Will my fish be ok?
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:45 PM   #1
bigQfan
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Will my fish be ok?


Hello
I am ready to start a heavily planted tank in my 20 long. I have a few tetras and a dwarf pleco in this tank for about 4 months now. I want to pull out all my substrate and replant. I am curious, will this start my cycle all over or would it be safe to put my fish right back into the tank when I am finished?
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:54 PM   #2
Neevie
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I'm not positive, but I think as long as you don't change the filter media you should be ok. Unless you plan on using a substrate that is known to leach ammonia when it is new. Personally I'd just wait for any cloudiness from the new substrate to go away before adding the fish.
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:55 PM   #3
bigQfan
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Ok. Filter will be same. Driftwood goes back in. Trying a dirted tank with a cap of Eco complete that is about a year old
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:57 AM   #4
babydragons
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Take some of the old substrate and stick it in some pantyhose and leave that in the tank for a few weeks. I helps to establish the bacteria in the new substrate
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:30 AM   #5
NeonFlux
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Changing your substrate may cause a mini-cycle.. My advice for you is to monitor your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels closely after changing out your substrate making sure there is no levels of ammonia or nitrite at all but a little nitrate. Good luck.
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:57 PM   #6
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I'd say just keep a close eye on your water parameters for awhile, but you should be fine after you seed it.

I recently just started a new 10 gallon planted tank with Organic Miracle Grow Potting Soil and Eco Complete and immediately got 0.5+ ppm of ammonia off the bat after I filled up the tank. I'm not sure which one was the ammonia culprit though ...

EDIT: Potting MIX, not Soil.

Last edited by rachleedy; 05-22-2013 at 01:59 PM.. Reason: Heh, I didn't read the bag properly
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:24 PM   #7
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That's exactly my plan...miracle gro with my old Eco complete cap. I will def keep an eye on things. Thanks for all the advice
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:30 PM   #8
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Okay. So out of curiousity, I've been doing some poking around, as well as my own experiment, and have found that some potting mixes and dirt can leech ammonia. NeonFlux is totally right that this can cause a mini-cycle if it's not watched carefully.

I just got finished with my experiment to see which of my substrates was the source of the ammonia. I put one part Organic Miracle Gro Potting Mix and one part water into a glass cup, and then one part Eco Complete Black substrate and one part water into another glass cup. I then filtered the water repeatedly (and patiently) until the water ran clear. I then tested using my ATI test kit. Surprise! The ammonia was coming from the potting mix. The test was off that charts at 8.0+ ppm.

So what did I do wrong?
I never mineralized my soil, or even soaked and drained it like some would suggest before I dirted and capped my tank. I slapped it in my tank haphazardly. This worked for my tank only because I'm okay with the ammonia presence since I'm doing a fishless cycle. However, since you have fish, I'd be weary of using soil that hasn't been rinsed, drained, and processed.

TL : DR (too long, didn't read): If you're using processed/mineralized soil/dirt then you'll be okay. If you're using newly bought soil/dirt out of a bag, then be very wary and diligent with water changes in case of mini-cycle even after seeding your tank.

Last edited by rachleedy; 05-22-2013 at 05:32 PM.. Reason: Grammar
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:32 PM   #9
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Be careful when you pull it up so you don't disturb the ground too much and bring out some bad bacteria or algae.
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:35 PM   #10
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No problem, BigQfan. Best of luck!
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