Why daily water changes?

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mcurtissdsu

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Ok...I seriously can't take it anymore.

I've been cycling my 29 gallon tank for MONTHS and MONTHS and MONTHS. Daily 50% water changes, daily doses of Prime. I only feed them twice a day and they eat everything. I watch them closely and most of the time I use a stop watch. I've tried doing two water changes in one day. NOTHING IS WORKING.

So now I have a question. If Prime detoxifies ammonia and nitrites for 24 hours, why can't I just add that to the tank every 24 hours instead of doing water changes? It doesn't make sense to me so I'm hoping someone can explain it in a way that will make sense. According to everything I've read, adding Prime doesn't remove the ammonia and nitrites that are already in the water, it just converts them to a nontoxic form for 24 hours. Apparently, after 24 hours, whatever chemical bond that is formed is broken and the substances become toxic to the fish again.

Can someone explain why I still have to do daily water changes if Prime detoxes ammonia and nitrites for 24 hours and doesn't remove them anyway? I'm going out of town soon and my readings have not changed since March. I really don't see the point in daily water changes anymore.
 

Kunsthure

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Water changes prevent the ammonia level from continuously rising. Let's say you've got 2ppm of ammonia in your tank and use Prime but don't change the water. You've still got 2ppm of ammonia in your water, it's just not as toxic. The fish are always producing waste so the ammonia level will rise.

If you've got the same 2ppm in your tank but do a 50% water change, you now have 1ppm of ammonia. You're trying to not only detoxify the waste, you're also trying to remove it. Someone on here once wrote that a solution to pollution is dilution.

I know it's tough to cycle with fish: I was doing daily 50% water changes in my 37g and it was awful. But it's what's best for the fish.

-Lisa
 
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mcurtissdsu

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I just don't get it...then why do I still have 1.0ppm of nitrites when the day before that I only had 0.5 and did a 50% water change? Shouldn't that have brought the level down to 0.25? But it never does. My readings never change. My ammonia is always between 0.25-0.50, my nitrites are always 0.50-1.0 and my nitrates always show 5. This is seriously unbelievable to me. I've been doing this since December and nothing has changed since March. I've lost faith in daily water changes.
 

Meenu

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Daily water changes were a huge pain for me too. I ended up using TSS 4 times trying to cycle. Failed 3 times because I didn't get the instructions exactly right... darned finicky product, but it did work. Totally worth the money I spent on TSS to not have to do the WCs...

I've asked the same question, before, by the way. Long time ago. I don't remember what the answers were, but they were vague, and some where basically "because that's what the instructions say"..

I don't normally recommend TSS, although I do like it and I often stick up for it. But in your case, I would recommend TSS, or keep doing your daily WCs, but do like 10-15% instead of huge ones.
 
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mcurtissdsu

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Thanks, Meenu 10-15% sounds much more manageable....maybe I will give that a try for a week and see if it helps. I just can't revolve my life around my fish tank anymore. This is seriously more work than having a puppy.
 

JRDroid

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Get yourself one of these bad boys

It uses the sink to suck water out of your tank, then you can use it to put water back in the tank, straight from the tap. Just add your prime directly to the tank, you do need to dose for the whole tank though, not just the new water. No more carrying buckets of water back and forth. I just did a 30% water change on my 55 gallon and a 40% on my 10 gallon and it took me like 10 minutes total using a python.

Petco has smiliar products and i'd imagine petsmart would too.

DISCLAIMER: Other members have had issues with smaller or eel/snake shaped fish getting sucked into these, but my fish are scared of it and don't go near it when its in their tank.
 

Meenu

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Pythons are highly recommended around here. I don't have one, but most others do.
 

JRDroid

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Meenu said:
Pythons are highly recommended around here. I don't have one, but most others do.
Today was the first time I had used mine. Last week when I did my water changes it took me 30-40 minutes. Today it was like 10. The python came for free with my 55 gallon, so I figured i'd give it a whirl. I will never to a water change without one again.
 
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mcurtissdsu

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Yeah...my water changes take me at least 45 minutes to change out four 3-gallon buckets of water. But most of the time my pinched nerve gets the best of me and I have to go reeeeaaallly slooooowly and it takes me just over an hour. When I only have 4 hours between the time I get home and the time I go to bed to eat, shower, clean and study, using up a quarter of my free time changing water is really taking it's toll. Not to mention the fact that San Diego, along with many other parts of the country and the world, is facing a water crisis. We're not even supposed to water our plants before 5:00pm and here I am dumping 12 gallons of water down the drain every day....
 

Meenu

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Um, yeah... smaller water changes.
 

JRDroid

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Something else that might help you would be to add tetra safestart or TLC StartSmart (which I am used in my 55). I'm sure somewhere near you carries safestart, no one around me does. StartSmart is available here
They are the same idea, startsmart claims its more concentrated though. Also, even though you only have a 29 gallon tank, I recommend using a 50 or 55 gallon dose of it. It is impossible to over dose your tank with this stuff, but it is very possible to under dose, so more is better!
 

Meenu

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Never heard of that one.
 
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