Re-capping a dirted tank ? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
frrok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Rockaway Beach, NY
Posts: 1,540
Re-capping a dirted tank ?

I really hate Eco-complete as a cap for a dirt tank. Its really light and has different grain sizes ranging from 1-6mm. Also, It seems like the dirt keeps on settling on top of the Eco-complete. I attached some pictures for reference. I know there are a few of you on here that used Eco-complete with dirt. Have you had this issue? So my plan is to re-cap my dirt... With, you guessed it black beauty! Yea. Seems like its a better choice. So here is my plan.
1. Remove fish and inverts. Snails are going to be tough. Might just suck up with siphon.
2. Keep fauna in bucket with some hornwort and frogbit.
3. Start siphoning out the Eco-complete and try to get as much of it as possible without uprooting any plants. Siphon until there is no water left.
4. Maybe add some dirt that was sucked out (most of the soil will stay) and start re-capping with black beauty. Taking care to fill around plant roots. May remove driftwood also. But can't decide until I start the process. It will be tough. Probably won't be able to remove all of it.
5. start filling up tank with as much old water as possible. Turn on filter, equipment etc.
6. Put fish back. Fill the rest of tank and end up with a beautiful tank again.

So what do you think? Is this possible or am I headed for disaster? Lol! I'm really getting sick of seeing dirt all over the bottom of my tank and on plants. luckily fish are ok and my plants are ok as well. This is really just unpleasant to the eye. Photos below:
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByTapatalk1323824193.013021.jpg
Views:	87
Size:	57.9 KB
ID:	38769  

Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByTapatalk1323824225.264979.jpg
Views:	62
Size:	68.7 KB
ID:	38770  


The Fraternity of Dirt #11
Wabi-kusa Pimp #6

25cm Cube

ADA MINI-M Journal

ADA MINI-M REDUX
frrok is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 01:32 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
10gallonplanted's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Gainesville, GA
Posts: 1,687
Have you ever removed the cap before? Its like a major dirt atomic bomb going off lol. its going to set off a huge ammonia spike and probably melt most of your plants. Just a fair warning. I tihnk it would be smarter to replace the whole substrate.
10gallonplanted is offline  
post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 01:34 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
5BodyBlade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Westport, MA
Posts: 370
I've redirted recently. What you're proposing is possible. I take it that it hasn't been dirted for that long. Just take everything out dirt & all and do a total makeover. Start fresh. You'll feel better.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...49#post4205849

40B, T5HO, Turface, pressurized co2,EI dosing
5BodyBlade is offline  
post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 01:36 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
10gallonplanted's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Gainesville, GA
Posts: 1,687
Do what he said!
10gallonplanted is offline  
post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 01:40 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
frrok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Rockaway Beach, NY
Posts: 1,540
The tank has been set up since august. I want to try and keep the same dirt since its been going through decomposition process. I don't want to start all over cuz that would be a bigger project I think. I really just want to replace the Eco complete. I already re-did this tank with dirt. See my thread in my sig.

I would avoid any ammonia spikes since I'll be removing most of the water anyway.

The Fraternity of Dirt #11
Wabi-kusa Pimp #6

25cm Cube

ADA MINI-M Journal

ADA MINI-M REDUX
frrok is offline  
post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
frrok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Rockaway Beach, NY
Posts: 1,540
But thanks anyway. I'll take the re-do into consideration.

The Fraternity of Dirt #11
Wabi-kusa Pimp #6

25cm Cube

ADA MINI-M Journal

ADA MINI-M REDUX
frrok is offline  
post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 07:53 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hilde's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Mableton, GA
Posts: 5,255
When I replaced play sand with river sand I just scooped top layer of play sand up with a net. Then I put the river sand on top. Perhaps you can do the same with the eco-complete. Probably need to reduce the water level as low as possible, for you said it is not holding down the dirt.
Hilde is online now  
post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 12:43 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
5BodyBlade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Westport, MA
Posts: 370
A good idea to get the water out below the cap is to get it sucked down as far as possible, then move the substrate away from one corner. Put a piece of PVC pipe in the corner all the way to the bottom. It should still let in water because it won't be totally to the glass. Then just put your siphon hose in the PVC all the way to the bottom.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...49#post4205849

40B, T5HO, Turface, pressurized co2,EI dosing
5BodyBlade is offline  
post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 02:22 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Gone
Posts: 5,993
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5BodyBlade View Post
A good idea to get the water out below the cap is to get it sucked down as far as possible, then move the substrate away from one corner. Put a piece of PVC pipe in the corner all the way to the bottom. It should still let in water because it won't be totally to the glass. Then just put your siphon hose in the PVC all the way to the bottom.


I agree. Then use a large serving spoon as a shovel and scoop out the current cap material.

DO NOT USE YOUR WIFE OR MOTHER'S GOOD SPOON

Go to the $1 store
DogFish is offline  
post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 02:37 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
wkndracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Citrus County,Florida
Posts: 6,180
5BodyBlade's post above makes great sense and is explained well too.

Guessing this is "Mezza Luna" as that's the journal I find and fits the timeline here.
Interesting event and not often done so I hope you capture the experience in your journal. Changes like this aren't done often.

The soil is still fresh and just barely converted to a fully submerged decay rate on the organics. Light and easily disturbed is what I'm guessing you will find if worked still submerged. You've listed a planned approach that makes good sense. Smaller tanks are ALWAYS more tricky when it comes to maintaining good water chemistry.

