Tank Management

These articles explore General Tank maintenance.

I. Filtration versus Water Changes


Filtration and water partials are two entirely separate things. That seems difficult to grasp for many hobbyists. So this brief note is aimed at clarifying the roles of filtration and water changes. 
(» Click here to read the rest of this article…)

II. New Tank Syndrome, NTS

New Tank Syndrome, NTS

Robert T. Ricketts

There are all but constant questions on the boards relating the trials, tribulations, and assorted woes associated with a newly set aquarium. Very few novice tank-keepers have any realistic concept of the complexity of the system they are starting. This is no doubt a good thing – if most of us really knew up front how complex aquarium ecology is, we would probably never start – and think of all the fun we would have missed. The micro-ecology of out tanks is complex. The development of the micro-ecology is a tad demanding of attention, but the chores involved are not complex. After stability is reached, handling is not complex at all. As with many of the things we do, once you understand something about it, it is relatively easy. (» Click here to read the rest of this article…)

III. Old Tank Syndrome, OTS

What is it, and what do we do about it?

At the other end of the line from “New Tank Syndrome” (NTS) is its opposite, “Old Tank Syndrome” (OTS). OTS can take several forms, a couple of which we will briefly examine in this article. I would not expect OTS in any tank less than 12-24 months old, but I suppose it could happen if little or no routine upkeep were provided, or if the tank were grossly overstocked or overfed or inappropriately fed, or some combination of those things. That does happen.  OTS is most often seen after a tank has been operated 2-3 years or more - sometimes much, much longer.

(» Click here to read the rest of this article…)

IV. How to, and How Not to, Siphon Manually

Every fish keeper needs to know how to siphon. This is one of the basic techniques in aquarium maintenance. It is second nature to everybody in the hobby, right? Maybe, maybe not. Do you get aquarium water in your mouth? Have you ever pulled the delivery end of the siphon out of the bucket and onto your shoes, the rug, or the hardwood floor? Maybe we should talk for a few minutes. I have done all the above, but eventually I learned how not to do so, and I’m more than willing to share what works for me. Think about it and see if anything here will work for you. (» Click here to read the rest of this article…)

V. sing the Python Products’ No Spill Clean and Fill

No, we are not talking about a snake. This device is the best, or perhaps the worst, device available as an enabler of MTS (multi-tank syndrome). I confess to being a long-term sufferer of this syndrome. My first setup was two tanks, one above the other on one stand. So unlike most hobbyists, I started out with more than one tank. My addiction was limited however. I could never get past the ~12 tank barrier. Upkeep took too much time and physical effort (I have also always been lazy). Then one day I saw an ad in a hobby magazine… it was all downhill from there. (» Click here to read the rest of this article…)

VI. Water Change Math

Water Change Math - General

In other articles I push using nitrate (NO3) as an indicator of general pollution, and I still do that, but obviously that cannot be used in a planted tank, or even in tanks with functional microporous biomedia – which can denitrify, or in tanks with plenums – which do denitrify, coil denitrators – also for denitrification, or with added chemicals or exchange materials which complex nitrate. So what do we use? We have nothing that we can measure directly by hobby level test kits. Instead we use a hand-held calculator, or the comparable program in our computers, or even by pencil and paper. We calculate what our water changes are doing and what they are leaving behind, and then we decide what sort of schedule we can live with and/or live up to, and then that is what we do.
(» Click here to read the rest of this article…)

VII. Water Change Math, OTS

Water Change Math, OTS

And Other Mismatches Between Tank and Source Water

This note assumes that you have read the note on what OTS is itself as well as the article on general Water Change Math, if you have not yet read those, you may want to scan them for background which may not be reviewed here.

Old Tank Syndrome, OTS {Click}

Water Change Math {Click}

When the water we want and plan to use does not match at all well with the existing tank conditions, if we do substantial changes we will subject the fish to sudden differences in the osmotic pressure of the water around them. This stress may be so severe that the fish suffer shock and may even die. They are adapted, hopefully and usually slowly, to the water that they are living in now. Too much change too fast is a system overload. This situation on the boards is commonly called “pH shock”, but it is not that, even though the pH may well be quite different. It is osmotic shock from the sudden change in TDS (total dissolved solids).  TDS includes GH, KH, nitrate ion (NO3–), sodium chloride (Na+, Cl-), carbonates and bicarbonate, and all the other dissolved materials that we do not measure (potassium, sodium, sulfates, phosphates, organics, etc.).
(» Click here to read the rest of this article…)

cron