How often does my 5 gallon aquarium need water changing?

I have kept a 5 gallon tank for about a year and a half now with an apple snail and a few guppies and I’ve always changed the water and cleaned everything weekly. I went into a pet store today called "Tropical Kingdom" for some fish supplies and an employee there told me that changing the water once a week was way too much and stresses the fish out. He said that he only cleaned his tanks every once in a while and they did fine. I thought this odd since all the information I’ve ever heard/read is to do water changes on smaller tanks frequently to keep ammonia and nitrates and stuff like that down. Like I’ve said, I’ve had the tank for a while now and things have been alright for the most part but now I feel confused with what the guy told me. Which information is right?
I do a 30-40% water change usually

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7 Responses to How often does my 5 gallon aquarium need water changing?

  1. Nigel W says:

    Perhaps there is some confusion.

    You are supposed to do a 20-25% water change weekly. Reading your post I’m wondering if you mean you drain the tank entirely Perhaps the employee thought this is what you do.

  2. Fuzzyjubjub says:

    It’s good to do a partial water change every 3-4 weeks. Keep in mind that this is only changing about 20 percent of the water each time. This will keep your fish happy and healthy, while not diminishing the helpful bacteria in the water.

  3. Andrew says:

    With just a few guppies in the tank you could probably get away with every 2 weeks and only chug about 20% of the water, any more than that would stress the fish.

  4. Gary C says:

    Changing water stresses fish a whole lot less than living in dirty water stresses them. It’s a widespread myth that fish like living in old water. Fish in a river have a 100% water change at least every second. If water changes were harmful, the fish in rivers would all be dead, wouldn’t they?

    How seldom you can get away with changing water depends on a lot of factors, especially how heavily stocked your tank is, but I think changing 50% of the water at least once a week is a good policy.

    The one thing about water changes that can shock fish is a drastic change in water temperature. So make sure the replacement water you put in is close to the same temperature as the old water you removed (you can feel this with your hand in the water, or use a thermometer).

  5. monkeydude says:

    you should do a 25% water change every week. you should buy a gravel cleaner too.

  6. Darren says:

    By rights you should be doing a 10% water change weekly, but everyone has different opinoins. I stick by the 10% a week rule. Hope this helps

  7. Ianab says:

    The guy is an idiot.

    The water changes have been working fine for you for over a year, carry on doing them. Even if you are changing more water then you technically need to, it wont harm the fish or the tanks cycle. Clean water is great for your fish, give them plenty.

    Not sure where people get the idea that water changes stress fish, mine perk up and seem to love it when they get fresh water. When I had guppies they would try and swim up the hose that I used to pour fresh water into the tank. It was quite funny watching them swim ‘upstream’, flat out, to try and get to where the nice new water was coming from.


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