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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am trying to be more, for lack of better term, professional about my aquariums.

I have the tanks listed in my sig. Have started EI dosing my 30 gal and will my 10 as well, but not the nanos.

When I first started, I would do my water changes by simply removing the water, an then taking a 1 gallon jug and filling it with tap water, putting in some conditioner, and then dumping it in, repeat. Except for my betta tanks, I would keep a 1 gallon container of premade tap water that had sat for a week.

So I have been reading more and more throughout the year, and it semed like the way I was treating my 30 gallon was way off. That and my method was just painstakingly, well, painful.

When I moved, I had purchased two 5 gallon buckets to move the fish in. All went well. Long story short I had an algae outbreak so I was changing the water every other day, 10% at a time.

So I thought to myself, why don't I use those 5 gallon buckets and keep prepped water in it?

Is there any reason not to do it this way? I would at least have 10 gallons ready for water changes. I am just not sure if there are any downsides, and curious how others prepare their water for larger tanks.

Thanks!
 

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I use a 32 gallon brute trash can for my RO system. I fill it up and put a power head and a heater in the trash can. I recommend using a heater so when you do a water change your not adding cold water to the tank. Or at least run a heater a few hours before to get the temperature right.
 

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There is really no benefit to 'prepping', or ageing, your wc water, unless of course there is a fairly wide variance between the pH of the water straight out of your tap, and the pH of water which has been in your tank for a while - and you see evidence that ageing your water brings the pH closer to that in your tank.
If for example, the difference between the tap water pH, and the tank water pH, is say less than .5, you have really nothing to concern yourself about, and you have no need to age water.
The fact is that conditioning the bucket water that you're prepping, in advance, has no real benefit, since adding the conditioner to the tap water you use for wc's immediately after it's drawn (or adding it to the tank before or as you're replenishing the water you've removed when doing the wc) has the same effect of neutralizing the chlorine, as you get if it has sat in a bucket overnite or longer.
Are you following me on this ?

Having said that, by all means use your 5 gallon buckets for your wc's. You'll do larger percentage wc's that way, which is better all around for the fish, and the maintenance of cleanliness conditions of your tank(s), and likely for your plants as well - rather than doing just small 10% wc's.
Hope this helps.
 

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I'm not sure what exactly you are preparing? de-chlorinated water? Having water ready to go is an essential for saltwater tanks but not usually for freshwater tanks. Although I guess there is nothing "wrong" with having your 10 gallons ready to go (other than the likely temperature difference of the 10 gallons in buckets compared to the temp in your tank)

I personally use a python (or knockoff version which is a water bed filler) and have a hose that goes right from the sink to the tank. When I do water changes in my 72 gallon, I re-fill with water that I make sure is the same temp and I add de-chlorinator right to the tank. I think this is a pretty common way to handle it. Prior to that I would do my water changes via a bucket brigade system. I would empty 5 gallons at a time and re-fill 5 gallons at a time with tap water that was the same temp as my tank and I would add the de-chlor right to the bucket. Again, I think this is pretty common.
 

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On this topic, I started keeping water in a 15 gal glass aquarium after about a week it starts to smell fishy, so i treated it with bleach, rinsed it filled it, all was well, after about 4 weeks of water changes the smell is back, any ideas on what gives? only thing I can come up with is the little sun light the tank gets is causing something to grow, even though i keep it covered with a sheet. I should add the tank is kept circulating with an air line. I do this for perfect temp. and to minimize ph fluctuation.
 

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My water is straight from RO and tap the same day I do water change, which is twice a week. I match the temp, put prime and straight into the tank. Shouldn't be any more difficult than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So really, there is no major benefits, but it doesn't hurt either, right?

The other reason for doing it this way I was told was to get the temp to at least room temp. When I prep this way, I use straight cold water, as I was told and read some places that using anything that requires warm water, the water from water heaters (especially in apartments) can contain things you do not want in your aquarium.
 

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So really, there is no major benefits, but it doesn't hurt either, right?

The other reason for doing it this way I was told was to get the temp to at least room temp. When I prep this way, I use straight cold water, as I was told and read some places that using anything that requires warm water, the water from water heaters (especially in apartments) can contain things you do not want in your aquarium.
Don't believe everything you're told. LOL
You can mix hot & cold water from the tap to approximate your tank water temp without any adverse effects - tens of thousands of hobbyists do that.
And no, it doesn't hurt to do what you're doing, it's just an extra step that's simply not necessary.
 

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2 reasons why I age my water a few days.

1, room temperature betta tanks and room temperature aged water go hand in hand.
2, I get zero bubbles when using aged water and millions of micro bubbles when using fresh tap water.
 

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On this topic, I started keeping water in a 15 gal glass aquarium after about a week it starts to smell fishy, so i treated it with bleach, rinsed it filled it, all was well, after about 4 weeks of water changes the smell is back, any ideas on what gives? only thing I can come up with is the little sun light the tank gets is causing something to grow, even though i keep it covered with a sheet. I should add the tank is kept circulating with an air line. I do this for perfect temp. and to minimize ph fluctuation.

You wouldnt normally think your question has broader implications on tank cycling but it does, what you have posted is in line with why we keep change water open capped vs capped, for both fresh and marine use.

There is a thread in the fertilizer forum about whether or not people take cycling too seriously. of course we do :)

but your post factors in to my diatribe listed on the last 2 pages of that thread. The reason your tank smells is the reason you can slowly cycle any tank fresh or marine without adding bottle bac, OR human-added ammonia of any kind.

ok back to topic I realize most prefer to jack ammonia and speed things up.

Short answer to your post. thats organisms dying even in water we thought would be free of them, thats only one way nitrifying bacteria get ammonia when we think they cannot, or that natural means for it do not exist unless we as humans permit it, and add it lol.


