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How often should you be doing water changes and what percentage? I've been doing about 40% change every week. Is that too much?

Also should I reorganize the rocks and logs each time? I find the reorganizing keeps the fish from being agressive, but I'm worried it stresses the fish too.

Last question, do you feed the fish before or after the water change?
 

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Depending on the species, weekly and 50% is a good starting place. I rarely if ever change the aquascape. If the fish are aggressive I make a different change. I usually feed the fish after, but it does not really make a difference.
 

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Hmmmm... typically water changes are conducted to remove and dilute out toxic waste materials such as nitrates, phosphates or other undesirable things produced by the fish or uneaten food in the aquarium. For freshwater aquariums, a basic goal of maintaining Nitrates below a maximum level of 20 - 30 PPM in the tank is a good start. Beyond that 20- 30 PPM level, most freshwater aquarium fish will begin to suffer stress from Nitrate toxicity in the water. Some Cichlid species are very sensitive to poor water quality, and will have to be kept at water Nitrate levels even below that to keep them from becoming stressed and possibly getting sick. Nitrates are pretty easily measured by the purchase of a test kit from your Local Fish Store or online.
To measure for Nitrates:
1) Test the aquarium water immediately before a planned water change. Measure the PPM level of Nitrates in your aquarium water.
2) Perform another Nitrate test immediately after conducting the water change. This will provide a direct indication of how effective your water changes actually are in lowering the Nitrate level from your aquarium water.
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As for moving around the rocks and logs on a regular/weekly basis? Usually that is not recommended, unless you are having problems getting a new fish established in a tank or something and are trying to shake up established territorial boundaries to help the process. Depending on the type and kind of Cichlids you have stocked the tank with, this constant moving of the interior furnishings may not be a very good idea...
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And lastly, feeding before - or after - water changes? I guess if you can plan this out, you could probably derive the most benefit out of waiting for the fish to eat first, then conducting the water change. That way you can siphon up any uneaten food before much of it has a chance to sit in the tank for very long.
 

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For now I do 33% WC per week and it's working well for me. I have very low nitrates, 4-5 ppm. I've never had such low nitrates when I had a planted tank so I'm a bit puzzled by that. Maybe it's the deep substrate, the diatoms or the fact that the filter has been running for 1 1/2 with the same bio-media. Anyways, I won't complain !
 
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