Tank Cleaning? So much information, need some clarification. :)
Okay, I have a question. I've seen on here that tanks should have a 50% water change once a week, and then be cleaned completely about once a month? I've seen several different posts, but that seems to be the concensus.
My tank is 10 gallons, no live plants (because I always seem to kill them?), one betta, and a filter.
I do the 50% weekly water changes, but there is a fair amount of uneaten food on the bottom of the tank...because I was overfeeding him. I'm no longer over-feeding. Didn't realize just what a small amount they ate.
I've only been with the big tank for about three weeks, previously I had small 1-2 gallon tanks and those I'd just dump out, rinse everything off with hot water, then refill, stress coat and water conditioner, and then re-acclimatize the fish back into his new tank when they were dirty.
So, my question is, even when I stop overfeeding him, and theoretically he no longer has uneaten food on the bottom, do I need to completely dump the tank, clean, and put in fresh water once a month? I know that this is stressful for them.
In other words, what is the correct cleaning timeframe/parameters for a tank of this size/with this filtration/and water changes?
I've checked on here, but there are so many different opinions and there's cycling and not cycling and different size tanks...I'm a bit lost. :) I love keeping him in his new big tank, and I know he's happier, but this big tank thing is all new to me. :)
I would recommend you get a nitrate testing kit, as it seems that your tanks has possible partly or completely cycled, and change the water out when nitrates are about 20ppm. This way you can work out your own schedule :) you might find that simply doing 25%/ week is enough in your tank.
Depending on what food you have. Flakes are hard to measure, generally a betta should be fed about a maximum of 6 1mm pellets a day. about 3 pellets/feeding.
If you have gravel. investing in a gravel vacum will help keep your tank clean when doing water changes :)
Thanks for the information! And okay, so the tank can cycle itself...this isn't some process I have to start and create? I was confused about that as well. :)
Blue only seems to eat two or three pellets a day since I moved him into the new tank...I think he's having some issues because there is so much area for him to have to find the food in? (Before the bowl was smaller so he had less area for the food to disperse into after being put in.) I've been feeding him a peice at a time, and he'll only eat two, max of three before he swims away and seems satisfied. I don't bother with the flakes, I've never had a fish who would eat them. :P I have tried blood worms, but he seems to be disinterested in those as well?
I have a gravel vacumn, but I stopped using gravel because it was so hard to clean and seemed to be harboring diseases (in my long-ago first beta set ups...) so I switched over to marbles due to ease of cleaning. The vacumn seems to have some difficulty getting the food out from the marbles. :P
I'll definitely get a nitrate testing kit though, thanks so much for the information!!
What size/brand vacuum do you have? The largest tank I have at the moment is a 5 gallon, but I have three 3 gallons and four 2.5 gallons.. Two have marbles, one has a mixture of marbles, stones and gravel, another large gravel (looks like crushed stones almost) and the rest is gravel with acouple marbles thrown in for extra color.
I have no problem using my vacuum on any of them, it's small but it's a beast!
It's a "mini" but it works awesome in all tanks, you might just have to take it slow on the marbles so you don't jam it up. I let my friend borrow it because hers doesn't work too well. She has three 10 gallon tanks that she uses it on as well, so size isn't a big deal.
You said you have problems with gravel? Were you using colored or natural? I never used colored gravel anymore, I guess I shouldn't say never- I just set up a tank with white gravel, but I'll be changing it often. Colored gravel tends to... disintegrate after awhile. The more natural gravel you can keep for ages. With the colored stuff you should change it once in awhile. I plan on changing mine once every 3-4 months, maybe more or maybe less- I haven't used colored gravel in about a year, I used to use it back when I kept my fish in a vase, and at that time I would throw it away every other week. Right now it's in a 3 gallon, but it also has a filter too and I vacuum frequently, so it shouldn't be much of a problem.
I wen't off on a bit of a tangent there I think lol.. With natural gravel I think you can keep it pretty much forever if you take care of it. I would toss it maybe once a year though, to be safe, but that's just me. I know you can treat it if your fish had gotten sick at all by putting it in a clean bucket and putting hot water in it or if you have alot you can put it outside and fill it with water from the hose, just don't treat the water. If you let it sit for acouple weeks (while you treat your fish) it should kill off any sickness.
