If you have a small 10-gallon setup your weekly water change will literally take you minutes. You’ll need a small gravel vacuum and a bucket.
Please note: Any bucket you use for your fish-keeping hobby should be designated "fish only". Never use a household cleaning bucket for working with your fish tank as any residual chemicals will be harmful to your fish.
To change the water in a 10-gallon tank, simply use the gravel vac to siphon water from your tank into the bucket. Never remove all of the water; only take about 30%.
A good way to measure this, aside from eyeballing the tank, is to find yourself a 3-gallon bucket. When the bucket is full you know you’ve taken enough water. Discard the old water, fill the bucket with fresh water, pour it gently into your tank and your water change is done.
Water Changes in Big Tanks
For those with big tanks the job gets much more complex. If you want to, you can use a siphon and repeatedly fill and empty the bucket, then repeatedly refill your tank with the bucket.
This method may require a dozen or more trips back and forth between your tank and the water source. It’s time-consuming, back-breaking and messy, not to mention a real good excuse for taking up a different hobby. But there is a better way:
There are water-change systems on the market that drain the water straight from your tank to your sink. These systems involve a long tube that hooks up to your kitchen or bathroom faucet on one end, and has a gravel-vac fitting on the other end.
You can siphon water from the the tank and send it directly down your drain. When the tank is drained to the desired level, simply throw a lever and the tank begins to fill.
Sound easy? It’s definitely way better than carrying that sloshing bucket around. Here’s a look at how I use a water changer to do quick and easy weekly water changes.
Step 1: Set Up Your Water Changer
Water changers are designed to hook up to your kitchen faucet or similar water source. When in draining mode this hookup sends the dirty tank water right down your sink drain.
I use mine a little differently, though. Water changers come with tube lengths up to 50 feet, more than long enough to stretch to and out the door in most homes. I like to send my dirty tank water out onto my lawn instead of letting it go down the drain.
In the summer, I use it to water flowers and plants. This is just an effort at a little conservation on my part and certainly not necessary.
Whatever you choose to do with the old water, a water-change device makes it simple to siphon water from your tank and send it on its way.
Step 2: Drain Water from the Tank
After you've set up your water changer as specified by the manufacturer all it takes is a flip of a level for water to begin to drain from your tank. Keep in mind that the purpose of the water changer is not only to siphon water, but also to clean the gravel.