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Old 01-07-2010, 01:37 AM   #1 
aerahfishy
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Newbie question about small tank maintenance

Okay so what I've been told and what I'm reading about small tank care is very conflicting. I have a small 2-2.5 gallon tank with 1 fish in it right now. I was told to change out all the water completely once a week because of its size, but then I read alot only change 15-20% of the water. I usually put the fish aside in its old tank water, drain the tank, rinse out the rocks thoroughly, wipe the tank, refill and add water treatment to water of the same heat, then drop the fish back in with some of his old water....
What should I be doing with a small tank?
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:40 AM   #2 
AngelicScars
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In that size I would do weekly 100% water changes.
Now, are you acclimating the fish before putting it back in the tank or are you really just dropping the fish back in?
Make sure to acclimate always!
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:02 AM   #3 
BettaxFishxCrazy
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I clean my 2.5Gs twice a week 100% because I'm OCD or something.lol When I do water changes, I put new water into the temporary bowls that's the same temperature as the tank and than scoop the fish up with a net and put it in there. Than after I've cleaned it, I put the fish back in. Since I put new water in the temporary bowl, I never put old water back in.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:05 PM   #4 
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with a 2 gallon tank you should do 1 100% change a week. If you cycle your tank THEN you can go to two 20-30% pwc weekly.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:06 PM   #5 
kelly528
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Whether you give your aquarium 100% cleanings or 25% cleanings depends on whether you cycle it (establish a colony of bacteria in the filter to break down wastes). Here is a brief overview of the difference between cycling a tank vs. an uncycled tank:

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Rotting food and fish waste produces a toxin called ammonia. This is usually what kills fish when the tank isn't cleaned often enough. Given enough ammonia, bacteria called Nitrosomonas start living off it and starting a colony in the tank. They live on all the surfaces, primarily the filter because it contains the most surface area. They eat the ammonia and produce a less-harmful waste product called nitrIte.

When nitrIte builds up, it attracts another kind of bug called Nitrobacter bacteria. They do all the same stuff as Nitrosomonas, only with the nitrIte instead of ammonia. What comes out the other end is a chemical called nitrAte. It's only harmless in big amounts. You then vacuum the nitrAte out of the tank when you do the water change. It doesn't take alot of vacuuming to remove.

In an uncycled tank, you skip the bacteria by sucking all the ammonia up yourself. Since you are cleaning out all the ammonia before the bacteria get a chance to dig in, they never really colonise the tank. So you take care of all the ammonia yourself, which requires bigger water changes to eliminate.

AMMONIA >nitrosomonas bacteria> NITRITE >nitrobacter bacteria> NITRATE => Water Change
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So basically you don't have to clean a cycled tank 100% because the remaining nitrate is not very harmful and keeping most of the water in the tank preserves beneficial bacteria. Whether you want to cycle a 2g tank is up to you, but personally I recommend keeping anything under 2.5g uncycled because it is hard to keep the bacterial colony stable in such a small tank. And if the bacteria die off, ammonia will build up in the tank without you knowing it.

Last edited by kelly528; 01-07-2010 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:15 PM   #6 
aerahfishy
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Awesome, thanks people. And now I understand WHY to change the water too :P
My water turned real murky overnight, so what I've read to do is start doing partial water changes daily because that's a common occurance with new tanks/fish, and then when it comes time to do my weekly water change I can stop the partials.
There's a great sale right now at my local petsmart for a 20gallon tank assy for 79 bucks so I think I'll go get that and start cycling it ASAP.
Thanks again for the info.
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:44 PM   #7 
kelly528
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerahfishy View Post
Awesome, thanks people. And now I understand WHY to change the water too :P
My water turned real murky overnight, so what I've read to do is start doing partial water changes daily because that's a common occurance with new tanks/fish, and then when it comes time to do my weekly water change I can stop the partials.
There's a great sale right now at my local petsmart for a 20gallon tank assy for 79 bucks so I think I'll go get that and start cycling it ASAP.
Thanks again for the info.
Good call! A large tank will make your life considerably easier.

The 'cloudiness' you are seeing is actually ammonia.
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