just fill it to the 4 gallon line .... take it out to the atrium and water my plants. They are growing like weeds with that tank water. I do that 4 times.

I then use my 4 gallon clean water bucket. I fill it at the kitchen sink. I adjust the water to the right temp add dechlorinator and fill the bucket. The water is instantly safe to add to the tank. I do this 4 times.

Since lifting 4 gallons of water high enough to pour in the tank is a bit more than I can handle I dip water from the 4 gallon over to a 2 gallon clean water bucket I have sitting in the other side of the sink and use it to refill the tank. I end up filling the 2 gallon bucket 8 times.

Sounds like a lot of work but I have it down so pat it doesn't take me any time at all to get it done. I have considered a python system but I would still have to siphon the water into a bucket or my plants would hate me and anyway, I need the extra work out
 

Rtessy

I do buckets too, but often am unable to lift the 5 gallon buckets above my head (popped a muscle in my back out of alignment a few years ago, and it's just not quite right) so honestly I just take my trusty 1 gallon glass pickle jar and dip it in the 5 gallon bucket and fill from there.
 

Demeter

I wish I had a faucet in the basement, because I would most certainly switch to using a python. I still use 5gal buckets for the 55, 20, 2X 29 gal, 2X 10gals, and then the 3.4gal. There's no way I can lift the full 5gal bucket to fill the tanks so I use an ice cream bucket and dip it out of the 5gal.

On the average water change day I will lug about 30gals up and then back down the stairs. I do 3 days for water changes (I have more tanks upstairs) so that's a good 70ish gals of water being changed a week. I get my workout by doing water changes.
 

Rtessy

Lol same with the weekly workouts, hauling 5 gallon, 40lb buckets around is a good way to get biceps
 

TheeLadyG

I know I'm overthinking this, but I've only had small tanks (2.5-10 gal) in the past, so I'm kind of intimidated by the idea of doing anything over a 10% water change anything larger. I have a 37 gal tank I will be setting up over the next few months (I won't have fish in it until after mid-July because of travel plans), and while I know that a 5 gallon bucket (or two, since lifting 5 gallons of water to shoulder height is a lot for me ) will be good enough to do the basic water changes, do people have advice for when I have to do 25-50% changes? This will be upstairs in our living room, about 5 feet or less from the kitchen sink, and I thought about the Python system, but our faucet isn't threaded (at least not without taking it apart), and it seems like an expensive system for an aquarium that can only barely qualify as a large tank. (Although let me know if it revolutionized your life!)

Also, we live in a very cold house (68-70 degrees, year round). I know getting the right temperature of water going in is important, but my habit has been to fill jugs with water, treat it, and then have it around when needed. Is mixing hot and cold water straight from the tap, treating it and adding it really OK?

A picture of my setup:
View media item 242468
Hey there! I have a 30 gallon aquarium and I change out about 10 gallons a week so far. I've only had fish in my aquarium for 2 weeks now so I'm still pretty new at this, but I have my tank in my living room which is a little far to carry 5 gallon buckets of water.

Here's what I do:
I have goldfish so I don't use a heater.
First I test my goldfish's current water temperature using an instant thermometer.
I put a 5 gallon bucket on a little floor dolly (it's just a piece of flat wood with four wheels on it so you can move stuff across the floor easy... I'm going to upgrade to a real bucket dolly at some point) I then use a siphon gravel pump to vacuum my gravel and suck out about 5 gallons of water at the same time. with the bucket already on the dolly, I can just wheel it over to the bathroom and dump it in the bathtub. I do the same thing for a second bucket full of water.
Next I fill up the 5-gallon bucket in the bathtub, but I use the instant read thermometer to adjust hot and cold until I have it within a couple of degrees of my fish's current temperature. I put the bucket back on the dolly, wheel it over to my tank, and treated with the appropriate amount of water conditioner. Some people let water sit overnight, but I found this is not really necessary for me.

