Changing substrate uggggg - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Changing substrate uggggg

So I rushed into buying plain ole gravel and now I want Eco Complete. If I replace the gravel on one half of the tank and then a couple weeks later, replace the other half, do you think that would avoid having my bacteria drop too low? It's a 12 gallon tank with a biowheel filter.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 02:46 AM
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Most of your bacteria will reside in your filter so that won't be an issue. The problem is releasing a cloud of bad bacteria when you upset the substrate during swapping. Perhaps have a vac ready to suck up the inevitable cloud of crap that gets released?

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 03:36 AM
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Eco complete comes with beneficial bacteria in it. It's packed with water. The filter material will have enough bacteria in it already if you cycled the tank. If you have fish just take them out and put them in a bucket while you make the whole swap.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 04:01 AM
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I have done a complete substrate swap on my 75g before without and issues. I only tested the water a couple times afterwards, but seen no spikes and this was before I kept plants. I think with plants you should be fine as long as you keep the existing plants, rocks, decor, etc.....

On a side not I found that taking an old garden hose, cutting off the ends and just siphoning out the old substrate works the best and is the easiest method. I ran the hose out the window into a rubbermaid tub where the substrate would fall and settle into the tub and the water would just overflow the top onto the ground. I did this all with my fish in there and was no problems at all. Sure beats scooping it all out with something for sure.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 04:57 AM
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I usually take out all of the fish/plants and bring the tank down to 0 water, then scoop the substrate out and put the new stuff in, refill and restart the filter. works great, no cloudy water, and no dead fish.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I was really dreading making the change but apparently it should be easier than I thought.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ucantimagine View Post
Thanks for the input. I was really dreading making the change but apparently it should be easier than I thought.
I just did this with my 65G. Dont get us wrong, it is a PITA, but not as bad as one might expect. Especially on a 12 Gallon.

- Siphon water into 5 Gallon bucket for fish to go into.

- Move all gravel to one side of tank, that will allow the water in the gravel to displace to other side so that you can continue siphoning all the water out of the tank.

- Scoop gravel out with something. (just make sure it is not something with chemicals)

- Also I would recommend hosing the thing out just to get loose stuff out but not necessary.

- Add new gravel.

- Also, keep water in the filter throughout process if able.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 04:28 PM
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I actually enjoy changing substrates. It's fun and a great way to get into your tank. As others have mentioned, don't worry too much about the bacteria in the soil (granted, it is important but you can just seed the new soil). If you're paranoid about filter bacteria you can dump the media into a bucket and run an airstone on it while you're doing the swap. Good luck!


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 04:34 PM
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If you're changing the substrate on a 12gal tank, might as well go all out and re-do the tank.

Pick up a 5gal bucket as Realistik84 said, or pick up a used 10gal tank. Put tank water, fish, and filter there. Now you can take your time with re-doing the 12 gal tank.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the tank right now. I want to raise the driftwood up so that it's not sitting on the floor, and also get it covered with more moss. I'm not really crazy about Java though. Whatever I use to raise the driftwood will be concealed by the plants. Maybe a plastic cave. The statue, I like, but it's a lot bigger than it needs to be. It was a gift though so I'm trying not to ditch it. I want that to also be mostly buried amongst the plants so it's only party visible. This is the Marineland Eclipse 12. The light is a single 6W bulb. I just ordered the Coralife Minilight which has 2 6w T5 bulbs - both will be 6,500k. I'll also add DIY CO2. As you can see, scaping isn't my strong suit. lol
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