Water Changes

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Articles and How To's' started by Matt Rogers, Nov 9, 2008.

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  1. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Water changes

    Buy 2 buckets that are the same size for water changes. That way you don't have to think too hard about how much to take out and how much to put in. Mark one with a marker to designate the 'dirty' water so you never make new water in that bucket. I have a small tank - 20 long - so two (new!) 5 gallon paint buckets with lids is all I need.

    - Mixing Salt

    When I am mixing salt I start with a handle of an algae scraper then I put an old rio pump ;) in the bottom of the bucket pointed to the side. I also have a little heater if need be that I suction cup to the side of the bucket. Finally I drop the probe of a Coralife digital thermometer in there, put the lid back on lightly and place the thermometer on top. I usually let this set for a day before adding to the tank.

    - Removing Old Water

    After turning off the necessary pumps, etc.. I begin siphoning water into the 'dirty' bucket that is near the tank stand. (Try not to block the doors of your stand if you need to get in there.) Go to a little below the waterline of the water in your clean bucket. That way if you spill you have extra. If you are using paint buckets like me, put the lid back on.

    - Adding New Water

    If you are using my setup, place the clean water on top of the dirty bucket. Then what I do is attach a hose to the rio pump I used to mix the salt. I hold the other end of the hose against the inside top edge of the tank to diffuse the output and plug it in. This will add water slow enough to not really shock anything out or stir anything up too bad. Let this go on until the water is down near the pump intake and unplug the pump. Then add the rest as needed directly to the tank until you reach the teeth of your overflow or, if you don't have one, where the water line usually is.

    Turn everything back on, you're done!
    :)

    I like to have a little extra water at the end for final adjustments.

    In my small tank I now do weekly 5 gallon changes to keep my corals happy. This helps cut down on dosing additional supplements too.


    This process works really well for me and goes really smooth. If you have a small tank, you could do it verbatim, otherwise for bigger tanks, maybe you could adapt a thing or two from this.

    Matt
     
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  3. OverThinker

    OverThinker Skunk Shrimp

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    Pumps?

    You say to turn off the "necessary" pumps, but I thought when doing a water change that you turn off your whole system?

    I turned off my whole system earlier to unplug a clogged pipe, and my wet/filter/sump tank filled up with water but stopped. Is it bad to just turn the whole system back on after the water backs up like that?
     
  4. sostoudt

    sostoudt Giant Squid

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    i think you only have one return pump. so that one pump is your whole system.

    he means leave on powerheads in the tank if theres enough water to cover them. leave the protein skimmer on if theres enough water to cover that pump
     
  5. grasshopper

    grasshopper Astrea Snail

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    do you think it is better to do smaller water changes over a couple of days or a large water change once a week. i am changing out 10 gallons a week now to try to help with some nitrate and phosphate issues that i am trying to lower. even though they are not out of control. i have decided to move up to twenty gallons a week. just not sure if i should do it all at once or maybe 10 and 10, like every three or four days. opinions?
     
  6. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Grasshopper , how big is your tank ? water changes are usually percentage based - and people may choose from the following list and there may be even more options that I have not considered, but generaly

    5% - weekly ( I do 10% weekly )
    10% - Fortnightly
    20% - Monthly

    many people would not change more than 20% at any one time unless they had a problem ( Toxins from die off, major parameter issues etc)

    How high are your Nitrates?
    water changes to control nitrates could work our very expensive and very inefficient - They creep up between changes unless you spend a fortune keeping on top of them.

    examine your feeding habits and filtration system as your Nitrate issues will probably be as a result of problems in these areas IMO

    Steve
     
  7. grasshopper

    grasshopper Astrea Snail

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    thanks for the reply steve. i have a 55 gallon tanks with a ten gallon fuge that is only carrying about only 5 gallons. i change out 10 gallons a week with ro salt water bought from the lfs. i am using a hob filter with a sponge and carbon. using a koralia 1 and an aquaclear 30 for water circulation. all parameters are fine. my phosphates finally came down to zero. nitrates still sitting at twenty.
    the hob filter was clean last week and i have been feeding only every other day. let me know if you need to know any other info. and thanks again.
     
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  9. divott

    divott Giant Squid

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    thnx matt for sharing the way you do it. made me feel better with your process, thats the way ive beem doing mine. andalso ive been doing it the way steve said percentage wise. recently my nitrates had risen to 10 , which im slowly getting down, they were at 5 after last nights change. bhut my phosphates read .05 after being at 0 since my tanks inception , which was nov 2008. guess i need to clean up my substrate a bit better. and would adding some more hermits help much with uneaten food?
     
  10. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    grass hopper this sounds reasonable to me if tank has been set up a while its possible you need to give the rock work a blasting with a PH or turkey baster to remove any trapped detrius - do this prior to next water change let the sediment settle and then syphon out - or blast and syphon at same time

    check your tank for any dead spots, areas where there is lower flow, focus on removing any sediment from these areas next water change

    Hi Divott at 10 my opinion is your doing OK adding clean up crew IMO wont help all it does is change the way the nitrate are created hermit poop, fish poop, bacteria processing all the same thing really eventually- nitrates

    as with above pay special attention to rock work and back corners ofthe tank and focus on these at next water change

    for me when doing a water change - if the bucket I throw away looks like the bucket of water I am adding , I feel like I wasted my time

    thus I aim to make that bucket as dirty as possible and get a high crud to water ratio

    Steve
     
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  11. One Dumm Hikk

    One Dumm Hikk Skunk Shrimp

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    I was looking for a thread on RO/DI and ran across this. Its a little old but I wanted to stick my 2 cents in while I can remember what it is :)

    10 gallons twice won't remove the same amount of water as a single 20 gallon water change will.

    If you have a 50 gallon tank and change 10 gallons, thats 20%. If you then do another 10gallon change the next day, 20% of the water you take out will be the water you put in the day before so that you are only removing 8 gallons of "old" water. If your aim is to get nitrates and phosphates down, single larger water changes are more efficient at that than many smaller changes. If you make absolutely sure that the temperature and salinity of old and new water match then you won't have an issue with a larger water change. Just don't dump it back in, slowly drip the new water in. Give the water in the tank time to stabilize to the new water.
     
  12. Phayes

    Phayes Aiptasia Anemone

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    Also, for those of you who are doing water changes in a fight with cyanobacteria... I have found that doing water changes at night (when tank lights are off, etc) is much more effective as most of the cyano tends to vanish without a light source, effectively releasing nutrients back into the water. Thus, changing the water when it is nutrient rich like this, tends to be the most effective way of making an impact.