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I have several dumb questions about water changes/treatments and a few other things... Call me a newbie, if you'd like, and my apologies for the barrage of questions... [This is what you get when you combine a writer with a fish keeper, I guess]

First the history:
Up until now, I've had smaller bowls (I use that term loosely - they're more like little plastic tanks) with no heaters, no filters, plenty of plants, and a single Betta in each one. During colder weather, I put them in a warm location, as I live in New England, where the weather can get pretty nutty. There are two of these, and the Bettas are very happy and healthy (and old.... One of them is easily 4 years old). My questions have nothing to do with these guys, as I have a very good working system for them.

But now, I also have a 10 gallon planted tank with filter and heater, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the logistics of how to take care of this relatively huge tank. I want to have some shrimp in it, hopefully with other fishies as well, but it currently only has plants (and the roomie is asking when there will be creatures –– soon, I promise!). 100% water changes seem like an terrible idea for this tank, and here come the thousand questions:

1. I bought one of those gravel vacuums that operates by jiggling the end up and down, but the thing just causes everything to get stirred up, while I jiggle it about 2,000 times to get 1 liter of water out of the tank (slight exaggeration). It doesn't seem like it does much to help, but it was cheap, so I figured why not. But.... Is there some kind of more efficient alternative, like maybe a jar with cheese cloth across the top to prevent little fishies from getting caught up in it? Cause honestly, that's about what my next move is going to be, unless I'm told it's a horrid idea.

2. There are a lot of tannins in the water, because I bought one of those packs of 5-6 pieces of cholla wood and put them all in the tank. While I love the tannins because of what they do for bettas, it makes it awfully hard to see what's in the tank... Do the tannins eventually stop leeching from the cholla wood? And before you ask, I do have IAL's that I can add in the future... or I can find some nice oak leaves.

3. Do you add the tap water conditioner to the new water before you add it to the tank? Or do you add a dose to the tank somehow? Do you pour new water in over the filter, or just pour it carefully into the tank? I guess that leads up to the next question...

4. How and where do you add medicines, additives, etc? Do you have a special corner you drop them in? Do you avoid putting them near feeding areas and/or filters? Do you use hospital seperators/tanks for medicating your fishies? (This is really four questions in one....)

5. How do you measure doses for smaller tanks? Use an eye dropper? Say a prayer?

6. This might be a question that gets lots of different answers, but.... How do you determine exactly how much water you change out, and how often? And is it bad if the temperature of the new water is different from the water already in the tank?

7. Not a water question, but.... I'd love to put some rocks in the tank, but I'm a little squeamish about picking up random rocks off the ground and dropping them in..... Do I need to do anything special with them, other than clean off any dirt?
 

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1. I bought one of those gravel vacuums that operates by jiggling the end up and down, but the thing just causes everything to get stirred up, while I jiggle it about 2,000 times to get 1 liter of water out of the tank (slight exaggeration). It doesn't seem like it does much to help, but it was cheap, so I figured why not. But.... Is there some kind of more efficient alternative, like maybe a jar with cheese cloth across the top to prevent little fishies from getting caught up in it? Cause honestly, that's about what my next move is going to be, unless I'm told it's a horrid idea.

I have never seen or heard of a gravel vacuum that operates like that! Do post a picture of yours! I use an aquarium siphon/vacuum and it works fine. I'll put a picture below of what it looks like:


1025205



2. There are a lot of tannins in the water, because I bought one of those packs of 5-6 pieces of cholla wood and put them all in the tank. While I love the tannins because of what they do for bettas, it makes it awfully hard to see what's in the tank... Do the tannins eventually stop leeching from the cholla wood? And before you ask, I do have IAL's that I can add in the future... or I can find some nice oak leaves.

I'm pretty sure that driftwood (not sure about cholla wood) will not stop leaking tannins and you need to do water changes to lighten the colour of the water.

3. Do you add the tap water conditioner to the new water before you add it to the tank? Or do you add a dose to the tank somehow? Do you pour new water in over the filter, or just pour it carefully into the tank? I guess that leads up to the next question...

I like to dechlorinate the water after I pour it in, when there aren't any fish in the tank. But if there are fish, then I would add dechlorinator before pouring it in. I pour the new water into a large container with a spout, then I would use the spout to guide the water onto one of the hide/caves inside the tank and it doesn't disturb the substrate or fish.

