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question on water changes - Soapstone - 02-23-2017

so far i have been changing half the water with the siphon every week. i have a small siphon and i do not think it is getting the job done and may go up to a medium size soon. i have changed the water 3 times now and it is starting to get a ton of particles in it when i stir up the gravel while changing it out, and i am wondering if that is normal and it will settle? will eventually need to do an almost full water change at some point. it is almost time to replace my filter as well, as it need to do it once a month. will having a bigger siphon help?

RE: question on water changes - Thor - 02-23-2017

It is supposed to remove the debris / particular such as fish waste and leftover fish food, and anything that is not gravel.

Are you saying these debris get stuck inside the siphon?

By the way, what filter are you using?
Filter media (aside the carbon pad) should be not replaced. By doing so, you remove all the beneficial bacteria for the aquarium nitrogen cycle. Basically, your aquarium will start new again after you used new filter media. I would only gently squeeze the filter media in a bucket of tank water or water treated with aquarium water conditioner for cleaning.

RE: question on water changes - Soapstone - 02-23-2017

no, it is more the fact the debris gets stirred up in the water as i siphon the gravel and it makes it a bit murky (yellow-green). even after adding more water into it. so lots of particles float around in the water, and it takes a little before they settle back down  and water becomes clear looking again. i have also seen more particles floating through the water when it is clear looking, lots less than when i first clean it and it gets stirred up. also when looking at the surface of the water from below, it seems there is like a weird mild grease-like looking film on the the surface of the water, i dunno if it is caused by the water conditioner, the fish, the food, or the algae, but i wondered if that is normal.

this reminds me, i think the power filter may be too strong for my betta, it constantly is grabbing food in the current and throwing it down to the floor or the tank or whipping it around to the far side only to have it get caught in the current again. even though the current mostly just affects the top of the tank, i still see my betta being weird and look like it is trying to swim against the current from time to time. as a result of this, a lot of the food ends up on the floor and not in the Steve's mouth. 

it is a topfin power filter (the removable top says Topfin 10) and it looks like it has a thin white carbon filter thing which i assume is the one i replace monthly and then it has a green honeycomb looking thing in it too, i assume that one is left in the filter.

RE: question on water changes - Thor - 02-24-2017

It is normal to have debris after the water change when you put a lot of water into the aquarium very quickly.

First, you need to make sure all the organic debris are removed during the water change. That means all the fish poo and leftover fish food and any other waste product in the aquarium that can rot. So what left is only the substrate. Most substrate will not floating around for long and should settle within seconds.

If you mean the substrate was floating around all the places, you can reduce it from happening by putting a small plate in the tank and have the new water drop on it when you fill the tank back up.

I am not what to make of the grease-like substance. Maybe you should reduce feeding. A betta fish does not need to eat much at all. Extra food means more organic waste in the fish tank.

Carbon pad should be black in color, not white. If it is white, it is just the biological filtration pad and you are not supposed to replace that unless it is falling apart. If you replace it every month, then you are just reset your aquarium back to before the nitrogen cycle ever started for the first time. Ammonia and nitrite can build up until it is cycled again which can take a month or more without heavy seeding.

You can reduce the filter current by install a piece of pre-filter foam or sponge on the intake. It will slow down the water flow. A little current will actually make fish more healthy in the long run. Similar to how humans should stay more active to be healthy. There are reports saying betta lived up to 7~10 years when they provided periodically water current for it to "workout".

RE: question on water changes - Soapstone - 02-24-2017

ya, that filter is white and it looks like there was black stuff inside it.

so the intake thing, does the spongy foam stuff go around the outside of it? is it better to have it the strenght that it is now or reduce it a little?

i have gravel at the bottom of the tank, no substrate. the stuff flying around is the organic stuff: food and poop and algae. i am pretty sure i do not get all of it as it flies all over the water when i start pulling up the silk plants and stuff so i can vacuum the gravel. sometimes i get gravel pieces getting sucked up the tube. i have a small siphon as i mentioned and worry it isnt doing a decent job and cleaning the organic stuff out of the tank.

RE: question on water changes - Thor - 02-25-2017

Install a piece of sponge on the intake tube. So it is outside the filter. Yes, it will reduce the water flow.

You are supposed to remove all of the organic waste during the partial water change. Do a gravel vacuuming when you remove the water from your fish tank. If you do not remove them, they will just pile up and increase the ammonia production in your aquarium. Maybe your siphon does not have enough sucking power?

