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Old 12-18-2012, 01:36 PM   #1 
daylily
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how to know when to water change

I have had my 5 gallon Fulval Spec filtered tank for 3 months now. Put the betta in 6 weeks ago. He's the only one in there.

It is a planted tank - fairly heavy planted.

I have been doing water change every 7 days... but this time waited 10 days, tested water, and my results are
0 ammonia
0 nitrite
a little more than 5 nitrate.

I've been dosing Flourish, Flourish Trace once a week at half strength.

The numbers are very steady. The water is crystal, crystal clear. The plants are growing well.

I feed the betta individual pellets one at a time, being sure he eats them before I give another. Every few days, I give frozen (thawed) blood worms, brine shrimp a bit at a time to be sure he eats it all.

I was doing 40% water change every week - but after seeing nothing change in 10 days--- ???

Do I need to water change this often?

How do I know when to water change .... when the nitrates climb up to, say, 20 ppm? 10 ppm?

I am wondering if with all the plants, the good filter of the fluval and only one fish if I might do more harm than good doing a water change each week, just because it's been 7 days.

Being the only fish in there I am afraid that he's not producing enough waste to keep it cycled. I was dosing a bit of ammonia every day till I put him in there.

Thanks!

Last edited by daylily; 12-18-2012 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:39 PM   #2 
AyalaCookiejar
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Change it if the nitrates go over 20ppm, yes.

Since its steady 0's you would be okay leaving the tank if say, you went on vacation for two weeks, but its a good idea to siphon the water at least 20% each week even if everything is at 0 so you can get the fish poo out of the substrate and any tank decorations. However you don't need to siphon all of it as the plants will use the waste.
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:01 PM   #3 
Oldfishlady
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IMO/E-as long as the plants are actively growing, thriving to use the byproducts in the system. In a 5gal filtered, heavy planted tank-stocked with a single Betta....I would make 25-50% water only every 1-2 weeks more or less. I wouldn't vacuum unless you have a buildup of mulm/debris-As this mulm/debris break down it will naturally create CO2 for the plants-plus use fish waste as plant food. And while this is a closed system and nothing leaves the tank until you remove it. With active growing plants-they can recycle a lot of the byproducts that the system produces-along with the bio-filter.

Usually with a lot of thriving plants-it can take a long time if ever to see a nitrate reading-due to the plants using the ammonia first for food. However, when you add plant ferts-sometimes the nitrate reading is due to the ferts themselves and IMO/E when adding ferts-you should make at least a 25% water only change before you add them. This is so you can remove any unused ferts so the algae can't use it. Another reason you would want to make a water change even in a heavy planted tank with inert substrate-is to replenish minerals, trace elements and CO2 that are in your source water.

Just an FYI...fish food is a great plant food...I wouldn't worry about an extra Betta pellet hitting the substrate a couple of times a week.

Love to see some pics.....
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:09 PM   #4 
daylily
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Thanks for the info!

20% every 10 days would be easier than 40-50% each week. I have nerve pain disease, and carrying / dealing with the gallons of water is not easy, and very painful, so keeping it to a minimum would be better for me. I want to be sure it is good for the betta too!

Mr. Betta - having a hard time coming up with a name... he must be happy. He has always got a big bubble nest going and seems to be very happy. He practically jumps out of the water at feeding time!

This was a few weeks ago. Some plants have really grown since then. Others have been moved to a new 15 gallon I am cycling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scslmiYmZtU

Betta is just a $2 (on sale) betta from Pet Supplies Plus but he's full of personality. Really fun at feeding time, and he is always flaring or acting "cheeky"... he is a real character!
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:13 PM   #5 
daylily
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oh, and I have yet to see any sigh of algae.
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:17 PM   #6 
Myates
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I can understand having pain and cleaning out tanks. OFL had given you the best info one can get :) Good luck! Your tank sounds great!
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:47 PM   #7 
daylily
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Thanks!

Pain and tanks? One of the best things I did was get a "bulb" thing to put on the Python to get the siphon going. I was really struggling with that.

20% - I think I could do. One gallon.

I'd like to keep changes to a minimum for me, but will do what ever is needed for the Betta.

Last edited by daylily; 12-18-2012 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:47 PM   #8 
Oldfishlady
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Your welcome and I do understand, I almost had to stop the hobby altogether due to the chronic pain and my limitation due to my disability from an injury.

I could no longer make water changes like I once did-even with a Python to help. After much research....I found that the Natural planted soil based systems would meet my needs and be the method I would need to do-so that I could stay in the hobby......Once these are mature-the plants recycle everything-making water changes really limited to about 1-2 times a year in my big tanks-with a few more on the smaller tanks. Some don't have filters...that is what the plants are for...lol.......My tanks in the house range from 1gal-to-75gal.....
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:18 PM   #9 
daylily
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I have read your thread on natural tanks. Pretty cool! I am going to consider doing a NPT.

I used to garden extensively outdoors. Breeding and selling daylilies. Now? I have a few of my favorite seedlings, but 5% the garden I used to have. Now, I can enjoy growing plants again... in the aquarium. I can't do houseplants because my house is not bright enough, being in a woods.

I have wanted a tank for 30 years. Finally just went and got one!

I liked it so well, I got a 15 gallon last week, and have it cycling now. Then the guy who hunts on my property said I could have the 10 gallon they tore down a couple years ago. So it is sitting waiting.

Will a 10 work for NPT?
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:40 PM   #10 
Oldfishlady
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Yes, 10gal will work fine for a NPT....I have NPT in 1gal to 75gal....Around my house if it holds water it has something aquatic in it...lol....

And once you start 1 soil based tank....you will find that you will need more and more tanks for all the plants you grow...lol.....I started with 1 NPT and it grew to 18 in the house in less than a year-this is not counting all the small containers I have planted....lol.....
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