Switching to Live Plants! Seeking Advice!
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:10 PM   #1
Algae Grower
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Switching to Live Plants! Seeking Advice!

I've been keeping fish for about 5 or 6 years and have NEVER ventured into live plants.

I'm wanting to convert my 55gal tank to live plants. I'm starting to understand the importance of substrate, lighting, water conditions and so on when dealing with live plants.

My big question comes down to if I break the tank down and set it back up as a live planted tank, how quickly can i put my fish back in it? AND any tips on how to speed up the tank cycle and stay healthy for the fish and plants?

The tank is currently fully stocked. It has a Fluval 305 canister filter and a Fluval Aquaclear 70 (over the top stage filter). Both filters have BioMax for biological filtration and has been since I put the filters on there. (canister about 2 years, over the top about 6 months) The filters also have activated carbon and ammonia remover. I was planning on reusing about half of the water when i reset the tank.

I don't currently have any other tanks to move the fish to so wanting to add them back as soon as possible. (can buy another tank and cycle it then move them if ABSOLUTELY necessary but would prefer not to)

Thank you in advance for any help! Its greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:31 PM   #2
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When you tear down your tank keep as much water as possible and also keep Your filter !media wet and the cycle should be seamless as long as you keep the mature water and filter media. Also get a bucket and put fish in with the filter hanging on the side .keep 3/4 of the water in your tank.

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Old 01-23-2014, 12:28 AM   #3
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When I converted my 75 to planted, I put the fish into several buckets (I didn't trust my fish to all get along in small spaces), took out a ton of water (3/4 sounds good) kept the filters wet and all (in fact, I think my filters never got turned off since the intakes were low in the tank at the time)

I also kept some of my old gravel for the sake of it possibly having beneficial bacteria on it (also aesthetics). You could always put some old substrate into a mesh bag like for carbon or something, so that the bacteria is still there, but it should be in your filters anyways.

Just be sure to rinse the substrate you are using well. What substrate are you going with btw?

Also, make sure you aren't stupid like I was, and have enough of the substrate you want while doing the switch...I was so pissed with that lol

I added the fish back maybe an hour or so after I had filled the tank back up.
My 75 gallon High Tech Tank:http://tinyurl.com/n7zp47m
My 10 gallon High Tech Tank:http://tinyurl.com/qyf7s5o
My 5.5 gallon nano College Dorm Tank:http://tinyurl.com/p54uupj
Mom's Spec V:http://tinyurl.com/qjt3rw2
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:44 AM   #4
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I'm still up in the air on substrate at the moment. Been reading through forums for good advice. Only one I've seen locally so far is FloraMax or Flourite unless I order online (which if its better I have no problem with).

I'm currently using sand in my tank right now, was considering using it on top of the Flourite (or whatever i end up going with) just due to the aesthetic appeal. Truly not sure as to what is "best" though i realize that always a matter of opinion.

Suggestions on what substrate to use? Certain brand better as far as chemical composition for growth or sustainability?
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