My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

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PAUL created the topic: My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

This is my aquarium review for your evaluation and reference.

My AQUARIUM

Tank capacity: 125 gallons or less
Tank mates: 2 red Oscars (17 months old)
2 pangasius sutchi (albino and black)
1 angel fish

Filtering system: 1 Overhead filtering box
1 submersible pump 2200 LPH
Filtering media (sponges and synthetic cotton)

Substrate: Gravel, sand, rocks, and charcoal bits

The SET-UP

The tank is filled with water (tap water) to its full capacity, water level just 1 inch below the rim of the tank. The substrate is un-even at the bottom, higher at one end than the other where the suction of the pump is located. The logic here is that with the flow of water, the current carries all impurities from higher point to the lower portion where the suction is properly positioned.

The Filtering box: The filtering box is position at the top of the aquarium to create free flowing water. The submersible pump sucked and delivers the water & impurities from the lowest point of the aquarium to the filtering box. The filtering media catches and hold all impurities allowing clean water to flow back at the aquarium. The forces of the free flowing water aerate and dissolve oxygen in the water. (This is the purpose of the gap between the discharge points of the filtering box to the top most edge of water level).


Filtering media: I used cotton, synthetic cotton, and sponges. Whenever I used all new filtering media, my water will remain slightly cloudy for a day or two. When a slippery substance started to accumulate in the filtering media (that I came to understand only recently to be a good bacteria), my water becomes clearer and clearer everyday. When the filtering box emit different odor (smell like soil), I wash or replace the filtering elements.

Submersible Pump: (PH2200) The pump is installed at the lowest point of the aquarium (based on the substrate) so that the flow of water will push all impurities towards the suction point of the pump. It is equipped with the screen box to avoid fishes being sucked. There is no impediment whatsoever in the suction point and at the discharge point to maximize the efficiency of the pump. Free flowing water passes to the filtering media to remove impurities and aerate the system.


Regular cleaning: From time to time, I scrub the glass wall inside. This is to remove the slippery substance and algae on it, then let the system do the cleaning. Eventually, the water became crystal clear in a matter of an hour or after one full cycle.

Substrate cleaning: I had created an adaptor for the suction line of the pump and attach a flexible hose in it. The other end of the hose was connected to a plastic bottle (2 inches dia. X 10 inches long), bottom portion of which had been removed, to be used as suction point. When you push the plastic in the substrate, all impurities under the substrate will be sucked & delivered to the filtering box (This is where I discovered those small worms under the substrate). After this process, I usually dosed the system with methyline blue to protect the fishes from diseases.

Rock salt application: When the water remains cloudy 2 days after cleaning of substrate, I dosed the system with ROCK SALT (500 grams for 125 gal tank) to soften the water. The rock salt enhances the filtering system.

Feeding: Most of the time, I feed my fishes SHREDDED PORK SPLEEN or BEEFHEART every morning before going to office. Once a month, I gave them live small fishes (guppy) without raw meat until consumed. From time to time, whenever small mice were caught in my trap, I gave it to them.

Make-Up Water: Every two weeks, I see to it that water loses is being replenished, approximately 2 to 3 gallons.

Test Kit: None. I do not have any test kit to test the condition of the water. I just taste the water by myself and smell the overhead filtering box. When the water taste bad or the box smell bad, I schedule the cleaning - filtering box & media; hose; and the substrate. After cleaning, dose the system with anti fungi solution and some rock salt when needed.
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marcus replied the topic: Re:My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

So what or how do you get nitrates lower. they must be very high and the system dont make sence. the only way to lower nitrates is water changing i KNOW your system cant work and by luck you dont have a problem. a 17month wait between water change just cant work even after reading what you say. cleaning the filter dose not lower nitrates. An less you have plumbed your system into your local river and have a constant flushing action that you forgot to mention. No affence paul and I like talking with you but it dont add up. salt will help the fish gill convert oxygen but I also dont think it will help filter but I maybe wrong.i am glad you posted this here as it gives more people a chance to read what we have been talking about for a few days.:silly: I think the only thing saving your fish is the fact you are adding met blue. the use of a medication in this way is not my way of keeping fish and i would only add if needed. not regular adding to stall something that is going to happen.:woohoo:

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PAUL replied the topic: Re:My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

good day! Perhaps I was not made it clear that my water is 100% cycled continuously. The submersible pumps sucked and deliver the water to the overhead filtering box, then free flowing back to the tank leaving behind all impurities in the filter. Don't you think nitrate & other elements evaporates in the filtering box and good bacteria processed them effeciently? This is the advantage of out of water filter, the toxic remains in the media above the water.
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Necromancer4 replied the topic: Re:My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

actually no i dont. i know for a certainty that nitrates dont disapate from evaporation of get trapped in any kind of filtering. the only way to eleminate nitrates is by doing water changes. no fancy filters or radical designs will lower your actual nitrate levels. this lack of water changing has me confused, not that you beleive your water is good, but that your oscars dont have hith. but it might explain the whitish colour your o's seem to have or maybe even their smaller than normal stature.
the point im trying to make is i beleive that you are extremly fortunate that your oscars have made it this long without any serious health issues and that the only way to lower nitrates in a closed system is by doing water changes. bottom line

Warning..I will offend you at some point!!!


