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50-60% Daily Water Changes


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Hey All,

So Basically, my API Freshwater Master Test Kit hasn't arrived yet. I am new to "proper" goldfish keeping and didn't know about the nitrogen cycle before I put my two beautiful fish in! Now I have read all about the cycle, and I'm well educated on the matter. However, until my test kit arrives I am unable to test the water for Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate to see if my tank is cycling well.

My fish are very healthy, swimming around the whole time, foraging and playing with each other. For the past week I have been doing 50-60% water changes DAILY to make sure that the water quality doesn't deteriorate quickly and kill my lovely little goldies off! They seem fine with this, are growing VERY FAST and there doesn't seem to be any adverse affects.

Is it okay to change this quantity of water on that frequent a basis? Or am I doing something that could cause problems?

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Absolutely nothing wrong with it. The cycle is in the media, and on surfaces it can attach to. They are not free-swimming in the water column. You could actually do 80-100% changes daily if you are cycling, provided you can match the temperature and pH. Since you can't match the pH without a test kit at the moment, I wouldn't exceed past 60% in one change, just so you aren't shocking them if there happens to be a pH difference from tank to tap.

Of course, since you are doing a fish-in cycle it will take a lot longer as you need to keep the parameters as close to 0ppm as you can. If you can get or use seachem prime, that will provide a barrier of protection during a cycle protecting them from up to 1ppm of ammonia and nitrite, and is especially good to be using when cycling since you can allow ammonia and nitrite to hit 0.50ppm before needing to do a water change.

There are alternate ways to go around a fish-in cycle; one of which is to do frequent water changes based on the parameters, and the second, is to actually remove the fish and put them in a quarantine environment which will receive necessary water changes. This second method allows you to add a good amount of ammonia to the main tank and let it cycle through with no water changes, whilst the fish are safe in a quarantine tank receiving daily water changes- this is much quicker than doing a fish-in cycle.

For a quarantine tank, if you don't have one, you can use cheap food-safe/sterile plastic tubs. For quarantine, you want 10 gallons per fish

Edited by Narny105
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Hi,

In general, as long as the ph and temp of the tap and tank are the same, you can change as much water as you want. That said, some people do have ammonia and nitrites in their tap water and adding them to an uncycled tank can cause problems. I think that given that you cannot yet test tap or tank, you are doing exactly the right thing. The dangers from high ammonia/nitrites in the tank is much higher than the possiblity of ammonia/nitrite in the tap. Since you are only changing 50%, you are minimizing potential danger from tap water anyway.

How big is the tank?

same time as Narny's better response

Edited by motherredcap
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Tank is around 15 Gallons.

Okay, thanks guys. The fish are only small at the moment, and i'm making sure I don't over feed them so they don't make much mess. I have them in a bare bottom tank with Anacharis and Cabomba floating (growing really well). I have an All Pond Solutions 600-HO filter which does 600 litres every hour which is around 10x the tank every hour. The fish never gasp for air, they spend most of their time swimming in the bottom half of the tank (searching for food). My Lionhead loves ripping the plants apart, where as my calico oranda loves staring at himself in the side of the tank. He is changing colour already!!

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Fifteen gallons is not enough room for two, so I am very glad you are doing those bigger WCs. How soon are you planning to upgrade to something like a forty gallon / 151 liter?

Maybe, while you are cycling the media in the fifteen, you could move them to a larger Sterilite / foodsafe tote as a temporary home until you can upgrade?

Edited by ChelseaM
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I will upgrade as soon as possible but this won't be until at least September, I won't be able to afford a new tank until then. I also have no larger container to put them in, so I'll continue doing the big water changes until the test kit arrives and I can be sure of the water parametres.

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Fifteen gallons is not enough room for two, so I am very glad you are doing those bigger WCs. How soon are you planning to upgrade to something like a forty gallon / 151 liter?

If you're paying, I can upgrade a whole lot sooner! How about 100 gallons?!

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Fifteen gallons is not enough room for two, so I am very glad you are doing those bigger WCs. How soon are you planning to upgrade to something like a forty gallon / 151 liter?

