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Water Changes - Temperature control


Scienceman

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I may be a virgin but don't call me ugly!

I am expecting my first tank (180X45X50cm - 400L) in 3 weeks and boy am I excited. I have been visualising it so much I am surprised it hasn't materialised by thought power alone.

I have a question about water changes that has not been mentioned on any website - is it OK to use a mixture of hot/cold water when filling directly from the tap (adding water conditioners and chlorine neutralising agents of course)?

I cannot imagine that a 300W heater could cope with ~100L introduced over a few hours which is why I suspect everybody does it this way but nobody mentions it.

Any other comments or suggestions are welcome.

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A good way of doing it to have a 200L water drum/barrel and sticking a 300W heater in that and leave the water in there for a week or 2. this gets rid of the chloring in the water/metals and keeps the water at a desired temperature.

However lots of people, including myslef dont have the facilities for these massive water barrels/drums, so instead i use water driectly from the tap. I try to use buckets and warmer water where possible, for example a 2ft tank. I'll do about 1-2

20L buckets every water change keeping the water warm from the tap and putting water conditioner in each bucket.

When you're talking about a 3-4ft tank IMO, water from the tap is usually fine. IT also depends on what type of fish you keep. Some of the more sensitive Tanganyikans like A.clavus will get sick from lots of cold water and you should use the barrels method to prevent losses, especially with younger fisk.

I have found most Malawais particularly Pseudotropheus type fish can handle cold/cooler water from the tap without a problem. Just dont go around doing 50 percent water changes every month and you should be fine. Ideally you want to do frequent water changes at a lower volume. So 15-20 percent of your tanks water once a week is perfect. Most fish will cope with the cooler tap water. Also, try and add the water conditoner gradually maybe in 2-3 goes when filling up directly from the tap, rather than putting the coditoner in all in one hit afetr the water goes in.

EDIT: also buy at least another 300w heater for the other side of the tank

HTH

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DONT use the hot tap at all if possible. Water heaters (electric and gas) can and do leave residues of heavy metals in the water which were not present in the water prior to running through the heater. If you are changing 20-30% of the total tank volume there is no need to worry about temperature shock as it will only equate to a couple of degrees and is in fact a pretty handy spawning trigger thumb.gif

Mike:

Also, try and add the water conditoner gradually maybe in 2-3 goes when filling up directly from the tap, rather than putting the coditoner in all in one hit afetr the water goes in.

Why? blink.gif You should fully dose the tank before adding water straight from the tap in one hit. That way chlorine an heavy metals will be neatralised on contact as quickly as possible during the topping up. Ideally though, you would want to treat the water seperately before putting it in the tank at all.
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G'day,

I do a 25-30%water change every two weeks on my 6x2x2 straight from the tap via buckets. Summer (no warm water) and add a little warm to it in winter. The fish don't seem to mind at all the minor temp change, Oh, i add the water conditioner to each bucket. Would seem painfull that way but I know that the amount is correct for the water volumn.

glenn

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I echo Ducksta's comments regarding the heavy metals. Copper from the pipes can have a big impact on your fish.

For my tank i fill up a bucket of cold water....condition it....then in it goes. Everytime i do a water change my fish try to breed wink.gif.

If you have really sensitive fish however you could add boiling water from a jug to raise the temp up a bit.

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Ducksta - Thanks for the advise on metal content of heater water. Do you know if this has been scientifically tested as these things can become a bit of an urban myth (not that I am suggesting it is in this case). I am just very careful to try and source all advise I receive as you get a lot of contradictory info when you are a beginner.

I intend to go with Malawi cichlids to begin with (e. blues, e.yellows, zebra and peacocks) and read that sudden water temp changes really stress the fish and can contribute to diseases. However I guess that tap water is ~20celcius most of the year except for winter so the temp change would not be too great if it is done over a few hours.

To make things more difficult my tank will be smack-bang in the middle of the house, along a low wall dividing two open-plan rooms. Hence the difficult in using buckets etc.

To change the subject:

I notice that many enthusiasts have deeper tanks than the standard 18 inch. I have opted for a 20 inch but am having second thought that maybe I should go to 24 inch for more impact. Does it make much difference? Is it worth the extra $?

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I do my water changes straight from the garden tap via a hose. I dose the tank with ager as the water is added, and the fish seem to enjoy the cool water, it seems to spur on a bit of bedroom action wink2.gif

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I'm a little paranoid and a lot lazy. I don't trust the water from the hot tap, it looks and tastes a little off here. For a water change I gravel vac/syphon into a 90L plastic tub then use a $30 bilge pump I bought from a boat shop to pump the water through a hose into the bath at the other end of my flat (saves carrying buckets). I then fill the tub back up from the hose attached to my washing machine taps in the bathroom. I either let it sit and reach room temp or add a 300W heater for an hour or two to bring the temp up. Water out the tap is much lower than room temp. I then add the conditioner and watever else and either pump it into the tank or use buckets to refill.

Everyone has their own way of doing it. I just hate carting 10+ buckets of water.

Dean

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IMO higher tanks are better for display (except for those grossly ridiculous high but very narrow haxagonal tanks that are oh so popular) but impractical when it comes to cleaning the substrate or catching fish, which is why i wouldnt personally use anything much higher than 18" for breeding, although 24" isnt too bad you just stretch a bit more LOL.gif

As for scientific proof, take a water sample from your cold tap and one of hot water from your heater to a lfs and get them to test for metals and other toxic impurities. I am not sure to what extent they can test but I was told by a lfs once that my water was high in heavy metals thumb.gif At the very least there will be an increase in copper.

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i use some warm water mixed in with the cold but ive got continuous gas hot water so metal contamination isnt a problem. we actually have lovely water here, in the uk hot water is stored in copper tanks and cold water is stored in galvanised tanks in the roof(with the fawlty towers dead pidgeon) woot.gif my fish dont get frisky with cold water but they do when ive just syphoned out 30%,but before ive refilled, strange creatures, but thats half the fun smile.gif

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G'day

Water should come from the cold water tap only. If you really want warmer water either add a heater into a tub or barrel OR boil a jug.

Unfortunately Copper is not a friend to our fish and especially not to catfish! I cannot prove that leaching of heavy metals occurs but have seen it written to many times for it not to be true.

If I were you I would buy a power head and some pipe that will fit onto the powerhead and move the water to and from the tank this way, Thus no more carrying of water. thumb.gif

The bigger tank, Hmmmmm. No one can answer that except you. 24 inch tanks look very good. But can be a pain to catch fish out of.

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Re: water heaters.

There is a reason why over time water heaters will need the anode replaced. This is because it has been eaten away and this anode is in the water.

Some water heaters even have what they call a 'sacraficial anode' which corrodes easier than the real anode.

So yes, there would be more metals residing from the hot water tap than the cold water tap.

As for copper pipes erroding, houses over 50 years will have copper pipes that are still working fine. The rate of corrosion is extremely low with consistant running water. It can corrode when no taps in a copper piped house has not been turned on for a long period of time.

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