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Old 01-11-2011, 12:44 AM   #1 
Kiku
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Need clarification on water changes

I'm currently cycling my 10 gallon tank, it needs about another week and a half to go (or so). I want to be well prepared for a new fishy, so I need a bit of advice on water changes. How do I get everything clean without getting rid of good bacteria? I'm familiar with using a gravel vacuum, but other than that, what should I do or not do? Should I even rinse the decor or tank itself at all?

Especially after the tank is cycled, I've read that I should do a "major water change." What exactly does that entail?
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:00 AM   #2 
scootshoot
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http://animal-world.com/encyclo/fres...leAquarium.php

How the nitrogen cycle works: The nitrification cycle is actually pretty simple. It can seem hard because of a couple terms that are not familiar in our everyday language. But basically this is a simple three-step process.
  1. Step One The first thing that happens when you put fish in the tank is ammonia is produced. This is from the fish waste or excess foods that are decomposing.
  2. Step Two As the amount of ammonia starts to increase, a bacteria forms called nitrosomonas. This bacteria begins to convert the ammonia into nitrite. As the ammonia is converted to nitrite, the amount of ammonia will begin to drop and now the nitrites will begin to rise. Soon your ammonia test will show no more ammonia in your tank. This usually happens within the first week and a half of a normal cycle. Nitrite is also very toxic to fish, though not as hazardous as ammonia.
  3. Step Three As the nitrite levels increase, another bacteria forms, called nitrobacter. This second bacteria begins to convert the nitrite into nitrate. As it is converted to nitrate, the amount of nitrite will drop and the nitrates will begin to rise. Soon your nitrite test will show no more nitrite in your tank. This happens between three to six weeks in a normal cycle. Nitrate is harmless to fish but is one of the nutrients that plants and algae need and is the final product produced in the nitrification cycle. One of the reasons that water changes are recommended is to keep nitrates at lower levels.
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:10 AM   #3 
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In your 10 gallon, there should be no reason to clean ornaments in a healthy tank less you just don't like the appearance of algae. If you feel the need to clean your ornaments, use old tank water in a container and rinse there, never under a running tap water faucet as it will kill any bacteria that were forming on the decorations.

The only maintenance you really need to do in your 10 are periodic water changes and gravel siphoning once or twice a month.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:33 AM   #4 
JaspersANGEL
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+1 on what scootshoot said about the water changes and gravel siphoning.
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