I have finally been able to keep a betta alive for 5 months vs 2 weeks (like so many times before) thanks to the wonderfully helpful people here.
I do a 50% water change in my cycled 10 gal tank once a week. Algae has taken over very quickly, and I'm wondering if there's a way that I can take the tank apart to clean it without breaking the cycle. I also need to change the filter cartridge, but again, how do I do it without breaking the cycle?
you dont need to change thefilter cartridge if you have a cycle going. i'm pretty sure you can empty out yout tank and drop the filter in a bucket of old water, as you go about cleaning your tank. However getting rid of algae might put you back in a mini cycle, as algae also feeds on the pollitants. what else do you have in the tank?
Aus, there's a 15W light, that's on maybe 10 hours a day. Although, for the past few days, the was very little light because it broke. Guess I need to decrease the time that the light is on.
Yep. That will do it. I had that light on my 10 gal tank, and it caused a major algae outbreak. I'm still fighting the algae off after removing it around a month ago. If you don't have any live plants, turn the light off completely for a week. If you have live plants, knock the hours back to about 4 a day. You might also want to consider fertilizer and some fast-growing plants.
Why are you changing 50%... why don't you just do a 25% change? Less work and less dramatic impacts on the water parameters. That is my suggestion to keep your water chemistry a bit more stable.
How long have you had that filter cartridge for? You don't replace it every month. Companies say that so you buy more. Just rinse it off in AQUARIUM water to get some of the gook off. You do not actually replace the cartridge until it is literally falling apart. I've had the same cartridge in my goldfish tank for 6 months now with no problem. When the time does come, try to keep the old cartridge in there with the new cartridge so both are in. This allows bacteria to spread from the old cartridge to the new one. I think 3 to 5 days would be fine, then you can finally throw out the old cartridge.
Also, heres another tip for your algae problem. If you turn the light off completely and do a blackout for 56 to 72 hours, most of the alga will die. You could consider a marimo moss ball too. They absorb nutrients so there is basically none left for the algae, and pretty much robs them of what they need. If you really need to, you could buy some of that liquid algaecide stuff.
Why are you changing 50%... why don't you just do a 25% change? Less work and less dramatic impacts on the water parameters. For your algae issue, why not just buy some of that liquid algaecide?
Actually a 50% weekly water change will help the water parameters become more stable. Larger water changes replace more essential minerals in the water including carbonates which help maintain the tank pH. These essential minerals are used up on a weekly basis and the only way to replace them are weekly water changes. Between 30% and 50% weekly water changes are pretty standard with well-maintained freshwater tanks.
Algaecide should only be used as a last-resort as the chemicals in algaecides are deadly to fish, too. Lessening of the lights should always come first. Chemicals be it to change pH or eliminate algae should not be used as a first choice.
I actually got the information from this site (somewhere) to do a 50% change once a week. I don't know any different. :) The filter cartridge has been in there for about 5 months, and as I haven't actually taken it out to rinse it, I just assumed that it wasn't sucking anything up anymore. Guess I should rinse it, huh? When I do change it, do I just let the new one sit in the bottom of the tank? I've tried to grow live plants from bulbs, but that didn't work. I think I will get a moss ball though.
There wasn't even an algae problem until about a month ago. I rubbed it all off, and it came back even quicker. The amount of light had been the same, so it wasn't necessarily an increase in light that caused it. I considered the algaecide stuff, but I wanted to see if there was another way first.
on the cartridge note: most filters have 3 types of filtration - mechanical, chemical, and biological. the cartridge would be part of mechanical filtration, to trap particles that could discolor or cloud the water. With my filter, cartridge is also part of chemical filtration (i have carbon inside the cartridge). What interests you in terms of bacteria is biological filtration. and most filters have either a sponge, or a bio-wheel/ball, or a ceramic part or something like that. Do you have anything like that? So yes, your cartridge holds a bacteria population, but so does your biological media (and most of it) and so does your gravel, decorations, live plants, even the walls.. so i would say it shouldn't be a big deal for you to just throw one cartridge away and put a new one in. i do so with my filter that has a cartridge system and i never had any problems.