Water we think is free of ammonia isn't, as you can smell barbar :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You wouldnt normally think your question has broader implications on tank cycling but it does, what you have posted is in line with why we keep change water open capped vs capped, for both fresh and marine use.
Wait, so one should cap or not?
 

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uncap!

the rationale is, water at the local grocery store that is capped was prepared aseptically.

we dont, so if we cap we risk causing anoxic conditions any ole time. I once dumped a whole vat of that rot into my delicate pico reef before being pressed to discover why it almost killed my tank to do a water change, when normally thats the cpr for delicate pico reefs.

"but Ive been capping my water for x months with no rot"

lucky them... lol I wont be doing it again. Perhaps their sourcewater is cleaner, their buckets have less scum stuck to the bottom which upon rehydration grows colonies even quicker due to organic presence, I dunno but if you want to be safe uncap any storage water kept in unsterile buckets and keep it in a clean place.


The person who smelled a mix of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia in their clear change water is smelling the fact that bacteria do not need much to gain a footing in any wet environment. ppm's of the rotting fuels way less than what we can smell will still cycle a tank.

Cycling begins when you get something wet, not when you add dr tims or cleaning ammonia. Ill be linking this thread to future cycling arguments lol and maybe that exact thread.
 

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The reason for smell from stored water is pretty simple, whether it is tap water or older bottled water. Both are not totally free of bacteria. Bottled water does stay fresh for longer than tap water as the level of bacteria is lower but not totally removed. Remember the old public shelters from the cold war? The water supplies had to be rotated to keep them safe to drink. That is a point lots of preppers are missing. If they ever get around to drinking the water they have stored for years it will likely kill them! For tap water the same is true. Not all the bacteria can be killed by chlorine treatment. That level of treatment would kill the bacteria that makes your digestion work. There is a very fine line drawn between the level which keeps most bacteria from growing in water supplies and what will harm us. Just because water has been treated with chlorine does not mean it is free of all bacteria. Once the chlorine gasses off, the remaining bacteria begin to multiply.
 

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love the info. everyone is willing to share. so if i cant age my water, how do i deal with the fact that ph out of the tap is over 8 but after 36 hour with aeration ph drops to ~6.9

Interested in decoding that.
First of all, is this reading from an API kit colorimetric pH indicator or dip strip

Aged, circulated water stands to lose co2 which drives up pH, not down like you report.

More detail w be needed to find your mystery. Currently, organic acids from rotting bacteria, fungi, algae etc might be considered as a reason your pH lowers while sitting but that implies a really dirty holding tank and I bet yours isn't. Their collective mass has to be rather significant to lower pH from a solution starting out as high as you report.

We need to know the alkalinity reading of your water you put into a holding tank for this example.

Since we are still talking water change details it seems pertinent to respond here and not in pm

I feel as long as you store uncapped, you can store both marine and fw for quite a while. My tanks would register a kill faster than most tanks due to size (small) age and stocking density, and the fact I change all water at once in all my fw and marine micro systems. This makes for a good inverse measure about the quality of capped vs uncapped change water as these kinds of systems are unforgiving of errors typically. You can extrapolate that safety up to larger systems, more forgiving of inputting less than ideal water because total changes are not done, by simply storing any stored water uncapped and circulated if you want to be technical. I don't circulate as my max storage time is two weeks then I'll have used that vat of water and on my way to the next.



If you care for the containers you hold water in based on their contamination profiles, you make adjustments in care knowing you are running basically an aquarium of living organisms even still. Thats big to know

If your preparation is lending stinky stored water more often than you would like, the direct biological reaction would be to aerate (open top) and circulate your holding water as the incoming biological oxygen demand for the water is abnormally high, and to clean up your prep so less biological demand originates in your change water.

Airstone bubbling would be the ideal support mechanism for stored water above anything. For the examples above about stored drinking water I also agree, for that venture you would find me working from an opposite manner involving sealed containers prepared in aseptic means, like nothing we do in aquarium work. Heat and chem sterilization would preclude any use as well even after safe storage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I am doing more harm by putting a lid on my 5 gallon buckets? And caps on my 1 gallon bottles? Or is there a length of time that they will be fine?

I mean, my thought process was I was keeping foreign objects (cat hair, etc) out of the water.
 

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Well its a mitigation you choose. If the environment is really dirty then capping is better with quick use.

We can't predict a timeline for going to rot...it varies because contamination profiles among water change preppers varies...

My safe ground is the laundry room. I set water change vats in there, open, for weeks and all is well. I lift up the 5 gallon containers set em in a sink of hot water for two mins, bring them up to temp and then proceed to dump them in drained tanks awaiting a refill. Its that trustworthy.

But if you cap, the clock starts ticking and it will always vary how long you can store safely in that mode, having sealed off water that has a distinct biological oxygen demand, which any lab chemist knows you can't safely cap for very long if this water is being input into a completely opposing biosystem. Storing water with a known BOD requires open capped, and ideally airstone circulated water providing the input air isn't terrible. I spray air sanitizers in my house all the time for decades and I don't rush to cover the storage water.

Cat hair I could stand in my pico but never a drop of anoxic water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It sounds like prepping my water, and capping it which is no choice with my cats and apartment, is just not the way to do things. At worst I should be just making my water on demand, and if I choose to start with cold water I can break out my spare 10w heater and use that. In fact, it sounds like it woul dbe better for me to do this and watch the temp.

I am glad I asked this on here, because I would have never had any idea I was doing something wrong by covering the water.
 

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I fill my 5g water jugs the night before I do water changes and add dechlorinator right before I add water to the tanks. If its just overnight, I leave them uncapped on top of the counter. If its going to be a few days, I cap the jugs at night and place them under the sink.
 
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