Ode to water changes

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Nina_W, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Cool thanks!
     
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  3. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    No doubt with the type of fish you keep large and frequent water changes would be the only way to go! Quite possibly the smallest of your fish has the bioload of all my fish combined (and I keep well over a hundred) :lol:
     
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  4. BoelderBeestie

    BoelderBeestie

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    It's the same for soft or hard water. To give an example, if your tds of the incoming water is 600ppm and mine is say 60ppm and your tank is at 610ppm and mine at 70ppm, there's still 10ppm of foreign conductive substances in both of our tanks regardless of water hardness.
     
  5. TENZO

    TENZO

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    some people who has been in the fishkeeping hobby for many years still insist that you only need to do top ups when water levels are low :(
     
  6. HugBug

    HugBug

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    2 50% wc a week does take a while to do, but with regards to shocking the fish, if you do the wc regularly then the nitrates stay fairly stable and so shock is unlikely.
    I know with my goldfish if I do two 50% wc weekly then the nitrates stay around 25ish. If I skip even one of those changes and stretch it out to one full week, they shoot up to around 60.
    So I would think frequent big changes would be less of a shock to the fish than less frequent changes.

    I also think the original post was more aimed at fish that have a high bioload and produce a lot of nitrates and not necessarily lightly stocked aquariums with tiny fish. Likely wise heavily planted aquariums also wouldn't necessarily follow the same rule.
     
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  7. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    Yes, I understand that, but weekly variance between one week and the next in the tap water is much bigger in higher TDs water, easily hiding these kinds of differences. Say last week the tap was at 400, and two weeks later is at 600, with many odd blips in between the two points - you have no stable point of comparison. I guess you could keep it all in your log book, and compare to tank water to last week's measure, but then we're already a step removed from the "quick and easy" that just measuring your TDs seems to imply. (Keep a log book, friends)

    The other reason I urge caution in higher TDs water is that the difference between 10 and 70 seems substantial, but the difference between 600 and 660 does not seem as mentally substantial, even though, as you point out, it is the same.

    In principle, I agree with you - in practice, I think it's not quite so easy with hard water.
     
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  8. BoelderBeestie

    BoelderBeestie

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    Ah ok, I see what you mean. That will be a terrible toil keeping track of those drastic changes in source water. Makes me count my blessings even more. We are extremely fortunate down here.
     
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  9. Whoknows

    Whoknows Comp Coordinator

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    Thank you :thumbup: I also have nitrates that get high if I miss a water change so I know how you feel.
    Ada recommends 50% daily for the first week when starting up a new tank with their soil. That's crazy:eek::eek:
     
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  10. Hlompho Lion

    Hlompho Lion

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    Thank you so much for this interesting topic. I have been bombarding top dog with my problem on WhatsApp and he told me about this topic.

    My issues with NO3 are as follow, it is constantly 100ppm, I did a test on Monday before doing water changes it was 100, a few hours after water changes its still 100ppm. This is a relatively new tank which is about 6 months and have noticed my nitrates are constantly high for the past 3 months. I did something different this time to see if I can lower the nitrates, listed below:

    1. Did a 50% water, usually I do 20% weekly.
    2. Cleaned my sponge filter and integrated sump.
    3. I use pool filter sand and i syphoned to remove any waste not caught by the filter
    4. Before the water change I did not feed the fish for 2 days.
    5. I usually feed my fish once a day.
    6. My tank is 6ft, 1.8m by 0.75h by 0.60w and not overstocked.
    7. I make use seachem prime
    8. I tested my tap water and nitrate and nitrite is 0
    9. All other test after water change are fine besides nitrate.

    With the above information provided, I need assistance on what the cause can be? Is my substrate the issue?

    I look forward to all your responses.
     
  11. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    Hi - how big is your aquarium and what is your stock?

    Basically, you need much bigger and much more frequent water changes. Start with your usual, 20%, then the next day, do 30%, next day 40%, then 50%, even more is fine, until you get nitrates under 20. A lot of work, sure, but it's the only way.

    Once you have it properly down you can figure out what you actually need to do to keep your water healthy... but given your problem, I wonder if you're not quite over stocked as well. We'll figure it out!
     
