adding substrate(soil) to an already established planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation adding substrate(soil) to an already established planted tank

So setting up my first aquarium I have neglected to add any nutritious substrate as I initially did not plan on having a planted tank..

I'm planning on buying soil tomorrow..
1. Removing all the gravel rocks while the fish are in the tank
2. rinse the rocks and remove any gunk
3. adding a layer of soil
4. adding the clean rocks
and basically reorganizing everything..

Is this generally a good idea?

Tank is 30 gallon with about 18 fish


also what is advisable.. sand or soil?

pics of plants


Would this shock them?
Would I remove healthy bacteria out of the cosmetic gravel?

What kind of soil should I buy??

Thanks everyone
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 06:12 AM
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That sounds like it'll be VERY messy unless you remove everything, then put the fish in. Even then you'll have to deal with nutrients coming out of the soil if you do manage it. If you dont have a place to hold the fish while the tank resettles, then maybe replacing the existing candy gravel with smaller gravel or sand with nutrient tabs or soil pots under a top layer would be better options.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 12:01 PM
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Go get one of those storage totes from wal mart. They are usually blue. Put as much of your tank water, the heater, fish and plants in there. You can even hang that filter on the side of it. They can stay is there for as long as it takes to swap your substrate. I did a straight swap from gravel to blasting media this way and it worked great. I prefer sand because the plants do better in it. The blasting media is totally inert with no cec. Florida will hold ferts or you could do eco complete. Just be careful about trying to use soil as some will leach ammonia which will not be good with fish in there.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 12:03 PM
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Oh, and aluminum foil us a horrible reflector. It is really a diffuser. You'd do better with something just painted flat white.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 01:50 PM
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I think you will be more successful if you use dirt, with using a sand cap or very fine gravel.

Last edited by DogFish; 02-22-2012 at 08:48 PM.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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no walmarts around me..


What if I get a bunch of bins and place 50% of the water as for all the fish in the bins.
Remove everything and add the sand then wait 3-4 hours with the filter running and put everything back as it was
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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also would sand be the best substrate for growing and health? I read it requires a strong filter and my filter is built for the specific tank size I'm using

and should I add the rocks gravel ontop after I'm done with the substrate.. or leave it as it is?

thanks
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 08:49 PM
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Most of us that use dirt use a sand cap, yes it's very good to grow plants in. There area dozens of threads here about sand cap over dirt.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugardaddy1979 View Post
Go get one of those storage totes from wal mart. They are usually blue. Put as much of your tank water, the heater, fish and plants in there. You can even hang that filter on the side of it. They can stay is there for as long as it takes to swap your substrate. I did a straight swap from gravel to blasting media this way and it worked great. I prefer sand because the plants do better in it. The blasting media is totally inert with no cec. Florida will hold ferts or you could do eco complete. Just be careful about trying to use soil as some will leach ammonia which will not be good with fish in there.
This is what I did and it worked very well. You can find them at most hardware stores as well. You could also use a few 5 gallon buckets...hang the filter over one and put an airstone in the other.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 04:32 PM
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i would do the soil with a sand cap and store the fish until the tank settles down maybe try to cycle some sponge in the tank before you drain then when the new substrate is in if you do get any ammonia you can use that sponge to boost the bacteria

40 gallon dirt tank
5 Gallon planted bonsai dirt tank
1 Bearded Dragon ''Spyro''
Normal Leopard Gecko ''Shadow''
Super hypo tangerine baldy carrot tail leopard gecko ''Moon''
2 whites tree frogs ''Ying and Yang''
1 Royal Python ''Neptune''
1 Veiled Chameleon '' Yoshi''
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 10:58 PM
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You have it easy right now because there is not too much in your way but you should drain down your tank and keep as much of the water as you can in a large container, then pull up the plants and drop them in the container, net all the fish and add them to the container, it's not that hard to catch them by using a tank divider or a piece of foam that will reach from side to side, than after they are in a tight space net them. Now get rid of all the old gravel and add your new substrate, if you do it any other way it will be a mess and your filters will be trashed and you could kill your fish.

This will take a little longer but look so much better and it will be done right, plus if it's MTS style it's the only way.

You will need an ammonia test kit and you'll be doing lots of water changes.


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