50% Water Changes

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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-21 00:40

<div align=center> A Little History
50% Water Changes
and
Fluidized Bed Filters. </div>

50%, not recommended for the beginner, but then majority of us who keep, breed and sell the cichlids from the lakes Malawi, Tanganyika and Victoria are not. Times have changed, and I am aware that the trend toward beginners starting off in the hobby with M,s, T,s and V,s is on the increase. Has been for some time and that?s great. They have one big advantage over us long time enthusiasts, access to information on just about every subject known to human kind. Well going back 40 or 50 years there wasn?t the literature on our selected species, and PCs were only used by the military. What that meant in those days was, everything was more hands on. A crash course on fish survival, a learning curve, and learn we did, and I think its fair to say we are all still on the search for knowledge, were still on that learning curve. It was way back in 1954 when I was first introduced to the hobby of keeping fish and water changes, and at that young age my farther wouldn?t allow me to participate. I find it difficult to remember all the fishy facts from way back then. The one event that does stick with me is that once or twice a month there would be new fish in the tank; Dad had done a water change. Don?t start cringing yet, it gets worse. It was goldfish he used to keep and if there were any I liked I would in child?s way persuade him to change the water. All that meant to me at the time was I could see my favourite fish for awhile longer. Now it gets really bad, for I had learnt that if there were no fish that I liked and I didn?t make a fuss it wouldn?t be to long before I got to see some more new fish in the aquarium. So you see, I caught on at a fairly young age that regular water changes were, and still are important. It?s been 34 years since I started with tropical fish but only the last 13+ years have I been involved with African Rift Lakes Cichlids. (The fish). For the first 10 years not a problem that couldn?t be resolved. Perhaps I had better qualify that last statement by saying what troubles I did have did not directly involve the health of the fish or my overall water parameters. Needless to say had I not replaced equipment that had malfunctioned then I?d be telling a rather different tale. My problems started when I relocated to my present location. The first indication was in my show tank (72?x24?x24), I was noticing that the inhabitants were starting to flick. So out comes the testers, pH 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, phosphate off the scale, nitrate 120 ppm, oxygen 8.5 at a temperature of 76? F., (100% saturation at that temp). Two other checks, copper 0 and general hardness 22? (400 ppm), at the time I was carrying out 20% to 25% water changes. Other checks I made were on health grounds.
Apart from the flicking there was no indication that the fish were suffering from any exterior disease, plus no external parasites were observed. As an interim precaution I started a course of treatment using a medication produced by Interpet, namely Liquisil General Tonic. As to why this was my choice; based on my observations and tests, and the fact all the fish were otherwise performing what could be considered as normal, (Breeding, feeding and the occasional disputes over territory). Was I looking at the possibility of a bacterial infection (gill orientated) in its early stages of development? The truth was I was concerned, and on reading the literature that Interpet provided and, I quote, ?In every aquarium there are potential disease causing organisms, including species of parasites, fungus and bacteria. Liquisil General Tonic keeps these diseases at an acceptable level? I decided that this would at least take care of any individual fish that became so stressed that they might succumb to any of the above. I must emphasise that what I did was not done as a cure, but as I first stated, as an interim precaution. As the saying goes, prevention is, and, it really is better than a cure. Before I go on as to how I eventually solved the problem, I must add that I did carry out a 50% water change and serviced one of the three filters I had running this setup, before adding the tonic.
Mick e. t.

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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-21 00:43

My filtration at the time of this flicking was one Fluval 304 and one Fluval 404 both external. The medium used in both served as mechanical and biological. It was your basic foam from *** through to fine, plus ceramic tubes. The 404 had an extra medium and this was of the dense floss/cotton wool type. The third filter is purely a biological one; it is a fluidised bed filter capable of handling 300 gallons (imperial). It consists of just the one medium and that is very fine silica free sand. This filter is also the reason the 404 has floss added as an extra. The f/b filter is in my opinion one of the best nitrite/biological filters on the market. I am going to digress here as I think this filter is worthy of a little promotion.
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-21 00:45