Here's the thing I don't see other places:
I use a small submersible fountain pump to move the water up from the bucket on the floor into my tank! The one I have I got for about $7 on Amazon. It didn't come with a hose so you'll have to find that yourself. Once the bucket is mostly empty I set it on a stool so that it drains faster and, once the pump has got the water almost all out of the bucket I just pour the rest in. I repeat this process for a second bucket of water, and if I need a little extra I can usually just pour it in at that time. The only real heavy lifting I have to do is getting the bucket in and out of the bathtub. If you are pouring the water into your kitchen sink, it may be just as effective to use the submersible pump. The one I have is very small so it's a bit slow, a larger one may serve you better. My fishes love to swim around in the fresh water that comes out of the pump, they seem to find it very interesting

~G
 

Cardeater

I think the Python might just be the best invention ever! I lugged 5 gallon buckets for about 9 years and finally succumbed and bought a Python. All I could say afterward was...WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG!

Those are my sentiments exactly. I kept telling myself I didn't need it as my sink is right next to the sink. I hated waiting for the buckets to fill and lifting them.

I finally got the Python and also wondered why I didn't do it sooner. It makes life so much easier. I think I can keep with weekly large (70-80%) water changes. I probably wouldnt with buckets. It was annoying enough when I did 20-30% water changes once a month (before I knew better and when I had lost interest in the hobby).

Now, you may be fine with doing it on your tank. Each person has their own tolerance. It will be easier to drain a lot of water and also to fill. You can just watch videos or play with your phone while filing with the python.

Tank size might make a difference but I was only draining 25-30 gallons on my 125g and it annoyed me.
 

TLOP

I bought the python not knowing that you needed to have a specific type of faucet. Since it didn't connect to my faucet, I just use a pump connected to hosing to do my water changes. I also use a 32 gallon trash can instead of a 5 gallon bucket
 

LyndaD

After a few weeks' of water changes on the 80g that I set up last October, I ended up buying python. It does make filling a lot easier, but I still use my vacuum to get water out. This is mainly because I've lived through too many of California's droughts to just turn on a faucet and let a bunch of water run down the drain. I use a 5 gallon bucket and the vacuum to take out water and use it to water plants (3-4 trips), treat the tank with water conditioner (for the full capacity), and use the python for filling.
 

Neutral-Waterinos

I wish I had a faucet in the basement, because I would most certainly switch to using a python. I still use 5gal buckets for the 55, 20, 2X 29 gal, 2X 10gals, and then the 3.4gal. There's no way I can lift the full 5gal bucket to fill the tanks so I use an ice cream bucket and dip it out of the 5gal.

On the average water change day I will lug about 30gals up and then back down the stairs. I do 3 days for water changes (I have more tanks upstairs) so that's a good 70ish gals of water being changed a week. I get my workout by doing water changes.

HAHA “Yeah man I do 20 reps of 10 gal curls and bench 75 gals” forever you know it they will be selling a preworkout for fish keepers.
 

Lacey D

Thanks for all this really great info, everyone!! Definitely helped take some of the uncertainty out of it. I think for now I'm going to stick with getting a workout, but after hearing all the great reviews about the Python I might move to that if I can figure out how to get my faucet apart (or if we get a new one )
 

jdhef

I use the sink in my laundry room for water changes and it had a faucet with one of those pull out sprayers that could be used as a stead stream or a sprayer. I was able to screw the Python fitting into it, but sadly the back pressure would force the water out thru the sprayer. So I had to by a new faucet.

I actually took the Python fitting to Lowes and had to try several different style of display faucets until I found one that the fitting would fit. But Python does apparently sell other size fitting.

But your faucet should have a place to attach the Python fitting to. I'm pretty sure all faucets have a strainer, but sometime they are internal at the end of the faucet instead of an additional screw on piece. You can try sticking you finger into the end of you faucet and see if there is a strainer in there.
 

sleow

Wow I didn't even think about using my bathroom for water changes! Doh. I've been lugging my 5 gallon buckets back to my kitchen sink for my 36g tank water changes. I am in the group of folks that is not strong enough to lift the 5 gallon bucket so I pour water in a little at a time.
 

