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Aquarium Water Changes

Water Quality

It's a good idea to change some of the water in your aquarium on a regular basis, such as weekly.  This is especially important for species that require very clean water, like cichlids.  Here are a couple methods:

The Bucket

  • Obtain two plastic buckets and fill one with tap water.
  • Let the water in the bucket sit for 2 or 3 days.  This will allow the chlorine to dissipate and is more effective than chemical water treatments, as those can kill valuable bacteria.

  • When you're ready to change the water, first clean the gravel with a gravel vacuum by siphoning into your empty bucket.  Do this until the bucket is nearly full and then discard the water.  You can buy gravel vacuums at most pet stores or Walmart.  It helps if you have a siphon pump to get things going.  

  • Next pour the new water directly into the tank.  No need to worry about the temperature as long as it was stored at room temperature.  Some of your fish may enjoy swimming against the current this creates.

  • To finish up, refill the bucket you use for the clean water, in preparation for the next change.

The Python

The Python is made by Python Products and is a very popular method for performing water changes.  It uses tubing and an adapter to your water faucets, which allows you to add or remove water from your tank with very little spillage.  The downside is that you end up adding chlorinated water directly to your tank.  Our readers have found ways around this by adding de-chlorinators, like Seachem Prime, directly to their tanks before adding the tap water or by using powerheads to pump stored, purified water into their tanks.  The Python is available through many retail and online stores.  You can visit their website for further information through the link above.

The frequency with which you change the water will be determined by the number of fish and also the look of the water.  If it is cloudy from over feeding or from adding too many fish, make sure you've read the section on Water Quality.

It's a good practice to wash your hands before cleaning your aquarium.  This will prevent chemicals from being introduced to the tank from your hands.

Comments on the Python by Sharon:

The Python Syphon System works really well for large tanks. It hooks directly to the tap, and allows you to remove and add water by opening or closing the valve...it's easy! You do have to get the water the same temp. as the tank(I use a mixture from the hot and cold taps), and add water conditioner to remove chlorine.

Comments on the Python by Gillian:

I have a Python as well, and it is SOOO much easier than having around buckets and buckets of water in preparation for the water change. It's a lot faster too, and much easier on the back!! Definitely get yourself a Python, it is well worth the money.