4. How and where do you add medicines, additives, etc? Do you have a special corner you drop them in? Do you avoid putting them near feeding areas and/or filters? Do you use hospital seperators/tanks for medicating your fishies? (This is really four questions in one....)

I usually have a hospital tank if I am using medicines, I just pour the right amount into the tank and swirl it around a bit (without fish ofc) before adding the fish. For additives, I just use a pipette and drop the dosage into the middle of the tank and I try to avoid the fish.

5. How do you measure doses for smaller tanks? Use an eye dropper? Say a prayer?

I usually google the size of the container/tank I use and I use a pipette I think it holds 3mls and I use it to measure dosages. If the dosages only say for larger tanks, I use a calculator. Most of the time my hospital tank is 1 gallon, so it's pretty easy to calculate dosages.

6. This might be a question that gets lots of different answers, but.... How do you determine exactly how much water you change out, and how often? And is it bad if the temperature of the new water is different from the water already in the tank?

Check out the link below, it tells you how often and how much to change. I usually use room temperature water so it's not a huge difference from the regular water. If there is a huge temperature difference, I would let it sit until it's nearer to room temperature.
Oldfishlady water change recommendations



7. Not a water question, but.... I'd love to put some rocks in the tank, but I'm a little squeamish about picking up random rocks off the ground and dropping them in..... Do I need to do anything special with them, other than clean off any dirt?

If you are talking about rocks as a substrate, I would purchase that at a PetStore. If you want to add a few rocks from outside, you would need to make sure there aren't any jagged/sharp/rough edges that could hurt the fish. You would need to wash the rocks very well (no soap) and then boil them to deep clean them. Then you would need to lay them out and let them cool down and dry before putting them in your aquarium.

I apologize that I am not much help, hopefully, someone can help you better with your questions.
 

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Hi!
I apologize that I am not much help
I think you did great :)

It's also been suggested to use airline hose/tubing instead of one of those jiggly vacuum things you're describing.

Do you add the tap water conditioner to the new water before you add it to the tank?
Regarding the amount of dechlorinator/conditioner and the temperature of the water you're adding back in during a water change, Seachem Prime's ratio is 2 drops per gallon, which per directions is added to the new water which is then added to the tank.

The new water absolutely needs to be the same temperature as the tank water, --which must be about 78-79 degrees F. Otherwise, no matter how well your current fish may be doing, unless those containers happen to be 78 degrees F the correct tank water temperature not only provides an appropriate, comfortable environment it additionally lessens the chances that water which is too cold will cause them to have a weaker immune system.

An unused kitchen thermometer works quite well to determine water temperature.

Also, another method is to pour the new water through a small previously unused and clean colander/kitchen strainer dedicated to aquarium use. This is excellent to help disperse the water as you're adding it so that it doesn't blow the fish around the tank.

One other article/thread you may find useful is this;
 

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I have several dumb questions about water changes/treatments and a few other things... Call me a newbie, if you'd like, and my apologies for the barrage of questions... [This is what you get when you combine a writer with a fish keeper, I guess]

First the history:
Up until now, I've had smaller bowls (I use that term loosely - they're more like little plastic tanks) with no heaters, no filters, plenty of plants, and a single Betta in each one. During colder weather, I put them in a warm location, as I live in New England, where the weather can get pretty nutty. There are two of these, and the Bettas are very happy and healthy (and old.... One of them is easily 4 years old). My questions have nothing to do with these guys, as I have a very good working system for them.

But now, I also have a 10 gallon planted tank with filter and heater, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the logistics of how to take care of this relatively huge tank. I want to have some shrimp in it, hopefully with other fishies as well, but it currently only has plants (and the roomie is asking when there will be creatures –– soon, I promise!). 100% water changes seem like an terrible idea for this tank, and here come the thousand questions:

1. I bought one of those gravel vacuums that operates by jiggling the end up and down, but the thing just causes everything to get stirred up, while I jiggle it about 2,000 times to get 1 liter of water out of the tank (slight exaggeration). It doesn't seem like it does much to help, but it was cheap, so I figured why not. But.... Is there some kind of more efficient alternative, like maybe a jar with cheese cloth across the top to prevent little fishies from getting caught up in it? Cause honestly, that's about what my next move is going to be, unless I'm told it's a horrid idea.