TheeLadyG

Wow I didn't even think about using my bathroom for water changes! Doh. I've been lugging my 5 gallon buckets back to my kitchen sink for my 36g tank water changes. I am in the group of folks that is not strong enough to lift the 5 gallon bucket so I pour water in a little at a time.
man I'm telling you, that little submersible pump is my savior, haha (and the bucket dolly)
 

AJE

I have a fifteen and just unplug the air tube suck on one end then put it in a five gallon bucket never have I gotten water in my mouth, move fast
 

NYFishGuy

but our faucet isn't threaded (at least not without taking it apart)

Most faucets have a threaded aerator on the end, try unscrewing the end piece.
From there you can put on a faucet to hose adapter (hardware store)
 

DuaneV

Love my Python for my large tanks but its too much work on smaller ones.

I have fantastic tap water, and I know exactly where to turn the handle to get 78-80 degrees, so I either hook up my python and let it rip, or I fill a water jug and walk over to the tank.

My days of schlepping buckets is LONG gone. Couldnt pay my to deal with buckets again. About 25 years ago I asked my grandfather why we couldnt use the garden hose hooked to the sink. He stared at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Never thought about that" and we hooked it up. lol Was the best thing since sliced bread.

Garden hoses work great too, but sometimes they can be more than a python, and if you only have 1 medium sized tank, a bucket or jugs might be just as easy, and save some money.

Most of my tanks are open top tanks and they evaporate a ton (especially when its 85 out like today) so every day, every other day I'm adding a gallon of water. Makes water changes REALLY easy. lol
 

Mom2some

Another “I love my python” here. From previous fish keeping experience & knowing myself & how much I splash from 5 gallon buckets... I got a python. Best investment for me. O got the one with the 50’ hose so I could connect to the bathroom sink. I just remove the aerator from the bathroom sink& screw on the python adapter. Try buckets, especially if you already have them. Also - if you are handy - there are YouTube videos on how to build your own possibly cheaper.
 

Hunter1

My 2 month old python is still in the packaging, waiting for me to set up my 90.

I have 3 20s and a 36 in a very sturdy stereo cabinet. Each has a higher place to set a bucket.

So I have 2 buckets in the shower with the shower head in one of them. A thermometer in the one getting water.At the same time I have the siphon with a suction up draining into one of 3 buckets.

Once I have a bucket full from the tank, I drain into toilet and usually one in the shower is full. I take the full one out, add Prime to the newly empty one and put it in the shower.

Once 2 buckets are drained, I put a bucket with fresh water on top of the cabinet and siphon back in. Once that bucket is almost empty, I refill it by pouring another bucket into the one siphoning back into the tank.

I also have a 20 long on a stand next to the cabinet where I can set a bucket and siphon back into the that tank.

I do 10 gallons out of the 4 20s and 15 gallons out of the 36 in about 45 minutes.

I have had a couple of buckets overflow in the shower in 8 months. Just dump out 1/2 gallon and add Prime again.

I had one bucket siphoning into a tank overflow and got about 1/2 gallon of water on the cabinet and floor.

I do vacuum about the volume of the first 1/2 bucket in each tank.

I know it sounds complicated but I always have water filling buckets and siphoning in or out of a tank so it speeds up a 55 gallon water change.

I don’t think the python would help me on these small tanks.
 

wodesorel

I LOVE my python for my turtles, with a 55, a 29, and a 20 I can fly through all of them with 90% changes in under an hour. I would have hated having them without it.

I am still using a 3-gallon bucket for my 20 community and 5.5 betta. It's too hard with the big hose, and this way I can be gentle with the planted tanks and the teeny fishes. I used to use a 5 gallon bucket, but my back is bad and anything over 12 pounds causes problems, so I use a tiny bucket and only fill it up partway. Takes a while, but the Python minI with the squeeze ball keeps it from being messy! And that way I am not hurting by the time I am done.

Also, I have a temperature gun for all my critters, but it works great for matching bucket temp with tank temp. One click and instant read!
 

