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Old 09-15-2011, 04:28 PM   #1 
Sea Turtles
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: MD
Newbie Question: Water changes

So I'm hoping to get my first tank and betta soon, but I'm a little lost when it comes to cleaning the tank and water changes.

I plan on getting a 10 gallon tank, cycling it, and sticking to fake plants (except a marimo ball probably ). I'd only have one fishy in there, and possibly a snail. I'd like to use sand as opposed to gravel, since I think it looks nice and I've heard its easier to keep clean.

Could someone walk me through what water changing entails? Like, baby steps for just a regular water change that would need to be done on a regular basis (weekly? More? Less? What would a tank like that probably need?) How often would the whole tank need to be cleaned?

Sorry if this is a lot to ask. It's funny, I feel like I've read up enough to be semi-confident caring for the fish, and completely oblivious when caring for the tank!
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Old 09-15-2011, 04:36 PM   #2 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: California
First, keep in mind that sand needs to be kept aerated. Otherwise you will get toxic gas built up. You can get trumpet snails or live plants (stem plants, with roots!) to combat this. Otherwise you have to move it around.

Okay, so if you are going to cycle, you are going to get really comfortable with water changes really fast because if you do a fish-in cycle you are going to be doing water changes just about every day until it cycles (this is to keep your fish alive). With a 10 gallon, only one fish and a snail, once it is cycled you would probably do a 25% change once a week. Using a siphon to pick up any fish poops you can find.
You would probably never do a 'whole cleaning' on the tank unless you were tearing it down. Just siphoning out waste will do most of the maintenance. You might need to scrub algae off the walls. Change filter media (depending on what filter you have, you might just rinse out the media once a month, or change it out if you have carbon). With a tank that large you can basically set it up to do most of the work for you.

Remember this: take care of the water, the fish will follow.
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Old 09-15-2011, 05:01 PM   #3 
Sea Turtles
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: MD
Wow, that's not nearly as much work as I'd been planning for!

When you siphon, is it best to put the fish in a temporary container, or will he be ok staying in the tank? How often does the sand need aerating if I were to do it myself? Is that something that needs attention daily, or something to do during the water change?

Thanks for such a quick answer!
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