converting an existing tank to soil substrate
I would like to help a friend's daughter switch out an existing 20g planted tank with gravel substrate to a soil substrate, but have some concerns about whether it's possible to do without harming the existing fish inhabitants (currently 3 gold tetras, 2 rummynoses, 1 neon).
It's been a while since I've set up a Walstad style tank, so I pulled out my copy of The Ecology of a Planted Aquarium and have been doing some revisiting of chapters, especially on the soil she uses and when she adds in fish. According to Ms. Walstad, she would add fish the very next day after setting up the soil substrate, using regular potting soil without added fertilizers.
She also discusses adding soil to an existing tank without draining the water by adding chunks of soil in wax paper, taped with scotch tape and then inserting these packages of soil under the gravel. Once under the gravel, she suggests punching holes into the packages to speed up the process.
So, I'm wondering if we can do this by following these steps, using regular potting soil w/out ferts:
1. drain as much of the tank water and reserve, net fish and place into holding bucket with heater and airstone
2. place soil bricks under gravel, add a bit new gravel (pre-rinsed) to appropriate 2" depth.
3. fill tank with new water and drain
4. fill tank with saved old tank water
5. run tank for 1-2 hours? to cycle through filter, and bring up to appropriate temp, add Stability water conditioner
6. double check water parameters
7. replace fish
Has anyone done this?
Last edited by bluestems; 03-15-2013 at 06:48 AM.