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Old 05-25-2012, 11:05 PM   #1 
jman828
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Safe water change amount without crashing cycle

So, my tank has a small ammonia problem and is just a bit dirtier than the good, safe, "dirtiness"...so I'm wondering if because I have a hard time cleaning it well enough with the 25% changes I usually do, if it would be okay to do 50% or even 60-75% just once to help me out or would that destroy my cycle?
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:57 AM   #2 
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Most of the bacteria is in the filter and the substrate; not much in the water column. Changing 75% won't effect your cycle.

The question is the amount of ammonia. In a cycled and seasoned tank, ammonia and nitrites should be 0.0ppm. If you're showing ammonia, maybe you don't have enough surface area to hold the bacteria your system needs. You might try putting extra filter foam in the intake and/or outflow of your filter to increase the area.

Oh, and how's your source water?
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:18 AM   #3 
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Oh, almost forgot. When doing large (>50%) water changes, make sure the pH of your refill water is within a couple of points of the tank water, to avoid pH shock.
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:59 AM   #4 
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Oh, almost forgot. When doing large (>50%) water changes, make sure the pH of your refill water is within a couple of points of the tank water, to avoid pH shock.
Ok, I've got ph adjuster if it's not, but of course I'll add and test it before it goes in the tank!

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Most of the bacteria is in the filter and the substrate; not much in the water column. Changing 75% won't effect your cycle.

The question is the amount of ammonia. In a cycled and seasoned tank, ammonia and nitrites should be 0.0ppm. If you're showing ammonia, maybe you don't have enough surface area to hold the bacteria your system needs. You might try putting extra filter foam in the intake and/or outflow of your filter to increase the area.

Oh, and how's your source water?
I've got an aquaclear 20 with the foam, carbon, and biomax. My water is rated #2 in the world. It has no chlorine, no chloramine, no anything that is harmful and there is NOTHING and I mean nothing added to it, it's just hydrogen and oxygen so it's perfect. So I'm not sure, could it could still be the water even though it's good?
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:46 AM   #5 
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Not sure how much else I'm qualified to help you with, J.

There are natural ways to modify pH. Nobody here would recommend chemical pH modifiers.

If you're vacuuming effectively with your changes, you're doing what you can.

If your tank is recently cycled, give it some time to season, let the bacteria build and settle in.

The best water has and should have minerals and some organics. That's why it's a good idea to use a conditioner. I have a wonderful sweet well (7.6pH) but I still use Prime to guard against heavy metals.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:27 PM   #6 
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Not sure how much else I'm qualified to help you with, J.

There are natural ways to modify pH. Nobody here would recommend chemical pH modifiers.

If you're vacuuming effectively with your changes, you're doing what you can.

If your tank is recently cycled, give it some time to season, let the bacteria build and settle in.

The best water has and should have minerals and some organics. That's why it's a good idea to use a conditioner. I have a wonderful sweet well (7.6pH) but I still use Prime to guard against heavy metals.
Sounds good, I'll try a 50 or 60% next time I change it and see if that helps.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:49 PM   #7 
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Just oxygen and hydrogen would actually be deadly to fish.. They need minerals and diffused oxygen.
I did a 85% change on my 15 gallon, with about 2 inches of water left when I moved the tank (BAD idea to move a tank even with moist substrate- I have a thick board under my tank to support it however without this a tank can collapse). The cycle was not at all affected. Unless the substrate/filter dries out a cycle really won't be affected in any large way.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:19 PM   #8 
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If you are seeing ammonia and nitrite spikes now, I would start doing larger water changes permanently. For a once a week water change 25% is very small. Even on my tanks that have very light stocking levels I still do weekly 40% water changes.
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:39 PM   #9 
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Just oxygen and hydrogen would actually be deadly to fish.. They need minerals and diffused oxygen.
I did a 85% change on my 15 gallon, with about 2 inches of water left when I moved the tank (BAD idea to move a tank even with moist substrate- I have a thick board under my tank to support it however without this a tank can collapse). The cycle was not at all affected. Unless the substrate/filter dries out a cycle really won't be affected in any large way.
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Well it has that too....lol! I just meant the actually water as in harmful objects. But yes, of course it has all that too! But thanks for being concerned, I appreciate it!!!!

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If you are seeing ammonia and nitrite spikes now, I would start doing larger water changes permanently. For a once a week water change 25% is very small. Even on my tanks that have very light stocking levels I still do weekly 40% water changes.
Alright, well I just did a 50% change. I will moniter it closely for the next week or two and if the ammonia and nitrite increase, I will definately up it to 40-50% weekly. Thanks. And nice to know that 25% isn't enough.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:12 AM   #10 
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Another reason to do weekly +/-50% changes on a cycled tank is to get rid of DOCs, dissolved organic compounds, invisible bits of organic matter and crud that floats around unseen in your water.
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