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Ok, So How Do You Really Do A Water Change?

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Hello Everyone,

I recently had a bad experience with my new "supposably cycled 36 gallon fish tank." i bought feeder fish to make matters worse and eventually all of them died. I now have no fish in tank. Was ready to call it quits but NOT GOING TO HAppen YEt.

Anyhow, someone suggested for me to do a regular tap water reading and my recent tank reading. So here it goes:

as for the tap water:

ammonia-1-2

ph- 8.0

nitrate - 0

nitrite- 0

as for the tank water:

ammonia -.25

ph - 7.4

nitriate - 0

nitrite - 0

There are tiny snails in there, but i think that they really shouldn't really change or do anything to the water.

My real question is, how the heck do you really do a water change?

1. HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I CHANGE RIGHT NOW? 25%, 30%, 50%?

2. OK, A PROBLEM, I NEVER WASHED THE GRAVEL AND I THINK IT CAUSED THE FISH TO DIE. I SYPHONED IT WHILE FISH WERE STILL ALIVE, OF COURSE, I TOOK THE FISH OUT, BUT THE WATER REMAINED CLOUDY EVEN AFTER WATER CHANGE AND CLEANING? WHAT I DID NOT DO

WAS DRUMROLL PLEASE: MAIN QUESTION AHEAD:

DO YOU KEEP WATER CHANGE OVERNIGHT IN BUCKETS?? OR LEAVE WATER IN TANK AND TAKE GOLDFISH OUT AND PUT IN A BOWL WHILE WAITING OVERNIGHT FOR WATER TO GET CONDITIONED? OR DO YOU PUT FISH RIGHT AFTER YOU DO WATER CHANGE THAT VERY SAME DAY?

ENCORE DRUMROLL: WHEN DO YOU PUT THE PRIME IN? IN THE TANK? IN THE BUCKETS? AND OF COURSE YOU PUT PRIME IN BEFORE YOU PUT THE FISH BACK IN. I THINK I KNOW THIS...ANYWAY, i am sorry, but i really am new to this and want to buy my new goldfish which i think someone bought already. i had my eye on a beautiful jade colored goldfish, and my tank isn't ready yet!!argh! so anyway, simple answers would be great. or your input advice, etc..etc..

plus what is a buffer? can i get that at any local petstore?

crushed coral, do i need this? how do you use this?

someone recommended to use api salt? what the? I have no idea how and if i need it?

okay, so that's it for now, thanks!!!!

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My real question is, how the heck do you really do a water change?

1. HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I CHANGE RIGHT NOW? 25%, 30%, 50%? Since there are no fish I would do a fishless cycle and not do any water changes at this time.

2. OK, A PROBLEM, I NEVER WASHED THE GRAVEL AND I THINK IT CAUSED THE FISH TO DIE. I SYPHONED IT WHILE FISH WERE STILL ALIVE, OF COURSE, I TOOK THE FISH OUT, BUT THE WATER REMAINED CLOUDY EVEN AFTER WATER CHANGE AND CLEANING? WHAT I DID NOT DO I would remove the gravel. Gravel is a pain to clean and can get stuck in the gf's mouth. Or at the very less remove most of it and leave in just enough to cover the bottom.

WAS DRUMROLL PLEASE: MAIN QUESTION AHEAD:

DO YOU KEEP WATER CHANGE OVERNIGHT IN BUCKETS?? OR LEAVE WATER IN TANK AND TAKE GOLDFISH OUT AND PUT IN A BOWL WHILE WAITING OVERNIGHT FOR WATER TO GET CONDITIONED? OR DO YOU PUT FISH RIGHT AFTER YOU DO WATER CHANGE THAT VERY SAME DAY? I never remove my fish. I use prime so I don't need to let it set over night and just do a 50% or more each week on my tank. Even when I do my large 80% once a month I still leave the fish in the tank. Less stressful on them that way.

