General Question

saranwrapper's avatar

Is there an easier way to change the water in a fish tank?

Asked by saranwrapper (2095points) September 4th, 2008

I recently inherited a ten gallon fish tank with 2 fish, Steve Buscemi and Helena Bonham Carter, and a snail named Ben. Anyway, changing the water is incredibly time consuming and well, not fun. Is there a way to change the water that does include me wanting to kill myself?

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23 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I use something similar to this. Except mine has a little ball on the hose that you squeeze to get the water going. And I usually only take about 33% of the water each time I clean it. Usually the day before I will condition the water I plan on putting back in. You don’t really want to just dump in water from the sink.

yannick's avatar

@johnpowell: GA for saying pretty much exactly what I was going to, in a better-worded, more intelligent and understandable way. Hoorah!

damien's avatar

You can put water in straight from the tap and condition it in the tank, but for a little 10 gallon tank, that’d probably make life harder. This might help you. I used to use a kind-of home-made version of that to do water changes in my old 135 gal, 6 foot tank and it took about half an hour or so.

What aspect of the water change are you finding time consuming?

damien's avatar

For your own well-being, make sure this doesn’t happen.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

Gee, thanks for the warning Damien. While I don’t have the appendage mentioned in the article, I will think twice about swimming naked in a lake….

JackAdams's avatar

I remember my mother once said to me, Why haven’t you changed the water in the fish bowl?”

I replied, “Why should I? They haven’t drank what they’ve already got!”

(My apologies to The Collective.)

September 4, 2008, 8:44 AM EDT

El_Cadejo's avatar

saranwrapper go with the Python like damien said. Its amazing really. It siphons the water out right into your sink, and has an attachment to the faucet to fill it back up. That way you dont have to carry a bucket of water through your house and make trips. Though with your 10g it wouldnt be that much water….....wait how is that time consuming?

You should only be taking out 2–3g which should take no time at all. Make sure you hit the gravel really good when you siphon though. That is where all the nitrates and ammonia build up.

Thanks for reminding me though, i have to go do a water change on my tank

JackAdams's avatar

Why don’t aquariums have some kind of FILTERED release hole on the bottom of the tank, so the used water can flow out that way, then you seal the drain and re-fill the tank, normally?

I’ve never seen one like that, but I have heard that they exist…

September 4, 2008, 12:22 PM EDT

damien's avatar

@Jack – You can do that, in a way. Some external filters have a hose attachment so that you can easily drain (or pump) water out. Or, a tank with a sump could be setup with all sorts of weird and wonderful drainage/topup devices.

Not really something for small, freshwater tanks though.

Nice tank, uberbatman! Here’s an old pic of mine.

El_Cadejo's avatar

very nice damien. Did those GSP grow out of control? i have some in my tank, im hoping they dont take over the tank, gotta keep up on fraggin. Still have the tank up?

damien's avatar

It’s still going – having a few algae issues at the mo so it probably looked nicer back then. The green star polyps haven’t taken over yet. The rock they’re on is a little distance from the surrounding ones and they don’t seem be trying to go across the sand, so I haven’t had to frag them once yet. The devil’s finger is starting to get a bit massive though. I want to frag it but don’t have anywhere to grow the frag and don’t want to chuck it!

El_Cadejo's avatar

just grow the frag out in your tank (or send it to me ^_^) what kind of algae problems are you having? I stumbled across this last night, and seems to be a great idea and cheap so im going to have to give it a shot. Heres some more pictures of my tank if your interested.

JackAdams's avatar

Please allow me to ask a bit of a related question, if no one minds:

This might read like a set-up for a joke of mine, but it really isn’t.

What would cause your fish to JUMP OUT of their tank?

I actually witnessed this with my own eyes, as a friend was preparing to change the water in her own tank, and as she was scooping out the water with a huge ladle, the two fish leaped out of the tank, onto the kitchen table, and of course, started suffocating.

She put them into large BallĀ® jars, then continued emptying and cleaning the aquarium, and then the fish were placed back inside of it, and acted like nothing had happened.

Very strange!

September 4, 2008, 1:09 PM EDT

El_Cadejo's avatar

@JackAdams fish will often try and jump out of a tank if they are scared. A giant ladle going into there home would cause this lol. Most gobies are infamous jumpers and require a lid on the tank at all times. If your friend is only changing water by scooping it out with a ladle shes going to have some serious nitrate/ammonia problems in the future. You have to siphon the gravel really good, thats where all the diatrus builds up.

JackAdams's avatar

Thanks for the information.

Obviously, I am not a fish owner, but the subject fascinates me, and I am amazed at my own ignorance on this subject.

And thanks for increasing my vocabulary today, with diatrus.

I used to keep trout in a tank, but my roommates kept cooking and eating them, all the time…

September 4, 2008, 1:22 PM EDT

damien's avatar

@uberbatman, that turf filter sounds nice! I might give that a try myself.

saranwrapper's avatar

I have a plecostomus and a snail so they’re supposed to eat all the algae making my life easier, but they’re lazy so it gets green very quickly and the insane type A part of me can’t take it so I end up having to take out all of the water alot more often than I think I should have to. I know 10 gallons isn’t that big, but then again neither am I so again, my life is hard.

Thanks so much for all the great advise! Now i’m looking for advise of the subject that doesn’t involve me buying anything as I am incredibly cheap. I’m aware that this type of advise probably doesn’t exist, but a girl can dream.

saranwrapper's avatar

@damien I’ll try my best to keep my penis out of the tank.

damien's avatar

More often than not, Plecs create so much waste (which in turn gives you ammonia, nitrite and then natrate – which all feed different types of algae.) that they end up creating more algae than they can eat in the long run. Depends on the type of Plec and how big it is.

What type of Plec is it? The most commonly found (and cheapest ones) can grow massive – 12”-16”.

There are things you can do to help minimise the algae. Lowering the amount of time lights are on, feeding less food and increasing aeration are some good places to start. Keeping the water changes regular will help to keep nitrate from building up.

If it’s really bad, put a blanket over the tank and leave it in the dark for 3 or 4 days. Don’t feed them or lift the cover (they’ll be fine, don’t worry!). After a few days, slowly take the cover off so as to not startle them and the algae should be pretty much gone due to the lack of light.

saranwrapper's avatar

@damien you are offically my hero. I’m not sure what kind of plecostomus Helena is as I inherited her, but I know she’s not 12” – 16” I’ll take your advice and try covering the tank for a few days. If they die, I am going to blame you though and e-curse you.

damien's avatar

:) They won’t die. Freshwater fish can go for quite a while without food with no ill effect.

Good luck beating the algae!

Knotmyday's avatar

To clean up the algae in our little 5-gallon tank, we picked up four Siamese algae eater fish, Crossocheilus siamensis. They cleaned it up lickety split.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Yea that pleco will more than likely outgrow that tank. They grow rather fast too. As damien said, they often create more algae then they clean. Plecos have the tendency to shit A LOT which becomes diatrus which causes your algae problem.

To make your algae cleaning even easier on you, you can get one of these i have them on all of my tanks. It makes cleaning soooooooo much easier and faster.

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