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Old 03-02-2013, 12:13 PM   #1 
jadaBlu's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Midwest
How do you make your water changes fast and efficient (especially for multiple tanks)

I have just two tanks I put one in the kitchen the sink is steps away. Which I am thinking about moving because I gather the tanks could be germy. The counter is isolated from other areas and I don't use the area for food prep.
I have the other in a bathroom with a large counter also near the sink.

I want to get more bettas (I think I would stop at 4) but since they require so many water changes I want to see how people make the process fast and easy. I used to use a very small pond pump to empty a tank I had with other freshwater fish years ago for 100% changes ( I have to look for it).
Please tell me how many fish you have and how long it takes to do your water changes and how many gallons ect. Do you find it easy to get bigger tanks to minimize work? Are there more disease issues using bigger tanks with dividers?
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:33 PM   #2 
Join Date: Jul 2010
When I do a water change I also remove all removable deco and plants and I vacuum the gravel. Then I go outside with the old water and pour it in my garden. Then I rinse everything and put it back, including the filter media. So with all that it can take up to an hour to do my 20 gallon.

The smaller tanks I do the same but since they are smaller they take less time.

I hope you can stop at 4 as planned, I couldn't

PS: I do the rinsing in the kitchen sink then I use a clorox wipe to wipe everything down.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:54 PM   #3 
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I have 7 bettas, takes me about 20 minutes to change just the water for all of them. However, i spend like an hour looking at them, so a total of 1 hr & 20 mins for a water change, lol. I use 2 buckets, one is filled with water, one is empty. Dump old water in empty bucket, fill with new water, repeat. I can see where a bigger tank with dividers might be easier, you probably might want a smaller vacuum cleaner to reach cramp areas as well.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:33 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
I have three bettas, all in 3 gallon acrylic Critter Keepers. I use an 'assembly line' method for water changes:
1) Note the water temp. Cup the first fish. Dump the water down the sink. Rinse decorations/etc. Wash the tank with hot water. Put decorations/etc back in.
2) Note the water temp. Cup the 2nd fish. Repeat the process with her tank.
3) Note the water temp. Cup the 3rd fish. Repeat....
4) Add water conditioner to the bottom of all three tanks. Add two gallons of water to each tank, approximating temp.... Adjust water temp, add 3rd gallon of water, making sure that the final temp of the tank is the same as the initial temp was.
5) Float all three cups in their tanks for 20 min. to equalize temps.
6) Add 1.5 ounces of NEW water to each cup. Float for 15 min.
7) Remove 1.5 ounces of water from the cups. Then repeat step 6.... Do this for at least an hour. (Longer is never a problem!)
8) Gently release each fish back into its tank.

Total time: Like GoodMorning, I first spent about 30 min interacting with them. Today's steps 1-4 took about 25 min. Once I started floating the cups, I multi-task with other stuff, so it's not a big deal. (They're floating right now, in fact.).... After step 8, I'll probably spend another 20 min looking at them.

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 03-02-2013 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:09 PM   #5 
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I have 20 tanks and it generally takes me 1.5-2 hours to get them all done depending on where I deposit the waste water. However, I found this video posted by a guy I know on another forum and it actually is a really good method of manually doing water changes (I'm always leery of just running siphons straight to the sink).

I am thinking of making something similar and seeing how it performs, as it would be nice to go do other things without worrying about the hose slipping out or finding your fish stuck to the siphon.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:58 PM   #6 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Florida
My water change schedule is Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday for my girls in one gallon QT tanks, Monday for my VT in his cycled 5 gallon, Monday and Friday for my CT in his 5 gallon that's not yet cycled, and I change the water in my brothers 10 gal on Wednesdays since he never does... I do 50% changes, never takes me longer than 20 minutes.

With tanks at least 5 gallons with a filter, you never need a 100% change but you need a test kit to know when the tanks are fully cycled. Until they are cycled, you need 2 50% weekly changes and only 1 after they are cycled. When one tank is cycled, you can seed new tank filters with the filter media.

