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Whats with all the water changes?!


Malloy
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Hi everyone,

I've spent a whole lot of time reading about bettas on the net and it seems just about everyone just loooves changing the water for these guys! I'm just wondering, aside from dropping the nitrates in the water are there any other benefits to doing water changes?

My betta spawning tank shares water with a planted tank with an established bio-filter that keeps ammonia at 0...water is pumped between the 2 tanks. At the moment I do a 50% change every fortnight that results in a 25% change over both tanks. As I said, my ammonia is 0 and nitrites/nitrates are low, so I don't see the need to increase my water changes.

Now I've got eggs in my bubble nest, so fry are on the way. Again, people are talking about daily water changes for fry which seems crazy to me...

All comments most welcome!

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I'd suggest the large water changes suggested are for small tanks....with no proper biological filtration....but I believe weekly 100% water change I've seen proposed in other posts would be potentially more stressful than say 50% twice a week....even small tanks develop some biological capability

I think the idea of frequent large water changes comes from betta farms....where they do 100% water changes every few days....but the water is probably rainwater and of constant chemistry...not from a tap and they keep fish in small jars and are looking for fast growth rates.

Your setup sounds spot on.....If it ain't broke don't fix it....I wouldn't change a thing!

I agree with you..... it's not a Good idea to do a lot of water changes with fry....I just siphon out any uneaten food every couple of days and top up with rainwater....for at least the first 3 or 4 weeks.

Edited by Rod
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The daily water changes are only for jars and overstocked fry tanks where the sponge filter is turned down so low that it's not doing that much.

My jarred bettas are kept in beanie boxes with 1.5 ltrs of water. No filtration and they get fed twice a day. With that amount of poop production, ideally I would do at least a 50% water change in those daily. I don't often get to it. After one day, the ammonia is 0.25 ppm. After two days it's 0.5 ppm. On the third day if I've still not done a water change, ammonia is at 1 ppm, nitrite is 0.5 ppm, nitrate is 10 ppm. The situation improves a lot if I don't feed them as much. At the moment I'm trying to come to a compromise with the feedings so that they get enough food but don't foul their jars so quickly.

In a spawning tank with only 2 adult fish and a filter, the water changes you're doing are just fine. In my filtered growout tanks I only change 20% every week. In my fry tanks however, there might be 200 fry in a very small tank. They're being fed 2-3 times a day and there's a whole lot of uneaten food decaying in the bottom of the tank. I have found that in order to have 200 fry still alive at the 4 week mark, I need to ensure that I remove uneaten food and faeces as many times a day as I can manage. However, I'm only taking out about 5% of the water at each change, and usually I only manage to do this twice a day.

After the one month mark, the fry are moved to a growout tank. Depending on the size of the tank I have available and the number fry that have survived, I could still have a pretty overstocked tank. Also, betta fry release a hormone which supresses growth. The daily water changes are to remove this hormone as well as maintain good water quality.

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Rod is pretty much right, 'most' bettas are kept in small tanks with little or even no filtration at all!

Some people like to do water changes to keep on top of possible diseases that dirty water can cause. Seeing that your readings are good and your water is from a planted tank and going by how many water changes you do and the % I think what you are doing is fine!

People believe that the larger fry excrete a chemical in the water that stunts all other fishes that are in that same body of water. Yet to be a proven fact, but many people swear by it. For me I can’t keep up with that much of a water change and change 25% water every 2-3 days. It would be interesting to see if it were true, if it were based on fish that live in vast amount of water then I can’t see it working at all due to the amount of water hence being useless and no need to have this as a survival mechanism. However, seeing that many types of bettas are adapted to live or survive in waterholes, large puddles and the like does seem to support the theory.

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well i'll swear by the hormones the fry excrete :cheer: i had ONE fry in a tank by itself, and the other 7 spawn mates in a 10L filtered tank - the one that was on it own (and not being fed) is three times the size of the other fry after only one week. so for that the water changes are a good idea.

however i am lazy and only do a 100% water change once a week in my 7L unfiltered tank, i do a cup a day water change in the fry filtered 10L, and i do a 100% water change in the filtered 20L once a fortnight. these are all heavily planted, but my fish eat well and if i don't do that water change regime i get a lot of dirty water and snail poop! another reason for the water changes is the algae - i need to scrub the tanks very regularly for this :photo:

that said, if your set up is that good i'd be leaving it well enough alone :thumbs: i'd say that that kind of filtration would also deal with the hormones in the water.

i'd also think that there are serious fish keepers and aquascapers out there who love their water crystal clear and that's why they do a lot of regular water changes :drool:

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Very interesting article about the growth stunting hormones or whatever it is. I wonder if it can be filtered? I'm working on a barracks-style tank like a few I've seen, but with my own modifications as I'm not interested in changing water for many many jars on a regular basis!

Considering how popular this species is, it amazes me how little we know about these little gems!

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Unlikely that it can be filtered easily. :) I've also had the same issues with stunting in a large tank with perfect measurable parameters, and once the fast growers are removed or the water is changed, everyone gets a bit of a growth spurt. Pretty amazing.

I don't tend to change fry tank water, but then I end up bonsaiing my whole spawn, so I'd suggest that you do at least dilute the water with top-ups.

I do weekly 100% changes in containers smaller than 3L, anything bigger than that gets cycled, and once it stabilises it tends to stay that way. Most of my tanks are unfiltered, and I generally have a good idea of how long a tank will stay stable. I will do partial water changes, but also generally break down the small tanks every 6-9 months so that the waste is taken back down to a 0 level.

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I don't understand that they say its well proven by scientists that it is true that they excrete a hormone but dont go in and explain the chemical makeup of the hormone, how its produced in the fish and what organ produces it. If anyone has any actual facts or studies I would love to see them, reading its "proven" is not a totally factual statement without any details and explanations!

I myself do believe its highly likely that only fish they live in small bodies of water would have this ability i find it totally senseless for a fish such as a bream that are in the ocean to have such a function and hence don't believe that fish like bream that live in huge amounts of water would have this ability.

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The article isn't about the hormone itself, it's just a short article about how to raise larger fry. I'd say that's why. I'm sure that more detailed information could be found elsewhere.

I have to agree that the hormone would serve no purpose in an ocean setting. It's probably just a feature of fish in more cramped condition. It's a pretty fascinating survival mechanism.

Edited by Danielle
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I remember a link to a study a while back where it was going into it with salmon or trout or something in fish farms. Not sure if I can find it, but I'll look.

Even on anecdotal evidence alone, it seems to be something that should be kept in mind when it comes to raising fry.

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LOL, times seem to have changed again - does anyone remember the "Lilli and edie 'no water change method'" thread Stefan started a couple of years ago? what a way to gain notoriety.

PS - search for the thread before you flame me.

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