My gravel vacuum works just fine. It doesn't even remove the small piece of substrate since they will just fall back down right away.

RE: question on water changes - Fishbone - 02-25-2017

I am trying to imagine your exact process, so bare with me.  Don't move the plants first, and if you do, do it gently.  And how do you get the siphon going?  Best thing I've found, take the tube of the vac in the corner, pump it up and down in the same spot, so you are only disturbing that one timy spot, until it gets sucking.  then slowly move it around, digging it down in the gravel, let it suck up the gravel and the organic waste, then lift it slowly and the gravel should fall out with the organics going up the tube.  move over an inch or so and dig it in again, repeat.  don't just dig up the substrate (Gravel is substrate by the way).   You might not get to clean all the gravel this way each time, that's ok.  do another water change in a few days.  And do another area. 

short answer, don't just tear up the substrate, pick a section, put it in gently, and get everything out of that area. 

Also, you have only one beta?  If there is that much on the bottom, either feed less, or feed more slowly.  Sounds like you've got a lot of detritus on the bottom.  

RE: question on water changes - Soapstone - 03-08-2017

that is about how i am sucking it up. i have been pulling the silk plants out, you suggest i leave them and vacuum around them?

the water disappears faster than i can suck up the junk on the bottom, so i am not sure what to do about that. i am trying to leave water in there for my fish as i heard it is not good to use nets, and from what people have said you are only supposed to do partial water changes. i think the big problem is when i go to feed my fish, the fish doesnt notice the food unless he is right up there, he kinda does a weird repeated darting motion and acts all spastic, so i have no idea what this is about but it seems like he wont even show any interest in the food until he is swimming up near the surface and can see it. and as i mentioned with the water current, he often misses it and it and the current shoots it around or it sinks it. so i think it is how i am getting this stupid mess from the pellets. he tends to eat more than he misses, but still there is a some that ends up on the bottom due to my fish's weird behavior or the filter current.

RE: question on water changes - Fishbone - 03-08-2017

I forgot you had such a small tank.  Sounds like the siphon is pulling out water faster than you can get it around to clean enough of the substrate before you are too low on water?  I know they make tiny "Beta Vacs", mini vacuums, etc.  Maybe look into those?  The other option would be to bend the hose at the top of the actual plastic tube, right where the hose starts.  Kinda like kinking a garden hose.  I do this to slow the flow sometimes.  But if you slow the flow too much you aren't sucking much out of the gravel either.  I think finding the smallest gravel vac possible is the best idea. 

The amount of water it is safe to change is debatable, you'll get a variety of opinions om that.  I think a lot of it depends on how well you prepare the replacement water.  For example, my planted tank is a bit more complicated, but I use RO water, and make sure to match the kH (carbonate hardness) of the water in the tank.  If you are using treated tap water, and doing regular (at least weekly) water changes, you shouldn't have to worry too much about that.  You should be able to easily change up to 25-30% of the water with no problem, maybe up to 50%.  Make sure to let the water sit out in the room with the tank for at least a few hours, and if you are doing a larger water change, (50% or more) don't pour it all back in at once, do it in 3 or 4 batches. 15-30 minutes between each.  That way, if there is a fluctuation in kH, gH, etc, you aren't replacing it all at once, and reduce shock to the beta, by doing it a little at a time. 

To feeding, are you only feeding pellets?  And what type/brand/size?  I have only had a few bets in my life, and never seen any of them show much interest in pellets.  Things that slowly float to the bottom, and drift, seem to do better.  Frozen cubes (especially bloodworms) & flakes, etc, seem to do better from my experience.  They seem to be clumsy feeders, needing things that "drift".  For one Beta, frozen cubes probably wouldn't be economical.  Unless you could cut them in half/thirds while still frozen.  Maybe dried bloodworms, and a *high quality* flake food (I highlight that because there are a number of flake fish foods that are simply crap).  To the filter/current, you might have too much flowthrough for your tank.  I assume it isn't adjustable?  You can always re-position it. Maybe put it towards the side of the tank, and aim it into the glass and slightly downwards to disperse the flow?

I didn't mean not to ever move the plants, what you don't want to do is just stir things up too much.  You want to suck it up with the vac, to do that, it needs to be in the gravel until you get there with the vac.  Just stirring the gravel up moving things puts it into the water column, makes it harder to catch it in the vac.  Make sense?