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Old 07-16-2011, 11:15 AM   #1 
Shaon
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Lightbulb Cleaning 15G Tank!

Hey everyone!

As my cycling process approaches its end, I'm planning to do a 80% water change in my 15G tank. However, I want to make sure I do it correctly because I hear that the good bacteria will die out when the surface becomes dry. It may take me a while to do the water change (~30 min)

Here is what I would do.

1. Take off hood and unplug it.
2. Unplug heater and filter.
3. Start taking out the water using a bucket.
4. Once 80% is removed; start putting in new water (use bowl to not disturb the substrate)
5. Once appropriate water level is reached, use dechlorinator.
6. Plug heater and filter back on.
7. Put hood back on.

I'm worried that the bacteria might die out if the area goes dry before I'm able to refill the water. Also, when we say that bacteria live in the filter media what do we mean by that?

I'm scared that if i screw up I have to recycle. AGHHH!!! Appreciate the help guys
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:47 AM   #2 
Shaon
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Can anyone tell me if my approach to cleaning the tank is the right one? How do you guys clean your 5G, 10G, 15G? Is there a risk of recycling when huge water changes are done?
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:00 AM   #3 
Fermin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaon View Post
Hey everyone!

As my cycling process approaches its end, I'm planning to do a 80% water change in my 15G tank. However, I want to make sure I do it correctly because I hear that the good bacteria will die out when the surface becomes dry. It may take me a while to do the water change (~30 min)

Here is what I would do.

1. Take off hood and unplug it.
2. Unplug heater and filter.
3. Start taking out the water using a bucket.
4. Once 80% is removed; start putting in new water (use bowl to not disturb the substrate)
5. Once appropriate water level is reached, use dechlorinator.
6. Plug heater and filter back on.
7. Put hood back on.

I'm worried that the bacteria might die out if the area goes dry before I'm able to refill the water. Also, when we say that bacteria live in the filter media what do we mean by that?

I'm scared that if i screw up I have to recycle. AGHHH!!! Appreciate the help guys
What are your latest water chemistry readings? I would only change the water enough to bring down your nitrate levels. No need to do a massive change and disrupt the tank environment.

Since you are worried about things drying out, change 25% of your water and then re-test the parameters the next day. If nitrates are still high, change out another 25% and re-test the next day, and so on.

Hope this helps

EDIT: Oh, and no need to unplug your filter during water changes. You want water/oxygen/nutrients to keep flowing through the filter media where the majority of your cycling bacteria are living.

Last edited by Fermin; 07-17-2011 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:55 AM   #4 
vaygirl
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In the future if you have to unplug and remove the filter for any reason but you wanna retain your filter media (that's your cartridge, sponge and ceramic rings, whatever the filter came with inside) you can put it in a bucket with old tank water enough to cover it as long as it's no longer then 6 hours.

I've heard other numbers and I've also read that if it's longer then that, using an airstone in the bucket will extend the life of the bacteria up to 24-36 hours. Without ammonia to eat it'll starve and die off eventually.
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:16 PM   #5 
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Yes, my general rule of thumb is to not take out water that goes down below the filter intake. Then I can just leave the filter running so I don't have to worry about die off.

Now that is not true for mega water changes in our giant 55-240 gallon tanks. During those we do turn off the filters, clean the media in old tank water (in a bathtub), etc.

But for such a small tank, 25-50% changes should do you just fine. Even if you had to do 2 50% changes (so you end up taking out some of the new water) that would probably end up being easier than doing one 80%.
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Old 07-17-2011, 12:24 PM   #6 
Shaon
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The reason I'm doing such a massive water change is because some of the threads in this forum advise to do so at the end of a cycling process. Is this water change done because of the nitrate levels?
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:32 PM   #7 
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I would maybe do 2 50% waterchanges a few days apart and then check water param.
I don't think 30 minutes will hurt your cycle though...Sometimes my filter is off a little longer than that if I am replanted plants and cleaning spot algae off the glass and stuff...As long as the filter media/gravel stays damp/wet you should be fine..
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:36 PM   #8 
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Dont worry about doing the large water changes, I have a 14.5g myself, and I just do 50% weekly. If I feel like it, I do an 80% one. Bacteria can live for a couple hours without water, but if you can keep the filter on during a 50% change then it's best to do so :)
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Old 07-17-2011, 01:38 PM   #9 
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Hmm, thanks for the help everyone :)

I'm still wondering though, because so many threads mention a huge water change once the tank has been cycled. Is this water change done because of the nitrate levels?

I have plants that can use a bit of nitrate and so I don't think I'll need to make such a huge water change because of this. Am I right?
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