Has anyone ever try to add soil under gravel in an established tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Has anyone ever try to add soil under gravel in an established tank?

I know this question sounds absurd but now that I see the benefits of soil in my 10G, I wish I'd known about it when I initially setup my 32G so I'm trying to figure out a way to add soil under the gravel. The tank is established and has fish in it...
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 07:04 PM
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Doesn't hurt to removed all the gravel, drain 90% water out, removed the fish to a bin, add soil and wait till water clear out. Could take from 30min to a hr b4 water clear. Add back the gravel, fill tank back up, turn on filter, wait so more. Add fish back.

All the good stuff is in the gravel, as long you use the same gravel u won't have to cycle the tank again.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 07:08 PM
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Or you could put the mud in an ice cube tray and then put stick the mud cubes in the gravel near the plants.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 07:13 PM
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i drained my twenty hex and added soil then added fish same day without problems took about two hours because due to decorating lol but actual labor was like 45 min. i did allow soil to soak for 2weeks in a casserole dish prior to the swap just for some of the amonia to work itself out. i also do weekly 25percent water changes so i wasn't too concerned with saveing water, parameters always match what comes out of the tap. if you change water less frequently that may want to save as much old water as possible. but i do wonder if expanding jiffy pots, you know those peat things people start seeds in? might not work?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-23-2012, 07:16 PM
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Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Block off some quality Aquarium time, and rip it apart. Good point by In.A.Box, put you gravel in a bucket with some of the current tank water, rinse it with that water and us it for your cap.

Put your fish in another bucket with existing tank water & the heater.

When I do something like this I save 50% of current water. So, in your fish holding bucket also add 50% new water, that will make an easier transition for the fish.

It the time to takes to look for & try short cuts, you'd be done.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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All right then... it sounds like there's another project in the works for me!

Thanks folks!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-30-2012, 04:44 PM
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Just make sure your gravel cap is a fine grain! lol Otherwise welcome to my nightmare.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-31-2012, 12:57 AM
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I added some soil under the gravel of my 55 gal tank (1/2 of it). I wrapped the soil in shallow packets of wax paper, moved the gravel in that 1/2 of the tank, and buried the soil packets. After that, I punctured the packets through the gravel covering with a knife. Because I didn't fasten the packets, some sediment escaped as I placed them and clouded the water for some days. Otherwise it worked great. Over time it even intercalated into the other 1/2 of the tank to some extent. I had no healthy plants at the time, but they have done well since.

I would advise using soil that has been submerged in water for at least 3-4 weeks to avoid toxicity due to the chemicals released from freshly submerged soil. If you don't, it might work out or it might not. Frequent water changes in the early days are advisable in either case and you probably want to monitor the ammonia levels.
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