So these water changes are pretty important huh? They actually are a pretty important part of aquarium keeping. Not only are you are able to clean up after your fish (i.e. ditritus, uneaten food, ect) but you are able to control your tanks parameters much better.
Before you ask---more is not better! Unless it’s urgent (like your kid poured your favorite cologne in the tank because he wanted the fish to smell nice) more is not better in this case. You have just created an ecosystem in a box and by taking out more than 40% of your water you can completely strip that ecosystem of its good nutrients. While we hear often, “The tank was dirty so I emptied it and just refilled it.” This statement makes our ears hurt. Yes, the tank will get dirty but the best way to keep it clean is to perform 10-20% water changes weekly or twice a month. When changing the water you do not want to clean everything out all at once. If you need to change or rinse your filters out wait a week or so in between. When changing or rinsing the filters, you are wiping away all of the good bacteria that has established in and around it. Give it a few days and then add your new filters or media—this gives the tank some time to calm down and not recycle.
Oh yes…..the 50% water changes every few days or once a week. We hear this one a lot as well. While this may work in very few circumstances this is not the norm. Usually when this is a routine for someone they haven’t experienced “The Cycle” in the tank. They prevent it from happening and in the long run can get a bit out of hand if the tank is fully stocked.
Our suggestion to you:
1. Tap water (at a similar temp to your tank water) and Prime by Seachem. 10-20% water change weekly or twice a month. Regular water testing is important to make sure you have a handle on your pH, hardness and alkalinity. The water is different in every city so it’s nice to know what yours it at!
2. RO/DI water and RO Reconstitute by Continuum. By using RO/DI water you insure that you are using the cleanest water and then by adding the RO Reconstitute you re mineralize the water to fish friendly standards.
RO/DI water and salt mix! Please no tap water---it’s an algae issue in the long run we promise!! Now different salt mixes have different parameters and if you are keeping us with your water tests this shouldn’t be an issue but if you’re not then switching salt mixes can be tricky.
Most commercial environments use either Reef Crystals or Instant Ocean. Reef Crystals has an extremely high alkalinity measure when mixed and Instant Ocean has less alkalinity but more Magnesium and Stronium than natural sea water. We use NeoMarine by Brightwell Aquatics. NeoMarine mixes at a ration that is at or just below natural sea level. This gives more room to dose up because it’s a lot easier to dose up than down.
Now that you have the skinny on water changes lets go do some!!!