Have you ever experienced a scenario like this?
An alarm goes off on your phone that says “time to clean the fish tank”. You have soooo many other things on your plate today that need your attention so you put it off till the weekend. A week, then two go by and you realize the tank cleaning is over due. While feeding the fish you notice how clean the water looks and you think “Wow, the tank looks amazing it must be clean and we should add more fish. After picking the kids up from school you surprise them by going to your local fish store to get more fishy friends. The whole family is involved in the fishy decision and you pick out your new pets. On the way home there is some tough debate about what to name your fish. You notice that it’s the first time in a while that the whole family is engaged together. When you get home you realize that all eyes are fixed on the tank and not on the tv or mobile devices. You get the fish used to the water and in they go. You are so stoked that fish have brought the family together. The next morning you are of course the first one up and after turning on the coffee pot, you go to your awesome aquarium to gaze at the new family members. You turn on the lights and stare into the tank. You cant believe what you are seeing, some of the new fish didn’t make it. All of your old fish are fine so you automatically assume the store sold you sick fish. You call them up and they ask you to bring in a sample of your water to test it. On your way there you keep replaying how you put them into the tank trying to find something you did wrong. The store tests your water sample and tells you that your nitrates are very high and that’s what happened to your fish. What does that mean?????
How did this happen?
Nitrates are a silent killer. You can have such a beautiful pristine aquarium that your friends tell their friends about and it and still have a dirty aquarium. This goes against everything you would believe right? Nitrates can sneak up on you and they tell how much waste is in your aquarium. A little nitrates is okay and completely normal but when it reaches toxic levels you have to remove it by doing water changes.
Why did it only effect the new fish?
When you get high levels of nitrates in your aquarium they didn’t happen over night. The fish that you have in their now have gotten used to it over time. The new fish go into your aquarium and are not used to the high levels so they might not make it. Of course as with any animals, some fish are stronger then others and can still survive.
What should I do now?
You will be prompted by the local fish store to do a 25-50% water change depending on how high your nitrates are.
You listen to them and you do a water change and maybe a second one a week later. Next time you bring in your water to get it tested you get a gold star and the ok to add new fish. Now you and your family go to your local fish store every week and look at the fish. The kids dont know it yet but this time you are going to the fish store and looking for a bigger tank. Fish have brought your family closer together.
Here are some Do’s and Dont’s for you regarding your water changes:
- Try to leave some water out the night before to get room temperature water.
- Try to make water changes at least once a month
- Make sure your PH is right depending on your fish type (most freshwater fish like neutral PH which is 7.0)
- Get a siphon to clean the gravel without removing it
- If you are using city water make sure you add DE chlorinator to your water
- Watch our video on water changes
- Contact your local fish store with questions
- Don’t Change the water and filter in the same week
- Don’t change all the water at one time
- Don’t change water in a new aquarium until the biological good bacteria is established
- Don’t use any soap or cleaner on your tank or ornaments, I also don’t recommend using any cleaner on the outside of the glass just water
I hope you enjoyed this article about water changes and got some clarity on why they are the most important thing you can do for your aquarium and fish. Thank you for reading!