2. There are a lot of tannins in the water, because I bought one of those packs of 5-6 pieces of cholla wood and put them all in the tank. While I love the tannins because of what they do for bettas, it makes it awfully hard to see what's in the tank... Do the tannins eventually stop leeching from the cholla wood? And before you ask, I do have IAL's that I can add in the future... or I can find some nice oak leaves.

3. Do you add the tap water conditioner to the new water before you add it to the tank? Or do you add a dose to the tank somehow? Do you pour new water in over the filter, or just pour it carefully into the tank? I guess that leads up to the next question...

4. How and where do you add medicines, additives, etc? Do you have a special corner you drop them in? Do you avoid putting them near feeding areas and/or filters? Do you use hospital seperators/tanks for medicating your fishies? (This is really four questions in one....)

5. How do you measure doses for smaller tanks? Use an eye dropper? Say a prayer?

6. This might be a question that gets lots of different answers, but.... How do you determine exactly how much water you change out, and how often? And is it bad if the temperature of the new water is different from the water already in the tank?

7. Not a water question, but.... I'd love to put some rocks in the tank, but I'm a little squeamish about picking up random rocks off the ground and dropping them in..... Do I need to do anything special with them, other than clean off any dirt?
Hi! Can you repost the picture of your vacuum? It look like the link/upload is broken and I'd like to see the vacuum too. :)
 

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Hi!
For the moment I am only commenting on your vacuuming question:
There are 2 possibilities to vacuum the substrate - either by bending your tube that goes into the waste water bucket or by stopping it at the end of the tube with your thumb.


It‘s kind of a rhythmical procedure and seperates the lifted gravel from the dirt.
I‘ve only got a german link, but if you jump to 12:50 min you‘ll hopefully see the way of operating the python.

There are at least 3 ways to start the syphoning process - either by shaking the head of the python (works more or less well with those pythons advertised for this function), raising the head of the python filled with water/stopping the outlet with your thumb and releasing to start (11:50) or sucking on the outlet of the tube (11:38).
You can practise anytime - once you got it you got it :)!
Let me know if this answers your question -otherwise I hope to find an english demonstration!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi!
For the moment I am only commenting on your vacuuming question:
There are 2 possibilities to vacuum the substrate - either by bending your tube that goes into the waste water bucket or by stopping it at the end of the tube with your thumb.


It‘s kind of a rhythmical procedure and seperates the lifted gravel from the dirt.
I‘ve only got a german link, but if you jump to 12:50 min you‘ll hopefully see the way of operating the phyton.

There are at least 3 ways to start the syphoning either by shaking the head of the phyton (works more or less well with those phytons advertised for this function), raising the head of the phyton filled with water/stopping the outlet with your thumb and releasing to start (11:50) or sucking on the outlet of the tube (11:38).
You can practise anytime - once you got it you got it :)!
Let me know if this answers your question -otherwise I hope to find an english demonstration!
Oh, thank you!! This means I was using it wrong, because the instructions on the packaging were terribly unhelpful, and it's definitely similar to the one in the video. Sidenote: I took German for 3 semesters in college, but it was a long time ago, and he was talking pretty fast. (Also, nice username!)

This is the vacuum in question: Aqueon Siphon Vacuum Aquarium Gravel Cleaner, Mini, 5" | Petco

Also, thank you to everyone for the answers. They're very helpful, and I will be bookmarking this for future reference.
 

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Welcome to the Forum!

Everything's been covered but I wanted to point out that in the Diseases and Emergencies sub-forum there is a sticky on how to calculate proper medicine dosing.

I would link but my mouse went kaput and I'm using that other thingy. Can't figure out how to highlight so I can link. Well, actually, I think it's more that I don't want to know. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Welcome to the Forum!

Everything's been covered but I wanted to point out that in the Diseases and Emergencies sub-forum there is a sticky on how to calculate proper medicine dosing.

I would link but my mouse went kaput and I'm using that other thingy. Can't figure out how to highlight so I can link. Well, actually, I think it's more that I don't want to know. ;)
Thanks for the welcome!!

And thanks for the info - I'll hunt that down. I know how the whole weird mouse thing can be....... lol.
 
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