“The Solution to Pollution is Dilution”
I can look back when I first got into this hobby and just think of how bad a tropical fish keeper I was back then! I knew nothing of changing aquarium water. I sit here and wonder how those fish survived?
Why Change Aquarium Water?
There are numerous reasons for changing aquarium water on a regular basis. The main reason is to keep your fish healthy.
During the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle, Nitrates naturally build up in the water column. Regular aquarium water changes help remove these pollutants. During your aquarium water change, you will be removing dissolved toxins such as nitrates, ammonia, nitrite, and phosphates. A build up of nitrates and other toxins will lower your Aquarium Water Hardness, so it is so important to change aquarium water often.
You will also be removing solid waste such as fish waste and uneaten food. Removing toxins from the aquarium water column is vital to promote healthy fish and a clean tank.
Regular Aquarium Water Changes = Healthy Tropical Fish
When you see pictures on this website or another source of beautiful, healthy, successful tropical fish tanks, you can bet that those tropical fish owners perform a regular aquarium water change.
Removing the toxins from the aquarium tank water can only promote healthy fish. Regular aquarium water changes promote greater color, rapid growth, disease resistance, increased spawning and breeding, and longer lives.
Assisting the Aquarium Filter
Regular aquarium water changes also help your aquarium filter. The bio-load on your biological filter sometimes will become to much to handle. Performing a partial water change will help balance things out in your aquarium. You do not want to much ammonia to build up in the water and overload your biological filter.
Frequent Aquarium Water Changes will simply keep your aquarium water crystal clear. Many people wonder why their aquarium water looks tan, brown, yellow, or a little cloudy. The reason is simply the waste that is building up in the fish tank water. Fish waste (poop and urine) along with uneaten food, decomposing plants, or tannins from driftwood will discolor your aquarium water. Most of the time you will see a yellow tint to you aquarium water when you go long periods of time between water changes. Changing the fishtank water regularly will help ensure that the clarity of your aquarium is optimized.
Another great reason for changing aquarium water on a regular basis is to keep algae under control. Algae feeds of nutrients that build up in the aquarium water. One of these nutrients is knowns as phosphates. When you change aquarium water, you are removing these nutrients before they can feed the algae. When people have an algae outbreak, the first thing I would suggest is to step up the frequency of water changes.
How often do you complete a Aquarium Water Change?
Many people ask the question “How often to change aquarium water?”
As a general rule I prefer to change water weekly. One fish tank water change per week in most cases is enough to keep your tropical fish healthy and happy. There will be times when you may need perform aquarium water changes more frequently. Such cases may include when you are trying to encourage fish growth. It is proven in this hobby that frequent water changes will help increase the growth rate of freshwater tropical fish. Many successful breeders change water daily or at a minimum every other day. Discus breeders are known to change aquarium water several times per day.
Another circumstance in which you may want to change aquarium water more often is when you are medicating or treating your tropical fish for disease or illness. Freshwater helps in the healing process the same way as a clean environment helps with our healing. Think about it, when you have a cut, do you not try to keep that area clean? When fish are sick, have cuts, or torn fins, we need to keep the water as clean as possible.
Fighting algae problems? Step up your aquarium water changes. This process will remove the nutrients that the algae feeds off of. The same is true for water clarity problems.
Frequent water changes solve a lot of the troubles associated with Aquarium Water.
How much Aquarium Water do you change?
As a general answer, I suggest 20-30% per week. The answer will vary depending on factors such as the type of fish, amount you feed, the number of fish, the size of your aquarium tank, what type of food you feed, and your filtration.
There will be a lot of different suggestions you will hear or read, and to be honest, a small difference between 15% and 30% is not huge as long as you are changing aquarium water frequently and testing your Water Parameters.
20-30% is a good amount to change Weekly. This amount removes any possible buildup of toxins without removing a major portion of beneficial bacteria. Some fish keepers may be fine changing 10% of their water per week if they have a very low bio-load. Meaning a 20-gallon aquarium that has two small fish in it will do fine with a 2-gallon aquarium water change per week. Now, if this same aquarium has 8-10 fish in it, you may be better off changing 5 gallons (25%) per week.
Things to Remember when Changing Aquarium Water
There are some things that you must remember when you are changing aquarium water. The last thing you want to do is perform a water change incorrectly and kill your tropical fish!
1.Match the existing aquarium water temperature! This can easily be done by purchasing a digital thermometer. Tropical fish can go into shock and be killed with even minor but rapid temperature changes. Ensure that the temperature going into the tank matches the temperature of the water in the aquarium.
2.Match the Aquarium pH and Aquarium Water Hardness. New water that is added to replace the old dirty water must match the existing in every aspect. A huge swing in Aquarium water pH or Water Hardenss could also send your tropical fish into shock or kill them. So if you are adding buffers to maintain the ph and hardness, you must replace those additives during the water change. Follow the manufacture’s instructions on dosing the additives to ensure you do not overdose your aquarium.
3.ALWAYS dechlorinate your new water as you add it to the aquarium tank. Chlorine and chloramine can and will kill your tropical fish.
4.ALWAYS degass your new water as it is entering the aquarium. This is simply the process of allowing the gasses to escape from the new water by agitating the water as it is going into your aquarium. I do this by holding my hose 2 inches above the water line and pouring the water directly into the current of the aquarium filter.
How to Change Aquarium Water
Now that you know why you should change fish tank water, you need to know exactly how to change your aquarium water.