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100% Water Change - Logistical nightmare?


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Hi everyone,

Just wondering how you all go about doing 100% water changes? The logistics alone are so intimidating with a big tank! How do you get the last little sloshes of water out? I don't have a Python (I live in an old house and my taps don't have threads), so for water changes I just use a syphon and hose system, will I need a pond pump? Do you scrub the inside with anything other than good old fashioned elbow grease? How long will the goldies be ok in cramped quarters if they have an airstone? Any other tips and tricks?

Any info / advice / warnings / encouragement would be appreciated, it seems like a crazy goal atm!

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I would drain it as far as you can to where the fish can still swim and the forsakes are covered. (Unless do you always take them out?) and the. Fill it I would say half way, and drain it as far as you can again. And that should be a 100% WC. Now, if you take the fish out, you can just lean the tank of you can to get most of the water. If there is a little left, that's okay. You can just wipe it up with a towel if you really wanted too, but I wouldn't worry as long as you get most if the wate our. Then just refil it with prime, temp, and pH matches water and your Goldies are ready to go back :)

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100%? No thanks. 80% is plenty unless your tank has been very neglected. I have never needed to clean my glass so not sure about that part.

I thought 100% wc was sometimes necessary eg. when using bicarb as a buffer. It's been running for a year and I have yet to do one. Also, my tank is big, and there are parts that the back I can't scrub properly without kind of getting in the tank lol

I would drain it as far as you can to where the fish can still swim and the forsakes are covered. (Unless do you always take them out?) and the. Fill it I would say half way, and drain it as far as you can again. And that should be a 100% WC. Now, if you take the fish out, you can just lean the tank of you can to get most of the water. If there is a little left, that's okay. You can just wipe it up with a towel if you really wanted too, but I wouldn't worry as long as you get most if the wate our. Then just refil it with prime, temp, and pH matches water and your Goldies are ready to go back :)

Drain and refill and drain sounds like the ticket, hadn't thought of that! I'm probs still going to take the fish out, to make sure pH / temp etc stay stable for them :)

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Yep, I typically just lower it until my fish have enough to cover their backs and then refill!

Seems easier, but I worry a little about pH. My tap is 7.4 -7.6 and my tank stays at 8.2, so I usually just do 50% changes.

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With an average pH of 7.5 tap and 8.2 tank (0.7 difference), you could still do a 70% water change without the pH changing by more than 0.5ppm which is the range we recommend to have the pH difference within. So you are definitely able to do a back-to-back 60% water change to effectively remove any accumulation of sodium in the tank. For bicarbonate soda as a buffer it is best to do a full, or equivalent back-to-back water change every couple of months. I usually did this monthly since even with large weekly water changes my nitrates slowly crept up and needed to be completely removed.

Back-to-back water changes are probably the most preferred way to do a complete water change on a tank, however provided you're able to keep the temperature and pH the same or within 0.5 during a water change, you can do either a full 100% change or split it up. I do full water changes (100%) in quarantines and all I do is let the fish float in a container while removing and filing the tank. This allows the temperatures to remain stable so there is no difference from the container and the tank. Luckily I have the same pH in both tank and tap so I don't have to worry about that, but as I said within 0.5ppm difference is fine

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With an average pH of 7.5 tap and 8.2 tank (0.7 difference), you could still do a 70% water change without the pH changing by more than 0.5ppm which is the range we recommend to have the pH difference within. So you are definitely able to do a back-to-back 60% water change to effectively remove any accumulation of sodium in the tank. For bicarbonate soda as a buffer it is best to do a full, or equivalent back-to-back water change every couple of months. I usually did this monthly since even with large weekly water changes my nitrates slowly crept up and needed to be completely removed.

Back-to-back water changes are probably the most preferred way to do a complete water change on a tank, however provided you're able to keep the temperature and pH the same or within 0.5 during a water change, you can do either a full 100% change or split it up. I do full water changes (100%) in quarantines and all I do is let the fish float in a container while removing and filing the tank. This allows the temperatures to remain stable so there is no difference from the container and the tank. Luckily I have the same pH in both tank and tap so I don't have to worry about that, but as I said within 0.5ppm difference is fine

Thank you! :D Back to back 60% is so much more appealing! And thanks for crunching those pH numbers for me, I knew it was 0.5ppm but I couldn't quite figure out the most I could change without exceeding that!

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Keep in mind that back to back 60% amounts to an 84% WC, so then you might as well just do one 85% WC.

In order for back to back WCs to approach being equal to a 100% WC, you really have to go with back to back 80% or higher.

Two back to back 80% WCs = one 96% WC

Two back to back 85% WCs = one 98% WC

Two back to back 90% WCs = one 99% WC

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I do 100% changes about once a month during the summer. My tank is not large - 144 liters - but it is still a pain. The house is from 1880, taps from right after the war, and so mostly I am a using a large tube to drain and buckets to refill.

