Aquarium Service and the Importance of Water Changes

At Dallas Aquarium Experts we believe water changes are the most important aspect of aquarium maintenance. Only diet ties with how important water changes are, and they are equally important. You can provide the best food or water quality, but if one is lacking it can undo the highest quality in the other.

There are many vital things that water changes and regular aquarium maintenance can do for the aquarium. Regularly scheduled water changes can actually help save money when it comes to filtration since they can make the use of carbon filtration completely unnecessary. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can make up for a lack of water changes done while performing aquarium service. Filtration can’t do it. Special additives and special types of filtration can’t do it, nothing can replace water changes done while serving an aquarium.

It is important to understand exactly what filtration and water changes do so that you understand the difference. Filters do two main things. First is that they provide a place for the bacteria that consume ammonia and nitrite to grow. The surfaces of bio-medias and the flow of the filter create the perfect submerged habitat for these nitrifying bacteria. The other main function is to physically collect debris and particulates from the water column for the aquarist to remove during regularly scheduled aquarium maintenance at which time the filter media is replaced.  It is vital to perform filter maintenance, regardless of the type or brand of filter being used or whether the flow is reduced or not. Water changes maintain water quality long-term.

Aquarium Service
Aquarium Service

The problem with water changes is that their results are long-term. Many people only see short-term. So if someone stops doing water changes or cuts back drastically (like only doing water changes once every four weeks) they may not see any major difference. The reason is that the problems related to lack of water changes, cause short-term are very subtle. Many people feel it is best to leave well enough alone and not fix what isn’t broken. This idea leads to neglect and the aquarium will suffer.

When inadequate aquarium maintenance or no water changes are done the tank appear to do well. The fish will still be alert and swimming, they will still have colors, and they will still eat. This can go on for a few years. What I have seen happen under these circumstances is called old tank syndrome. This is when the water quality has gotten so bad that all of a sudden effectively every fish in the tank gets sick. I have seen this happen a few times, killing 90-95% of the fish. A sign that this situation may be occurring before it actually kills everything is when new fish are added. Usually a neglected tank’s chemistry will change over time. The pH will drop along with hardness, the water quality is low, and together these can prove fatal to new fish. The fish that experienced it slowly acclimated to the changing water as it slowly happened. New fish are acclimated in less than an hour. This sudden change can shock new fish, resulting in their death with no symptoms of any problems.

Water changes do two things simultaneously. Most importantly they remove all the bad things that build up in the aquarium over time. These things include nitrate, phosphate, growth inhibiting hormones that many if not most fish give off, dissolved organic compounds, and other things. The other things are at least as important, we just don’t have test kits for them (except phosphate). The other major function of water changes is to bring in good things that are used up over time. The end result of all the biological activity in an aquarium is acidification. This uses up the KH in the water. As the KH is used up the pH will decrease. Eventually the pH will crash. There are many other vital minerals and trace elements needed that are replenished with water changes during aquarium maintenance.

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Water changes also have a massive impact on stocking. It is an error to discuss stocking without addressing water changes and water quality. Discussing stocking based on tank size alone is not different from simply going by the very common one inch per gallon’ type guides. Experiments have shown that it is the water quality, not tank volume that stunts fish. The volume of the tank has a minimal impact on water quality.

How much, how often:

Water changes should be done on a minimum bi-weekly basis during your regular aquarium service.  This frequency gives little time for the chemistry of the aquarium to change significantly compared to the tap water in a freshwater aquarium. Over time the chemistry in an aquarium changes and allowing too much time between water changes allows the tank’s water chemistry to change too much, this means that a larger water change will change the tank’s chemistry too much and stress or even shock fish. The amount changed at each water change should be whatever is needed to keep the nitrate concentration under 20ppm. This means that if a weekly water change of 25% doesn’t keep the nitrate concentration under 20ppm then the amount of water changed every week needs to be increased. Any time the size of the water change is changed it should be done slowly. Smaller water changes allow for more error than larger water changes. For example, if the temperature is not perfect for a 25% water change it may not cause any problems. The same temperature difference with a 50% water change could severely stress the fish.

Water changes can prevent and fix almost any problem:

aquarium service
aquarium service

Water changes are one of the most powerful ways to prevent and treat almost all problems that an aquarist is like to encounter. A healthy water change schedule performed during regular aquarium service can prevent most of the problems an aquarist might otherwise experience. In my experience the health issues that arise in well maintained tanks is almost nothing compared to those that are more neglected, including monthly water changes.

In addition, water changes alone are frequently all that is needed to fix most problems that may arise. Increasing the frequency of water changes when problems do arise may be the only action the aquarist needs to take when fish are stressed (lethargic, clamped fins, refusing to eat, etc.). It is also all that is needed in many cases of a variety of diseases. I have seen case after case of ich, bacterial infections, fungal infections, and others fixed by increasing the frequency of water changes alone, no medications used at all. It is also the main issue when algae problems arise. More or larger water changes are frequently the only change needed to fix algae problems.

Contact Dallas Aquarium Experts today to for a free consultation, and allow us to be your Aquarium Service provider and handle your Aquarium Maintenance needs.

