Adding soil to established tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Adding soil to established tank

I have a 5.5 gallon low-tech tank with just a betta, an anubias, moss and java fern. I've always just had white gravel in there but lately I haven't liked the way it looks (not that clean), and have been preferring a more natural soil aesthetic. I also want substrate that'll be better for the plants, as I'd like to add a few more and try my hand at carpet plants (tricky enough as is without CO2).

I'm new to planted tanks but after some research I'm leaning towards Tropica aquarium soil. It's less ammonia rich than ADA and I can easily get it on Amazon. My concern is how to make the switch from the gravel to the soil without hurting my betta. I don't mind the work of taking apart the tank as I'm moving soon and will have to drain it anyways, and it's a good opportunity to redecorate/add the new plants, but I'm worried about water parameter changes.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 10:44 AM
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What is your filter and how much filter media are you using? If switching substrate the big issue will be how your tank deals with the ammonia spikes. If you have hot rodded your filter (stuffed it full of media, more than it came with) and your filter is adequate then this is no challenge. If you are using one of those submersible filters that just has a tiny sponge for media I would say different measures will need to be taken.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meomyu View Post
I have a 5.5 gallon low-tech tank with just a betta, an anubias, moss and java fern. I've always just had white gravel in there but lately I haven't liked the way it looks (not that clean), and have been preferring a more natural soil aesthetic. I also want substrate that'll be better for the plants, as I'd like to add a few more and try my hand at carpet plants (tricky enough as is without CO2).

I'm new to planted tanks but after some research I'm leaning towards Tropica aquarium soil. It's less ammonia rich than ADA and I can easily get it on Amazon. My concern is how to make the switch from the gravel to the soil without hurting my betta. I don't mind the work of taking apart the tank as I'm moving soon and will have to drain it anyways, and it's a good opportunity to redecorate/add the new plants, but I'm worried about water parameter changes.
Sounds like you're in a pretty good spot. The plants you have don't need a substrate, they are all water column feeders. You also have a betta, you don't have the same issues you might have with other fish.

1. Buy new substrate.
2. Get a larger than normal cereal bowl and move betta into it.
3. Replace substrate in existing tank.
4. Run filter for a day.
5. Add betta back into tank.
6. Wash bowl, eat cereal while watching your Betta.
7. (ongoing) Test the water for ammonia, and do water changes as necessary.
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