If you're paying, I can upgrade a whole lot sooner! How about 100 gallons?!

I'm serious. They need twenty gallons or so apiece. :yikes

But September isn't that far away.

Edited by ChelseaM
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Fifteen gallons is not enough room for two, so I am very glad you are doing those bigger WCs. How soon are you planning to upgrade to something like a forty gallon / 151 liter?

If you're paying, I can upgrade a whole lot sooner! How about 100 gallons?!

I'm serious. They need twenty gallons or so apiece.

Yeh, but you shouldn't demand that someone goes out and spends THEIR money. There are ways to go about it...stop being a goldfish hitler!

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Fifteen gallons is not enough room for two, so I am very glad you are doing those bigger WCs. How soon are you planning to upgrade to something like a forty gallon / 151 liter?

If you're paying, I can upgrade a whole lot sooner! How about 100 gallons?!

I'm serious. They need twenty gallons or so apiece.

Yeh, but you shouldn't demand that someone goes out and spends THEIR money. There are ways to go about it...stop being a goldfish hitler!

Hi. I wasn't 'demanding' anything. I was simply stating what needed to be done to provide a proper environment for the fish, and asking when you planned on upgrading to fit those criteria. I apologize if it seemed rude, as I was not attempting to be. :)

And calling names is frowned upon here as we are all friends, so I suggest you refrain from doing so. :heart Thanks.

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Fifteen gallons is not enough room for two, so I am very glad you are doing those bigger WCs. How soon are you planning to upgrade to something like a forty gallon / 151 liter?

If you're paying, I can upgrade a whole lot sooner! How about 100 gallons?!

I'm serious. They need twenty gallons or so apiece.

Yeh, but you shouldn't demand that someone goes out and spends THEIR money. There are ways to go about it...stop being a goldfish hitler!

Hi. I wasn't 'demanding' anything. I was simply stating what needed to be done to provide a proper environment for the fish, and asking when you planned on upgrading to fit those criteria. I apologize if it seemed rude, as I was not attempting to be. :)

And calling names is frowned upon here as we are all friends, so I suggest you refrain from doing so. :heart Thanks.

I'm sorry! :( Please forgive me! I thought you were having a go at me!

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Fifteen gallons is not enough room for two, so I am very glad you are doing those bigger WCs. How soon are you planning to upgrade to something like a forty gallon / 151 liter?

If you're paying, I can upgrade a whole lot sooner! How about 100 gallons?!

I'm serious. They need twenty gallons or so apiece.

Yeh, but you shouldn't demand that someone goes out and spends THEIR money. There are ways to go about it...stop being a goldfish hitler!

Hi. I wasn't 'demanding' anything. I was simply stating what needed to be done to provide a proper environment for the fish, and asking when you planned on upgrading to fit those criteria. I apologize if it seemed rude, as I was not attempting to be. :)

And calling names is frowned upon here as we are all friends, so I suggest you refrain from doing so. :heart Thanks.

I'm sorry! :( Please forgive me! I thought you were having a go at me!

I wouldn't dream of having a go at you. I'm glad we got that sorted out. :)

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Fifteen gallons is not enough room for two, so I am very glad you are doing those bigger WCs. How soon are you planning to upgrade to something like a forty gallon / 151 liter?

If you're paying, I can upgrade a whole lot sooner! How about 100 gallons?!

I'm serious. They need twenty gallons or so apiece.

Yeh, but you shouldn't demand that someone goes out and spends THEIR money. There are ways to go about it...stop being a goldfish hitler!

Hi. I wasn't 'demanding' anything. I was simply stating what needed to be done to provide a proper environment for the fish, and asking when you planned on upgrading to fit those criteria. I apologize if it seemed rude, as I was not attempting to be. :)

And calling names is frowned upon here as we are all friends, so I suggest you refrain from doing so. :heart Thanks.

I'm sorry! :( Please forgive me! I thought you were having a go at me!

