Should I do a water change? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Should I do a water change?

Hi,
Today I did a water test. My fish (3 corys and 5 tetras) and 3 snails (one adult and 2 babies) have been in the tank for almost two weeks now and have been doing fine. They are eating well. I did a water test today and got:
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 10-20 ppm

Is 10-20 ppm high enough that I should do a water change?

One other thing I did today was I opened up the mid-water level opening on my filter's intake tube (penguin 200) to get more water flow because the bio-wheel wasn't moving very good. Now the water flow is a lot better.

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Last edited by WestHaven; 08-12-2012 at 09:17 PM. Reason: meant to say "test", not "change in the first sentence.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 06:37 PM
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I wouldn't at all be concerned about 10 to 20 ppm nitrate however I do weekly 50 percent changes regardless of how much nitrate is or isn't in the water. It helps me stay consistent and on a routine which is more beneficial in my oppinion that only changing the water at this point or that point.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 07:25 PM
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Fresh water is always good for your tank and its inhabitants. I always do 50% water changes every week on my high tech tanks, and I usually try to do 50% water changes on my low tech tanks, as well (although sometimes I get busy and will skip a week). I think you'll find the tank responds positively to the water changes.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 07:35 PM
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With those inhabitants you are much better with a weekly water change routine thats keeps the Nitates below 50ppm rather than focusing on the Nitrate reading itself. Soon you will determine how much of a water change meets that need and you will not need to test for Nitrates often if at all.

Check you lift tube and the lower inlet and make sure it is not obstructed, or if you are using a screen, you may need to clean it. If those check out, you may need to clean you filter pad in some tank water if it is getting plugged up.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 07:37 PM
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Yeah I would say doing weekly water changes is something you should do regardless of what your water params are. 30% minimum would be a good idea and 50% would be better, it just helps to keep the tank refreshed and everything more healthy, plants, fish, snails.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thank you.

I just cleaned my filter intake tube and it was nasty. I am going to do about a 30% water change (2 5-gallon buckets filled up most of the way).

I have another question. I checked my Penguin 200 filter with C-size filter pads, lifted them up to look at how much stuff was stuck on them, and when I put them back in they put a lot of junk floating around in the water.

Is this harmful to the fish? Should I change one or both of the filter pads?

I also have a bunch of bio-balls in the intake chamber of the filter.

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Last edited by WestHaven; 08-12-2012 at 09:15 PM. Reason: added info
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 09:18 PM
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If you pull the filter pad to look at it, that is a good time to swish it off in some dechlorinated water. Old tank water is handy for most people. A new tank like yours can require some extra precautions. The bacteria is not fully set in. Did you go through a tank cycle to build up the bacteria? Even if you did, the bacteria is not fully mature around all parts of the tank, so cleaning can be a problem if done too aggressively. Treat it tenderly for the first month or so. A reading of 10-20 is not bad at all compared to doing too much cleaning and creating an ammonia spike to fight though.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
If you pull the filter pad to look at it, that is a good time to swish it off in some dechlorinated water. Old tank water is handy for most people. A new tank like yours can require some extra precautions. The bacteria is not fully set in. Did you go through a tank cycle to build up the bacteria? Even if you did, the bacteria is not fully mature around all parts of the tank, so cleaning can be a problem if done too aggressively. Treat it tenderly for the first month or so. A reading of 10-20 is not bad at all compared to doing too much cleaning and creating an ammonia spike to fight though.
Yes I did the full cycle. I willl try to clean the filter pads tomorrow. You shouldn't do too much at one time right? I was busy visiting NYC yesterday and couldn't attend to my fish until today.

Edit: I did a 1/3rd water change on the tank. So far all the inhabitants are looking ok.

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Last edited by WestHaven; 08-12-2012 at 09:49 PM. Reason: update
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-12-2012, 09:51 PM
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I think the best way to clean a filter is to unplug it, take out the filter, clean it, dump out the water in the filter which is filled with junk, replace it with water from the tank and your good to go. That way you dont get a lot of crud suddenly in your tank which could possibly cause an ammonia spike.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 12:15 AM
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Looking at your tank inhabitants, I would suspect that a 15% water change might be plenty if done weekly.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 12:31 AM
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Once my tanks are established, I pretty much stop testing for nitrates. I just keep up maintenance and that includes water changes. I do it 2-3 times a week which is probably over kill but the fish seem to be more active afterwards and it's not that time consuming (less than if I had a dog and took it for a short walk). I would keep it simple and routine - find what works best for you. 25% once or twice a week.

Also think in the time it takes to measure your nitrates, you would have already been done with a water change most likely! So just do it, it's only one of the most important things in this hobby.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 01:32 AM
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From what I understand, you have bio-balls and two filter pads on the filter. The bio-balls can hold your bacteria, and you can start a program of cleaning/replacing every other filter pad at a time. Here's how I would do it.

Every week, take out the filter pads and swish them around in dechlorinated water (if you have tank water in a bucket, that will work fine). That will clean off the large crud.

When one of the filter pads becomes too filled with crud or starts to break down, replace it with a new one. Do not replace the other one. That way you only have one new filter pad. Swish the new filter pad in the dirty water you created from swishing around the other dirty pad. Put both pads in.

Continue to gently clean both pads until the second pad becomes too far gone, and then replace it like you did the first one.

In time, you'll start to get an idea for how long the pads will work before you have to replace them. So let's say the pads last 8 weeks. Then replace every other pad every 8 weeks which means you'll be replacing one of the two pads every 4 weeks.

Meantime, watch the bio-balls. I'm assuming you have them in some sort of bag. When you notice that they're getting too full of crud, then you can swish the bag around in dechlorinated water very gently to wash off the large pieces of crud. Put it back in the filter. Never replace the bio-balls. They should last many years, if not forever, without needing to be replaced. They will just need to be gently cleaned off every once in a while to make sure the crud doesn't build up on the bag too much.

On my HOBs, I normally sandwich my biomedia in between two layers of floss padding. The first floss padding has large pores and is only used to trap large debris. Then I have my biomedia bag. After that, I use a much finer filter floss to better polish the water so remove fine particles. In my case, since I use so much biomedia, I will wash/replace both of the filter floss pads as needed and use the biomedia to maintain my bacteria. However, I only use HOB filters on my small tanks. All of my larger tanks (29g and up) all use canister filters.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 01:33 AM
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Oh, and to make the water changes fast and easy, get a water changer. I like the Aqueon brand the best. Once you use one, you'll never go back to using buckets again. http://www.amazon.com/Aqueon-Aquariu...4821560&sr=8-1

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-13-2012, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the good info. I'll have to get some bags to hold the bio-balls. Right now they are just packed in loosely behind the filter pads and in the intake chamber.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-14-2012, 12:14 AM
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I use the mesh bags that some foods come in. Avocados, onions...
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