Wanting to switch from Gravel to Sand - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-01-2020, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Question Wanting to switch from Gravel to Sand

Hello, I am new to nano aquariums and currently have a 5 gallon tank with 1 betta, Plecostomus and a Corydora. I currently I have the basic rainbow gravel and I want to remove all of that and put in dirt or sand so that I can place some real plants in the tank along with some dragon stone. My question is, how can I switch the gravel with a sand/dirt without taking the fish out of the tank or if I have to take them out, where can I put them?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 06:02 PM
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Your gonna have to empty that tank first. Not sure if you gravel vac or not, but there is going to be detritus and all kinds of nasty under that gravel that will raise your ammonia levels which will be toxic to your fish. You can place your fish in a 5 gallon bucket or something similar with a circulation pump or even just a bubbler to keep the water moving. If your going to try a dirted tank I would highly recommend you search the forum for threads on how to properly prepare it. It’s a cheap and worthwhile option, but it requires effort on your part before you dump it in. If your going to keep simple plants then you can get away with just blasting or pool sand and add root tabs and dose the water column. Hope this helps
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 09:03 PM
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I’d buy a storage box like this, cut out a place in lid and on side if needed to mount current filter, heater etc. then just move most water, ornaments and light/filter/heater over to new temp tank, if your filter is well established it will keep it a viable aquarium for as long as you need.

Then you can take your time setting up new tank however you want. Only cost about $6 and little time to set it up.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Sterilit...-206721467-_-N
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-03-2020, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mr.Shenanagins View Post
Your gonna have to empty that tank first. Not sure if you gravel vac or not, but there is going to be detritus and all kinds of nasty under that gravel that will raise your ammonia levels which will be toxic to your fish. You can place your fish in a 5 gallon bucket or something similar with a circulation pump or even just a bubbler to keep the water moving. If your going to try a dirted tank I would highly recommend you search the forum for threads on how to properly prepare it. It’s a cheap and worthwhile option, but it requires effort on your part before you dump it in. If your going to keep simple plants then you can get away with just blasting or pool sand and add root tabs and dose the water column. Hope this helps
I could just get another tank or wait until these die and just do it then I suppose. Thank you for your help
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 02:17 AM
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I agree with the post about temporary relocating your fish. Be sure to clean new substrate and expect to change the filter floss after a few days. 🙂
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-11-2020, 12:53 PM
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You'll need to relocate the fish; I don't think you can replace substrate while keeping fish in the tank.

Also, 5 gallons is too small for a betta, pleco and corydora. Plecos grow huge, corydoras like to hang out in crowds. I'd say a 5 gallon tank is good for just the betta, otherwise none of those fish will last.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Cephalosporin View Post
You'll need to relocate the fish; I don't think you can replace substrate while keeping fish in the tank.

Also, 5 gallons is too small for a betta, pleco and corydora. Plecos grow huge, corydoras like to hang out in crowds. I'd say a 5 gallon tank is good for just the betta, otherwise none of those fish will last.
I have to agree, For the betta thats a fine tank, but plecos need around 20 gallons and corys like to be in groups of i would say at least 4 but would recommend 6. i would recommend relocating the pleco and cory and then you can put the betta in a holding tank. Then for the substrate i would suggest using organic potting soil then cap it with sand. This is super cheap and is very effective. The only downfall is that you might have to do some water changes for a while because the soil can leach tanins but will eventual stop. sorry about the pleco and cory but i hope this helps.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 03:15 AM
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I agree way too over stocked and yes you can switch substrate without moving fish. I just did it and everything was fine.I would if you can get a bigger tank and I think you can get a 10 gallon at petco for 10 dollars. When I switched substrate I put up a tank divider and did one side at a time with the fish being on opposite sides while I worked on the other side. Easy....I hope it all works out)
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