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Old 12-18-2012, 06:34 AM   #1
fishkeeper01
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Gravel to Sand


Hey guys, going to change the substrate in my cichlid tank from gravel to sand and was wondering if all there is too it is taking the fish and the gravel out and then puting in the sand(already soaked and rinsed out of course.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:00 AM   #2
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Pretty much. Nothing too special. If it isn't obvious, you'll need to drain the aquarium as well.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:23 AM   #3
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thanx, cuz i read on a few oter sites and have been told that when changing substrate it takes out a lot of beneficial bacteria.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:00 PM   #4
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thanx, cuz i read on a few oter sites and have been told that when changing substrate it takes out a lot of beneficial bacteria.
While some beneficial bacteria will reside on the surface of the substrate, the majority lives in the filter media, where there is much more surface area compared to the substrate.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:01 PM   #5
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How do others clean their filter media w/o killing the bacteria? I have a HOB with 2 filter media sections (no carbon). At the end of 2 weeks, it is covered with a brown mess. I have to use the kitchen sink hose to get it clean, but I am sure that does in the bacteria with the chlorinated tap water.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:33 PM   #6
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How do others clean their filter media w/o killing the bacteria? I have a HOB with 2 filter media sections (no carbon). At the end of 2 weeks, it is covered with a brown mess. I have to use the kitchen sink hose to get it clean, but I am sure that does in the bacteria with the chlorinated tap water.
I just rinse mine out in a bucket of dechlorinated tap water (or better yet, since I'm doing a water change, I just siphon off some of the water that would be wasted anyway).

I have my media in mesh bags, so I just give them a swirl in the bucket.

If you have those HOB filter pad-type cartridges, you can do the same, or just use a (new) brush and dislodge any detritus.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:47 AM   #7
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i hav marineland hob filters that hav a wheel jus for beneficial bacteria to grow on, so it makes it ok to jus throw away the filter pad every month(once a month i shud say).
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:58 AM   #8
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i hav marineland hob filters that hav a wheel jus for beneficial bacteria to grow on, so it makes it ok to jus throw away the filter pad every month(once a month i shud say).
There is really no need to throw away the filter pads. They are still useful if you just rinse them.

No need to spend extra money if you don't have to
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:13 AM   #9
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For cleaning the filter pad I've always rinsed it in the sink, That's right! straight tap water. It may be the wrong way of doing things but I've been doing it like this for years with no negative effects
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by R.sok View Post
For cleaning the filter pad I've always rinsed it in the sink, That's right! straight tap water. It may be the wrong way of doing things but I've been doing it like this for years with no negative effects
When I discussed this with the worker at the big box pet store (concerned about killing bacteria I was), she keenly brought it to my attention that if I was throwing away the filter I'd retain zero beneficial bacteria. So in the end I'm no worse rinsing it in the sink, even if I kill all the bacteria.

I have to believe though that in a mature tank, most of the beneficial bacteria is elsewhere than the filter media. It's hard to believe that the majority of your colony will keep going back to the same place that gets disposed of on a regular basis. It seems to make much more sense that even without biowheels it will find other places which are not so regularly cleaned, like the inside of the intake and filter housing, plants, other decorations, back glass, and yes substrate.
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:34 PM   #11
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I have to believe though that in a mature tank, most of the beneficial bacteria is elsewhere than the filter media. It's hard to believe that the majority of your colony will keep going back to the same place that gets disposed of on a regular basis. It seems to make much more sense that even without biowheels it will find other places which are not so regularly cleaned, like the inside of the intake and filter housing, plants, other decorations, back glass, and yes substrate.
Well, bacteria are not smart like humans

They will just colonize anywhere and everywhere. For sure they are present on ornaments, hardscape, the substrate, etc.

However, the total surface area of these is probably less than the surface area available in filter media. Some filter media like sintered glass, etc are very porous, having extremely high surface areas that allow for greater (denser) bacterial colonization.
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:01 PM   #12
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Yeah I also believe most of the bacteria is in the filter pad, however depending on how your tank is setup I've never had negative affects doing it this way & will continue doing it the same way I've always have. Except for a bare bottom tank. I've had a mini cycle happen with a bare bottom before
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Well, bacteria are not smart like humans

They will just colonize anywhere and everywhere. For sure they are present on ornaments, hardscape, the substrate, etc.

However, the total surface area of these is probably less than the surface area available in filter media. Some filter media like sintered glass, etc are very porous, having extremely high surface areas that allow for greater (denser) bacterial colonization.
That's my point exactly though, it doesn't take intelligence, only variation and consistent removal of a healthy bacteria population from one particular source. Let's say every time bacteria expand, they grow 2 parts on the filter media to 1 part everywhere else. And we're assuming the 'everywhere else' doesn't get cleaned, like substrate, decorations, etc. Well everytime you remove the filter media that location has to start from stratch with bacteria, but everywhere else the population just keeps growing because it's not being disturbed. Otherwise, if the majority of our bacteria were really in the filter media we'd have a mini cycle everytime we put a new filter in.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:32 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Freeasabird View Post
That's my point exactly though, it doesn't take intelligence, only variation and consistent removal of a healthy bacteria population from one particular source. Let's say every time bacteria expand, they grow 2 parts on the filter media to 1 part everywhere else. And we're assuming the 'everywhere else' doesn't get cleaned, like substrate, decorations, etc. Well everytime you remove the filter media that location has to start from stratch with bacteria, but everywhere else the population just keeps growing because it's not being disturbed. Otherwise, if the majority of our bacteria were really in the filter media we'd have a mini cycle everytime we put a new filter in.
Bacteria growth will depend on availability of nutrients and other things required for sustaining their life.

If it is abundant, then bacterial growth will be exponentially faster. There are also other factors such as quorum sensing that will play a role in the rate of bacterial growth.

The other areas that bacteria can colonize will generally have slower/less dense growth.

For filters such as HOB that have smaller surface areas, replacing the media completely may not result in a mini cycle. Do the same for a canister filter, and you may see different results.
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Old 12-25-2012, 03:32 AM   #15
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What's your tank size and fish load? I wouldn't do the filter anytime near the substrate (I'd wait at least 6 weeks), not that you were considering it. As others mentioned, I think you'd be fine as long as your stocking level isn't crazy
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