swapping out substrate in a 75 gallon. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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swapping out substrate in a 75 gallon.

I have a 75 gallon which currently has regular "river" gravel in it. I've decided that I want to swap out the gravel for a more plant friendly substrate. I'm deciding on either oil dri or kitty litter (going cheap here ). I was thinking of doing a bottom layer of whatever I choose, and them topping it off with the stuff I currently have. Since this is already an established tank, with 2 angels (small quarter sized), 15 rummies, and 15 cories, I am wondering if I can do this while keeping the fish in the tanks. Could I swap out in 1/3 sections? The only other large tank that I have currently is a 20H, but can I house that many fish in it temporarily? If I decide to put all my fish into the 20H, how long do you think it will take for me to get the 75 gallon water clear enough for me to put back the fish? If I can swap it out in parts, will I harm the fish?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 05:43 PM
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From my experience, you will not be able to swap it out with the fish in there. Even a short time period will allow for the gathering of tons and tons of tiny debris in the gravel. This stuff is going to immediately cloud your water as soon as you start digging. Fish will not like it, will breathe it in and get irritated, might get stressed and die. Depends on how long the current stuff has been in there though.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 07:23 PM
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I agree with paneubert, you'll need to remove your livestock to do this.

I've done this a time or two with my own tanks, and here is what I do...

a) Buy yourself one of the larger plastic tote containers (see pic below). In my mind, this is one of the best investments I've made as a hobbyist. Mine is, I think, 14gal. You'll see in the pic below, I've got all my plants and driftwood in it at the time of the pictures.

b) Next, fill it with water siphoned from the tank you are getting ready to tear apart

c) Place heater and all filters on/in this plastic tote. You'll need to keep a flow of water going over your filter media to sustain the bacteria in it.

d) Next move your livestock into the temporary tank. They'll be fine in there while you make the changes to your tank. Mine were in there for several hours while I redid my tank and it was Discus, Rams and Cardinals.





Here is what I started with...


Here is what I ended up with...
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 07:54 PM
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+1 for what JB said. Nice informative post there!


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2010, 08:17 PM
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Very nice tank J.B.

Back on topic. From experience, your best bet is to drain the tank and then fill in the Oil-Dri (if that's what you're using.)

If you fill it in while the tank is holding water you won't see anything for a day or two, it may even mess with your filter.

Catching tiny shoaling fishes in a planted tank is a PITA. GL on that.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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I've been having a hard time finding Oil dri in my local walmarts (NYC doesn't have local ones, and I've looked at two in Long Island already) I might have to go with Kitty Litter, but i've been reading things about some of the non-clumping, unsented stuff being mushy when put into water. Either way how much rinsing do you need with oil dri or kitty litter??
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 03:20 AM
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You can swap in sections. I have done it.

the first step is to gravel vac half the tank really well (every day for 3 days)

Then push all the gravel from half the tank into a pile near one wall and use some kind of scoops to get all the gravel out

Cloudy water really isnt that bad for fish. Think how dirty blackwater rivers are

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 04:30 PM
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I am going to be swapping out my 75 next weekend if all goes well also..I am going to be going with MTS and I will be taking everything out of the tank,including gravel..

I have done 1/2 tank gravel replacements and it is not too difficult,but it is very messy clarity-wise..the way I am going to remove my gravel,is to use my python.I wont use the hydro tube,but only use the line,this will suck up the gravel as it removes water also..If one has big gravel this has to be done slowly so as to not clog up the line..

I will have him holding a screen over a bucket with a hole in it to seperate the water from the gravel,which he will dump at intervals so the screen does not get too weighed down into a bucket which has no water in it..The water will still get a bit messy but I wont have too much of a concern with gravle scratching the glass trying to remove it with a cup of some sort..

Good luck,
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Finally found the oil-dri locally. I got it at a ACE hardware store, $10 for 50LBs. now the catch is to clean it. Is 50LBS enough, considering I have another 50 - 60 pounds of my existing gravel on top of it? Or do you think it's too much?
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