This is a nightmare to do, but I feel like it keeps the tank running efficiently. During this change, I put the fish, snails and plants in a sterilite, clean the filters, wipe tank surfaces and refill.

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100%? No thanks. 80% is plenty unless your tank has beesomething?lected. I have never needed to clean my glass so not sure about that part.

I thought 100% wc was sometimes necessary eg. when using bicarb as a buffer. It's been running for a year and I have yet to do one. Also, my tank is big, and there are parts that the back I can't scrub properly without kind of getting in the tank lol

I would drain it as far as you can to where the fish can still swim and the forsakes are covered. (Unless do you always take them out?) and the. Fill it I would say half way, and drain it as far as you can again. And that should be a 100% WC. Now, if you take the fish out, you can just lean the tank of you can to get most of the water. If there is a little left, that's okay. You can just wipe it up with a towel if you really wanted too, but I wouldn't worry as long as you get most if the wate our. Then just refil it with prime, temp, and pH matches water and your Goldies are ready to go back :)

Drain and refill and drain sounds like the ticket, hadn't thought of that! I'm probs still going to take the fish out, to make sure pH / temp etc stay stable for them :)

Sorry, i dont know anything about biocarbs and buffers etc. Also, i dont get the scrubbing down the inside of the tank part. Does it get algae on it or somethingk

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100% water changes are appropriate for hospital tanks (using two small tanks and transferring the fish to a fresh one each day), quarantine tanks, and during fish-in cycling or a cycle bump. If you remove a sick or dead fish from your main tank, a 100% water change is appropriate. Other than that, I don't know why you would do 100% water changes.

The only reason I know for scrubbing the inside of the tank is aesthetic. To the extent that it doesn't offend your eyes, I suggest you leave the microbial ecosystem inside the tank alone.

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Interesting tropic , to me 100% w/cs are necessary not only to remove pollutants but also to trigger growth. This is a common practice in Asia.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

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Interesting tropic , to me 100% w/cs are necessary not only to remove pollutants but also to trigger growth. This is a common practice in Asia.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

I like 100% WCs, Jeff!

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You're on the right track Alex. For smaller tanks you're probably need more frequencies of 100% w/cs than large tanks. I would use nitrate as a barometer to do that.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

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You're on the right track Alex. For smaller tanks you're probably need more frequencies of 100% w/cs than large tanks. I would use nitrate as a barometer to do that.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk

I don't ever wait for nitrates to be my barometer. I do 85-90% WCs every 4-5 days, and 100% at least once a month. I am pretty happy with their progress. I'll have pics of my 1.5 year old ryukin later. Tell me what you think. :)

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Keep in mind that back to back 60% amounts to an 84% WC, so then you might as well just do one 85% WC.

In order for back to back WCs to approach being equal to a 100% WC, you really have to go with back to back 80% or higher.

Two back to back 80% WCs = one 96% WC

Two back to back 85% WCs = one 98% WC

Two back to back 90% WCs = one 99% WC

I want to change as much as possible, and my pH difference is only from the bicarb. Would it be ok to do two back to back 90% WCs if I take the fish out until the pH stabilises?

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You can take the fish out until the pH stabilizes, yes. :)

I tend to try to leave them alone as much as I could, though.

Do you mind telling me what are your tap pH, and tank pH, before and after bicarb? Thanks :)

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100% water changes are appropriate for hospital tanks (using two small tanks and transferring the fish to a fresh one each day), quarantine tanks, and during fish-in cycling or a cycle bump. If you remove a sick or dead fish from your main tank, a 100% water change is appropriate. Other than that, I don't know why you would do 100% water changes.

The only reason I know for scrubbing the inside of the tank is aesthetic. To the extent that it doesn't offend your eyes, I suggest you leave the microbial ecosystem inside the tank alone.

Yep, aesthetic and not so much my aesthetics, if you get my drift. I also have an internal filter in there (in addition to the HOB) and it gets yucky.

Not so much worried about the aesthetics, I don't mind a bit of algae on the back wall because the little piggies can snack on it. It's more that I was very uninformed when I set up my tank, I didn't QT and lost several fish to water quality issues and who knows what else. So although my fish are healthy now, there could be various nasties still hanging around. I want to give it a serious clean and freshen the water completely.

I just wanted to recommend purchasing a python. Best decision you'll make ;)

I have an old house, so don't have threads on any taps, except when I unscrew the shower head and then the outlet is on a weird angle. A Python wouldn't work at my house! But don't worry, I have an elaborate system of hoses that is essentially the same idea, only it cost < $20 from the hardware shop ;)

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You can take the fish out until the pH stabilizes, yes. :)

I tend to try to leave them alone as much as I could, though.

Do you mind telling me what are your tap pH, and tank pH, before and after bicarb? Thanks :)

Bought a small second hand tank so they can hang out in there for a little while with an air stone :)

My tank and tap both sit at 7.4 - 7.6 without bicarb. With bicarb, the tank is steady at 8.2.

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