Okay to start with, I am planning to change the substrate in my tank.
Since I started this hobby, I used crap plain gravel. I did think about doing a long time ago but I did not have enough time since I'm in the university.
I never had any success of keeping my plants alive so I thought it would be a good idea to change to a better substrate. I will be switching from plain gravel to MTS (Mineralized Top Soil - another DIY). Along with this, I will be doing Diana Walstad' El Natural method. I really got excited and wanted to do this as soon as possible.
My plan is this:
1. Transfer all the fish to a bucket and run the filter there.
2. Transfer the plants/rocks/decors to another bucket.
2. Drain half of the water to yet another bucket.
3. Drain the rest and scoop out the gravel.
4. Put in the new substrate and then put everything back to place.
The inhabitants are 8 neon tetras and a small angelfish. I do not want to lose any of them especially the angelfish. My biggest concern is a mini-cycle
since an amount of nitrifying bacteria live in the substrate. I have a HOB with the usual filter floss and a bag of ceramic rings.
What can I do to minimize the chances of starting a mini-cycle?