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Old 11-13-2012, 11:44 AM   #1 
stellar981
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First water change...advice?

Hi.. As many of you may recognize my handle now.. I am still very new to this. Just got my Betta this past weekend. And in following the directions to do a water change twice a week for the cycling period, tomorrow will be my first water change. I am wondering the following (I have a ten gallow tank):

1) What tools do people mainly use? I have only really read about syphens. But then I saw a mention of a vacuum too.. What is everyone's personal preference?

2) In changing the water twice weekly, how often should I be cleaning down in the gravel. Does anyone know of a good video to watch on YouTube that really shows this process?

Any tips about water changes and things to look out for will be very appreciated. I am also going to be getting a test kit. I have the strips but have been told they arent as accurate. I have read that I should be testing for Nitrites, Nitrates, Ammonia and pH. Should this test be done before or after the water change? I will be ordering the API test kit on Amazon due to the exremely good price. Is there anything I can purchase in the meantime until that arrives that will hold me over?

Thanks as always for everyone's help in advance!
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:04 PM   #2 
Freyja
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Best place to start: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=115758
As far as testing goes, test your water straight out of the tap so you know what your tap params look like pre-conditioner and test your tank water before water changes.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:21 PM   #3 
Perseusmom
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Gravel vacs are awesome they take out the old water while you use the long tube to clean the gravel and yes down into the gravel also. I got mine at my local pet shop for 7 dollars and its worth its weight in gold I just love it ! You need to do while cycling your tank one 50 percent just water and one 50 percent with the gravel cleaning. When I was cycling my 5 gallon I checked the levels every evening and wrote it down an even wrote down when I did water changes . Using Prime water conditioner is really great cause it will detox the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate for 48 hours and if for some reason you have to miss a water change you can add extra to your tank. Good luck !
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:28 PM   #4 
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Because your tank is cycling & I assume you have fish, it is VERY important to test your water daily before any water change. Your test results should be your guideline as to when to do a water change. If your ammonia or nitrites are .5 or higher do a 50% water change, if your nitrates are higher than 40 do a 50% water change. I had to do 50%+ water changes every 3 days with my 10g fish IN cycling tank. You only need to vacuum really well once a week. When changing the water for my 2 10g tanks; I have 2 buckets; 1 is for new water the other for tank water. I fill the new water bucket with tap water, temp matched & conditioned. I then let it sit while I unplug everything associated with the tank, use my syphon vac to drain & vacuum the tank. Then I refill the tank with new water. This is the syphon vac I have http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...AvailInUS%2FNo
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:05 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freyja View Post
Best place to start: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=115758
As far as testing goes, test your water straight out of the tap so you know what your tap params look like pre-conditioner and test your tank water before water changes.
If I test my water before conditioning, and I come up with a high level of something - then what? Some other poeple on here have said not to use any other chemicals in the water besides the consditioner and aquarium salt (for sickness). I think my water is hard, unless these strips are not accurate. What can be done about that? Should I worry?
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:12 PM   #6 
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I respectfully disagree with the above post - I believe that .5 ammonia or nitrite is way above safe levels. I actually think any ammonia reading is too much and for that reason I am a advocate for fishless cycling. But since you are doing a cycle with fish I would not recommend letting the ammonia or nitrite get above .25 - that is the maximum reading I would allow with a betta before doing a water change and even that is risky in my opinion.

There are many studies of the effects of ammonia and nitrites on freshwater fish, and the consensus seems to be that even small amounts can contribute to long term health problems.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:12 PM   #7 
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Perseusmom & Shellieca - Thank you for the information. I guess I might just have to buy that test kit at full price this time, and order more on Amazon later. Thanks for the Syphen recommendation too! I will get one tonight. What kind of food do you guys feed your bettas, and where do you get it? How often, how many pellets per feeding? Other supplemental foods? I hear they love bloodworms and brine shrimp. I bought the freeze dried blood worms, but later read not to feed those. And these are the pellets I bought, but I havent seen anyone mention or recommend them :(

http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...uctId=12620190

I've done my research, but I still feel like I don't know much :( I do appreciate the help though, my fish is thankful also! :)
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:13 PM   #8 
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Test the water and if the levels are high do a water change.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:34 PM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stellar981 View Post
If I test my water before conditioning, and I come up with a high level of something - then what? Some other poeple on here have said not to use any other chemicals in the water besides the consditioner and aquarium salt (for sickness). I think my water is hard, unless these strips are not accurate. What can be done about that? Should I worry?
If you have ammonia in your tap, for example, you know to keep an eye on your tank water and do more water changes if necessary. Bettas can tolerate hard water.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:40 PM   #10 
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Originally Posted by Freyja View Post
If you have ammonia in your tap, for example, you know to keep an eye on your tank water and do more water changes if necessary. Bettas can tolerate hard water.
Ok thank you.. I will get that kit tonight. Does everyone here pretty much use the API kit?
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