|"Why does he keep using a potato to take pictures of his aquarium?"|
The Water ChangeOne big thing I see a lot of aquarists struggling with is the dreaded water change. Beginning aquarists, and this applies to anyone that just kind of wings it with their setup, either change their water too often, too seldom, too much, too little, or a combination of the four. With that being said, there is no end-all-be-all rule when it comes to changing your aquarium water. There are a lot of factors involved: how many fish you have, their diets, how often you feed, the types of filtration you have, the size of the filters, light intensity, the size of your aquarium, the quality of your tap water, and on and on.
|Zzzzzzz... aquariums... ZzzZzZzzz,... (wisegeek.com)|
|Protein skimmer, calcium reactor, phosphate reactor, carbon filter, refugium, and UV sterilizer.|
|That's about this much water.|
Where it all starts!Now, I know you're sitting there browsing another website and reluctantly coming back every few minutes to see if I'm saying anything interesting yet; I assure you I am. As we speak, I'm typing a blog in my underwear. More importantly, I bet you're wondering where the saltwater that my aquarium craves actually comes from. The answer, and this is going to blow your mind: I make it.
|You calm the hell down right now. (maothebrok.deviantart.com)|
|My RO/DI system. Essential material for Making Water 101.|
Now I have a trashcan full of water in my living room. What do I do?Ah! Another common problem! You've followed my thorough guide step-by-step and now you're sponsoring the most pitiful kiddie pool on the block. So what do you do? You add salt, ya dig?
|Snort this. Hilarity will ensue.|
|One small scoop for fishkind.|
|"OMG I SO KNEW THAT WAS COMING!!!"|
|"Why does he have so many trashcans???"|
Multitasking: The Key to Aquarium Maintenance*
*the author takes no responsibility for hilarious aquarium related disasters involving unattended pumps and carpet, wood floors, or electrical outlets
If you're looking to cut down on your aquarium maintenance, it's important to be able to do two or three things at once. That being said, please don't ever leave a pump or siphon unattended (oh, man... that has so many inappropriate interpretations). Every aquarist has AT LEAST one tragic story about how an unattended hose broke lose and sprayed gallons upon gallons all over their floor. Just remember, only you can prevent carpet flooding.
|Focus on the gross fuzzy green mess in the middle.|
|That's "out" not "off" for you adventurous types.|
|I swear this isn't the same picture as the one above it.|
|Rose birdsnest being exposed to the air.|
|Spaghetti finger leather falling with the tide.|
Fill 'er UpOnce I've siphoned out about 40 gallons, I start pumping the water I mixed earlier into the tank. It's important to make sure the salt is completely dissolved into the RO/DI water. You don't want your water to mix in the tank. Also, if you're doing large water changes (anything over 20% of the total tank volume), you should make sure the temperature of the water you're adding is within 1 degree of the aquarium's water temperature.
I need a pump because I add water to the top aquarium as opposed to adding it to the sump. Since gravity only works in one direction, I use a pump to pump it out of the garbage can and into the top aquarium. I could use the sump pump to pump it up into the top tank if I just siphoned the new water into the sump, but since the return pipes for the sump pump are high up in the aquarium, water would splash everywhere. That's not ideal. Now back to multitasking. While the aquarium is filling, I like to empty out the dirty algae-infested waste water that I siphoned out. Being a responsible individual, I dispose of it in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
|"Uh, hey... um... so what are we.... what are we doing out here, huh? Wait.. WAIT! WAIT NO!"|
|"I ONLY EVER LOVED YOU--"|
|I swear it looks like an angry aquarium face.|
Next Time on Fishy Fishy...I thought I'd be able to fit it into this post, but apparently I rambled for far too long. The next installment of Fishy Fishy will feature my striped hogfish, Mr. Swiss, that loves to get into places he doesn't belong. The things you'll do to rescue your fish...
Water changes can seem intimidating, but really anyone can do them. Over time you'll even start to recognize when your tank needs a water change, and then maybe you'll start writing outrageous aquarium blog posts. Who knows? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post of Fishy Fishy. If you have any questions about water changes, or anything aquarium related, don't hesitate to ask! Until next time.