My son got a fish tank about a month ago. We just recently added fish and I am wondering how often we should be using the gravel vacuum. We are totally new to this and I have read that we should be changing around 20% of the water on a regular (weekly?) basis. Does this mean vacuuming the gravel too? A friend has told us he only does it once every few months and that we will disrupt the bio filter if we are doing this too often. Our tank is 28 gallons and we have just added 2 discus fish.
Bacteria live in the gravel. You can do a vacuum weekly when you do your water change. Just make sure not to over clean the gravel. Either only a third of the gravel at any one time or do a really fast once over to get most of the crud off the surface. Just as long as you don't suck up to much of the bacteria your tank won't have any issues.
Changing 10% and 25% of the water every week is a good idea. There are lots of people that don't do it that often and also some that don't do it at all. If you go to long without a water change the pH will start to drop rapidly some fish will adjust to the new pH and some fish will die because of the rapid pH shift. Also after a period of time all the minerals in the water will get used up and a water change is required to replace them.
Most people develop their own ways of doing stuff so it is hard to get the good answer. Knowing why you are doing stuff rather than just doing stuff will help you come up with your own method.
U said u bought 2 'discus' fish. They'll require a *lot* more maintainance & care than most other average varieties.
U should ask for more info from the experts here in MAC. Particularly @achintya.
please do some research before adding discus.i don't like to add discus in a graveled tank.i had a bad experience about the graveled discus tank.
in my discus tank:
daily W/C schedule:more than 50% daily in winter and more than 150% during summer.
i also request you to siphon it at least 20% daily.