ENCORE DRUMROLL: WHEN DO YOU PUT THE PRIME IN? IN THE TANK? IN THE BUCKETS? AND OF COURSE YOU PUT PRIME IN BEFORE YOU PUT THE FISH BACK IN. I THINK I KNOW THIS...ANYWAY, I put my prime in as I refill. I use a python with buckets I would add to the bucket before putting the water in the tank.

plus what is a buffer? can i get that at any local petstore? I don't use any buffers. At best they are a temp fix. Once your tank cycled you want it to stay stable ad buffers make it a little harder to do that.

crushed coral, do i need this? how do you use this? Crushed coral helps get your ph up. Your appears to be fine.

someone recommended to use api salt? what the? I have no idea how and if i need it? Salt is only for sick fish. Healthy GF do not need it.

okay, so that's it for now, thanks!!!!

Hope this helps you.

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...i bought feeder fish to make matters worse and eventually all of them died. I would not suggest choosing feeder fish for your next go-round. Not because they're feeder fish, per se; I ended up with some really beautiful feeder fish that went into my pond, but because they are single tails, which require twice as much water per fish as fancies. Choose fancies, they're not quite as hearty as single tails, but with fancies, you could have three fish in your tank, barely, whereas with single tails, you could only, barely, have two.

as for the tap water:

ammonia-1-2 Holy Crap! REALLY?! Are you absolutely sure it was 1-2? It seems to be mostly cycling out in the tank, but this is a perfect example of why you want to use Prime when you have fish. When you're getting this high of ammonia out of your tap, you have to find a way to get rid of it as soon as possible and Prime will help with that a lot. But, don't use it now while you're trying to cycle. It could mess with the cycle. But, definitely use Prime when you finally add fish.

ph- 8.0

nitrate - 0

nitrite- 0

as for the tank water:

ammonia -.25

ph - 7.4 Why is your pH dropping this much? Do you have driftwood in the tank? I would highly suggest getting test kits for KH and GH. Driftwood might be a cause, but your pH may also be dropping because you have very low KH and GH numbers, which could be a very dangerous situation for goldfish. Whether you buffer your water, as you asked below, will be based on your KH and GH readings.

nitriate - 0

nitrite - 0

1. HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I CHANGE RIGHT NOW? 25%, 30%, 50%? Water changes for goldfish should never be less than 50%. You may even need to go as high as 90%, depending on your readings, but that's with fish. And, as Hidr said, because you're doing a fishless cycle, you don't need to worry about high ammonia numbers because there are no fish to harm. And higher ammonia numbers will kickstart the cycle faster, so don't do water changes unless your ammonia gets to some freakishly high level like 8 or so.

2. OK, A PROBLEM, I NEVER WASHED THE GRAVEL AND I THINK IT CAUSED THE FISH TO DIE. I SYPHONED IT WHILE FISH WERE STILL ALIVE, OF COURSE, I TOOK THE FISH OUT, BUT THE WATER REMAINED CLOUDY EVEN AFTER WATER CHANGE AND CLEANING? WHAT I DID NOT DO Also as mentioned, you don't need to remove your fish for your water changes. This can cause unnecessary stress on the fish. The gravel may have been the cause of the fishes' deaths, it may not have been, but it's still not the best thing to have. I have been a serious diehard gravel lover for years and years, but I've finally reached the point where I have been forced to admit that it's not a good thing for goldfish. I honestly siphoned my gravel really, really, really well and did 70% - 90% water changes every week and, still, I was never able to get it as clean as it truly needed to be to remove all the gunk that can cause bad bacteria. That cloudiness you see is all the stuff that was getting lost down in the gravel and the only way you'd ever be able to get rid of all of it to a point where you could have a truly clean and healthy tank would be to do 100% water changes every single week and remove and rinse all the gravel. Ridiculous? uh huh. Bare bottoms really are the only good choice. I detest bare bottoms and I'm doing everything I can think of to create a visually pleasing tank while still being bare bottom, but it truly is better to not have gravel. It really is. So, you're better off not even having gravel to worry about how to clean it.

WAS DRUMROLL PLEASE: MAIN QUESTION AHEAD:

DO YOU KEEP WATER CHANGE OVERNIGHT IN BUCKETS?? OR LEAVE WATER IN TANK AND TAKE GOLDFISH OUT AND PUT IN A BOWL WHILE WAITING OVERNIGHT FOR WATER TO GET CONDITIONED? OR DO YOU PUT FISH RIGHT AFTER YOU DO WATER CHANGE THAT VERY SAME DAY?