Also, if you want to help boost your aquariums cycle you can add a cap full or two of API Quick Start, it helps build up the good bacteria in the tank and start the cycle off quickly. I use it all the time and it seems to work great.
I'm not even sure of the vacumn brand anymore, but I'll check out your link, I may just have a dud. :)
I was using the old colored gravel, and I had some sort of mystery disease from attempting to rescue the store bettas from WalMart. I felt so bad for them in those little cups, that I'd intentionally get the sickest looking ones in the hopes that the others would be adopted by someone else, but that maybe I could help these ones out so that they didn't die at the store. At one point I'm pretty sure I had every fish med known to man... ;) I believe it was some type of fungus, and I did eventually get rid of it in some of the stronger fish with a fungus medication, can't even remember the name, but it was yellow granules...so it probably had some sulfa or macrolide antibiotic in it as well. This was years back when the betta craze first hit, with people keeping them in vases with the lillies...and places like walmart keeping live fish...which is just horrible. :( And I'm fairly certain the the quality of the fish themselves was poor, one of those Puppy Mills for fish type deals going on to meet this sudden increase in demand for the fashion fish as the poor things became. :(
I had a few tanks at that time, and I would occasionally bring home a fish that was larger/healthier from an actual aquarium store, and put them in a tank from a previously deceased fish, and almost without fail the new fish would come down with the mystery illness. I *always* thoroughly cleaned the tanks between fish, including the gravel, plants, hiding spots, everything. I finally got rid of the cycle by running everything through a dishwasher cycle without any detergent, just the very hot water, boiling everything I could, and leaving the tanks themselves outside in the sun for several weeks just to "cure". And I threw out all the gravel, and didn't use gravel again in any future tanks. I just never felt I could really get it clean. Plus, I can boil the marbles, and I like knowing that they are really, really clean. After all those fish (Many of which did make it and turned into very lovely creatures, but there were a lot, especially in the beginning, that died, and more than a few that I'm pretty sure I caused the death of by not being able to get rid of the mystery disease, which makes me feel terrible.) I just stick with the nice, large, marbles. plus I like the way the marbles look anyway, and the fish don't seem to care one way or the other. :)
Sorry for that rambling response...I'm sure that's way more information than you actually wanted. :) But thanks so much for the link on the vacumn, I'll have to check that out. Part of the problem I've got right now is that it's too big...I have trouble keeping it all below water while still being able to get it to "pump" and vacumn...and even then it doesn't suck worth much so it's pretty useless. I'll try this one though, thanks again!
Watch that video, skip to 4 minutes in if you don't want to watch the whole thing. I don't shake mine around because i don't like being splashed with fishy water lol. This way she shows works great though it may tank you a few tries to get it right :)
I know what you mean about rescuing sick Bettas- I have 9 boys.. how do you think I got them? lol. I've been able to rescue and rehome 5 of them, but i'm too attached to the ones i have right now to give any of them up for adoption. lol..
And as for gravel vs marbles, I use both. My more colorful/multicolored fish have marbles because it matches them better and looks better with them.. I can't picture my Epilepsy (who is white, purple, turquoise and pink) with plain gravel, instead he has marbles that match him perfectly, along with his plants :). So I know what you mean, I used to only use marbles then I discovered that I could just vacuum gravel and I went ahead and changed some to that instead. I like them both just fine.
In a 10gal filtered tank without live plants....water changes of 50% weekly with vacuum in all areas that can be reached without moving anything should maintain water quality....
Filter media needs a swish/rinse in the bucket of old tank water with a water change a couple of time a month to maintain water flow.
You don't want to base water changes on water prams alone due to the DOC's that we don't test for that can be harmful when they buildup.
The nitrogen cycle will happen in the filtered tank as long as it has a food source, oxygen and surface area to colonize....
You are cycling your tank right now.....The Betta and any organic will provide the food source, the agitation at the surface from the filter provides the oxygen source and all the surface areas in the tank, the substrate and filter media provide a place for it to colonize.
The beneficial bacteria are sticky and adhere to all the surface areas-very little are in the water column itself....So water only changes won't hurt the cycle, however, over cleaning can-but so can under cleaning since the BB can be suffocated with mulm/debris buildup.
Its a balance with closed systems......