why water changes are important

iloveengl

Member
RaeJeanne said:
and (you may gasp) our cat drinks out of it. She can't get to the fish because the only part exposed is the part where the filter waterfalls it back into the tank and she drinks from the waterfall.
Ermm, all three of my cats do this. They dunk their paws in the waterfall area too. The bettas act all tough at them, the gouramis run away, and the livebearers run up thinking they're gonna get fed... but kitties' paws can't get close enough to cause trouble no matter what.

Anyway, I would worry about water that's not changed out regularly is going to become saturated with heavy metals, which don't evaporate with the water. Plus, I get the poo and whatnot from gravel vacuuming the water. AND finally, gravel vac and water changes help remove the ICH spores so that the problem doesn't continue once the heat comes down to normal.
 

RaeJeanne

Member
iloveengl said:
Ermm, all three of my cats do this. They dunk their paws in the waterfall area too. The bettas act all tough at them, the gouramis run away, and the livebearers run up thinking they're gonna get fed... but kitties' paws can't get close enough to cause trouble no matter what.

Anyway, I would worry about water that's not changed out regularly is going to become saturated with heavy metals, which don't evaporate with the water. Plus, I get the poo and whatnot from gravel vacuuming the water. AND finally, gravel vac and water changes help remove the ICH spores so that the problem doesn't continue once the heat comes down to normal.
-Thanks for your response. Read this to Alf, my husband(the Renaissance Man) He says on the metal, he is rock,, not heavy metal-says it has never been a problem yet, the water comes from our tap and is conditioned. We drink from the tap and any heavy metal is in our bodies as well-wonder if we flush it out somehow. He says natural bacteria eats the poo and they convert it to ammonia(can't remember which one) that the algae eats, which is why we do not keep the algae removed, although we do scrape it down from the front so we can see the fish). We are not sure we have ICH, we are watching for it. He said if he had fish he paid a couple hundred for he might be pickier, which of course I took objection to-saying the cost is a consideration but their little lives are important as well-we buy them young, the most we have paid is $7 each for the angels. But in practicality, he set the aquarium up originally to be as cycled as possible, and the last water change we did before this last one was about 7 years before earlier, I think after we mistakenly had some guppies in there--we accidentally got one with some live plants and we tried to give it some companions and they all died. The live plants gave us the small snails that were fast taking over the aquariam and it took a couple of years to get rid of them all. We do not put live plants in anymore, although it would be nice to have something so the fish could have more variety in food. I have seen him test the water to see what's in it. We had a red tailed shark live 12 years in that water so something must be right(I read they live around 6 years).
It has been mentioned that fish like veggies. Beyond the frozen cooked pea, (I assume you can just use fresh frozen, peal the skin off and cut it up), is there anything you can just buy at the grocery store or does it have to be from a specialty shop?
 
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jdhef

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Member
Your husband is right that fish poo converts into ammonia. Then is a cycled tank the ammonia gets converted into nitrites and the nitrites then get converted into nitrates. But unless you have a lot of live plants which will absorb the nitrates, the nitrates will rise to toxic levels and kill your fish. Nitrates do not evaporate out of the tank, so unless water is removed the nitrates just continue to build up.
 

RaeJeanne

Member
jdhef said:
Your husband is right that fish poo converts into ammonia. Then is a cycled tank the ammonia gets converted into nitrites and the nitrites then get converted into nitrates. But unless you have a lot of live plants which will absorb the nitrates, the nitrates will rise to toxic levels and kill your fish. Nitrates do not evaporate out of the tank, so unless water is removed the nitrates just continue to build up.
Thanks for your response. My husband says people change water more than they need to because humans want a clean environment so they can see the fish from every angle, but that the fish do not need things so tidy. The algae takes the place of the plants and we have a lot of natural cycling going on. He says people need to change the water because they keep the tank over clean and there is not enough natural stuff to complete the cycle.
 
