How would you like it if someone never changed your air
Apr 9, 2001 (Updated Apr 14, 2001)
Popular Products in PetsThe Bottom Line Water changes are, depending on the setup of your tank and the size essential to the welfare of your fish
This opinion is all information I have gathered in my years working at a fish store and my own personal experiences along with those of my co-workers and customers.
In this opinion I will be focusing mainly on water changes for tanks 10-55 gallons
It is most often recommended to do water changes every 1-2 weeks. But this does depend on A LOT of things. These things being;
1)Size of your tank. 10-55 gallon tanks need the
most frequent water changes on average; over 55 you
usually donít change your water too often.
2)Type of setup. If you have a planted tank (a lot of
rooted plants) certain special gravels (mainly fluorite
which is a special natural gravel best for planted tanks)
and a good filtration system you might not need to change
your water for years. Where I am employed (a small fish
store) there is a nice 55-gallon planted tank with an
amazing filtration system, this tank has not had a water
change in three years. But this is also a very special
tank that is beyond complicated to where most people who
have been keeping tanks for years wonít be able to handle
For the rest of the opinion I will be referring to tanks that are 10-55 gallons unless I state otherwise
When doing a water change you should use a Gravel-Vac. A Gravel-Vac is basically a siphon with a special tube attached to the end of the side that you place in your tank. This special tube is much wider then the rest of the siphon. The wider tube is to be placed in the gravel, so when you have the siphon siphoning, all the dirt, waste, and food in the dirt will come out through the siphon. You then move the wider tube around in the gravel. You keep doing this until 1/3 to ľ of the water in your tank had been removed. So you have not just done a water change but also cleaned the gravel in your tank.
Ammonia can build up to lethal amounts in smaller tanks extremely quickly; frequent water changes help with ammonia problems. Even if you donít have problems with your ammonia frequent water changes will help you to prevent ammonia problems.
If you have a pH problem then a water change will help you bring the pH to 7.0, since 7.0 is neutral and tap water is neutral, and if your tap water isnít, you have a problem.
pH is among the most important things in your fish tank. The normal pH for most tropical fish is 7.0 though there are A LOT of exceptions (Tetras for example which are among the most popular tropical fish will be best off at a pH of 6.5 though they will survive at 7.0).
When you do a water change you do not want, under normal circumstances, to do more than 1/3 to 1/4 of the water in your tank. For a few reasons;
1)The water you will put into the tank in the place of the
water that you removed will be a different temperature
and a radical temperature change could kill or harm your
fish. Most likely it will stress your fish. Weakening
their slime coating and making them more susceptible to
parasites and diseases. A fishís slime coating is like
out epidermis. On human skin we have two layers of skin,
one our dermis, the living skin, and two our epidermis,
the many layers of dead skin, which is our outer layer of
skin which acts as a protective later. So if we lose our
epidermis like a fish would lose its slime coating then
we are very vulnerable to most anything.
2)If your tank has a desired pH of over or under 7.0 then
such a large water change will dramatically change the pH
which could harm or kill your fish.
3)And many more reasons
You should always dechlorinate your water before adding it to your tank. This is because the chlorine that is in your tap water is lethal to your fish; small amounts will not kill them but can, and WILL stress them. There are two ways to dechlorinate your tap water, one is to let the water sit for 24 hours (after 24 hours of sitting, with a large OPEN hole in the container it is in, the chlorine will naturally go away). The second way is to add a chemical. There are many chemicals and powders that will do this, some are just for dechlorinating, and some are for setting the pH right or for improving your biological filter and just have the dechlorinating capability as an extra plus to the chemical.
Thatís basically everything, if there is something which isnít clear or I didnít mention feel free to email me, my email address is email@example.com I would love to answer any question you may have
Oh and if you live in Maryland I invite you to come and visit the fish store where I work, email me and I will give you the name and location.