Replacing the substraight without moving fish? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2004, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Replacing the substraight without moving fish?

I currently have a 100g (UK) tank unto 4inch of gravel (towards the back of the tank). The bottom gravel is very small like sand. The top 1-1 1/2 inch of medium gravel.

My substraight was original mixed with a very small bag of clay. I feel this as now been used up by the plants - most have died, I have replanted and there is some very small grow - currently 2.2watt per gallon (UK)

I am sure the light is OK and that phosphate is in control currently under 0.25 no major alga problems.

.

I am thinking of replacing the whole substraight, the problem is I do not have a second tank large enough to house my fish while I make the change. Firstly do you think I can replace the substraight without moving the fish? Secondly I was thinking of going for Red fluorite how much I am likely to need? I have two 12inch pelco, which can uproot most plants if they are not securely supported.


Help and advise most needed

Cheer

Jason
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2004, 09:13 PM
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I know at least a couple of people here have done this. Have you tried searching through the old posts?

If you can't find it, sit tight, I'm sure someone with experience will be along soon...


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2004, 09:35 PM
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I've done it many times (maybe too many) .... drain the tank down 50%, use a net to scoop out the old (should work well for you since I've done it w/ sand), pour new substrate in slowly (you don't want to pour 20pounds of flourite on an unexpecting fish), fill tank back up. I've done that w/ a 120g, 45g, & 29g tanks with zero fish loss. You just have to make sure your get all of your fish out before you start scooping the gravel ..... I almost dumped my horseface loach by accident (he was hiding IN the gravel).

I would rinse that flourite really well though because it clouds up the water quite a bit. You may need to put your plants in a bucket for a day or two until teh flourite clears up enough for you to see to replant.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2004, 09:42 PM
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You say that your plants are dying because the substrate has been used up, maybe this is not the problem, it could be something else.

Do you use ferts and root tabs?

What type of plants are you trying to grow with 2.2 WPG?

Do you inject C02?

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 12:00 AM
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Also, you don't need a second tank to hold your fish. A large (clean) plastic bucket or storage bin will do fine. Just empty water from your tank into the holding bucket/bin and move your fish. Just run your filter in the holding bin. If you plan on taking a bit of time (more than a couple of hours) in redoing your substrate maybe run an airstone and heater, too.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 01:11 AM
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I doubt the nutrients in the substrate are exhausted. Are you adding any fertilizers to the tank? What type of plants are we talking about here? The "clay" that you added would normally just contribute iron to the plants and should contain a life time supply of said iron.

Tell us more about the tank and answer the questions and I think we can figure out what is wrong.

Do you fertilize?
With what?
How often?
Do you test for nitrates?
What kind of plants?
What are the symptoms before they die?
How often and how large are your water changes?
Do you have CO2?

Those questions should get us started.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Also, you don't need a second tank to hold your fish. A large (clean) plastic bucket or storage bin will do fine.
Agreed.
You probably could do it with the fish in there, but it might be more stressful on them. Not to mention that you'll have to inspect every bit of substrate as you pull it out for fish.
You might want to cover the bucket at least partially if you use one though, fish sometimes jump when spooked. Speaking from first-hand experience.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all

Bonsai - I hadn’t thought about removing 50% of the water - good idea. I will check if my plecos, clowns and angles are going to be OK in the resulting water once I finish replacing the best part of the substraight.


Rex Grigg, trenac I would really appreciate your support. You guys may be correct. I have only being keeping fish for a little over 18months. To answer some of your question:


Do you fertilize? Yes – but not for the first 6 months - Stopped once the algae started to spread.

With what? Flourish – iron and Kent Pro-Plant.