ENCORE DRUMROLL: WHEN DO YOU PUT THE PRIME IN? IN THE TANK? IN THE BUCKETS? AND OF COURSE YOU PUT PRIME IN BEFORE YOU PUT THE FISH BACK IN. I THINK I KNOW THIS...ANYWAY, i am sorry, but i really am new to this and want to buy my new goldfish which i think someone bought already. i had my eye on a beautiful jade colored goldfish, and my tank isn't ready yet!!argh! so anyway, simple answers would be great. or your input advice, etc..etc..

You could leave water out overnight to "condition" it, but doing so only allows the chlorine to dissipate. Chloramines and the other trace elements, such as the ammonia, will not dissipate and will go right in the tank, so that's why it's absolutely necessary to use a dechlorinator/conditioner, and in your case with such high ammonia numbers out of your tap, Prime. If you do water changes with buckets, it's definitely better to put your conditioner in the water BEFORE it goes in the tank. If you're using a product like a Python to do water changes, you have no option but to put the conditioner straight into the tank. But, if you add the conditioner right before you start pumping the water into the tank, there will be little to no impact on the fish.

plus what is a buffer? can i get that at any local petstore? Maybe this picture will help you better understand pH, KH and GH. Your house is the pH. The KH is the bricks that make up the foundation the house sits on and the GH is the mortar that holds the bricks together. You could have the most beautiful house in the world, but if they built the foundation with old, crumbly bricks or didn't use enough bricks and kind of spaced them far apart, and/or if they didn't use enough mortar to hold all the bricks together, it just doesn't matter how beautiful and great your house is, it's going to come crashing down because it doesn't have a good foundation. Your KH and GH are the foundation that hold up your pH. So, that's why understanding KH and GH is so important.

Depending on the buffer, it changes the pH and it should also change the KH levels of the water. Goldfish like "hard" or "akaline" water, that is, water that has pH readings of 7.4-8.6, preferably. Can be a bit higher, or a bit lower if you have good, solid KH and GH. So, you would want an akaline buffer that raises pH and KH. You don't want those quick and easy products like pH Up. They're unstable and bad. You would need a good, solid akaline buffer such as Buff-It-Up, or Seachem Gold or even just a cichlid akaline buffer. Yes, you can get these at better lfs, except for Buff-It-Up, which you have to order online from Goldfish Connection. This is why you need to have a KH and GH test kit. The readings you get on those will tell you whether you need to buffer your water. Your pH readings are basically okay, IF you have nice strong KH and GH readings. But if your KH and GH readings are low, you will definitely need to buffer your water. We can talk more about whether you need buffers when you get KH and GH readings.

crushed coral, do i need this? how do you use this? Crushed coral works to raise your GH levels, so again, whether you need to use this will depend on your GH test reading. It really doesn't matter how you use it. You could strew some across the bottom of your tank. You could put a bag of it inside your filter along with your other media if there's room or, if there's not room in the filter and you don't want it loose in the tank, just put a bag of it anywhere in the tank. This will slowly disintegrate over time, so it will need to be periodically replaced/replenished.

someone recommended to use api salt? what the? I have no idea how and if i need it? First, you don't need to, specifically, use API salt. Any non-iodized salt will work, such as rock salt, kosher salt, etc. Next, there was some silly fad that started a few years ago about keeping salt in your tank all the time. It's a foolish thing to do. Salt is used as a treatment for an illness or infection and for all qts, which you will want to do when you get your new fish. If it's used all the time, the bacteria and parasites can build up an immunity to it to where it will no longer be effective, so only use it when you have illnesses, infections and for qts. I would strongly urge you to read the article linked in my signature entitled, "Salt As Treatment." This article will tell you all of the kinds of salt you can use, why you need to use it and how to dose it and do water changes with it.

