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RE: water changes

Someone asked IF people could relate their water changing habits to the
list.  Well, here I go.  I have been
An aquarium hobbyist for almost 22 years.  I began like all hobbyists, just
topping off the water to avoid those nasty lines on the tanks.  I just
replaced the fish and did a 100% change when I got new fish.

Since then I have kept many different fish in many different environments.
I recently (a few years ago) went from African Rift Lake Cichlids breeding
to killiekeeping/breeding.  I used to do a 50% water change each weekend
except for the Tanganyikans, they got 15 to 20% due to their finicky-ness.
For this I first used 5 gallon buckets until I killed two tanks full of fish
with a contaminated bucket.  Bummer big time.  IF anyone has ever seen the
Aulonocara stuartgranti 'Maleri Islan' or the Haplochromis nyererei (sp?)
you would understand my sadness all the more.  After that I purchased the
makings for a home made python as at that time I had never heard of one.  I
had a makeshift 30 foot water changing contraption with a water bed spigot
attachment.  I had a fair amount of success draining and then filling tanks
with this arrangement as most of my tanks were rather large. (smallest a 20
and largest a 135 long.)    Then I started keeping killies and working with
that sink attachment was becoming very difficult even with just the 10 or 20
tanks I had and the small amounts of water I was changing out of them.

I started using carboys to tote water and change with.  The leftover old
water I used to fertilize my plants and water them, as we were in a drought
at the time and are just coming out of it now.

Then I found 5 gal. carboys at walmart with a handle on the side and screw
on caps.  So now with a 3/4 inch clear thick tubing from Lowe's and two or
three 5 gallon carboys I begin the task.  I go to the garage and fill two
carboys half way up with RO water from my 33 gallon trashcan/catch basin.
Then I fill both the rest of the way with conditioned tap water.  This gives
me from 150 to 180 ppm TDS measured by the Hanna pocket meter.  Usually 6 or
7 on the Tetra KH scale.  Then I drain about 1/4 to 1/3 of the water from
every container I have.  IF the water has dropped considerably I will top
the container off with RO water and then drain those amounts into 5 gallon
buckets.  The waste water goes to the landscape or cultures, and I add the
new water by pouring or by siphon.

That is all.  I do This 1 to 3 times per month with killies.  I found, when
I was keeping the Koule location of LAM, that some fish like stability and
very old water.  SO I packed their tank wall to wall in a ten gallon with
java-moss.  Then I covered the top with duckweed.  The water became tannic
from all the organic build up and the LAM went nuts!!  I'm sure the javamoss
had a lot to do with keeping the water from becoming toxic, but I also did
once a month water changes for them.

I began to realize, by my standards and experience, that these fish like
benign neglect for the most part.  I have found with these fish as well as
bonsai, if you mess with them too much, they do things you don't want them
to do, like, die.

Now a days I have almost all natural tanks and if they are tannic it is only
due to banana leaves and oak leaves.  Every tank in my room has a filter and
plants.  They all have lights to grow the plants and provide some
illumination so I can work the fish.  Almost all the plants are either
floaters or submerged, but both types are in each tank.

Nuff rambling from me.


Allen "Boat" Boatman
Lutz, FL

Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative
on the same night.

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