Blue buckets drying in my sink is a familiar sight in our house, it means I have been changing water in the fish tanks again. A very regular occurrence when you have 5 fish tanks in your home. These simple cheap 10 litre buckets I bought at the local shopping centre have come in handy since I've started keeping tropical fish.
One of the best tips I picked up on when researching how to keep fish was to ensure you have buckets specifically for the fish. The idea is that you use the buckets for one thing only, changing fish water. That way there are no risks of contamination, the presence of products like detergent can kill the fish and destroy the carefully maintained eco system. They have come in handy during fish emergencies, such as when you suddenly need to find a home for all of your fish when their tank springs a leak.
We have had that twice, believe it or not, since I started keeping fish last July. The first was because the tank was the wrong kind, a turtle tank, not a tropical fish tank and couldn't cope with the 200 litres of water. That night the buckets were very handy, keeping the fish safe in their own water for a while until I could find something better. After rummaging through the laundry cupboard I found a very tiny old 10 litre turtle tank that managed to hold all the fish, after a quick clean, until we could get a more suitable tank the following day.
That very same little old 10 litre turtle tank became my new baby fish tank and lasted for a while before it also sprung a leak. Lesson learnt, don't use any turtle tanks to keep fish and if your tank is going to leak it will definitely happen at night! The baby fish had to survive in a blue bucket until another trip to the shop found a new tank for them. Actually having a disaster like this made me realise the benefits of keeping more than one tank, at least now I have options to move fish from one tank to another if there was a need. I'm not sure it gave me the excuse to get another 4 tanks, but think how prepared I'll be.
I recently developed a new system to change water in my largest tank, my discus display tank, as bucketing 100 litres of water every 3 days was becoming hard work. I bought two 50 litre tubs, a length of aquarium tubing and a pump. I connect the tubing directly to the Pura tap in the kitchen then run the length of tubing up the steps and into the front entrance hallway, the tubs are filled directly in front of the tank. I mix heated kettle water and water conditioner directly into the tub, matching the tub water to the 29 degree tank water.
The pond pump works efficiently, sucking the water directly from the tub and forcing it up through another piece of tubing and replacing the tank with fresh, clean de-chlorinated water. The only problem I haven't solved is siphoning the water directly out of the tank and into the garden. I'm still bucketing this out manually and pouring it on pot plants when the weather is hot. However, I can bucket water out at the same time I'm filling up the big tubs now, so I am at least saving time.
If I actually had stopped the buckets all together I would miss out on my regular exercise. Other people may find the gym helpful, I don't have the time or the money for that, so fish bucketing is my thing. Lucky for me I still bucket the water out of the other 4 tanks = plenty of exercise!
Clean up after the first tank disaster during the night...