Hunter1

I LOVE my python for my turtles, with a 55, a 29, and a 20 I can fly through all of them with 90% changes in under an hour. I would have hated having them without it.

I am still using a 3-gallon bucket for my 20 community and 5.5 betta. It's too hard with the big hose, and this way I can be gentle with the planted tanks and the teeny fishes. I used to use a 5 gallon bucket, but my back is bad and anything over 12 pounds causes problems, so I use a tiny bucket and only fill it up partway. Takes a while, but the Python minI with the squeeze ball keeps it from being messy! And that way I am not hurting by the time I am done.

Also, I have a temperature gun for all my critters, but it works great for matching bucket temp with tank temp. One click and instant read!

Temp gun is a fantastic idea. We have em at work but I never thought to use em for water temperature.
 

Lacey D

(Thanks mods for moving this First post, and I didn't know there was a forum specifically for water changes!)
 

itsEmma

Hey there! I have a 30 gallon aquarium and I change out about 10 gallons a week so far. I've only had fish in my aquarium for 2 weeks now so I'm still pretty new at this, but I have my tank in my living room which is a little far to carry 5 gallon buckets of water.

Here's what I do:
I have goldfish so I don't use a heater.
First I test my goldfish's current water temperature using an instant thermometer.
I put a 5 gallon bucket on a little floor dolly (it's just a piece of flat wood with four wheels on it so you can move stuff across the floor easy... I'm going to upgrade to a real bucket dolly at some point) I then use a siphon gravel pump to vacuum my gravel and suck out about 5 gallons of water at the same time. with the bucket already on the dolly, I can just wheel it over to the bathroom and dump it in the bathtub. I do the same thing for a second bucket full of water.
Next I fill up the 5-gallon bucket in the bathtub, but I use the instant read thermometer to adjust hot and cold until I have it within a couple of degrees of my fish's current temperature. I put the bucket back on the dolly, wheel it over to my tank, and treated with the appropriate amount of water conditioner. Some people let water sit overnight, but I found this is not really necessary for me.

Here's the thing I don't see other places:
I use a small submersible fountain pump to move the water up from the bucket on the floor into my tank! The one I have I got for about $7 on Amazon. It didn't come with a hose so you'll have to find that yourself. Once the bucket is mostly empty I set it on a stool so that it drains faster and, once the pump has got the water almost all out of the bucket I just pour the rest in. I repeat this process for a second bucket of water, and if I need a little extra I can usually just pour it in at that time. The only real heavy lifting I have to do is getting the bucket in and out of the bathtub. If you are pouring the water into your kitchen sink, it may be just as effective to use the submersible pump. The one I have is very small so it's a bit slow, a larger one may serve you better. My fishes love to swim around in the fresh water that comes out of the pump, they seem to find it very interesting

~G
I've just read your information about using a water pump for the new water-what a FANTASTIC idea!! I never knew such things existed .
I'm always terrified that I'm going to bang the heavy bucket of water against the glass and break my aquarium. Not to mention, I usually end up tipping a massive jet of water all over some unfortunate fish that had decided to swim right in that spot at that moment!
Just been looking at them on Amazon and will definitely be getting one-brilliant, thanks!
 

Pescado_Verde

I use a garden hose from the tap to fill my tank.

I bought a diverter from Amazon the screws onto my kitchen faucet and then I bought a hose thread adapter at the hardware store that goes on it.

I use the gravel vacuum to siphon bulb to pump the water out and let it run through the garden hose out the front door.
 

Lacey Clown

I started off with the bucket method. At the time I had a 55 gallon. Now I have a 20 gallon and a 150 and still have the 55. With my injuries the bucket system wasn’t working. Lucky for me my aqueon system broke and I was forced to purchased a new system. Upon further research the python was highly recommended by so many. I then watched videos to see what all the hype was about as the python was pretty expensive compared to another aqueon. I decided to purchase the python. I’ve had it for a month and water changes are too easy. I highly recommend it.
 

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