Keep Your Aquarium’s Cool

Aquarium Service
Aquarium Service

Mini-reef aquariums require high output lighting and multiple water pumps to optimize the health and growth of corals.  This often requires a chiller unit to help maintain the proper range of temperatures.  Modern in line chillers use a titanium heat exchanger and require a water pump to circulate water through the chiller.  The chiller has an internal temperature senor with a digital readout to set the desired temperature and maintain the aquarium within one degree of the set point.  In line chillers have a rating in horse power or BTU and manufactures will provide general guidelines to match the size of the chiller, the flow rate and aquarium size to maximize efficiency.  You want to oversize the chiller but you do not want to overdo it because that will cause rapid “on/off”cycles of the condenser.  While you can use the main circulation water pump, it is easier to use a smaller, dedicated water pump just for the chiller.  It is best to place the chiller outside of a cabinet stand to help dissipate the heat.

We at Dallas Aquarium Experts would greatly appreciate the opportunity to become your aquarium service provider. If you feel your aquarium doesn’t look as healthy, pristine, and vibrant as it should please call us and we will provide a free consultation.  Contact us today at 469-450-3900 for the best aquarium service in North Dallas and surrounding areas.

Don’t buy the first fish off the boat.

Don’t buy the first fish off the boat.

Aquarium Service
Dallas Aquarium Experts – Aquarium Service Company

Avoid buying any new arrivals from your local fish store recently received.  If the fish are still in a packing create, that should give you a clue.  You should see a large number of bags containing fish floating in the aquariums on the days the store receive new shipments.  Most dealers receive new fish at least once a week. Ask your dealer which days these are.  A good dealer doesn’t allow customers to purchase fish until there has been sufficient time to quarantine them.  This quarantine prior reduces the fish’s stress from shipping and allows the shop’s personnel to treat any disease that shows up in the first few days after arrival.

If you happen to see some fish that catch your eye while they are still in the bags, ask the dealer to hold them for you until a reasonable quarantine period has expired.  Most dealers willingly agree to do that.  Helpful merchants who take the time to grant such simple requests provide customer satisfaction are defiantly worth patronizing in the future.  Stop for a moment and ask yourself one simple question.  If I owned the fish shop, would I do this for my customer?  If the answer is yes, then you should expect your dealer to do the same thing.

At Dallas Aquarium Experts we quarantine all of our client’s fish prior to delivering them to their new aquarium.  Dallas Aquarium Experts the best aquarium service in Dallas, Plano, Frisco and Allen Texas.  Call us today for a free estimate on aquarium service.

Keeping your Aquarium Healthy

Aquarium Service
Aquarium Maintenance and Aquarium Service by Dallas Aquarium Experts

Choose healthy stock and always quarantine all new additions.  Be cautious of local fish stores that do not take the time to quarantine their stock before selling it to you.  Ask yourself “why would my local fish store tell me to quarantine the fish before putting them into my aquarium, yet not take the time to quarantine a fish before selling it to me.”  Especially a fish that most likely has little to no warranty?

Don’t hope to keep all the fishes that you like the look of; bear in mind the size of your aquarium and the compatibly between species.

Remove uneaten food at the earliest opportunity.  Acclimatize the fishes to any new food over a period of time – at least several days.

Do not neglect regular partial aquarium water changes using only reverse osmosis aquarium water.  Top off evaporation losses in saltwater aquariums with RODI fresh water.  Make all necessary water condition changes gradual.

After a period of time, algae will grow all over the tank.  This should be removed from the front panel of the aquarium. There is no need to remove the algae from the remaining panels of the aquarium, as the fish will graze on these.

Finally do not regard any of the above as avoidable chores; most of them should be included in the pleasurable side of fish keeping, providing for your fishes the care and attention that they undoubtedly deserve.  They will repay you in the best manner possible-by presenting you with a living picture of color and beauty. And remember if you need an aquarium service provider or aquarium maintenance, Dallas Aquarium Experts is the best aquarium service provider in DFW.  Contact us today for a free estimate.

AQUARIUM MAINTENANCE and WATER CHANGES by Dallas Aquarium Experts

Aquarium Service

Aquarium Service
Aquarium Service

WATER CHANGES- Serve an important role in your aquarium, yet you either love them, or hate them. We at Dallas Aquarium Experts are in the “love them” camp and when we are designing an aquarium for a client, we’re often asked to make water changes as easy as possible.

The role a water change plays is to export nutrients out of your saltwater aquarium. By removing existing water out of your system and replacing it with fresh saltwater, nutrient levels are reduced and other important levels (calcium, magnesium, trace elements, etc) are increased. Here’s the key thing to note about the reduction of the nutrient levels though: unless a large (50% or more) water change is performed, you’re not going to reduce nutrient levels by a large amount. I often hear people talk about having a high phosphate or nitrate levels and the advice given is to a 10-20% water change. The water change isn’t going to provide the large drop in levels that are needed to maintain proper water quality and keep your aquarium looking its best.

Why even do smaller water changes then if they aren’t useful unless the quantity of water removed is large? Several reasons:

1) When water changes of 20% are done on a weekly basis or 30% are done on a bi-weekly basis this should be sufficient as long as the aquarium is not over stocked and feeding is done appropriately. This will greatly reduce larger issues down the road that are difficult, expensive, and usually slow to correct.

2) Replenishment of elements. Until an aquarium is well stocked with corals, calcium, magnesium and alkalinity levels can be maintained simply through water changes.

3) Promotes good habits. When doing a water change, you have to pay attention to your aquarium as you are turning pumps on/off, removing water, changing filter media, checking fish health, etc. The water change exercise is a great time to look over the aquarium to make sure everything is looking good and running well. Maintaining a weekly water change routine forces you to give your aquarium a good look over which will help catch any problems faster.

Our way isn’t the only way however it is the way that has worked for Dallas Aquarium Experts and our clients time and time again.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.