Some advice for a newbie
Posted 30 November 2006 - 06:48 PM
Posted 01 December 2006 - 12:18 AM
I think excessively frequent water changes can stress fish as much as poor water quality, so I don't use a schedule. I change water when the filter needs to be cleaned, or when the gravel needs to be vacuumed. These need to be done more frequently, in my experience, than water changes. But vacuuming gravel involves siphoning water anyway, so that becomes the occasion for a water change.
Posted 01 December 2006 - 12:30 AM
Posted 01 December 2006 - 07:34 AM
The reason you could get away with such a small change in a marine system, I assume, is that you had live rock or some other mechanism to break down nitrates. You also likely did not want to dilute the trace elements that you might have been adding. Plants provide a similar service in a FW tank but only if the tank is heavily planted and there is sufficient lighting and carbon for the plants to make proper use of the nutrients.
Posted 01 December 2006 - 11:15 AM
Posted 01 December 2006 - 11:41 AM
Since my tanks are (at the moment) all highly lighted, water changes using my local tap water makes for an algal disaster (the water folks add a phosphorus-based corrosion inhibitor here). I use DI water as makeup water, and wind up thinning plants regularly. Nitrogen is always very, very low, due to the high plant population. My fish load is low, too. I used to do more water changes when I had unplanted tanks with fish that ate a lot. If I were put a fish load in my planted tanks that necessitated water changes, I'd have to use DI water (and added minerals).
Anyway, I'm sure others can recommend fish books. For plants, try "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by D. Walstad. Generally a really good book for getting started in plants. A few things I disagree with, but a good starter book. Makes the science behind plants very understandable.
Posted 02 December 2006 - 04:59 PM
Posted 02 December 2006 - 08:50 PM
I was planning trying a self made skimmer in my next planted native tank. Water that doesn't get changed every week or two should will build up enough viscosity to be skimmed effectively.
There are some rules that don't apply to freshwater that apply to saltwater, but in most cases, that's just because of some minor differences that can be worked around. A properly established tank shouldn't need water changes often, if at all. I've seen some fantastic aquariums that haven't had but a 10% water change in a year. Some people won't agree with me, but I think Marine and Freshwater tanks don't vary as much as we make them up to be...Granted, I'm sure not going to test for Strontium or Magnesium in a freshwater tank
Posted 02 December 2006 - 09:18 PM
I think this depends on how your fish population relates to the size of your tank. If you have a few small fish in a large tank, you may rarely have to change water. If you have a high population density, you may find yourself doing it frequently. And how much filtration you have will figure into it also. You can use a schedule, you can get test kits and check water quality parameters, or you can use a qualitative assessment.
Just get an oversized filter for your tank size. I have a 29 gallon tank filter on my 10 gallon. It keeps me from having to change water very frequently. I do it maybe once every 2-3 weeks, along with a filter change. I have 9 2-3 inch fish in there.
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