Edited by Lynda Von G

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...i bought feeder fish to make matters worse and eventually all of them died. I would not suggest choosing feeder fish for your next go-round. Not because they're feeder fish, per se; I ended up with some really beautiful feeder fish that went into my pond, but because they are single tails, which require twice as much water per fish as fancies. Choose fancies, they're not quite as hearty as single tails, but with fancies, you could have three fish in your tank, barely, whereas with single tails, you could only, barely, have two.

as for the tap water:

ammonia-1-2 Holy Crap! REALLY?! Are you absolutely sure it was 1-2? It seems to be mostly cycling out in the tank, but this is a perfect example of why you want to use Prime when you have fish. When you're getting this high of ammonia out of your tap, you have to find a way to get rid of it as soon as possible and Prime will help with that a lot. But, don't use it now while you're trying to cycle. It could mess with the cycle. But, definitely use Prime when you finally add fish.

ph- 8.0

nitrate - 0

nitrite- 0

as for the tank water:

ammonia -.25

ph - 7.4 Why is your pH dropping this much? Do you have driftwood in the tank? I would highly suggest getting test kits for KH and GH. Driftwood might be a cause, but your pH may also be dropping because you have very low KH and GH numbers, which could be a very dangerous situation for goldfish. Whether you buffer your water, as you asked below, will be based on your KH and GH readings.

nitriate - 0

nitrite - 0

1. HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD I CHANGE RIGHT NOW? 25%, 30%, 50%? Water changes for goldfish should never be less than 50%. You may even need to go as high as 90%, depending on your readings, but that's with fish. And, as Hidr said, because you're doing a fishless cycle, you don't need to worry about high ammonia numbers because there are no fish to harm. And higher ammonia numbers will kickstart the cycle faster, so don't do water changes unless your ammonia gets to some freakishly high level like 8 or so.

2. OK, A PROBLEM, I NEVER WASHED THE GRAVEL AND I THINK IT CAUSED THE FISH TO DIE. I SYPHONED IT WHILE FISH WERE STILL ALIVE, OF COURSE, I TOOK THE FISH OUT, BUT THE WATER REMAINED CLOUDY EVEN AFTER WATER CHANGE AND CLEANING? WHAT I DID NOT DO Also as mentioned, you don't need to remove your fish for your water changes. This can cause unnecessary stress on the fish. The gravel may have been the cause of the fishes' deaths, it may not have been, but it's still not the best thing to have. I have been a serious diehard gravel lover for years and years, but I've finally reached the point where I have been forced to admit that it's not a good thing for goldfish. I honestly siphoned my gravel really, really, really well and did 70% - 90% water changes every week and, still, I was never able to get it as clean as it truly needed to be to remove all the gunk that can cause bad bacteria. That cloudiness you see is all the stuff that was getting lost down in the gravel and the only way you'd ever be able to get rid of all of it to a point where you could have a truly clean and healthy tank would be to do 100% water changes every single week and remove and rinse all the gravel. Ridiculous? uh huh. Bare bottoms really are the only good choice. I detest bare bottoms and I'm doing everything I can think of to create a visually pleasing tank while still being bare bottom, but it truly is better to not have gravel. It really is. So, you're better off not even having gravel to worry about how to clean it.

WAS DRUMROLL PLEASE: MAIN QUESTION AHEAD:

DO YOU KEEP WATER CHANGE OVERNIGHT IN BUCKETS?? OR LEAVE WATER IN TANK AND TAKE GOLDFISH OUT AND PUT IN A BOWL WHILE WAITING OVERNIGHT FOR WATER TO GET CONDITIONED? OR DO YOU PUT FISH RIGHT AFTER YOU DO WATER CHANGE THAT VERY SAME DAY?

ENCORE DRUMROLL: WHEN DO YOU PUT THE PRIME IN? IN THE TANK? IN THE BUCKETS? AND OF COURSE YOU PUT PRIME IN BEFORE YOU PUT THE FISH BACK IN. I THINK I KNOW THIS...ANYWAY, i am sorry, but i really am new to this and want to buy my new goldfish which i think someone bought already. i had my eye on a beautiful jade colored goldfish, and my tank isn't ready yet!!argh! so anyway, simple answers would be great. or your input advice, etc..etc..

