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Water Changes

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on April 30, 2007 at 2:56:56 pm

(1) See Helene's Notes for more details.


(2) Change water of each tank every two weeks. Wear short sleeves.


(3) For tank #1, place trash basket on bottom of cart; for tank #2, place it on top of cart. The hinge of tank #2's top is busted, so remove the little hinged door and place it aside -- you don't want it falling behind the filing cabinet! (It's a pain to retrieve from behind the filing cabinet!)


(4) Fill siphon tubing with water. The valve in the siphon isn't working properly right now, so I just scoop up some water, and slowly raise the siphon tube above the level of the end of the tube. When the water level is almost at the end of the tube, I stop the end up with my finger, submerge the siphon tube under water to refill it, invert it underwater so its facing down, place the tube end in the trash basket, then release the end. Water will start flowing immediately.


(5) Siphon off 1/4 to 1/3 of the volume into trash basket. (I think most sources say 1/4. You don't want to change too much water at one time, because the fish might get some sort of osmotic shock.) Continuously scoop up gravel and release it while siphoning, to vacuum up detritus that has sunk into the gravel. Avoid hurting the fish or plant roots.


(6) When finished, use small white sponge to wipe off algae and daitomes. (Leave as much of the green algae as aesthetics allow.) Use this opportunity to reset plants that the fish have uprooted, or to right the underwater decoration that they may have knocked down. Note the water level in the trash basket.


(7) Roll cart away and dump water either in storm drain or in toilet.


(8) Place trash basket on top of cart, bring it into restroom with yellow bucket and clear plastic pitcher. (See page 2 of Helene's Notes.)


(9) Fill yellow bucket and clear plastic pitcher in separate sinks simultaneously. As one container gets filled, turn off its water, dump the water into the trash basket, then resume filling the bucket or pitcher. Stop when the trash basket has enough water to replace the dumped water (you noted the water level back in step #6; perhaps get a little more water than you dumped out, to make up for evaporational losses that occured since the last water change), and cart the water back to the tank. As Helene mentions, leave room at the top of the trash basket to avoid splashes when the cart hits bumps. I sometimes make up for this by bringing water in the yellow bucket and pitcher too (I have each about 2/3 full).


(10) Be sure to add dechlorinator to new water before adding it to the tank! If you don't do this, the fish will die! This has happened before. Helene was using Aquarium Pharmaceuticals' Stress Coat. (This might be overkill, since this product not only dechlorinates but also replenishes the slime coat of sick fish. For routine water changes with healthy fish, I would have thought that you need only a product that dechlorinates. Still, I have stuck with Stress Coat!) Stir the water a little to make sure the dechlorinator is thoroughly mixed in; it works instantaneously.


(11) Transfer water to tank. For tank #1, I rest the lip of the yellow bucket on top of the lip of the waste basket and fill it with the clear plastic pitcher, and then dump water from the yellow bucket into the tank. For tank #2, I use the clear plastic pitcher to transfer water to the tank, using the yellow bucket to catch dripping water.


(12) Clean up. For tank #1, consider replacing the water filter and/or clean the water pump at this time. If for some reason you have extra water left over, you can use it to water the plants.

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