Personally I would attempt to maintain my critters for 4-5days even up to 10days in the secondary container after making the switch. Bacteria and bio balance are going to take a big hit doing this. I've changed subs completely and drained tanks for transport, this won't be much different.

I use 5g buckets. Remove about 4g of tank water into a bucket and place the critters, driftwood and smaller plants in it with a towel over the top.
With bigger tanks things are separated. All the plants into one, fish, driftwood, anything I want to keep wet into the rest.
I run an air stone in each bucket of fish and plants, whether it's needed for the weeds IDK but it eliminates surface film and keeps the water turning.

I clear a corner down to the glass just like 5BodyBlade posted and siphon out all the water I can get.
Having a small ice scoop I use that for removing the gravel, sand, what ever being careful to stay off the sides not to scratch the tank. Dumping it into dry buckets.
Using an old credit card I push the remaining substrate to center as possible and use the scoop for all I can get.

Changing the cap keep all the tank materials wet during the swap in tank water. Put everything back in the tank the day you do the swap to help avoid another cycle but (imo) hold the fauna at least overnight, longer wouldn't hurt.

While doing this cap swap do not even wipe off the glass inside the tank, don't clean hoses, heaters, don't clean anything with 'tank slime' on it. Put EVERYTHING back in to maintain as much bio film as possible. Do not clean the filter before or for a week after the substrate change.
Add to top off the tank but don't do a major water change. Changing the cap is drastic enough in one day. I re use as much old tank water as I can save.

Leaving larger plants in place makes sense but I think you'll find the smaller ones will release with the cap being removed.
Going to sand I would keep the cap at 1 to 1.5".

Hope this helps.

The Fraternity of Dirt
If at first you don't succeed,,, keep kicking it
RubberSideDownOnTheLanding,
2-75g planted, 5-55g planted, 5-20g planted, 110g w/30g sump, 8-10g, Refugium, doghouse/newbie
2012 update adding table top pleco pans & a 90g (Nutz)
wkndracer is offline  
post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
frrok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Rockaway Beach, NY
Posts: 1,540
This is awesome. Thank you guys for the advice! If I decide to do this I will document it as much as possible here and with some video.

The Fraternity of Dirt #11
Wabi-kusa Pimp #6

25cm Cube

ADA MINI-M Journal

ADA MINI-M REDUX
frrok is offline  
post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-17-2011, 10:11 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
5BodyBlade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Westport, MA
Posts: 370
You can really avoid a cycle if you keep about 75% of your old water and fill the tank back up with it. I didn't see how big your tank was, but I've done this with my 46. I used a few rubbermaid totes (clean) and drained my tank down. Did the substrate switch and filled back up with the old water. Put the fish in when I was done scaping. Kind of like doing a waterchange. You will lose a lot of bio bacteria from the substrate, but if it is a well established tank and the water chemistry stays the same from using the old water, it should recolonize very quickly. Adding a little bit of bio bact. in a bottle helps too. Seachem has one and I think Bio Spira is another. Never had a loss.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...49#post4205849

40B, T5HO, Turface, pressurized co2,EI dosing
5BodyBlade is offline  
post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-17-2011, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
frrok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Rockaway Beach, NY
Posts: 1,540
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5BodyBlade View Post
You can really avoid a cycle if you keep about 75% of your old water and fill the tank back up with it. I didn't see how big your tank was, but I've done this with my 46. I used a few rubbermaid totes (clean) and drained my tank down. Did the substrate switch and filled back up with the old water. Put the fish in when I was done scaping. Kind of like doing a waterchange. You will lose a lot of bio bacteria from the substrate, but if it is a well established tank and the water chemistry stays the same from using the old water, it should recolonize very quickly. Adding a little bit of bio bact. in a bottle helps too. Seachem has one and I think Bio Spira is another. Never had a loss.
Cool. Thanks 5bodyblade. I appreciate the help. The tank is a ten gallon half moon. Well I re-did this tank once already with all the fish in it. And I dirted it and put the fish in the next day. I def know what to expect as far as how much work is involved. So far I have a 5 g and 2 2g gallon buckets. I should prob purchase another 5g bucket. I'm also thinking of keeping some of the Eco-complete as I probably won't be able to get all of it out anyway. Also it has a good cec. I want it to retain some nutrients and bacteria. But as a top layer on want black beauty.

The Fraternity of Dirt #11
Wabi-kusa Pimp #6

25cm Cube

ADA MINI-M Journal

ADA MINI-M REDUX
frrok is offline  
post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-01-2012, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
Wannabe Guru
 
frrok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Rockaway Beach, NY
Posts: 1,540
OK, so a change of plans. I am in the process of slowing siphoning out the dirt that has settled on top of the eco-complete. I have been doing this on a weekly basis. changing about 10-20% of the water in the process. My plan is to try and siphon out as much as I could and call it a day. I really dont want to re-do this tank at this time. Plants are growing well and I don't want to disturb it again. Im planning on removing all the dirt from the top layer then if I notice that the plants stop growing I'll add root tabs or something. I figure by the time the nutrients run out I will most likely be breaking this down anyway. We are planning on moving to a bigger place this year and if thats the case I will probably set up a bigger tank anyway.

The Fraternity of Dirt #11
Wabi-kusa Pimp #6

25cm Cube

ADA MINI-M Journal

ADA MINI-M REDUX
frrok is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome