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Old 08-25-2011, 07:50 PM   #1 
Banicks's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
Clarification on my first water change

G’Day All :)

I will be undertaking my very first water change and wanted some advice. Please excuse me if I seem to ask very simple questions, I’ve never owned a fish before and wanted to ensure I get it right the first time :)

My first change will be a 50% WC for my 23L (6g) tank with filter and heater. What I do know this far is that when I obtain fresh water for the tank, I add a full 100% dose of the water conditioner, to the 50% fresh water that will be poured into the tank.

Questions are:

#1: Do I leave Betta in the tank free roaming – or do I temporarily re-house him in a bag/bowl filled with existing tank water?

#2: I have been told that if I syphon using a hose and disrupt the substrate (I am using gravel), that this may cause an ammonia spike. Do I make an attempt to clean the substrate – or do I just syphon water until desired % is reached?

#3: Any tips for pouring fresh water into the tank to cause minimal disruption to substrate?

Many thanks :D

Last edited by Banicks; 08-25-2011 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:25 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Apr 2011
You can leave him in.

You only get an ammonia spike disturbing substrate if it has been undisturbed for a long time. Thus, I make a point of always stirring it up some with every water change, including under any decorations.

I put my bucket of water on top of a second upside down bucket and just siphon the water into the tank. If you want to pour it in, pour slowly onto something that will break the pressure. For example, one of my tanks has a floating beta log in it and I pour the water into that if I don't want to take the time to siphon it in.

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Old 08-25-2011, 08:36 PM   #3 
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You can leave him in, but i always find it's better to remove him before changing because my bettas like to nip at the siphon hose. Also, i think it's less stress letting him swim in from a cup then dumping 3 gallons of water on him.
Just my opinion.
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:23 PM   #4 
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Location: Southern California
it really depends on your betta; if he freaks out when you change his water and when you use the siphon, you can take him out. but, if he looks like he's more stressed in his cup, leave him in.

my betta just hates being put in his cup, and he doesn't mind the siphon and is more curious about it and wonders if it can bring him food. haha

i also agree with kumi about slowly pouring the water on something instead of just pouring it back into the tank. i have a leaf hammock that sticks to the side of the tank, and i pour it on the leaf and it really helps.

good luck! (:
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:05 PM   #5 
Princess Penny
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If there is room for it, you can put a clean glass/ceramic bowl on the bottom of the tank and pour the water into that to keep it from disturbing the substrate too much. This is what I used to do with my old 20gal :)
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Old 08-26-2011, 03:59 AM   #6 
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Siphoning with the fish in is the easy way...easier on the fish, too, in my opinion. It helps when the siphon tube and the intake end is matched to the gravel, so that you aren't constantly sucking up gravel and blocking the tube.

For instance, I use 5/16 tubing (easy to suck/start and it's moderately/safely fast for a 5gal). The siphon tube is stuck into the intake end', a one-inch ID pill bottle. I taped a plastic rod to the side for grip/control. This gadget is strong enough to pickup debris without disturbing the gravel or plants too much. You may have to experiment with your size gravel.

If your fish is the curious kind, just be careful. But the suction doesn't seem dangerously strong.

When I'm in a hurry, I just pour the water in over my (clean) hand with a one-quart measuring cup (for control). This doesn't stir up the bottom or disturb the plants.

When I have time, my fish enjoy having water poured on them! Go figure...crazy Betta.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:06 AM   #7 
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Thanks very much guys.

I did my water change when I got home from work today. All went well, I put Victor in a temporary glass jar home just to make sure anything didn't stress him. Pulled the jug underwater and he was dragged into it with the water (least stressful method I could think of). Switched off heater and pump.

Cut an old garden hose for siphon tube, ran hot water through it for safety. Shook driftwood and attached anubias a little and took out. Then siphoned 50% out. Scratched substrate around. Went and emptied out old water, put fresh water equal + little bit more for top off and added water conditioner for 100% amount.

Put driftwood + anubias back into tank to diffuse siphon of freshwater! Turned water filter onto maximum flow to begin filtration of any floaty bits and turned heater on. Left it for about 30 minutes, then slowly placed jug back into water and allowed Victor to swim out!

All done and just monitoring him for now :) I'm heading into my fish store tomorrow for some another piece of driftwood, some plants and a light! - I will be taking a sample of tank water for testing and hopefully all will be well :D
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