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First Water Change
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Joined: 24 Jan 2004

PostPosted: 2004.01.24(Sat)8:33    Post subject: First Water Change Reply with quote

Can someone please walk me through the steps of my first water change? I've read a few articles, but I need the tips of experienced hobbyist. I have a 36 gal. tank with a sand substrate, a few live rock, and 3 fish, a crab, shrimp, and one small cirque anenome. And I'm not sure if he's still alive..he's stays in his shell a lot. Question
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The Old Salt

Joined: 01 Apr 2003
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: 2004.01.25(Sun)14:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing to worry about; this'll be easy.

First, decide how much water you want to change. Next get a container which can hold that amount, and preferably one which has a lot of surface area in relation to it's volume. That is, one of those long, wide, shallow plastic under-the-bed bins you find at Walmart would be better than a tall round pickle bucket.

Why? Diffusion.
What you want to do is let the chlorine dissipate from the water and let the water reach good oxygen saturation, and the more surface area you have, the better.
Put an airstone in the container and let it run for a few days. If you have some chlorine remover, only use about 1/4 the recommended dosage if at all. That stuff tastes horrible to your critters and raises the sulfate levels in your tank.
( NOTE: if your local water uses chloramine instead of chlorine, this method won't work. You'd be better off using distilled water. )

It is important that you have the chlorine out of the water before you add the salt. Otherwise, the chlorine can react with some of the components of the salt mix, causing problems.

Next, add you salt mix. Let it dissolve completely. Let it run for a day and check the salinity again. Often it will be different from what you thought it was the day before it settled.
Once it's fully mixed and at the proper concentration, it should by this time also be fully oxygenated since you ran the air through it to mix it. ( motorized pumping works just as well if you don't have an airstone )
Now all you have to do is make sure the temperature is correct. You SHOULD have done this earlier, by the way, since the temperature affects the specific gravity reading. Double check. If the temperature is fine and the the salinty is fine at that temperature, you are good to go.

Drain the desired amount of water from the tank and then replace it with the new water. Add the new water slowly, alittle at a time, so that it has time to mix with the old water evenly. You don't want your sensitive invertebrates to be hit with a bunch of raw new water at once.

Well, that's it. As time goes by you'll learn what shortcuts you can get away with in your situation, but you pretty much can't go wrong with this method.
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