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1st water change advice

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I turn my air pump and/or filters off during water changes and I leave my fish in the tank while doing it. I drain approximately 50% of the water, trying to suck up as much poo and/or waste from the bottom of the tank as possible, then I fill the tank back up with treated and usually aged water. Sometimes I use treated water straight from the tap, however its common belief that its best to age it for at least 24 hours. I'm certainly no expert, but this is what works for us and our many tanks. Hope this helps ;)

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I also unplug the heater about half an hour before I do water changes if the water level is going to drop below where the heater is located. Last thing I want is the heater glass cracking. I then turn the heater back on as soon as the water level covers it.

As Leah mentioned, make sure you use a good dechlorinator, such as Seachem Prime or Supachlor.

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It sounds like you are a real novice at fish keeping so you need to be careful in what you do until you get some experience. You also need to read a couple of articles on what is happening in the filtration process and why you need to do water changes.

If the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are high it will mean you may have to do some daily changes and add something to help get your filter fully seeded with good bacteria.

Ammonia and nitrites should be "0 ppm"

You should turn the filter off so you don't run the risk of the fresh water killing the bacteria in the filter.

You definately need to turn your heater off.

The air can stay on unless your filter is a sponge.

The fish stay in the tank.

Like the others have said, use treated and aged water if possible but if you have to fill from the tap make sure sure you put the conditioner in the tank before you put the water in or use a bucket and treat eack bucket full before you tip it into the tank. If you are adding the conditioner to the tank then you need to add enough for the whole tank as it will become diluted to the full volume and you need the correct percentage available for the fresh water.

If this is your first change I would not recommend more than 25% as you are probably still building bacteria in the filter. Once your filter is fully seeded you can change up to 50% but it really depends on how heavily you tank is stocked as to the amount and frequency of your changes.

In case you don't understand the filtering process, the basics are the ammonia and nitrite is converted to nitrate by the filter. You get rid of the nitrate by doing water changes. It depends on the type of fish you have but generally you should try and keep the nitrates low. Discus as an example need to be less than 80ppm.

Also it is very important to clean your filter in water from your tank. Siphon out a couple of bucket fulls before you do the water change just for cleaning the filter. DO NOT CLEAN THE FILTER IN TAP WATER as you will kill all the bacteria and then you will be in real trouble.

Hope this helps

Edited by panbee
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Another idea is to get some chlorine test strips. Lets u know how much "conditioner" is needed. Sometimes theres more chlorine (or less) that what is norm. Thats 1 reason for ageing. The other reason for ageing is for the "dead" water to become "alive" again with microbes. I used to use old wheely bins (free coz damaged. Nothing a car jack cant push back into shape after some teen has crushed reversing into it). Put it this way. Do you like a having a relaxing bath just after youve spent half day cleaning bathroom with bleach or wait a day ;p

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