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Old 12-31-2012, 03:26 PM   #1 
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Cool How to do 30% water changes?

I recently upgraded my fish from a 41 FL OZ "tank" to a 3 gallon Tetra LED aquarium, and my betta, Phoenix is loving it! The only problem is that I have no idea how to do 30% water changes. I have been looking around on the internet and was trying to find some information, but all I could find was information on how to do a full 100% water change, which I won't be doing often, and already know how to do.

In my tank, I have red gravel, three fake plants, a filter, heater, and light. And do I have to buy a gravel vacuum? Thanks so much!
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:45 PM   #2 
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Congrats on the upgrade! I'm sure your fish is very thankful for it :)

In small tanks like that I find a turkey baster works instead of a vacuum, which removes water just too fast in something that small.

This is kind of a general guide I've been floating around on stress free water changes:

To do a water change, use a little cup like a plastic solo cup - this cup must be only for him and have never been used with soap or other chems. Scoop him up in this cup (keep him in the cup about 1/4 full of water - it doesn't need to be much because he won't be in it for long) and leave him in the cup while you change his water. To do the 50% use a turkey baster - dedicated only to him that has never seen soap or chems - and drag it through the gravel and try to suck as much of the poop out as possible, in addition to 50% of the water. Use a thermometer under the running tap to get it to be the same temp as the water that is normally in his tank. When the thermometer says the flowing tap is the right temp, fill back up his tank. At this point, add the conditioner (dose for how much water you change - if you change half the water you add half gallon worth of conditioner, If you do a 100% water change dose for the full gallon change). Float his plastic cup with him in it in the new water. Slowly add a couple tablespoons of the new water into his cup every 10 minutes for at least an hour. Finally, dump him in gently but try to get as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. When you do the weekly 100% you will do mostly the same thing except empty his tank fully and rinse everything in it very well under warm water but never use soaps or chemicals. Once it's fully cleaned/rinsed you can refill it and repeat the cup/acclimate phase.
Also, since you are using the filter and not doing 100% weekly water changes it will be very important to invest in a drops kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. This is a popular kit: You test daily for ammonia and nitrites. Any time you see even as much as .25ppm ammonia or nitrite you do a water change.. as much as 50%. In addition to this you will need to do a weekly water change of about 50%. At first you will see ammonia spike. Keep testing and keep making water changes and eventually ammonia will go to 0 and you will see a nitrite spike. Nitrites should eventually fall to zero leaving you only with nitrates to deal with - and at that point a single 50%ish water change a week might be all you need, or you may find you need a couple large water changes over the week to maintain water quality. A fully established tank will have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and weekly water changes should keep nitrates <20ppm. Cycling can take up to 2 months.

Just a note of caution, tanks smaller than 5 gallons are very hard to maintain a cycle in. Many people would tell you not to even try. Just be aware you will need to be very careful in monitoring water quality and you may always need to do larger or a couple water changes a week to maintain.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:52 PM   #3 
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I use a tube as a siphon to siphon out the amount of water I want to change. Then I use a turkey baster to suck out the gross stuff at the bottom (not all though because I have live plants and they need nutrients too).
I don't use a gravel vacuum because it's too big for my 3 gallon and I don't want to disrupt the plants and decorations in my 5 gallon.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:07 PM   #4 
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A siphon is a gravel vac..different name. If you put it in your gravel it will leave the gravel and suck the poo out.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:14 PM   #5 
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not mine, it's just a simple air tube, very small, not a big enough hole to suck anything up but water (trust me I've tried)
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:25 PM   #6 
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I have found that water changes in the smaller tanks-that the stir and dip method to work well. Leaving the Betta in the tank for partial water changes.

Stir and Dip method-you will need a bucket for the waste water and to use for refill, a small plastic cup, chopstick or item to use to stir the substrate.

Unplug the heater and turn off the filter-using the chopstick/wooden spoon or anything will work-Give the substrate a slight stir (avoiding the decorations) to bring the mulm/debris up into the water column- Using the plastic cup-Dip half the water out.
Refill with like temp dechlorinated water.
Plug the heater in and monitor temp for the next hour.
Prime and restart the filter-The filter media needs a swish/rinse in the bucket of old tank water a couple of times a month.

The water should clear within the hour-If not-then you either missed a water change, overstocked or overfeeding.

You don't want or need to remove all the mulm/debris in the tank. Too clean and sterile is not healthy and its hard to support life and the balance of the system.

In a 3gal filtered tank-water changes of twice weekly 50%....1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate-should maintain water quality-provided that you are not overfeeding or leaving uneaten food long term.

While I do recommend testing kits-you can still successfully keep a Betta without one-provided that you make the needed water changes. Water changes shouldn't be based on test results alone and if you make the needed water changes to start-all should be fine.
Regardless of the abnormal test results- in most cases you will do the same thing....Water change and if you wait on a test result when you see a might be too late. Remembering that some skewed test results can be due to additives used, user error and the water itself.

As a general rule-anytime you see a questionable behavior change...make a 50% water only water change. IMO/E-one of the best water testers is the fish and the power of observation.....
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