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Old 07-15-2010, 06:14 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cambridge, MA
Cycled tank questions!


My betta fish's "uncle," after caring for my fish Vern for almost two weeks, presented Vern (and me) with a planted and fully cycled 5-gallon tank for my little guy. It is absolutely gorgeous, but I have a few questions:

1. The tank has a filter. How can I tell if the current is too strong? I can see the plants moving, and my little guy seems to struggle a bit when he swims near it, but he can "hide" from the current in many parts of the tank.

2. If it is too strong, how can I "weaken" the current on the filter without killing the bacteria or plants?

3. I have been reading conflicting things about water changes. I know that you do not do a full water change with cycled tanks ever.....I had read a 20% change every other week, with gravel vacuuming about once a month, but other sites and aquarium owners have been giving me conflicting information. Any suggestions?

THANK YOU for your help!! I'll post pictures as soon as I can clear out my current (full) memory card!!
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Old 07-15-2010, 06:56 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
In a 5g filtered/cycled and planted with one Betta, IMO-water changes of 50% weekly, however, depending on the number and type of plants the percent could be less and vacuuming weekly in areas without plants with a light hover in areas with plant roots so not to disturb the roots.

You also have to look at the fish waste as ferts for the plants and by leaving it the plants eat good...but, depending on the number/type of plants too much waste can cause too high nutrients and then algae or ammonia.......

Hard to give a straight answer when you can have so many variable and this is often why you can have so many different answers to the same have to find out what works best for your tank, fish, source water...etc......laffs....wish it was that easy...but a good starting point IMO would be weekly 50% and as you go and test the water tweek-it to fit the tank/fish/plant needs...everyone of my tanks has a different cleaning level, time, percent all based on the tank itself

Fresh, clean, dechlorinated water can be a good thing and it can also prevent health and fin issues, even when the water look clean and clear you can still have organic that need to be removed, however, lots of the right type of plants can work as the filter decreasing the percent need of the weekly water changes.

You can baffle the filter if it seems to be too strong, however, as long as the Betta can get away from the current to rest, IMO the current can be a good thing and help exercise the Betta...but on the flip side-that same current can shred a flag blowing in the wind......

What kind of plants and how many plants, what kind of substrate, type of lighting, watts per gallon, ferts used, feeding schedule, photoperiod, age of set-up, stocking, filtration type..... etc are all factors that can play a role in how much and how often the water changes need to be IMO/E
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