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Old 04-05-2013, 11:48 AM   #1 
Jexx's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Water change question

So I know OFL's water change thread says up to 4 gallon unfiltered and non-planted tank should have 1 50% and 1 100% per week. Here is my question. I am getting a filter on Monday. I have never had an unfiltered tank. Right now Sesshomaru's tank is unfiltered at 3.5 gallons. I don't feel comfortable leaving the water unchanged until then. He just was placed yesterday so the water was new. Would it be ok if I do partial water changes over the weekend? I was thinking of doing 50% today and 50% Sunday. Maybe even Saturday too.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:59 AM   #2 
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Location: Mojave Desert, California
Keep in mind, OFL's information are more general guidelines as to when you should change your water. Personally, I think her recommendations are just slightly overkill, and arguably stressful for the fish. She also doesn't factor in how many fish you might have in the tank... which, as you might imagine, can greatly affect how often you should change the water.

As a general rule of thumb, not knowing anything about the water, or conditions, her suggestions are appropriate. However, if you can obtain a liquid test kit (API is a popular one), you'll get a better understanding of your particular tank. You might find that you only need to change the water once a week, or you might find that you need to change it every few days. But after a couple weeks, you'll get a feel for what your particular tank needs.

I'm not discrediting OFL here, I'm just saying that some people take what she says as gospel, when in reality, her suggestions are more conservative guidelines.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:09 PM   #3 
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If you just put him in his new water yesterday, he should be fine until Monday. I personally, would leave him until Monday then do a 100% water change and set up the filter at the same time. Most of my bettas are in unfiltered 3.5 gallons and I do 100% water changes every 4-5 days. If you prefer then one over the weekend would probably be more than enough.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:12 PM   #4 
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I had a 3 gallon tank that I cleaned twice weekly. I did 50% on Monday and 100% on Friday, to keep a steady schedule. My bettas weren't too stressed by it. I think a similar schedule would work well for you. :) Definitely try to get a liquid test kit though. Amazon has them cheap!
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:33 PM   #5 
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I am not sure I agree with the theory that water changes are overly stressful to fish (unless the water is unconditioned tap water at the wrong temp). I have seen Discus breeders in Malaysia and Thailand change 100% of the water every single day and they have the best fish I have ever seen and Discus are way more sensitive than Betta. I was skeptical about this myself until I did more regular water changes and saw for myself the difference it made in my own fish. I am not suggesting 100% water changes every day. All my tanks are filtered and I do 50% every other day on my smaller tanks and about 40% on my larger tanks twice a week. Most importantly I do this religiously, I don't think about leaving it for a week because they might be OK. If I can't remember if I did a water change yesterday and whether it needs doing or not, I do it anyway. The only time this is different is if I go on holiday when I do a 70% water change before I go and get my mother in law to come and feed them every other day, I know if I tell her every day she will over feed them.

As I mentioned in another post: people think that having a filter means they can cut down water changes and it cleans the water but a filter just helps the tank stay cycled which only stops your fish being poisoned by ammonia and nitrite. But the tank/filter still produces nitrates which are a growth inhibitor in fish and harmful if exposed in the long term. Nitrates to fish are like smoking is to people; 1 cigarette won't kill you but smoke regularly and increase the amount over time and it will stunt your growth and put you in an early grave.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:58 PM   #6 
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I have an API Liquid test kit.
For my other 2 tanks, they are 5 gallons each with one betta. They are filtered and fully cycled. I do 2 50% changes every week. My fish love having clean fresh water. My readings are always 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 5-10 Nitrates. I still do the change. I enjoy changing their water and interact with them. They are always more active after I change their water. I enjoy giving my pets a clean environment to live in. I was doing more than 2 times a week but I do think that was overkill as the tank was not cycling properly. When I switched to twice weekly the tanks finally cycled. I guess I just worry with this one because there is no water movement. Even if the ammonia and nitrites are low, I worry that the water would become "stale" just sitting there...
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:42 PM   #7 
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I dont think doing an extra 50% would hurt anything. I wouldn't do it everyday though unless its a very small tank.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:19 AM   #8 
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Before I learned all about heaters & filters etc,my first little boy Link lived in a big bowl that was unfiltered or heated and I did a 100% water change once a fortnight.(!) But he was always fantastic.I think your new boy will be more than fine till you get your filter.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:29 AM   #9 
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Alright, alright. You all have convinced me. I did do a water change yesterday (50%) and I'll do one tomorrow. I'm twitchy to do one today :P but I'll resist.
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