Water Changes - The Key to a Beautiful Aquarium

Print
Category: Water Changes
Published Date Written by karenlynndaugherty

Yes, there is a trick to successful fish keeping.  It does not require loads of expensive medications or equipment… only a modest investment of your time (and, in most cases, some dechlorinator).  Yes folks, I’m afraid there’s no way around it.  Frequent partial water changes are the key to keeping healthy, happy, and long-lived fish in your aquarium. 

By “frequent” I mean a minimum of once a week.  Some systems may benefit from additional changes (such as those containing sensitive fish or tanks that are somewhat overstocked) but once a week should be sufficient for most aquariums. 

And by “partial” I mean 25-50% for freshwater and 10-15% for most saltwater tanks.  I suggest more for freshwater because it is cheaper, easier, and the livestock is more resilient to changes in water parameters than their marine counterparts, not to mention the fact that there is no equivalent to live rock or live sand for freshwater tanks. 

Remember, topping off a tank that loses water through evaporation does not count as a water change!  Evaporation only removes pure water, not the toxins and dissolved nutrients that can harm your fish.    

How do water changes help?  The main reason they are so important is that they keep toxins that your filtration cannot remove diluted to a safe level.  Even good filtration and colonies of nitrifying bacteria cannot typically remove nitrate (the end-product of the Nitrogen Cycle, which will be discussed in a later article).  There are exceptions, like marine tanks with live rock and sand, but that’s a different kettle of fish altogether.  High levels of nitrate stress your fish and make them more susceptible to disease.  Nitrate, like most other aquarium toxins, is invisible (so you won’t know it’s there unless you test for it), but regular water changes keep it under control. 

When done regularly, water changes ensure that the tank’s water chemistry remains similar to that of your tap water, which makes the changes much easier on your fish.  They also reduce the amount of dissolved nutrients that fertilize the dreaded algae.  If you have a major algae problem, chances are that you could stand to do water changes more often!   Fresh water replenishes various trace elements and electrolytes that get used up over time by the fish and (if you have them) live plants.  Finally, water changes seem to have an effect on fish rather like opening a window in a stuffy room.  The room (like the aquarium) might test as perfectly safe, but letting in some fresh air (or water) is always welcome and invigorating.  My fish certainly act friskier after their weekly water change.

nitrogencycle

Wednesday the 30th. ClevelandAquariumSociety.org . Powered by 888poker review - All rights reserved.