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  12. Shabir

    Shabir

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    Hi @Hlompho Lion with regards to this. Firstly I would like to apologize that I cannot remember the source of the below information but I can remember having a similar issue. In my research i found that testing your water straight out the tap and a day later can prove different results so the task I was faced with was to let a bucket of water sit out in a bucket for 24hours with an air stone and then again after 24 hours and then compare the test results. Because I was having a high nitrate issue I only tested for nitrates (should have done a full test but I was really not thinking at the time). Out the tap the water showed 0ppm nitrates. Running in the bucket for 24hours the next day showed me between 50 and 60ppm. So I was really confused with my findings and contacted someone I know who worked at a water purification plant, she then consulted with someone who would be of knowledge and they said that it could have had something to do with the oxygen in the water that's been sitting in the bucket, however could not comment on the source of the nitrates or how it could possibly show up from nowhere. I was completely stunned by this and the fact that i could not find a good enough reason for this I continued doing my water changes as I used to and a friend recommended I use an anti nitrate sponge in my filter which honestly either did nothing or the fact that I kept changing water and adding more nitrates into the tank it didn't get to show any effect.

    I honestly don't know how to help or if your substrate can be an issue as I myself used PFS with no consequences. Probably conduct the test I have above and see if you have the same issue
     
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  13. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    @Hlompho Lion good detail you have provided here. As said by others perhaps the only possible subjective thing is the stocking levels
    Could you post pics and give a breakdown of your stocking- species, sizes, numbers.
     
  14. MariaS

    MariaS Moderator

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    Excellent article @Nina_W , and very good thread

    I do believe however that every tank is different and there are so, so many factors that play a role on your tanks requirements, fish, type of feeding regime and type of food being fed, stocking levels, size of your filtration etc...
    No tank is the same and you have to monitor yours, test and see what works for your tank

    We do 90% water changes on the big tanks once a week
    We do mix hot water from the geyser and cold water with no problem
    Do a copper test on your tap water and if its ok , you should be fine to use it as the main concern with hot water is contamination from copper pipes
    The calcium stays behind in your geyser due to the heating process, just like it accumulates in your kettle so, by the time you use the water, it should be fine
    Using a dechlorinator that neutralize any other metal or traces of the above, should make your hot water from the geyser safe
     
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  15. Hlompho Lion

    Hlompho Lion

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    161410763324019437813382823270.jpg
     
  16. Hlompho Lion

    Hlompho Lion

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    I appreciate your feedback, I will do the test as recommended and let you know ASAP.
     
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  17. Shabir

    Shabir

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    Tank looks like it's stocked quite a bit. Parrots are messy. So are Oscars, plecco too. Others could advise on the stocking but in my opinion if you maybe do 2 50% a week should help keep that stable somewhere a little safer than 100.

    With regards to my experiment I could only figure out where I had a problem and not how to fix it so if you manage to get the same problem I did and find a solution I'd really be grateful
     
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  18. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    I don’t keep large fish so the other folks who do would be in a much better position to give an opinion on stocking levels...
     
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  19. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    810-odd liters, as you say, not overly heavily stocked (one oscar, four or five parrots, a green terror, pleco and a peacock?). By that I mean that two big water changes a week should keep you ok - think over 50% twice a week.

    I'd guess your troubles relate to buildup over time - many more, and much bigger, water changes I'd think. But start slow and build up over a bunch of days, until you see results - assuming your tap has 0 NO3, as the others have helpfully pointed out.

    If your tap has nitrates, you need to consider a nitrate removal product, I've never used these but they do work... or do water changes with water not from your tap, RO or bottled (not fun on a big aquarium, but doable).

    Love red oscars, had an awesome red myself :) Peacock's likely to be oscar food in time.
     
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  20. Hlompho Lion

    Hlompho Lion

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    Thank you for your feedback, I actually have a beautiful tiger Oscar in my 4ft tank had to separate them a few months ago due to fighting. I wonder if a introduction of a canister filter would lower my nitrates.
     
  21. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    Filters can never reduce nitrates on their own (ok, this isn't true, there are ways, but they are complicated and involve either nitrazorb type chemicals or anaerobic bacteria and I don't think that's what we're aiming for here). Apologies if you already know this - Fish make ammonia through breathing and pooping, which is poisonous to fish and kills them in short order if it build up. To fix this, we keep filters with lots of room for bacteria to grow - bacteria changes ammonia into nitrIte, also poisonous to fish, and then nitrIte into nitrAte. Nitrate is less poisonous to fish, so we can let it build up for a bit until we remove it - in this case, with water changes.

    Water changes is, in an aquarium like yours, the only way to remove nitrates. There is no escaping them (unless you use nitrate absorbing chemicals, which comes with expense and a lot more work than you might expect - google nitrazorb if you're interested).

    Though, if you don't have a cannister filter, then I'd wager a substantial part of your nitrate problems is a build up of dirt (old food and poop) that don't get handled adequately. Big fish need big filters! Think sump or two cannisters. You want at about 10x an hour water turnover, is what I've found a good rate of thumb.
     
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