Right now I have a cycled, divided 10 gallon with 3 males in it. I also have a 5 gallon that I plan on putting 2 more males in. I would love to keep more fish just for looks and enjoyment, but I also want it to be as easy as it can be and for the fish to be healthy. I like divided tanks because it saves on water changes, but I don't like worrying about sickness spreading if one gets sick. I love cycled tanks because they also save on water changes, but I don't like worrying about messing up the cycle. Plus, I don't mind doing a full cleaning on the big tanks if it's only once a month or so, not really every week. I have school so I can't spend a ton of time doing water changes and washing gravel.
So for all of you with multiple tanks, what would be the best solution for me?
Currently only one of my tanks is cycled (I'm working on fish-in cycles on the rest).
Water changes are one thing I don't really mind.. I use two 5 gallon buckets, one for dirty water and one with a pump in it for clean water.. it's a simple process, and the buckets have screw on lids so I don't have to worry about splashing water as I carry them through the house.
Do you have filters? That makes water changes so much easier. I don't think gravel should be washed regularly. Unless there is a fungus present, washing the gravel will only screw up your biofilter as it's the best place for the good bacteria to collonize.
What I do is just syphon all the yucky bits from the gravel (left over food bits or anything else I notice that's not supposed to be there).
We have 2 5 gallon tanks and I do all the maintnace. I also have a 10 gallon tank that I would gladly divide to get 2 more bettas but we don't have anywhere to put it so it just remains empty :(
Since you shouldn't change your tank's whole water supply regularly, the little you need to change regularly makes it easier. I change 25% biweekly, and syphon out the yucky bits on the gravel as often as needed depending on how picky my betta's appetite is (I generally do that weekly but it takes only a couple of minutes)
Oh, what I do to make the change easier, btw... I don't have a store bought aquarium vacuum. I put a non toxic stiff straw (the THICK plastic kinds, not the ones that can bend) and a bit of air tubing together and I use that to syphon the tank. It takes maybe 2 minutes to syphon out the bits from the bottom. As it's just a drinking straw size, it's the perfect size to get the bits out but not bother my bettas.
Then I just prop it in the tank and put the other end in the bucket. I go off and busy myself elsewhere, and come back in 5-10 minutes and plenty of water has been removed. Then I just get fresh water, condition it... and do the same thing (my fish tank's hood has a little hole that props the straw in nicely so it doesn't move) Because the straw's size, it doesn't disrupt the water at all. It takes another 10 minutes to put the new water in (which is slower than dumping it in or using a larger vacuum/syphon, but I think it makes the changes 100% stress free for them), but again I just leave it there and watch tv or fix my daughter a snack so it really does have the work on its own.
So really I've made our tank changing effortless and not time consuming at all. So maybe it takes 1 hour every couple of weeks to change both tanks, and cleaning out the yucky bits only takes a few minutes a week.
Oh, and after I run steaming hot water through my home made syphon for a minute or two after each change to avoid any bacterial growth in that.
Hmmm I do like the idea of buckets with lids and homemade syphons!
I should have been clearer on the washing gravel part. I meant that if I didn't have cycled tanks, I would have to do 100% changes every so often (depending on tank size) and wouldn't I wash the gravel then. This is for like 2 and 3 gallon tanks.
I'm just rethinking if what I'm currently doing is the right way to go. I'll have 2 cycled tanks (with filters of course) and do a water change on both of them once a week. If I had smaller, uncycled tanks, I would be doing at least one water only change and then a 100% change. (If I've be reading correctly)
And if what I'm doing is the right/easy way to go, am I doing it right? For instance, how do you keep a cycled tank clean for healthy fish, but not too clean? Again, I only do a 50% water change in my divided tanks once a week. I only rinse the filter in the old water maybe once a month. I don't wipe the insides of the tank down or rinse the decorations. I just vacuum and syphon the water out.
I'm second guessing myself and getting paranoid on if the tanks are clean enough to avoid problems in the fish such as parasites, fungus, and any other problems. Right now, one of the 3 males in my 10 gallon is having an internal parasite problem. I know that healthy fish can handle parasites and only have a problem if their immune system is compromised, so I'm a little paranoid as to why this happened to a fish that has not had any health problems in the 9 months I've had him in that tank. The other 2 have been healthy as well and it's not like I've done anything different to stress out the fish with parasites.
So I'm just wondering if the big, divided, cycled tanks are better than smaller individual tanks. But that reverts back to the part that I don't have time to do all of the cleaning and water changes that the smaller tanks would need.
mm, one thing confuses me... I know you can cycle a tank (fish way, food way, etc) but I also know that if you put fish in there without pre-cycling itself... the tank should naturally cycle itself over a period of 1-2 months (depending on how well cared for and water quality, etc). So if you've had fish in there for a while... and all the levels read correctly... it's really not an uncycled tank. It is cycled... just you didn't pre-cycle it (which I realize is the more popular and smarter way to go about it... but that doesn't mean if you don't pre-cycle it, it will never be cycled)
Or am I misunderstanding something? Can someone with abundant experience in this clarify it for me? Unless I'm misunderstanding something here XD
And yeah, I made my syphon to save money but in the end I'm glad I made it... because it really doesn't disturb the fish or the water at all due to the slow flow of water :) So I don't worry about stressing my bettas when cleaning :D
i now have 3 5 gallon tanks and 2 10 gallons and it starting to get annoying to do even weekly water changes because i use a bucket and i have to go upstairs and since my tanks are low it is backbreaking sometimes. im thinking of doing it on a schedule, like do 1 tank or just 2 tanks one day and then the other 2 the next day and so forth because it doesnt take long when you only have 1 or 2 tanks. OR i should invest in a really long python so i can just hook it up to the sink and go from there. You could do the same get a python vac it attaches to the sink so it drains the water out for you and then you can make it pump water into your tanks.