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Old 01-31-2012, 08:47 AM   #1 
n3wport's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Norristown, PA
How do you feel about 100% water changes?

Hey guys what's up. Haven't been on here in awhile!

Anyways, I have 2 tanks. One 5 gallon with a filter, and one 10 gallon with no filter.

I plan on redoing both these tanks. I do regular water changes, but over time there is some algae, and that darn protein skim. I just want to dump it all out and redo the tank from the gravel up.

Also, my 2nd oldest betta has been forming a lump on his head. He eats and swims normally, so I thought a super cleaning of his tank would help. When my crowntail had some weird popeye going on when I first got him, a new clean tank litteraly fixed it!

I feel unsure though, I've read about the good bacteria being lost with a 100 percent water change.

If I keep the old filter packet in the 5 gallon I'm sure that will help, but the 10 gallon has no filter. I was planning on buying another filter for it though.

The tanks aren't dirty, just yucky to me. How do you all go about a massive redecorating? Do you do 100 percent water changes?
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:53 PM   #2 
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Location: Chicago, IL
That just sounds like to much work. The joys of a cycled tank is less water changes. For the algae I don't know much about how its formed. When it does form in my tank I just take a sponge to it. I don't know whats going on with the build up on the surface of the water. When I did have it in my tank I just increased partial water changes. I haven't had that problem in awhile.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:14 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Wisconsin
Algae will grow in if there's too much direct light, too long a photoperiod, too much extra nutrients, and so on. Live plants will help suck up the nutrients and starve the algae, or manually remove it with an algae sponge.

The protein film should be getting broken up in the tank with the filter. For the other, just stir it up. Adding a filter will help. I don't get protein film on either tank any more since adding an extra filter.

100% water changes may effect the good bacteria if you're washing out the gravel. The bacteria will be living on the surfaces inside the tank, so removing water won't effect it unless you're scrubbing off the surfaces or rinsing them in chlorinated water. I do about 30% on my bigger tank and about 20% on my smaller (15gal and 10gal respectively). The big tank has some algae growth, but nothing terrible.

Filtering both tanks will make them a bit less work, you'd only need 25-50% water changes to keep things happy and healthy. I'd do 25% in a 10gal filter and 50% in a 5gal filtered (others may do them differently, but that's what I'd want to do). Stripping the tank and redoing it won't stop the protein film or the algae if everything else stays mostly the same (no filter, too much light or direct sunlight and so on), so it may be a lot of work for little gain. I'd find other ways to deal with both first before stripping it down.

I don't have any advice on the lump, though :\
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:01 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: North Texas
On the 100% water changes...

I think you will experience at least a mild tank cycle although the swing on the parameters should not be too extreme of a swing. Personally I wouldnt do it. I think your best bet is small frequent water changes of 25%.

Another option is a surface skimming filter system. I dont think they make one that small for a tank like that. You could possibly fabricate such a filter if your pretty handy with acrylic using your current filter if you have one. The problem I see with this unless you have a larger tank this will be difficult to do.

The way I deal with this in small tanks is to use a soda bottle and partcially submerge it to skim water off the waters surface when I do a water change. I have herd of folks laying a paper towel on the surface and soaking it up and then disposing of said paper towel. I havent tried that so I am not sure how effective it will work. Sounds kinda messy to me though.

When doing your water changes consider using RO/DI water for the make up water. Tap water can be notoriously high in Phosphates and Nitrates among other things. By using RO/DI water for water changes you will considerably dilute the nutrient levels in your water.

The algae...

This could be the result of a number of issues either alone or in combination. Not being able to see the tank in person and what you got going on makes suggesting a correction difficult. Here are some things I would look at although not neccisarily in order.

Over feeding. Its easy to do. I would perhaps get a little stingy with the food at feeding time. Everytime you add food to the tank at feeding time you are essentially adding protien and nutrients to the essence fertilizing the tank. Either the fish eats it and poops it out or it sinks to the bottom and disolves into the water after breaking down.

Lights. There could be several issues here. Make sure your using a light in the 5500-7100 Kelvin temp rating. Those with a color temp lower than that are more conducive at growing algae than anything else. If your using incadecent or Florecent (VHO or NO) change them every six months at least. Power compacts should be once every 10-12 months, T-5 HO can go about a year perhaps more depending on the bulb. This is important cause even with the correct color temp bulb you can easily experience a color shift change once the bulb reaches its max lie span. The light bulb may still illuminate the tank and look like its still bright to your "calibrated eye" but if you test it with a light meter it will tell a completely different story I assure you! When this happens the color rendition of the bulb is prime time for algae growth.

Check your photoperiod. A excessive photoperiod where the lights are on for more than 10-14 hours a day will be a sure way to grow a lot of algae. I have my lights on a timer to help control this and allow me to be lazy about it at the same time so I dont have to "remember" to turn them on and turn them off.

Nutrient export. This can be done through water changes or as one member previously posted by scrubbing it off and elimenating it from the tank. This is exporting nutrients, your just removing it in the form of algae. If you have live plants in the tank and they are growing well trim them up and toss the excessive plant growth. This too is a way to "export nutrients".

Add some competition. Add some live plants if your have the proper substrate and lights for them. They look better than algae and they will compete for some of those excessive nutrients in the water too. They wont do it as fast as the algae will but look at it from the same point as the race between the tortise and the hare. It will not be a quick fix but it will in the long run have a effect. Further more it will make your tank a more natural environment for your tanks inhabitants, do a better job of filtering your water than a power filter and give you a striking display all in one smooth move.

Im sure I missed a few things but I am short on time and need to get out the door before I am late for work tonight.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:36 PM   #5 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Virginia, USA
I recently did something similar to what you want. I took down my 10 gal divided to cement the dividers in there as well as paint the back black. Well worth the trouble, btw. As long as you can keep the substrate wet while you do it (and don't keep it out of the tank any longer than 4-5 hours) you should be able to keep your cycle. I thought I would lose mine, but since I was able to save the filter media, plants, and some substrate I saved the cycle.

Personally I don't think you need to do a complete overhaul of your tanks. I would a) add a bubble filter to the 10 gal and b) get live plants for both tanks. Anubias, java fern, and hornwort are great plants for betta tanks. All they really need is water and some light. Having a live plant really does help combat the algae. If you want to get a little more fancy (with the addition of a 6500k bulb) you could add anarcharis, duckweed, and water sprite.
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