How possible is it to change the sand cap without tearing down? - The Planted Tank Forum
 2Likes
  • 1 Post By goodbytes
  • 1 Post By jamielands
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NJ
Posts: 35
How possible is it to change the sand cap without tearing down?

I currently have a 60g tank, dirted and capped with light colored sand, running for about a year. I'd like to change the cap to a black sand, just for aesthetic reasons. Is it possible to do it gradually without disrupting the fish and plants? I was thinking about maybe doing a quarter of the tank at a time over a couple weeks? Start at one end and siphon off the top layer of sand in a small area with the python, down to the soil, then carefully spoon in the new cap on top? Wait a few days to a week, continue down the tank until it's done?

I don't need to do it, but we moved and I'd just like a different look to the tank to work with the new room it's in. I don't want to have to remove the fish and stress them anymore...between the move itself, then moving the tank twice so we could refinish the floors, I don't want to put them through anymore major stress.

Has anyone done something similar? I don't mind the tank looking crazy for a few weeks if the end result is the look I want without disturbing the fish and plants.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
jamielands is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NJ
Posts: 35
Alright, well, i tried it and so far it's going fine. I used a piece of hose and siphoned out small areas of sand down to the soil, then spooned in new sand on top. Not too much dirt kicked up, fish don't seem too bothered. They're sort of just buzzing around like they do when anything gets changed. Will continue working in small sections until it's all changed over.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
jamielands is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 01:55 AM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Western Montana
Posts: 337
yup! it's possible! Just call me captain obvious.I'm thinking about trying something similar to convert my 55 to sand from a UGF.

55 gal,35 hex 45 planted,5 gal betta tank,Spec V,NUVO Fusion 10.
MtAnimals is offline  
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 03:38 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
goodbytes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Gainesville, Florida
Posts: 830
Not sure what you mean by spooning the sand, but have you seen this yet?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-XB0bwtZh8
jamielands likes this.
goodbytes is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NJ
Posts: 35
Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodbytes View Post
Not sure what you mean by spooning the sand, but have you seen this yet?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-XB0bwtZh8


I haven't seen that, that looks pretty good. I've been scooping a small amount in a cup and lightly pouring it in where I need. I went back in and siphoned out some more, I did half of the tank. However, I did some water tests and i have an elevated ammonia reading? Could this be from stirring up the soil? (Although I thought that was mostly depleted of nutrients by now?). I changed more of the sand, and effectively did a 30% wc. Several hours later I tested and got 1ppm ammonia (!!!), 0 nitrite, 5-10ppm nitrate. I tested tap water to be sure, 0 ammonia, or 0-.25, very low. Fish all look fine, I dosed the tank with prime and for the pH I think this should be a safe ammonia reading. I was just surprised, I usually don't have ammonia. I'm going to test tomorrow and be prepared for a potential nitrite spike.

I'm about half and half so far and I'm really happy with how the black sand looks. I moved a sword that was getting smothered by the big one, hopefully it does better now.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
jamielands is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 01:36 PM
Planted Member
 
Ishar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Waterloo, ON
Posts: 169
I would think you should expect an ammonia spike, considering a ton of nitrifying bacteria would live on your sand substrate, which you just took away. Otherwise thanks for posting your pics and method- I always thought changing out substrate, especially dirt and sand, would be near impossible while keeping the tank live.
Ishar is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NJ
Posts: 35
I was having a really hard time with it trying to scoop the sand and disturbing the plant roots until I found this video. It's so easy i feel dumb for not thinking of it. So I'm doing this, I'm just not pouring the water back in..too much dirt sucked out with the sand, keeping the tank cleaner by just replacing the water

https://youtu.be/nFl8BRG06Ec


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

So as of this morning the ammonia and nitrite were already back to 0, so I decided to bite the bullet and continue. I did another quarter of the tank, I have one quarter left. The hardest part is lugging the buckets around. I'm going to check water conditions again tonight and tomorrow morning, if all is good tomorrow I'll finish up. I was going to wait, but I'm pretty confident in my bio filter now. I also added more floating stem plants and a fresh bag of purigen, so hopefully that helps too. So far everyone's doing just fine. I'll have to do another big vacuum and water change after that to clean up the surface of the sand now that dirts been flying, but I think this is going to work!




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Update: this morning nitrite was slightly elevated, not quite 0.25ppm, so I did a small water change. A few hours later I thought the angels looked "off". Barely even noticeable, I think if I wasn't on alert I wouldn't have even noticed anything, so I retested and nitrite was 1ppm. Dosed the tank with prime, then did a 30% wc, and turned on the bubbles on the power head. Probably won't feed tonight. Rechecked a few hours later, nitrites gone. Glad I was home today to check it! Will wait til next week to finish replacing the sand.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Last edited by Darkblade48; 07-01-2016 at 02:52 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
jamielands is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-01-2016, 07:29 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Nordic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Cape Town
Posts: 3,206
I would bucket the fish, drain as much of the water as you can, and then suck off the sand you don't want with a wet and dry vacuum cleaner.

With enough planning, the fish could be back in the tank in an hour.

Cape Town, South Africa.

Hi. I'm back.
Nordic is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NJ
Posts: 35
Oooh id be afraid of ripping plants out of the sub with the shop vac. Plus, if I can avoid trying to catch all the tiny little otos and keep the fish in, I'll take it...that would take me hours in itself hahahaha

I did use a wet dry vac to remove all the duckweed off the surface a few weeks ago, worked really well. I never thought to use the shop vac in the aquarium before!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
jamielands is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: NJ
Posts: 35
How possible is it to change the sand cap without tearing down?

Done! Before and after! Will continue to monitor water conditions and pwc accordingly. I'm really happy with the outcome, and it wasn't too difficult. The hardest part was reaching down into the tank (have to stick my arm in all the way to my armpit while standing on a stool to reach the sub), and lugging the heavy buckets back and forth.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Ishar likes this.
jamielands 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