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Old 08-07-2013, 09:38 PM   #1 
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basic water change questions

Hello,

I have one 5.5 gallon tank with 2 (divided) bettas, and 2 more bettas, each in 1/2 gallon bowls (temporarily----they will get their own tanks after we move later this month.)

I was uninformed, and put the two in the tank with a filter and heater and thought that was enough. I now realize I'm lucky they lived. Apparently the tank is now cycling. I have rocks and silk and plastic plants, plus the mesh divider. But I have not done a water change since they went in the tank about 4 months ago.

I have been doing 100% water changes for the fish in bowls every few days. They have been fine (except for the one I accidentally killed when I forgot (apparently) the water conditioner.)

I finally became enlightened this week, and did a partial water change in the tank yesterday. I'm seeing posts on here about people who do 50% and/or 100% water changes on their fish in tanks. I'd really like to do a 100% water change, because there is so much crud in there---vacuuming yesterday stirred it all up----it was disgusting. It has settled back down, of course, but now that I know about it I want it gone.

I now know I need to test the water but I haven't used my new kit yet because I want that water gone either way because of all the crud.

However, I saw somewhere that 100% water change is dangerous. Yet obviously people are doing it.
1) In what way is it dangerous and what can I do to make it safe?
2) I read to put clean tap water in a bucket to refill the tank, and adjust the temperature with the faucets. I was taught by my mother (who was taught by her mother) to never use hot water from the tap for drinking because the hot water heater has corroded filth in it. I realize they may have been completely wrong, but I need reassurance.
3) Is there anything else I need to know?

Thanks everyone,

Ann, my daughter Sarita, and our lovely fish: Ray, Aretha, Stevie, and Whitney
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:14 PM   #2 
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It's not "dangerous" per se but some things can go more wrong if you do 100% rather than smaller amounts. In a cycling tank it's best not to do a 100% because of the beneficial Bacteria that you're trying to grow. So you just do smaller changes instead.

Instead of doing 100% do a 50% every day, this will help keep ammonia down, give your fish fresh water to help any ammonia burns they might have and replenish the minerals they need And you can do it every day until your crud goes away! It is very possible your tank is already cycled but without the water changes, you'll still have high levels of Nitrate which are taken out with water changes.

And to answer about tap, that might have been turn ages ago and if you live in a much older house or at least with an old water heater but I've never heard that and I've never had a problem with our water. We live in a house that was built 1965 so it's not terribly old but old enough I'd say ^_^ We actually have a new water heater since our last one sprung a leak but still never had trouble before that.

And while you're doing your cleaning, it's best to try to do the gravel in sections so you don't stir up a heck of a lot of stuff. The over exposure of mulm, detritus, poop and other organic compounds can make fish sick so tomorrow when you do your 25-50% water change, just focus on one side of the tank instead of both and that will help ^_^

And of course always use your water conditioner Sorry about the one you killed though, I've killed four before and from stupid mistakes as well but it's alright. It's unfortunate but it's how we learn. But anyway, if you need to get that just right temp, take a glass thermometer and put it under the tap to get your perfect 78-80 degree's that should help too.

Also gently put the water back in, if you need to; grab a plastic cup and scoop water out from the bucket and then push the cup into the water up to the water line and gently tip over and the water will gently flow out I use that for my Baby Betta's when they were young ^_^ and for the old/sick Betta's as well. It's least stressful and easier so you don't know everything all around.
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:28 PM   #3 
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Thank you so much!!!
Great info and tips---I feel much more confident and ready to proceed! (It was really hard to move after my big faux pas, but of course, I must proceed.)

And I'm in awe of your sorority tank!

Ann
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:56 AM   #4 
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Ahh thank you!!! I do love my sorority ^_^ they're all so cute and all have quite the ego's lol XD

Glad I could help! Feel free to PM me if you've got questions ^_^ or you can just make a new thread asking questions too haha. Even if you think it seems silly, ask it because that's how we learn
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:43 PM   #5 
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3 water changes later and all is well! :)

Happy fish!
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:54 PM   #6 
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Great!! Glad to hear that ^_^
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:50 AM   #7 
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If your fish are alive after 4mo without a water change, I can virtually guarantee that your tank is cycled.

So what are your readings?
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:32 PM   #8 
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I figured.... Actually, I'll be dismantling it in a couple of days so I decided not to bother at this point.

As far as moving the tank, I was planning on draining it except for maybe 1/2 " water to keep the rocks & fake plants wet. Do you think the bacteria will be able to pick up where they left off? I cringe at starting over, now that I know how badly I did it last time!

The fish will travel in the cups they came in. They'll be in their cups for 2 days, plus whatever time it takes me to get the tanks up & running, which hopefully won't be more than a couple of days.

Can anyone steer me to the proper protocol to get a tank cycling? I have the one tank, but will have 3 when we get to SC.

Thanks!

Ann
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:48 PM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New Betta Lovers View Post
I figured.... Actually, I'll be dismantling it in a couple of days so I decided not to bother at this point.

As far as moving the tank, I was planning on draining it except for maybe 1/2 " water to keep the rocks & fake plants wet. Do you think the bacteria will be able to pick up where they left off? I cringe at starting over, now that I know how badly I did it last time!

The fish will travel in the cups they came in. They'll be in their cups for 2 days, plus whatever time it takes me to get the tanks up & running, which hopefully won't be more than a couple of days.

Can anyone steer me to the proper protocol to get a tank cycling? I have the one tank, but will have 3 when we get to SC.

Thanks!

Ann
Suck up all the water in the tank, you won't be able to suck everything up and there will be water in left covering the substrate, which will let the bacteria live. Throw your filter media in there too, make sure they're covered in the tank water as well.

When you set up your tank again the bacteria should hopefully be still alive, worse case is that most of your BB has died so and you'll only get a jump start to cycling.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:55 AM   #10 
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Heat, cold and drying out are what really kill bacteria. As long as they're kept wet and <90*F and >40*F They'll live for months. They go dormant after a few days, but will revive with oxygen (filter running) and food (ammonia from livestock). Easy fish-in recycle. Just watch your readings.
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