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Cleaning or just topping off?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:35 am
by MaryPa
My 125 is heavily planted and houses a couple Bristlenose plecos,5 cherry Barbs,a true SAE,a polkadot loach ,a Bamboo shrimp,2 tiny 2" catfish that I can`t ID and about 60 Endlers. How often should I vac or should I just top it off? It has more than enough filtration.

Re: Cleaning or just topping off?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:21 am
by oceansunltd
Even in a "balanced" system you need to change water. Some ions will be removed by the animals and plants and not replaced, and deficiencies will result. And by topping off you are just making soup-pure water evaporates off, leaving some minerals to build up, others to be removed by plants, others waste from animal processes. CHANGE WATER!! If you haven't done it in a while go slow. I change a minimum of 25% in my plant tanks weekly, and 75-80% in my normal tanks.

Re: Cleaning or just topping off?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:46 am
by MaryPa
I`ve always changed 25% weekly. Someone from an aquarium club said I could just go with topping off. Yeah i`ll keep up the weekly change. thanks

Re: Cleaning or just topping off?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:06 pm
by oceansunltd
The best "test" for a heavily planted tank is two-fold. First, open the top and smell the water-a heavy "earthy" scent means you need to change more water, as does a "briney/bromine" odor. Different plants and fish, different foods will affect the water in different ways-makes sense, huh? Having a continous small change would be the "best" as it would flush all those nasty phenols, ketones and aldehydes that pollute our tanks down the drain. It would also renew trace elements in the water removed by normal processes. These nastier components of waste breakdown have low odor threshholds-i=it doesn't take much to have an odor. Use this to determine when the water change volume should be increased. A healthy tank smells like "wet steam", the same smell you get near a waterfall. Second, you should also carefully monitor your alkalinlinity-heavily growing plants and an active biological filter will quickly depete your buffers. Add sodium bicarbonate to increase alkalinity. If you use CO2 pH control is essential, and will be impossible without adequate alkalinity.

Re: Cleaning or just topping off?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:32 am
by MaryPa
I don`t us a CO2, how much baking soda should I add? My pH stays at about 6.2-6.4.

Re: Cleaning or just topping off?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 11:14 am
by oceansunltd
Start with 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon twice a week. Monitor your alkalinity. I really like those test strips with the little pads. I buy the 5 way ones with pH, hardness, alkalinity, nitrite, and nitrate. NEVER handle the bottle with wet hands. They easily keep a year if dry. I tested 2 brands against 2 million dollars worth of lab equipment, and they were almost always right on. pH was the only parameter that didn't always match, but TRUE pH measuement is tough-the indicator dye affects the reading somewhat (not much though).