Water Quality & Changes

I'm seriously not sure if a chart like this exists or not for an aquarium, but I created this chart to give my opinion on how you should calculate your water quality. In other words when you would probably need to calculate your water changes and full tank cleanings. Granted everything in your tank is working properly and gets maintained during your aquarium cleanings, so of course varying factors could pose issues outside of this chart(such as plants, lighting, fish, chemicals, etc) so it is important to always use your better judgement(I'm not responsible for what happens in your tank).

Reading the Chart...

This means the water is brand new, never used, 100% clean.
This means the water with your current fish setup is currently at its best water conditions.
As one to two weeks pass your tank will get to be an average quality level. A water change should be done no later then 14 days (2 weeks), if you haven't done one by now.
Your water quality is now becoming bad for fish, they may be more prone to disease or possibly death at this stage.
This level can be deadly for your fish. Tanks should be 100% cleaned at this stage. It is possible your fish may seem fine at this point but there are some things we can't always see with the naked eye. If you were to do a 50% water change the fact of the matter is it still contains toxins left from the remaining water and adding new water won't help at this stage (just as acid would be to your flesh, adding water to acid would still make it harmful to you).

Helpful Tips...

-Any new tank with brand new never used water would be considered a "0" on the scale.
-Once fish are added and a tank is setup the first day is consider "1" on the scale.
-50% water changes are typically not recommended by most aquarists.
-For those of you that may not have noticed already you can really only go the first 2 weeks(14 days) of a 100% new setup before needing to start a water change.

How To Use...

First you must find out how many days have passed since your last tank cleaning(the one performed with totally new "0" water), in this example here we'll say 8 days have passed which would put your tank at a "8" on the chart. As you can see by the chart this would make your water "Average" in cleanliness and you could go 6 more days without a water change but lets say you decide to clean your tank on that 8th day. So now you decide to empty 25% of your tank water and add a new 25% water to the tank. This would now put your tank at a "good" level "6" on the chart.

8 / 4 x 3 = 6

Now lets say you go 10 days after your level "6" change had been done, so we'll be adding 10 to our 6 which puts our tank at a "bad" level "16" on the chart. Bad on the chart represents your water needing immediate attention before serious health issues could arise in your tanks water. So now you decide to change 50% of you tanks water and this puts your quality at an "average" level "8" on the chart.

10 + 6 = 16 / 2 = 8

Now lets say after your level "8" you neglect to do any water changes in your tank for 22 days, this now puts your tank at a "toxic" level "30" on the chart. Since it's not recommended to do over 50% water changes(doing so would only bring the water to a bad level "15") it's best to do a 100% water change to get your water back to a "new" level "0".

8 + 22 = 30 / 2 = 15

Also notice that going from 30 to 15 would be like taking 15 days off your tank, where as going from 14 to 7 during a 50% water change is like taking 7 days off. The higher the days you take off the more the water quality drastically changes, thus causing more stress to your fish. The more frequently you do water changes, the less likely it is to harm your tank. I wouldn't recommend doing 50% water changes if the days off you're removing from your take would equal over 10 days. If for some unknown reason you're having trouble changing a toxic level "30" completely I'd possibly suggest only changing 25% of the water which brings it to a bad "22.5", wait 3 days and change another 25% of water which would now bring it to a bad level "19.125". At this point I'd wait another 3 days and now change 50% of the water, waiting longer then 3 days would only add to the toxic levels again so doing this would bring your water to an average level "11.06". You're still not out of the clear yet so wait another 3 days and change 50% again, this now brings you to an average level "7.03". You can now wait 6 days before doing another 50% water change bringing you to a "6.525" level and your water should be back on track for weekly(7 days) 50% water changes. Also if you're not sure what your water quality is this may be an ideal method for getting your tank on track to a healthy ecosystem once again.

30/4x3=22.5 + 3/4x3=19.125
7.03+6/2=6.515 (round the decimal up to the nearest whole number and you have a level 7)

P.S. Never add new fish to a tank that isn't "new" level "0". As you can see water chemisty is changing from day 1 and new fish that aren't acclimated in your current tank aren't adjusted to their quality level of water, you could risk killing your new fish otherwise.

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