You could leave water out overnight to "condition" it, but doing so only allows the chlorine to dissipate. Chloramines and the other trace elements, such as the ammonia, will not dissipate and will go right in the tank, so that's why it's absolutely necessary to use a dechlorinator/conditioner, and in your case with such high ammonia numbers out of your tap, Prime. If you do water changes with buckets, it's definitely better to put your conditioner in the water BEFORE it goes in the tank. If you're using a product like a Python to do water changes, you have no option but to put the conditioner straight into the tank. But, if you add the conditioner right before you start pumping the water into the tank, there will be little to no impact on the fish.

plus what is a buffer? can i get that at any local petstore? Maybe this picture will help you better understand pH, KH and GH. Your house is the pH. The KH is the bricks that make up the foundation the house sits on and the GH is the mortar that holds the bricks together. You could have the most beautiful house in the world, but if they built the foundation with old, crumbly bricks or didn't use enough bricks and kind of spaced them far apart, and/or if they didn't use enough mortar to hold all the bricks together, it just doesn't matter how beautiful and great your house is, it's going to come crashing down because it doesn't have a good foundation. Your KH and GH are the foundation that hold up your pH. So, that's why understanding KH and GH is so important.

Depending on the buffer, it changes the pH and it should also change the KH levels of the water. Goldfish like "hard" or "akaline" water, that is, water that has pH readings of 7.4-8.6, preferably. Can be a bit higher, or a bit lower if you have good, solid KH and GH. So, you would want an akaline buffer that raises pH and KH. You don't want those quick and easy products like pH Up. They're unstable and bad. You would need a good, solid akaline buffer such as Buff-It-Up, or Seachem Gold or even just a cichlid akaline buffer. Yes, you can get these at better lfs, except for Buff-It-Up, which you have to order online from Goldfish Connection. This is why you need to have a KH and GH test kit. The readings you get on those will tell you whether you need to buffer your water. Your pH readings are basically okay, IF you have nice strong KH and GH readings. But if your KH and GH readings are low, you will definitely need to buffer your water. We can talk more about whether you need buffers when you get KH and GH readings.

crushed coral, do i need this? how do you use this? Crushed coral works to raise your GH levels, so again, whether you need to use this will depend on your GH test reading. It really doesn't matter how you use it. You could strew some across the bottom of your tank. You could put a bag of it inside your filter along with your other media if there's room or, if there's not room in the filter and you don't want it loose in the tank, just put a bag of it anywhere in the tank. This will slowly disintegrate over time, so it will need to be periodically replaced/replenished.

someone recommended to use api salt? what the? I have no idea how and if i need it? First, you don't need to, specifically, use API salt. Any non-iodized salt will work, such as rock salt, kosher salt, etc. Next, there was some silly fad that started a few years ago about keeping salt in your tank all the time. It's a foolish thing to do. Salt is used as a treatment for an illness or infection and for all qts, which you will want to do when you get your new fish. If it's used all the time, the bacteria and parasites can build up an immunity to it to where it will no longer be effective, so only use it when you have illnesses, infections and for qts. I would strongly urge you to read the article linked in my signature entitled, "Salt As Treatment." This article will tell you all of the kinds of salt you can use, why you need to use it and how to dose it and do water changes with it.

Hi Lynda,

I just finished reading this about the KH, GH and PH. I asked you on my other thread what these were and you had your explanation on here. SO I am CATCHING UP with all my posts! THanX! I am looking for the KH,GH tests.

Thanks!

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You don't have KH and GH tests yet? I thought you bought some. Am I confused? So, am I also confused that you bought akaline buffers and Replenish?

And, I'm going to have to come over there and smack you for not reading your own posts! :wa I knew you weren't reading them because you'd start a new thread and ask the same questions! This is another one of your scattered habits! lol! :krazy: Well, you're reading them now, so, I guess...... better late than never?! :thumb: Well, we'll get you straightened out yet! :teehee

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You don't have KH and GH tests yet? I thought you bought some. Am I confused? So, am I also confused that you bought akaline buffers and Replenish?

And, I'm going to have to come over there and smack you for not reading your own posts! :wa I knew you weren't reading them because you'd start a new thread and ask the same questions! This is another one of your scattered habits! lol! :krazy: Well, you're reading them now, so, I guess...... better late than never?! :thumb: Well, we'll get you straightened out yet! :teehee

Hi Lynda,

How are you? I finally got the KH and GH TESTS! So here are the new readings for everything:

KH-89.5

GH-214.8

ammonia-0.25

nitrite-0

nitrate-0

PH High range-8.0

So what do you see? Should I still use the crushed coral? I am confused about the high PH reading range and the KH and GH results. I did them correctly. I promise.

Thanks

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