I have a five gallon bucket I use for water changes so I can do the two 5 gallons at the same time since they are the same temp. Never put dirty water into the bucket you use for clean water. I also use separate siphons for the tank and I also fill up my five gallon bucket with new water at the right temp before removing water, so once I siphon the water I can immediately pour the new water in. Five gallon buckets are easy to find, but you do need separate clean and dirty water buckets to prevent spreading infections.

It may also work to just divide a tank. Then you can change the water for the two fish in the divided tank at the same time..
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:46 AM   #7 
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Location: Midwest
Originally Posted by AyalaCookiejar View Post
IFive gallon buckets are easy to find, but you do need separate clean and dirty water buckets to prevent spreading infections.

It may also work to just divide a tank. Then you can change the water for the two fish in the divided tank at the same time..
Lots of great advice from everyone keep it coming! I know others will benefit too. Thanks for the reminder about not mixing buckets ect. I just added another siphon to my Amazon order so I don't mix them and potential spread infection. I will see about buckets too.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:46 AM   #8 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Australia
Hi,I have three 30 litre tanks & it probably takes me about an hour to do water changes for all three.Saturday is wc day.I start with the 3 buckets filled with the fresh conditioned (stress coat) water,I have an extra bucket for the old water.After switching off the light,filter & heater I gently vacuum the gravel and plants till I get to the 25% mark (I have a little sticker on each boys tank),I then give the caves/hideouts a wash if needed.I then get the fresh bucket of water and gently put the water back in with a little cup (each boy has his own),this is probably a little time consuming but I like to do it that way.When the water is back at the top I switch the heater,filter & light back on,then repeat & repeat.Then all 3 are lovely and fresh.YAY!
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:49 AM   #9 
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Location: Ontario, CA
I have (4) 10g, (1) 5.5g, (2) 2.5g, (1) 5g, & (1) 46g tank. All of the tanks get a 50%+ weekly water change, except the 2.5g get 2 water changes per week. I have a water changer for the 46g & a manual syphon/vac for the smaller ones. When I just do water changes with a vacuum it takes me a couple hours or so (depends how fast I move) to complete them all if I do them all on the same day. It can take longer if I decide to re-arrange things in the tanks, I don't remove plants or decos except in very rare instances. The water change for my 46g is by far the easiest because I have a water changer which hooks up to my kitchen faucet, sucks the water/debris directly into the sink, flip a switch & refill the tank . . . NO bucket hauling!
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:46 AM   #10 
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: East Tennessee
I have nine fish, in 90 gallons of water. This is four tanks (3 20 gals and 1 30 gal, divided into 10 gals per fish) and I've got all but the 30 gal in my bathroom. This makes life easier in terms of water changes because the water and the drainage is all right there.

All of my tanks are cycled and have a few small plants (new to plants, so they're still small), so I never have to remove *all* the water, so my fish stay in the tanks while I clean them. I change 25-50% of the water once a week, draining it with a gravel vacumn. First I pump the gravel in the bottom of the tank to get that clean, then I continue letting the vacumn run until I've taken out the amount of water I intend to change. This doesn't bother my fish, and one of them even gets curious and checks out the vacumn every time I clean his tank.

I usually drain the water directly into the sink, or in one case, the bathtub. For the one tank that is in another room, I have a large plastic bucket I drain the water into.

I unplug the filter and the heater while I change the water.

I have 5 gallon containers (the type you can purchase for filtered water) that I have the new/fresh water ready for addition. I get the water ready a few days in advance, treating it and letting it sit so that the conditioner has time to really set in. I just keep them on hand, stored in a closet, filled with water.

Once I've removed the water I need to change, then I take a plastic collander, and slowly refill the tanks with the new/fresh treated water. The collander prevents the water from splashing and battering my boys, and makes the water addition less stressful for them.

Then I'm done. :) For all four tanks, and all 90 gallons the entire process takes me about 45 mins? Maybe a bit less. The longest part is waiting for the water to drain. :)

If I'm testing the water parameters to check the cycle, that takes an additional half hour, just because of how long everything has to sit, be shaken, etc. during the testing. But, I don't do that every time. :)

I hope that helps! :)
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