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FAQs About Water Changes for Freshwater Systems 

To Articles on: Water Changes, General Maintenance


fresh and salt water (of gravel vacuuming, planted tank stasis) Hi guys I have a couple questions regarding both my fresh and salt water aquariums. I have been involved with fresh water for about twenty years. I have a forty gallon planted tank so full of plants you could almost not see the substrate, my LFS told my that with this many plants I should not have to vacuumed the gravel. I am mainly concerned that it will cause an out break of algae. What do you guys think?  <Mmm, eventually you'll either have to make small disruptions to the substrate to "clean" it, add nutrient, or totally tear it down and re-set it up... this latter time interval can be six months to a few years... depending on many factors... plant species make-up, augmentation of liquid supplements, CO2, fish food feeding, initial use of soil...> I have power compact lighting, Fluorite substrate, CO2 injection, Hot Magnum, 125 penguin Biowheel and about thirty or so fish mostly all small. On to my ten gallon reef I was also told by my LFS that I would not want to vacuumed my gravel in my mini reef. You guys helped my remedy some bad advise in part of this LFS. My xenia is pulsing again and every thing is fine except I have a red slime diatom loose in this tank. Previously when I took the LFS advice to treat ick in the reef tank it seems to inadvertently cause the diatom out break and told me to treat it with Maracyn.  <Not recommended... not a real cure... as you will find> Since then I did several massive water changes with RO water and the diatom has come back. Could it be from not vacuuming the gravel?  <Not likely... the materials/nutrients are still in the system from the original colony... recycled> Or is it because my tank is only about four months old? <A somewhat disposing influence> Maracyn which I now know is not a cure but a temporary removal and should not be used in reef tanks. I have since stopped taking advice from this LFS and read articles on your web site which is a real learning experience. The jump from fresh to salt water is significantly different and I was subject to bad advice, that really upsets me. But you guys have got me in the right direction. Thanks Dave McCorkell <Let's keep talking, sharing till you feel comfortable and can aid others. Bob Fenner>

Dear Mr. Fenner...sorry to disturb you once again but... (% water changes) I am going to have a 55 gallon like I said before. there will be maybe 2 fish at first...how much % of water should I change weekly to establish clear healthy water?  <About ten percent a week> I have another tank and it gets cloudier everyday then my mother does a 60% change at it clears then cloudy again its like I chain?  <It is... indeed a chain... too much change is killing off beneficial and benign microorganisms... Please show this note to your mother and encourage here to make smaller water changes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water.htm Bob Fenner>

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