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Old 09-22-2011, 04:55 PM   #1 
Strat725
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Partial Water Change Question

Hello!
I am a brand new betta owner and I have a question about partial water changes. I have a 3 gallon Eclipse tank (with the three step water filtration system and a heater) for my one betta. My first question is how often should I do a water change (given the filtration) and how much water should I change? Also, when doing a partial water change (say, 20-30%) should I take my fish out of the tank to do that or would it be less stressful for him to leave him in there?
Thanks!!
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:15 PM   #2 
tf1265
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Definitely leave the fish in for partial water changes. It's far more stressful to pull them out of them tank, into a holding container, and then dump him back in than to just have him deal with the water current for a few seconds while putting in new water. The shallowness won't bother him - bettas do very well in shallow water. As long as there are still about 4 inches of water in the tank, he'll be fine.

As for how much and how often...it depends on a couple things. Are you planning on cycling your tank? With a filtration system it's possible, and it's always healthier for the fish. If you cycle your tank, you can do a 30% water change (1 gallon) once a week. While it's cycling, you will need to do more (20% daily).

If you don't cycle your tank, you will need to change the water more frequently. 2 x weekly 50% water changes, and at least once a month a 100% change with gravel vaccuum. Some recommend that you do a gravel clean more often than once a month.
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:22 PM   #3 
Sena Hansler
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3 gallons is a lot harder to cycle. in my experience, 5 and up seem to cycle a lot better with no problems. a 3 gallon you could do a 30-50% water change weekly (as corrected on another thread by someone), adding tap water conditioner. you don't have to remove him, you can just remove most of the water with him still in there. I do a gravel siphoning every time I clean my tanks (big and small tanks)
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:23 PM   #4 
Strat725
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Thanks! I'm not quite sure what cycling the tank means. What is that and how would I do it?
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Old 09-22-2011, 05:28 PM   #5 
Sena Hansler
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Cycling. usually a fishless cycle - best done with 5 gallons and up as smaller tanks need too much cleaning for the beneficial bacteria to settle in.

The tank is running with a filter on, and the use of something raw, or even just fish food will kick in ammonia. For 4-6 weeks this tank runs without fish. This keeps ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the "cycle" where levels are low and harmless. Ammonia should only spike if the tank is uncleaned, or adding another fish (not recommended with bettas in stuff under I would say 7 gallons... personally. except maybe a snail...)

When it is cycled, it is also less cleaning. instead of we'll say an uncycled 5 gallon, which then you need to clean almost daily, or every other day until it cycles with the fish (fish can get sick during this time depending on immune system and water levels)... the cycled tank may need to be cleaned once a week with gravel siphoning to get up poo and such, usually 20-30%.

Some people use fish to do a cycle, like minnows... but this is more risky, and more cleaning.
I have only had a problem with one betta in uncycled water. Most can tolerate it, as long as you use tap water conditioner and clean :)
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:00 PM   #6 
cajunamy
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http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

You can do 50% once a week water changes in your 3 gallon. Leave the fish in, and just be gentle and watch out in case he's curious and wants to see what your gravel vac is lol

And a correction to Sena's post -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sena Hansler View Post

The tank is running with a filter on, and the use of something raw, or even just fish food will kick in ammonia. For 4-6 weeks this tank runs without fish. This keeps ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the "cycle" where levels are low and harmless. Ammonia should only spike if the tank is uncleaned, or adding another fish (not recommended with bettas in stuff under I would say 7 gallons... personally. except maybe a snail...)
The levels of ammonia, and nitrite are not safe while the tank is cycling, even when you are doing a fish-less cycle. Ammonia will spike at the beginning of a cycle, and this is normal. If you keep your fish in during the cycle, you will need to do 50% water changes every day, and the use of Prime which detoxifies ammonia and nitrite is also helpful.


You can keep an uncycled/unfiltered tank/bowl. The frequency of water changes will depend on the containers size



eta: For the first month or so while your tank is cycling, 50% water changes daily, and use a product like Prime or NovAqua+ to detoxify the ammonia and nitrites. Once you have some bio bacteria in your tank to handle the load from your one fish, you can change 50% of the water once a week. I have had a 2.5 gallon and a 3 gallon cycle. You just have to watch it carefully - the best way to do this is to buy a test kit. The best one to get is the API master test kit. You'll be able to watch your ammonia, nitrite, nitrates and pH with it. Don't get test strips, they are basically useless.

Congrats on your new betta! Cared for properly (heated, clean water and a variety of quality foods) he will give you years of entertainment and joy :)

Last edited by cajunamy; 09-22-2011 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:09 PM   #7 
Sena Hansler
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lol I meant it will be stable AFTER cycling >< that's what I meant... not... that it is stable throughout ><
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:48 PM   #8 
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Your tank CAN be cycled. I've successfully cycled tanks as small as 2.5 gallons with great results provided proper bioload is maintained as well as water quality.

I have an eclipse 3 and it has been cycled for over 2 years and there was only one instance where I went through a mini-cycle and that was when I moved the tank.

As long as there are TONS of space for bacteria to grow you CAN cycle a smaller tank. I fill my filters with sponge and ceramic rings which provides tons of surface area for bacteria to grow.

Also, unless your tank is properly cycled you need to do at least one 100% change a week to remove all the ammonia in the tank. That includes removing the gravel or at least heavily vacuuming it and taking the water as far down as possible.

The reason being is without the bacteria neutralizing the ammonia or doing 100% water changes to remove the ammonia you risk exposing your fish to ever growing levels of ammonia.

Think of it this way. You have a tank and before a water change you are at .5ppm of ammonia (which is a dangerous level for fish). You change 50% of the water which effectively dilutes your ammonia present to .25ppm. Now your tank is clean, but you still have an ammonia reading of .25ppm (not good). The week goes by and now your tank is up to .75ppm of ammonia. You do a 50% change and dilute your ammonia levels to .375 ppm. NOW your "clean tank" has even MORE ammonia in it. See where I'm going?

Anywho I highly recommend cycling your tank. It can be pretty confusing at first but if you have questions you can ask or read one of the million threads people post here about cycling, I'm always open to questions via PM also. The eclipse tanks IME cycle really well and hold a cycle really well and IMO the benefits far outweigh the short period of hassle. (Especially if you're doing a fish in cycle).
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