View Full Version : How do you do a water change?
09-26-2007, 03:21 AM
Dumb question, I know, but I just did a huge water change tonight and it seems like there has to be an easier way to do it.
What container do you use to transport the water?
When do you add the water conditioner?
Do you take the fish out of the tank or leave them in?
My gravel vacuum is supposed to be "self starting" but I had to really agitate the water getting it started and sometimes that didn't even work. Is there an easier way to start it? (my dad used to suck on his siphon hose, but I'm not sure that's healthy!)
09-26-2007, 03:27 AM
I have small tanks, so I use 10 litre buckets and a gravel siphon.
The gravel siphon cleans accumulated poo etc. and also removes 10 litres of water into my bucket.
Then, a fresh 10 litres go in from another bucket.
My fish stay in the tank the whole time. Fliter is turned off, and heater too.
I have never liked the self-start siphon option, I always suck on mine.
09-26-2007, 04:11 AM
I use a Python to take it out, mag drive pump in 33 gallon rubbermaid trashcans full of water to put it back.
09-26-2007, 04:45 AM
i usually use my python, but for the reefs of course i use buckets and siphons
My tanks are relativly small (1 x 29g and 2 x 10g [that are set up]), so I use a 5g bucket and gravel vacuum. Many of us use what is called a water python which basically is a hose that is a certain length. One end hooks up to your faucet and the other end in your tank. When the python is sucking out the dirty water from the tank, you use it like a gravel vac and it dumps the water straight into the sink. Once you've done that, you change the valve on the part hooked up to the faucet and it pours fresh water straight into the tank, all you need to do is add some conditioner straight to the tank.
Personally, I find that a python (as great as they are) is unneccesary for a tank smaller than a 55g, but others will disagree (to each their own).
What I do, is I'll do a 50% water change on all my tanks once a week. I empty the dirty water into the bucket and pour it into the sink. Once I've taken out as much water as I need to, I'll add fresh water (adding the conditioner straight into the bucket) back into the tank.
With my 10g tanks, It's one bucket dirty water and one bucket fresh, treated water. For the 29g tank, it's three buckets dirty and three buckets fresh, treated water. All in all it's 5 round trips to the sink. Doesn't take very long and is good excercise.
Just do make sure that you do turn off your heater and filter before, make sure the fresh water is a similar temperature to the water in the tank and treat the water with a good conditioner, personally I use either Seachem's Prime or Stability.
09-26-2007, 07:26 AM
i use the bucket method for all my tanks, most of them arent that big anyways so its not much of a bother.
the only problem i have is as soon as i start the kids decide that its a great time to start whinging, even though i just spent the better part of the hour before hand setting them up with everything they could possibly need or want!!!
but thats kids for you :wink2:
09-26-2007, 11:22 AM
I'm another python user. I replace half the water each week in all my tanks and the python makes it so much easier. For small tanks I probably wouldn't invest in one, tho, unless you had numerous tanks.
I turn off filter and heater so they don't burn up and add the dechlorinator as I fill the tank.
09-26-2007, 11:46 AM
Would it hurt the fish to add the dechlorinator directly to the tank before I add the water? Or to add the water from the tap as is and then put in the dechlorinator?
I ask because when I tried to refill my tank using a 3 gallon bucket, I couldn't control it well enough once I had lifted it to the height of the tank. I had to pour the water from really high and sent my substrate flying everywhere. I ended up using a one gallon milk jug instead, but I don't feel comfortable measuring out dechlorinator in amounts that small and I'm afraid I would use too much.
09-26-2007, 11:57 AM
Easier to just dump the dechlorinator in the water and then fill the tank. Dechlorinator will not hurt them even if they get more than recommended but it saves on it to just add one time.
09-26-2007, 12:29 PM
I fill my bucket with water on monday and let it sit until saturday. On saturday I add Stress Coat/Dechlorinator and then on sunday add the other chemicals (KH, GH and fertiliser) and then put it into the tank.
So I've got buckets of water sitting around, "maturing", all week.
09-26-2007, 06:42 PM
I have a plastic dipper with a handle to get the water to/from the bucket. You can probably find one at the dollar store - a big measuring cup might do, as well. I can fill my 4 gal bucket in 8 or 9 scoops - it's easier than starting the siphon to get the water out (since I am still cycling, I am not vacuuming) - lug it over to the sink, and then I empty out enough water with the dipper until I can actually lift the bucket, and then dump the rest out. I do the same thing when putting the water back in the tank - I can pour more gently and with less problems messing up the substrate. I add the dechlorinator to the bucket, not the tank. Takes about 5 minutes. The dipper fits inside the bucket, so it doesn't take up extra space either.
Homemade Python type from either tap or RO based on the tank it goes into.
I put in the conditioner at the same time I put the water in... I also have lots of tank of varying sizes... My WC schedule is also skewed by the amount of plants I keep.
09-26-2007, 08:36 PM
I use a cheapo self-starting gravel vac, a 3g bucket and a 2L juice pitcher (bought specifically for the fish tank). I usually do three bucketfuls per water change for my 20g. I fill the bucket with lukewarm water, add 1 cap of dechlorinator per bucket, then pour water from the bucket into the juice pitcher to fill up the tank (so I don't disturb the gravel, plants, etc.).
The whole process only takes from twenty minutes to half an hour.
So far, I've been doing water changes every 2-3 days. I'm hoping once I sort out my water quality problems, I can reduce that to once per week.
Hope that helps!
For both of my tanks I do use a bucket (It's a small trash can, of course never used for its original purpose).
Once I have removed the desired amount of water, I add the water conditioner (to the tank) and then I start adding the new water. I do add the water really slow to don't disturb the gravel and to don't scare my fish.
I turn everything off (Filter, air pump, light and heather).
09-26-2007, 11:27 PM
Good point all - themusician, make sure you use buckets, containers, scoops etc. that are dedicated to the fish. That is, that they are only used for fishtanks , never anywhere else before, during or after.
I use a bucket for the 10 gallon tanks, but I have a DIY cart that I use for the larger tanks. 50% changes for all tanks once weekly. I don't have to use any water treatment, I have well water. Just match the temp as closely as I can and use a large bubble wand for about 10 minutes or so to aerate the water before adding it to the tank.
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