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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to know the main purpose for water changes... I have a 125 g mixed african tank which has been up and running for 6 months now with 20 med sized cichlids. I have only done 3 water changes since the tank has been up and running adding about 15 - 20 gallons at a time. I add about 3 to 4 gallons weekly from evaperation. Are my fish at risk?? Do I need to do more water changes?? Just looking for some thoughts
 

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Water changes keep your tank clean and your fish healthy…
Do you ever test your water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ect…?

If you only take a shower once every 2 months, you may not die but your going to STINK… :(

.
 

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At this point you should have the beneficial bacteria that protect your fish from ammonia and nitrites. These two are extremely harmful to your fish and the reason your tank goes through a "cycle" when you first start it. As Cichluded pointed out, it would be very beneficial to test your water to see what these levels are. If you do not have a kit, most pet stores/fish places do free water testing.

However, nitrates are the biggest reason you do water changes. They are the end result of the Nitrification process that converts Ammonia to Nitrites to Nitrates. Bacteria do the dirty work for us to make the fish byproducts less harmful. Nitrates are still harmful though at high levels and there are no bacteria to make them go away- thus the reason for water changes. The water quality diminishes the higher your nitrates are and this puts stress on your fish which in turn puts them at a much higher risk for disease. These high levels will also likely reduce their life expectancy and overall health.

I would assume that at this point your Nitrate levels are off the charts. I also have a 125 gallon tank that is only slightly more stocked than yours and I have to do weekly 40% changes to keep my nitrates below 30ppm. You should test your water ASAP and report back here if you'd like advice on how to get your water back were it should be.

Good Luck :thumb:
 

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Water changes are required due to the Nitrogen Cycle. This cycle is part aerobic (oxygen) and part anaerobic (no oxygen). Without a refugium or special equipment, your tank's filters only go through the aerobic part, which is ammonia>nitrite>nitrate. Over time nitrates build up to toxic levels, but this takes longer to reach toxic levels that either ammonia or nitrite. The water changes dilute out and remove the nitrate. The lower the nitrate the better, a good target is 20 ppm, but some of us have to live with 40 ppm. If you were to test your nitrates I would think you will find they are very high.

In addition, water changes allow us to remove waste and debris that also build up and increase the bioload.

BTW, cycles do not have an end, so nitrate is only the last step of the aerobic portion of the cycle.
 

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:eek: 40% a week? I've got a 75 so I know it's a bit smaller but I only do about 10% a week. Water seems fine sofar. Does it have to do with how many fish you have? I have um...(just got more so I have to think....) 10 - 13 Mbuna at about 3-4 inches.
 

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kingpoiuy said:
:eek: 40% a week? I've got a 75 so I know it's a bit smaller but I only do about 10% a week. Water seems fine sofar.
Test your water, you'll know pretty quick how much of a water change you actually need to do.
 

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If you are not testing your water then you have no idea if the water is fine or not. The problem is that nitrates sneak up over time. If you are changing your water infrequently or the change is too small for your bioload, then nitrates will continue to clime. I have seen nitrates so high that two back-to-back 80% water changes were need to get the value back onto the scale.
 

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I do 40%-45% WC each week on my 120g. But that's because I'm anal and don't like any of the waste that gather on the sand and I try to remove every last bit of it. The bottom must be quite filthy with 3 WC in 6 months. Unless you have a perfect UGJ that moves all the waste perfectly and sucks it all out.
 

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Fogelhund said:
kingpoiuy said:
:eek: 40% a week? I've got a 75 so I know it's a bit smaller but I only do about 10% a week. Water seems fine sofar.
Test your water, you'll know pretty quick how much of a water change you actually need to do.
I have about 14 estherae (4 between 3-4" and 10 at 1.5"), 5 albino socolofi's 1.5"-3", 7 Acei 4-6", and 34 Demasoni- most are under 2". So I do have a significant bio-load and I feed NLS twice a day. I sometimes go a week and a half but i really don't like my nitrates about 30 thus the reason I have such a large change. I keep track of the nitrates, etc to be sure everything is on track, especially because I have such a large bio-load. The test kits aren't overly expensive and really do help keep you on track, I'd highly suggest it.
:thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the advice I do some water testing and see where im at... And no i keep my tank very clean sucking out debris weekly... So a good ppm is under 30??
 
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