Keeping the good bacteria while changing the substrate.
I apologize if I put this in the wrong spot or if this question has been posted and I just missed it. I am still a newbie to shrimp keeping. We've had them for a few months now and have a had a few deaths but nothing drastic. At the time when I was setting the tank up the only subtrate I could find that was recommended by a local petstore chain was Nat Geo sand substrate. I thought the black would look pretty with the shrimp in their 20 gal. long and would compliment my male Dumbo Halfmoon blue betta Merlin. I was going to go with the some kind of soil since all of my aquariums are planted.I was told that was not a great idea because it woud be expensive. The soil breaks down quickly and you have to replace it oftn. Is that true? I have the 20g long shrimp tank with 2 mystery snails, 10 gal. betta tank with 1 male betta and 1 mystery snail and a 20g tall betta soroity tank with 5 female bettas and 2 mystery snails and a few ghost shrimp.
I wanted to find some kind of lighter color substrate that would work with my shrimp and plants but I have no clue what to use or the best way to go about changing it. I have 1 cherry shrimp that is berried and 1 orange rili that is close to releasing her eggs. There are a few baby rili shrmp in there. One is solid orange and another is clear with black/blue speckles. I dont know where they came from. Is it best to just vacuum the first couple of inches out and put down the new substrate over some of the old? I dont want to lose the good bacteria by replacing the sbstrate totally. I just hate the Nat Geo with a passion. I'm not sure but I think it messes with the PH. I have a natural sand in my females tank but that 1 bag of 15lbs cost $50 and I cant spend $100 on 2 bags. The PH is great with that substrate.
I am nervous about chaging it. Water changes cause a headache because I am so scared of sucking up a baby. Any tips, tricks or advice would be great. I aplogize that this is so long.