I wouldn't dream of having a go at you. I'm glad we got that sorted out. :)

I look forward to getting a bigger tank asap!!

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You might check on Craigs list or other places like that--you can often find large tanks very inexpensively. Or you can get a food-safe plastic tub (like Sterlite brand) to keep them in until you can get a new tank. :)

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You absolutely do not need a larger tank while you are cycling! Two small fish in a 15 gallon getting 50% water changes every day are living like kings. Most of us quarantine in ten gallon tanks because it makes it feasible to do very large (often 100%) and frequent water changes to make conditions ideal for our fish and to dispose of parasites and pathogens that the fish may release . Anyone who disapproves should do the calculations and see that you are putting in more than 50 gallons of fresh water a week.

Once your filter is cycled, it will contain enough nitrifiers to take care of the ammonia produced by your fish, so when you do get a larger tank, you can transfer the filter to it and the system will be cycled. Of course your bigger tank will need a bigger/additional filter, but all you have to do is run that in the tankalong with the old filter and it will populate with bio bugs as well.

You will want to aim for 20 gallons per fish when you upgrade, so if you are sure you don't want more fish, a 40 gallon will be great. Since your tank is small, even after it is cycled, you will want to change more water than if you had a bigger tank. If you aim for keeping your nitrates down to 10, you will be changing enough. Not because nitrates over 10 are dangerous, but because that is a good indicator that you are keeping your water clean enough for your fish. Just guessing, but this will probably involve two 50% water changes a week.

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Thank you Shakaho!! That is a very helpful post! :) I think the fish are testament to the care at the moment, their colour is improving, they are extremely active and growing FAST! 2 50% water changes a week isn't a problem, I actually enjoy water changes...weird I know! My test kit should be here soon, so i'll post the results of the tests on here to show how I have done without the tests so far and for help with regards to the cycling process (knowing if i'm there etc). Thanks so much!

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Times are tough lately and it's understandable that it can be hard to afford an upgrade. I agree with looking around on Craigslist.

Continue to do big water changes, monitor parameters and look anywhere you know of that could have a good deal (or sometimes free!) used aquarium (Craigslist, maybe if your local pet store has a board where they put ads from pet owners, newspaper..).

I do daily water changes even though I don't really need to just because I like my girl living like a queen.

ETA: well... Monitor parameters when your kit arrives, of course. :P

Edited by Chai
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TEST KIT HAS ARRIVED!!! About to run some tests to see what is going on in my tank!!! :) So excited!! Will post the results as soon as i'm done!!

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Right, so I have run all the tests in my freshwater API master kit and the results are as follows...

pH is 7.6

Ammonia is 0ppm

Nitrite is between 0ppm and 0.25ppm (I couldn't really tell).

Nitrate is 20ppm

What do you guys think? Does this mean that I am nearly cycled?

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I changed the water maybe 2 hours ago. The tank has been running for about 2 weeks now (1 1/2 with fish). I'm planning on continuing the 50% daily changes for the next few days, at least until I can be 100% sure that the results are good! :)

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You look close to being cycled, though you are still not there. Your plants will reduce nitrates because they consume them for food, which will allow you more leeway in water changes.

No one will "have a go" at you. A 15G is a good sized quarantine tank. As your fish grow and you want to add more goldies your fish poop will increase. A larger tank allows you to do less water changes per week because there is more water to dissipate nitrates. The larger the tank the less frequency of water changes, making life easier and fish environment more healthy. When you buy a larger tank and how large is entirely up to you.

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Leave it for a day, and test before you do a water change. Are you using seachem prime? If not I really recommend you do, since ideally you want to leave the ammonia in there for as long as you can and as safely as you can, so prime will allow you to do a water change when you get a certain reading for ammonia/nitrite.

The water change is why your results are quite low. You need to be testing before and after.

2 weeks is not long enough, since fish-in cycles with daily water changes actually take around 5-12 weeks, possibly longer.

This cycle is from scratch, correct? Meaning no prior cycled filter or filter recently in use?

Edited by Narny105
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