How often? Once a week (I have to admit to being a bit erratic with both – once I noted the plants dying

Do you test for nitrates? At least once a month – currently 5mgl

What kind of plants? No red plants – they all die.
Cabomba,
Vallisneria – this tends to grow well.
Java fern – after 4 weeks completely covered in dark green algae
Echinodorus – never does well –
Stargrass – I really like this plant grow very well to begin with – then stop growing
Crinum – onion plant – It can get covered in dark green algae.
Hygrophila - water wisteria – never grows in my tank!
Egeria densa – pond weed – currently growing but again the leave at the bottom tend to die off
Bacopa caroliniana – Giant Bacopa – never grows well

What are the symptoms before they die?

There tends to be a large amount of algae on the leaves. Some of the larger plants tend to go yellow then brown – then they disintegrate. Some plants get overrun with think dark green algae – almost impossible to remove from the leaves.

I have had hair algae, slime algae, black algae (Phosp in control now algae undercontrol – the plants tend to lose leaves from the bottom.


How often and how large are your water changes? 26 gallons once a week

Do you have CO2? No


Phosphates 0.25mg/l (TAP water can contain up-to 15mg/l – have been using RowaPhos for the last 3months to reduce Phosphates)

Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 5mgl
Iron Fe 0.00
PH 7.6
Temp 28
KH 90
GH 140
O2 5mg/l


Underwater heating and UV 25watt. XP3 and 2028 plus a single air pump.

Light set-up
1 X T5 54watt white Actinc 10k or 14k not sure
2 X T8 36watt Aqua flora
2 X T8 36watt Aqua power glow

Substraight – box of laterite not sure of weight but cost £22 added on top of very first layer of fine gravel just above the heating cable covered with up to 2inch fine gravel finished off with medium gravel


sorry for going on - your help is most needed - will do what ever it takes!

thanks again everyone
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 07:16 PM
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Ok, to start with your lighting levels are very low. Barely 1 watt per gallon. Even for your 120 gallon (US) tank you should be in the range of at least 1.75 watts per gallon.

Your biggest problem as I see it right now is low light levels. Take a minute and read my Guide and it will help you out. But IMHO you really need more light.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the fast response Rex Grigg.

I must agree I do think my lighting levels where in deed low, however I cannot understand why I got really good growth in the first 4-6months - I was cutting back some of my plants - really

I then replaced all the bulbs and added a single t5 after approx 6 months (due to the plants starting to die)

Still not 100% convinced however I will look again at replacing the t8 with some t5 with good quality reflectors. But I still think there something wrong with the substraght



ps

I had a look the site - I like your style and in particular I noted your rifle. If am not mistaken it is a break barrel? I have a Theoden RAPID ELAN.
http://www.ob.1.btinternet.co.uk/The...ages/index.htm
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 07:37 PM
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The only thing that could be wrong with the substrate is it could be anaerobic. Are you getting gas bubbles from the substrate? Does it smell bad if you vacuum it?

I'm 99.99% sure it's not your substrate unless it's compacted or anaerobic.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-11-2004, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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I do not get any bad smells from the water, however I have noted a couple of bubbles coming from the gravel.

I do tend to clean deep at the front of the tank and find it harder to clean the back – due to some plants and bogwood ect…

How far down do I need to go to clear to be sure – also I thought the heating cable helps to stop water going anaerobic in the substraight?

Cheers

Ob1
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-12-2004, 02:47 AM
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Here is a few ways to tell if you have problems in your bottom material...

1) Malayan snails cease to burrow during the day.

2) Plant roots turn black and rot.

3) Plants are poorly rooted.

You can loosen the bottom material and suction out has much debris as possible. I also see that you have 4" of gravel, all you need is 2"-3". You may want to decrease the amount of substrate in your tank.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-12-2004, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks All

plant roots do not turn black and the roots seem strong not weak


I have been looking at some additonal lighting the best unit I have come across seems to be sold only in the USA

6XT5 4 feet Tek Light T5 Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting 6
bulb 54W (4ft.)

total 324watt what would the WPG be? I seem to be miscalculating I have 100gallons UK

Anyone know a UK supplier of something like Tek lighting?


cheers
Jason

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-12-2004, 09:30 PM
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i think it's 125 gal and that would be 2.6 wpg about
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