converting an existing tank to soil substrate - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-25-2013, 04:51 AM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry, I didn't see these other replies until now. Thanks for the replies!

Gary, were you adding soil to an existing setup and reusing the seeded filter and old water?

darthmilmo, we finished the project last week and followed basically that method. Although we went with 1" of soil with a ~1-1/2" small gravel cap.

The fish stayed in a container with the aquarium water, heater and airstone during the process. We initially filled the tank with fresh water, and left it with the filter running for a couple of hours. Then, we drained it again, planted and added back in the old aquarium water and fish.

So far, all is well. fyi, here's a before and after (I've encouraged my friend's daughter to start a journal here. )


before We were in the process of draining the tank when we thought it might be good to have a before shot for reference. The tank was lit with just one 15w gro-bulb that was at least a year old, w/ gravel substrate and infrequent fert dosing.





after We replaced the solid top with a glass top, added an additional light for a total of 2- 15w gro-bulbs, and replaced the substrate w/ MGOCPM and a gravel cap. We reused all of her plants, plus added a lot more.



Some of the new inhabitants added, 3 panda cories, 2 blue rams, 3 neons to school with the existing lone neon, and one male dwarf gourami. This was immediately after acclimating them to their new home, so they're still hiding a bit.



my little eden
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Last edited by bluestems; 03-25-2013 at 05:54 AM. Reason: added pics
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-24-2013, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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A small update... these were taken last week, so the tank is just 3 weeks old here and the plants are beginning to grow in nicely. She hasn't done a water change yet, but is topping off as needed, and the fish are all doing well.



on the right side...






my little eden
7g nano, a work in progress

cherry shrimp vase

3g semi-emersed bowl

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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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3 months update!

A couple of small 20% water changes have been done about 1x month. These pics were taken before any maintenance was completed, so there is some algae on the glass, but the hillstream loach keeps it in check.












my little eden
7g nano, a work in progress

cherry shrimp vase

3g semi-emersed bowl

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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-09-2013, 04:41 PM
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I changed my substrate about nine months ago and ran into problems. My tank had been running for about eight years and had cycled shortly after original set up. I followed your general plan, drained the water, provided an alternate home for my fish, and removed the original pebble substrate. I saved several rocks, a small bag of pebbles, and left my filter alone with the bio media intact.

I installed new plant friendly substrate and added water. I added the rocks and bag of old pebbles and ran the tank for 24hrs. I checked params and had high ammonia. Apparently I removed too much of the bacteria and the tank went through a re-cycle. It did not take six weeks as original but the same sequence of events took place over a week and a half.

Wound up buying a spare HOB filter to run in a bucket used for temp living quarters for my fish.

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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-16-2013, 06:15 AM
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I did the same thing in my 90g last month. Everything went perfect and I never had any negative water parameters. All the details are in the link in my sig.
All those plants in her tank look happy now with the new substrate
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