I have a 30g tall, 10g divided with 2 bettas, a 10g with one betta, and a 5g QT tank currently holding a corycat. When I first got a betta, he was in a 2.5g tank, and once a week I could empty half of his water using tupperware bowls and trudge down the dorm hall to the bathroom where I would dump the bad water, fill the bowls up with the correct temperature water, take them back to the room, add dechlorinator, and dump them in. Then, once a week I would remove betta from the tank, carry the whole full 2.5g tank to the bathroom, dump out the whole tank, fill it with temperature correct water, lug it back to the dorm, add dechlorinator, and acclimate.
I bought a 5g system, cycled it, and put him in there. At this point, I didn't ever have to do a 100% change. Just a bi-weekly half a bucket gravel vac and added in fresh water. This made life a little bit easier, but now I had a bucket to carry. Half a bucket wasn't bad. Then, I moved up to a 10g tank. The buckets got heavier.
Now, I have a 30g tank. And my fiance is tired of hauling now 2 full buckets per water change. He hated it even more when I mentioned a few minutes ago we need to do a 50% change on the tank.
So, out of curiosity, how do you all do your water changes? D: I've thought about investing in one of those fancy siphons that go directly to the faucet and take water both to and from the faucet, but I'm concerned that water straight from the faucet to the tank would harm my fish even if I do add water conditioner to the tank before running the water in there.
I initially wanted to cycle, but I have so many plants in my boys tanks that I don't get enough ammonia to start the process.
I do a 100% wc at the end of each week. I have my tanks in my bedroom, both are 6g tanks and I initially thought I could carry them to the bathroom for their changes. Too much slushing would occur so I just siphon 75% of the water into a dedicated fishy bucket. Then I cup betta and place him into the bucket, place plant into bucket. End result is a transplanted tank into a bucket. Walk tank to bathroom to rinse substrate and wipe gunky walls off, siphon fresh water from 2nd fishy bucket into tank up to 35% level then take tank back to position in bedroom. Take plants out and rinse any gunk or crud off, replant and then continue siphoning fresh water into tank until at around 100% level and turn heater on, add conditioner let settle for a moment.
Fishy usually sees all activity is finished, is starting to reach room temperature in bucket by then and is ready for re-cupping, release and investigation of re-organised tank. Proceed forward a few hours, bubble nest is begun and next morning I usually have one or two the size of my palm under which they wait for food.
I do this twice, takes less than an hour. All good :D
For both of my tanks I take fresh tap water, pour it in and then immediately add conditioner. And when I say immediately, I have my conditioner ready and waiting, somewhere in front of the tank in a place that's easy to grab.
To remove water- I either use a glass measuring cup or siphon, which I pour into a dedicated fish bucket, until I reach the percentage of water I want changed, then pour the water out, rinse the bucket and refill with fresh water to pour into the tank.
I used to take my fish out during water changes. But I brought home a boy, who I was more concerned about how the stress of taking him out of his tank would effect him vs. having some diluted conditioned water for a few moments; and he's been thriving so, I've started leaving both of them in while I do changes.
It should be interesting to see how everyone else does theirs.
Currently I have one male betta in a 5.5 gallon set-up. Tank is cycled.
I use the tube that came with a siphon kit (I've detached the gravel vacuum and just use the tube) and siphon out about 30% of his water. I leave Vimes in his tank for this. I use a wooden skewer to poke at his gravel before I siphon so I can dislodge any big particles. For a 5.5, this is just under a 2gal bucket, so I dump the bucket in the tub.
My warm tap water doesn't test high for metals, so I usually "wrist test" the water to be about the same temperature. I had an extra thermometer handy for the first few weeks, but I'm used to doing this for bread dough so I seemed to be pretty accurate (water stayed within 2F of goal). I add Seachem Prime before I add any tap water and mix it in thoroughly before adding back to the tank.
So far, Vimes doesn't seem to mind water changes. I try to time them so he eats right after and that seems to forgive any transgressions I may have committed. I've used both siphon & cup-to-bucket methods. I think the siphon disturbs Vimes less.
When I had a 29gal community I would do 2 smaller changes a week instead of one larger one. Procedure was the same except I did use the gravel vacuum attachment & filled 2 buckets with water.
I leave my boys in for water changes, too. I have a 5 and a 10 gallon, and my three seem far less stressed when they're left in than when I have to chase them with a cup.
I siphon the water out of the tank, mix up my dechlorinated water in a separate bucket, and use a cup to add the fresh water back into the tank.
The only hindrance for me is that I'm renting an upstairs room in my dad's house, so I have to go up and down the stairs four or five times. (small bucket is easier to carry, but requires more trips.) But at least I'm getting exercise. Good way to justify the money I've spent on fish - I don't need a gym membership!
So far, Vimes doesn't seem to mind water changes. I try to time them so he eats right after and that seems to forgive any transgressions I may have committed.
I'm so glad I'm not the only one who "bribes" my fish after water changes! Walter is so used to this routine now that he hovers around the siphon, bumping it now and again as if to say, "Aren't you done YET?? I'm starving here!"
Needless to say, I have to push the vacuum right against the gravel so the little brat doesn't get sucked in.
For my uncycled tanks I do 100% water changes every 2nd or 3rd day depending on whether I can be bothered or not.
I unplug the heater, take out whatever decorations and plants are in there and then cup the resident betta. I use a gravel siphon to remove 50% of the water and then I pour the rest out myself (tanks are bare-bottom). I use some paper towel to clean any scum or watermarks off the glass and then I put the tank back up on the rack.
I tip the old water down the sink or on the garden, and then I just re-fill the bucket with tapwater. I add some Prime and Neutral Regulator, give it all a swish and pour it back into the tank. Once everything is back in place, I simply tip the betta out into his tank and plug the heater back in.
It takes around 10-15 minutes per tank, depending on where it is and whether I spill water everywhere while re-filling. I have 7 of these tanks as well as 20 odd others, so it can take a couple hours some days to do water changes.
This is fascinating; I'm getting some good ideas. So far, I have Banicks as the clubhouse leader for dedicated service. Quick question after reading Banicks' technique: I have not been removing/grooming my plants because I assumed they'd be better left alone. Anyone else have thoughts on this topic?
Once a week, I fill a 5 gal bucket with tap water using my hand to ballpark the temp. I add conditioner and place a thermometer in the bucket. I return to the tank, vacuum the gravel, and siphon out 5 of 15gal into a 2nd bucket. Not sure exactly how much water the decor displaces, but the eyeball test suggests that this is about a 40% change. I dump this water and check the temp on the other bucket. If necessary I add a splash of hot or cold water to get it closer to the target. I have a plastic 1-gal carton (originally held distilled water) from which I removed a large rectangular swatch under the handle. I use this to transfer fresh water into the tank by dipping it into the 5 gal bucket, placing the cap on the carton, transferring it to the tank, removing the cap, then pouring out the spout, through my fingers, and against the front glass. Surely not the most efficient method, but I like to think it makes the process less stressful for the inhabitants, all of whom are left in the tank for the duration!
Curious, Ajones (apologies, not sure what to call you): what size buckets do you use?
For 100% water changes I start by filling a 5-gallon bucket (using a 5-quart bucket) with approximately like-temp water (I'm always high by at least a few degrees), secure the lid, and carry to the room. I let that sit (with lid still on) and unplug the heaters while simultaneously setting the timer on my iPod (15 minutes and then it quacks, haha). Once that goes off I cup the Bettas -- usually I just set the cup in there and they eventually get curious and swim into it -- and give them a pellet through the lid (especially now that the boys have been jumping for food on occasion), set them on another Betta's tank (or just aside), and pull the decorations and put them in the smaller bucket. I have a 5-gallon trash bin that I use to siphon the water into and I make sure to thoroughly vacuum the gravel.
Once the water's siphoned out I rinse the decorations in warm/hot water and then come back to start filling, filling a little bit before I start putting decor back in. Then I fill the rest of the way and let the cup float, adding Prime and Stress Coat while they float.
I'll wait for the water to reach the right temp before I plug the heaters back in. When it's time to add the fish back in I dump them into the net (over the bin which I had siphoned the old water into) and then let them swim out and into their tank (or gently pull the net away from around them if possible).
The final step is dumping any remaining water into the bin, carrying that to the bathroom, and dumping it all down the toilet.
For 50% water changes I fill the 5-gallon bucket with a little more water than I'll need, add Prime and Stress Coat once in the room, and stick a thermometer in there. While I wait I, once again, set the timer and unplug the heaters. Once the right temp is reached I siphon about half the tank water into the 5-gallon bin, siphon fresh water into the tank, and plug the heaters back in once the level is right. Again, at the end I dump any remaining water into the bin and carry to the bathroom to dump down the toilet.