Just for the record I have no professional connection with the company/s that produce or manufacture this type of f/b filter. I also have no connection with any wholesale or retail outlet. So the fluidised bed filter why do I rate it so highly? I am going to start by pointing out one of the pitfalls of the standard type filters, internal, external and even foam filters. All three when used at there optimum are perfect for any setup but unless you have the correct flow rate for the filter medium then you will find that the biological side will fail. Put in simple terms if your flow rate is too high for the filter medium then your colony of denitrifying bacteria will not have sufficient time to do their work. If the f/r is to slow then the colony will die though oxygen deprivation. These two down sides could be and probably are the reason why so many beginners have nitrite spikes well after the initial cycling of their water.
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-21 00:46

I am not going to go into the details of setting up, only to say that it is connected to a pre filter. (In my case the 404). I must point out that it is very important that the pre filter is removing all organic particles as none must enter the f/b. Without meaning to be complacent this could be deemed a benefit to a beginner, meaning they would not need to be too concerned that the pre filter was not performing as a biological one. (Please refer to the paragraph above). The bonus of using a f/b is in the fact that you need to monitor it daily and in doing so you will be made aware of how your p/f is performing. What I am attempting to get across here is, should the level of sand drop below the pre calibrated mark ( all professionally made f/b,s have one) you are being told to increase your flow rate to or out of the f/b in order to keep it at the correct level. When a stage is reached where no adjustments affect the level of the sand then it is time to clean your p/f. The f/b its self will never need cleaning for it is, as I have already said, not a particle filter. Should it become contaminated through a break down of the p/f then the sand will need replacing. That is the only drawback and only once in the 3+ years have I had to perform that task. I will end this paragraph by reiterating that in my opinion the fluidised bed is one of the best biological filters on the market.
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-21 00:48

Back to 50% and what I had to resort too prior to the big changes. Having satisfied myself that I had (hopefully) prevented any disease or parasitic infections with the addition of the Interpet treatment, it was time to take care of the nitrate and phosphate problem. One of the first things I needed to know was, were my tests accurate. One of the first things I did was to contact my local water authority. Explaining my situation, I, asked them to send me a break down of exactly what was in the water they supplied. Within the day I got a reply, along with a lot of other relevant information, this is what they sent. Page 2

Back to 50% and what I had to resort too prior to the big changes. Having satisfied myself that I had (hopefully) prevented any disease or parasitic infections with the addition of the Interpet treatment, it was time to take care of the nitrate and phosphate problem. One of the first things I needed to know was, were my tests accurate. One of the first things I did was to contact my local water authority. Explaining my situation, I asked them to send me a break down of exactly what was in the water they supplied. Within the day I got a reply, along with a lot of other relevant information, this is what they sent. (Please refer to list). It confirmed the test reading of my tap water nitrate properties; mine 40, theirs (based on their maximum figure), 36.9 mg/l. The phosphorus reading on their list alarmed me. This is actually the phosphate reading, and being given in ?g/l (1 part in 1,000,000,000 of a liter) set bells ringing. I already had it in mind to buy some nitra-zorb and phos-zorb which I did now, post haste. I also invested in a R.O. filter, which meant I also had to have all the additives. It was an expensive 4 weeks plus a lot of hard but rewarding work. Just going to go back to phosphate readings again. Mine was off the scale, and the scale I had to go by was in mg/l, (1 part in 1,000,000). Should I of been worried? I think so. One thing that could of given me an earlier indication, but didn?t, and that could of been, should have been, an excessive growth of algae. Why this did not happen, a simple explanation really, Mbuna plus 2 plecs, the best algae grazers Another point I must mention is that I did do a phosphate reading on the tap water and it was, <2.00 ppm but >1.5 ppm. I still get this reading at the present. I no longer use the RO filter, nor do I use any removal agents. I have increased my filtration with the addition of 2 power heads, sponges attached, plus a fluval+4 internal and also added an air lift filter to the aeration. My nitrate level is now at an acceptable <1.0 ppm, my phosphate reading fluctuates around the tap water reading. I still do the 50% weekly water change. The fish no longer flick, and to top it all I never lost a fish through the whole process. A couple of things I have failed to mention. 1.. I do, and always have added denitrifying bacteria to the water, (weekly). 2.. I also add trace elements. (Weekly)
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Re: 50% Water Changes

Postby valemont » 2018-05-21 20:26

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