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marcus replied the topic: Re:My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

necromancer is absolutely right paul and if you think your filter will remover nitrates you are totally miss lead. if it was as simple as that why would every person on this site with any number of yrs in fish keeping be doing these water changes. there are a number of things you can add to your tank to absorb nitrates but these only remove a small amount. water changes remove nitrates and thats it!you can taste your tank water, wash in it, even make your mates tea with it but take it out any way you can but if you are not removing the right amount each wk your fish are suffering. thats fact.as for adding any medication,this should only be if your fish are sick not to keep them from getting sick. do you take pills incase you get a headache,I think not you take them when you have a headache. simply paul you are doing things very wrong and have not made any brake through in the fish keeping world. just so you know i will tell you what your filter will do and this is fact.
1 it will make your water look clear. Fact
2 it will remove ammonia when full cycled. Fact
3 it will remove nitrites when full cycled. Fact
4 it will turn nitrites in nitrates when cycled. Fact.
thats about it mate you can have the all singing, all dancing filter in the world, but it comes down to good old you to remove nitrates by water changing. sorry. we must have a few hundred people on site, some with many yrs in fish keeping so i would have thought that if we were doing things wrong a little more than you would have noticed. Please Paul buy a test kit or send your email to me and I will supply you with one. then test for nitrates and you will see. if you had something to teach us and help us stop water changing we would all sit and listen. your filter is doing nothing more than mine,necromancers or OFLs the list gose on. we are all here to learn and some are here to help others hope this has helped you paul. you still have some nice fish lets keep them that way. good luck.

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PAUL replied the topic: Re:My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

I understand, I am now looking for the test kit needed. I want to find out the quality of my water. Having it tested by water testing center is quite expensive. Nevertheless, I will try my best to find out. I will keep you posted.
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PAUL replied the topic: Re:My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

I had sent water sample at the water testing center but unfortunately, I was told that they needed at least 240 ml sample. I will try to send another sample and will post the result later.
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PAUL replied the topic: Re:My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

here is my water parameters:
September 19, 2008


Water Test Result:

Source : Personal Aquarium

Test 1 : Physical Description – clear, colorless liquid
Ammonia- nil
Nitrite - nil
Nitrate- 18
Alkalinity 5
e. coli negative
quality potable

Test 2 : Sample - moderately cloudy
pH 8
manganese 2
Ammonia nil
Nitrite nil
Nitrate 14
E.coli negative

I am surprised to have this result. I will try to get a test kit to find out if those testing center are reliable. They are authorized by the government to operate. The first result made me sent another sample to another testing center to confirm.
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PAUL replied the topic: Re:My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

Hey guys!

As I have said, after testing my water and found out to be normal.... I was moved to give my fishes a new dose of water. As explain earlier, my pangasius had breath gasping for a while... until all of them to be normal.

My instinct push me further to have my water to be tested after 30% water change.

Agash! here is the result to my surprise:

Amonia Nil
Nitrite Nil
Nitrate 57.92
Alkalinity 46.66
pH 7.06

Although all my fishes are well, I am now worried the new data might give negative effect on them. I will try to figure out which one gave them bad changes: water changes with filter cleaning.

I used to clean the filter and the substrate with out changing my water;
now when I do change my water and clean the filter gave me this alarming situation.

When I do not change my water and no testing, I don't have worries. Today, I am rattled. I have to keep an eye on them and see if any sign of trouble. I have not applied salt because salt is always in the water once you applied it. It does not evaporate.

Moreover, testing my water cost me lot. Wow! I hope nothing unusual will happen to my fish. I had lost my previous fishes on calamity but not on sickness. I will not allow that.
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pepetj replied the topic: Re:My Aquarium Review - Minimal Water Changes

It's OK. Readings are like a photograph, they capture a moment in time. There are variables in play that would affect our results. e.g. to accurately measure pH it is better to take a sample, leave it sit overnight and measure early in the morning; false positive readings in nitrates or even ammonia are not unheard of.

There are ways of keeping Nitrates at minimum, and in saltwater, there are ways to keep them at zero; however, in freshwater zero for nitrates is a bad thing: it means we lost the type of bacteria that brakes down nitrites. I keep my Oscars with plants in part for that reason.

I know fishkeepers that go with minimal water changes and their fish seem to be fine, even breed in there. One of them has huge Wet/Dry sump filters and keeps goldfish/koi with waterchanges every three months; for other fish he goes every 6 months.

However, I am in the opposite side: The more close to 50% the better. I do a partial (40-60%) water change every 5 to 7 days. I never vacuum the whole substrate at once. I usually do one half one week, the other one next week.

The health of my fish is the best indicator that this is good for them.

I am very careful about filtration, again, the more the better. My 121UKgal tank (72"Lx18"Wx26"H) is at floor level, so I can't have a Wet/Dry sump filter, so I use three AquaClear 110 and rinse their media alternatively, leaving a week or two in between. All have extra sponge and Activated Charcoal (the only media I change every 3 weeks, if I have no replacement bag I leave that filter without charcoal).

Inside my tank I have a DIY powerhead with a canister ( filter fiber inside ) attached, placed at the lower end in the Oscar's territory to aid in mechanical filtration.

I also have a submersible 18W UV sterilizer, just requires replacement of the UV lamp every 6 months. Other than that plants help me a lot. I have slowly managed to go from lightly to moderately planted.

My readings (yesterday, before water change)
pH 7.6
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate <25 ppm
13dGH, 8dKH

Note: I began filtering through peat yesterday, aiming at pH 6.8, KH> 2dKH.

Pepe
Santo Domingo

Tank #4: Heavily Planted 121UKgal.
2 paired-off Tiger Oscars 13\" ea. + 2 paired-off Angelfish 4.5\" ea. + 2 pairs of paired-off Convicts 4\" ea. + 17 Silver Dollars 2.5-3\" ea. + 6 Kenyi 4 to 5\" ea.
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