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jdhef

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Member
Since I do my water changes weekly, I really don't have very much aglae at all, since there are no nitrate to feed it.

I had been doing about 30% weekly water changes, and since my nitrates seemed to be in check I had gotten pretty lax on testing my water. Suddenly one of my Rainbow's developed gill disease and one of my Odessa Barbs had pop-eye. So I check my water and although my ammonia and nitrites were zero, my nitrates were sky high. I ended up losing the one Rainbow and two of the Odessa Barbs though.

My tap water contains 10ppm nitrates and I think what was happening was that I just wasn't changing out enough water and every week my nitrates were creeping a little bit higher until it got to levels some of the fish could no longer tolorate. So now I do 50% weekly water changes and use Amquel+ which gets rid of the nitrates in my tap water.

In addition to keeping nitrates in check, putting fresh water in has other benefits. The new water holds more oxygen, plus it has all of the trace elements that get depleted over time by the fish. It also helps keep the ph stable, since over time the ph in old, depleted water tends to drop.
 

RaeJeanne

Member
If it works for you, fine. Alf would not feel comfortable changing the water that often. He feels he has a good filtration system and it worked well for 12 years once he set it up. I remember when we first started we did not have any fish in it for weeks while it cycled. Actually, we had some small fish to help. Neon tetras and black neons, I recall. He checked the water regularly and made adjustments. He thinks he has done extremely well having rarely changed any water for 12 years. We did not have anything major happen and the fish were happy. They basically died of old age unless there was something more specific, but it did not relate to water quality as near we can tell--like a guaranI killed one of the angels. When the guaranI died I considered it justice and did not look further, plus I chastised myself for not researching which guaranis are aggressive. In general, every once in a while we scrape the algae off the front and pour more water in after taking the chlorine out and conditioning it. Our tap water has an antI algae chemical in it so we really don't want too much fresh water in it. We have a good air filtration system so I think the water has plenty of oxygen.

It is just that we got a whole new tank of fish so we are watching them and the rainbow was acting up, flashing and scratching himself. Two days later now he does not seem to be doing it except maybe once in a while. Although we have 13 fish in a 40 gallon tank, 9 are small and the other four are young. For several years we just had a red tail shark full grown, well, 5 or so inches, one black neon which is still there, and a gold fish that got so big it weighed more than the 3 angelfish we have in it now. When the gold fish was little we had to put a separator in because the red tail picked on it. It saw it as a liability since the gold fish eats everything in sight and the red tail didn't want its food eaten up. The poor gold fish would hide in the bushes, roll over and play dead to get the red tail to leave it alone. Eventually it got big enough the red tail just had to get along with it. They co-existed for five years.

Anyway, there is more than one way to do it. We try to make it as natural a balance as possible, so it takes care of itself more. Not saying it has to be that way. It depends how much you want to have to do to enjoy your fish and keep them happy.
 

TedsTank

Member
In a perfectly balanced tank all the above is true.. I have seen 1 such tank in my life and it was awsome,

The balance was achieved with water, plants and a few fish. It got good indirect light and that was it....no filter, airstones etc...basically the tank was ignored with the exception of occasional light feeding. Plant gowth was good and I can't recall seeing any algae.

Your husband is correct it can work but as you have said, he checks.."and makes adjustments"...and sounds like he has done a wonderful job in keeping all in balance, we do that too in the form of water changes.

We tend to push our tanks..take it to the limit, then if lighting, filters, water. temp etc fails we have a crisis but that works too in order to keep tropical fish. We all enjoy success with our water enviroments and yet we all also do things a little different. The "fun" of the hobby...and better yet all those ideas and experience are shared here!!

Thank you for sharing with us!

My dad kept fish all I can remember and never even said the cycle word!! would set up wait 2 weeks and that was it!! Changed some water every month or 2 approx 25%. I had a tank when I was about 14...with a pair of convicts and never changed the water (that I can remember) only topped it off!! Spawned until I left home. Dad gave them away.
 
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