Changing substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Question Changing substrate

Hi folks!

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?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 12:47 PM
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m4s4mur4's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: virginia beach, va
Posts: 40
do half the tank one day, then the other half some time later.

29g planted tank
20g red devil tank
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 03:28 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: England
Posts: 532
before hand add a load more filter foam in a plastic container etc and leave for say a week this will cause more bacteria to colonise giving you more to return to the tank once the new substrate is in

40 gallon dirt tank
5 Gallon planted bonsai dirt tank
1 Bearded Dragon ''Spyro''
Normal Leopard Gecko ''Shadow''
Super hypo tangerine baldy carrot tail leopard gecko ''Moon''
2 whites tree frogs ''Ying and Yang''
1 Royal Python ''Neptune''
1 Veiled Chameleon '' Yoshi''
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 04-19-2012, 03:49 PM
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Location: Binbrook, Ontario, Canada
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Try and gather as much mulm as possible from your filter and gravel when draining the tank. Then when you put the MTS in pour the mulm over the top and mix it in with some of your capping material. Then make sure your filter is filled with the media from the original set up - you can even add a bit more mulm to the filter to ensure an ample amount of beneficial bacteria.

Saving the original water will not add enough BB you need to use the mulm where it is abundant.
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