Why do you need to change your water?
Do you like living in a dirty house? Breathe in dirty air? No, right? So do your fish. You should consider spending some time to change the water of your fish tank often.
Uneaten fish food, dead particles, and excrement from living beings in your tank can make water in the tank dirty. Dirty water contains many contaminants, debris, and toxins that can be highly dangerous to your fish. Besides, letting the water unchanged will cause the pH level in your tank increase, making the environment become too alkaline for your fish to live.
Changing the water often allows you to more closely control the level of the toxins in your tank, making sure your fish have the best environment.
Type of water change
There are two types of water changes for an aquarium: the partial and the complete change. The complete change, you will change all the water in your fish tank with new water. The partial change, you will only change a partial amount of the water in your tank, normally it is about 10 to 15% would be changed.
If you do not have to, you should consider changing your water frequently and conduct only partial change. A complete change requires the removal of the fish from the tank. You should avoid doing this often since the removal of home can cause great stress for fish.
How to replace water in your tank
- Treating water
Not every fish can live comfortably in tap water. Some fish require higher pH level, some require lower than the tap water. Before actually replacing the water in the fish tank, you need to pre-treat the new water.
Get a clean bucket and fill it with normal tap water from the faucet. Treat the water with some water conditioner. Follow the instructions on the water conditioner bottle closely for the best result. The conditioner, besides adding particles to adjust the water pH level, it also removes dangerous chemicals and metal residue in water, making it safer for fish to live in.
Also, make sure the ‘new’ water is as close to the old water in temperature as possible.
- Lighting and heating element
Since you will constantly work in a watery environment, it would be best to eliminate or lower all the electric sources around the tank. You do not want to get shocked while replacing the water.
Check the lid of the tank for any lighting and heating systems. Disconnect the attached lightings and/or unplug any exposed heating elements in the tank. Do this with dry hands as much as possible to minimize the possibilities of you getting shocked.
- The Air Filter
The filter is an important factor in keeping the water clean in the tank. It does not hurt to check it often every time you replace water. Before doing that, make sure to unplug the filter.
You don’t have to clean or replace the filter cartridge, sponge or other features every time you change water. Those components stay clean longer than the water. However, it is not a bad idea to check it a little every time to make sure the filter is still working well. Sometimes, you can run the filter through cold water or fully replace it (only if you need to) to make sure the filter is clean.
- Decorations and plants
Bad bacteria and dirt like to attach themselves to the artificial items and plants in your tanks, making them both harmful for your fish and sludgy looking. Take them out of the tank and clean them thoroughly with some plant cleaning solution or a very dilute mixture of beach water. You can use 1-2 tablespoons of bleach for every bucket of water.
The Water Change
- Taking the water out
First, you need to take water out of the tank. For a partial change, use buckets or an automatic water changer to take out from 10 to 15% of used water in the tank. If it is a complete change, take a bucket of used water from the tank and scope out all the fish. Let the fish stay in the little bucket while you change the rest of the tank’s water.
If you have a large tank, it is recommended to you’re an automatic water changer instead of carrying multiple large and slippery buckets of water back and forth.
If you want to do the water change manually, you can use a siphon. Start with placing the siphon tip into the tank’s substrate at the bottom, like gravel or sand. The siphon will take out both debris and tank water. Put the siphon into multiple areas of gravel to clean the tank more thoroughly.
- Sucking out water
Once again, it is highly recommended that you do not perform a complete water change unless you have a very good reason for it. Changing more than 30% of the tank water can change the chemistry of the tank and greatly distress the fish. Keep this in mind while sucking out the water so you don’t go overboard.
A trick for this is using gallon size buckets. If you have a 10-gallon tank, you will know to stop after filling three one-gallon buckets full with dirty water.
- Measuring temperature
Check the temperature of the remaining water in the tank. You can read from your tank side thermometer or quickly dip an external one into the tank to get a reading.
Check the new water that about to be added, whether or not their temperatures are close to each other. If you did this once in the preparation step already, it is still a good idea to check it again. Better be safe than sorry.
- Re-fill the tank
This is a straightforward and easy step. Just pour the pre-treated water from the bucket into the tank. Don’t pour the water in too fast and too aggressively, it can disturb the gravel layer or the decorations.
- Replacing decorations and plants
All the decorations and plants you took out earlier for cleaning, it is time to put them back and set them up again in the tank. You can take some time to put everything back to where they were or re-design your tank. Your fish won’t be bothered by this change in scenery.
Finally, reconnect all the electronic features you unplugged earlier. Make sure to dry your hands before doing this step. Reconnect the filtration systems, heaters, and lighting. Spend a minute observing to make sure they work as they suppose to.
If you took your fish out earlier, this is time to put them back as well.
Changing water from your tank is not a difficult thing. You can do this easily with some automatic machines or just simply by hand. The more you do it, the better and faster you will get. So try your best to do this frequently enough to make the tank clean, presentable and your fish happy and healthy.