Need advice on changing substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-08-2012, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice on changing substrate

I want to change the substrate in my 55g main display tank. It is currently MTS capped with local river sand that I collected. I definitely want to replace the sand, and may end up replacing the MTS as well.

I'd like to ask several things of those of you with more experience:

1. Can I temporarily house my fish in my QT tank? It's 25 gallons and has the same water supply with fluorite as a base. (seems like a dumb question)

2. Will the MTS be hard to remove? I seem to remember reading that it would set up, rather like concrete, and stay put. If it's hard to get out I'll leave it, but if it's easy I may replace it with miracle grow.

3. Can I replace the MTS with miracle grow? My canister filter is large and well cycled, but I'm worried about ammonia outgassing.

Whatever I end up doing with the fertile layer, the cap will be pool filter sand. This should provide me with a more uniform sand layer, reduce compaction, and allow my poor MTSnails to do a little better.

Thanks for your input!

Method

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-08-2012, 03:53 AM
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I would avoid just putting miracle grow I hated my experience and my experience with mts was way better, I'll add my mts tank soil was 5 inches deep in most areas and the miracle grow was only 2-3inches all around, it fowled my water after a long time even with trumpet snails and priding of the soil, it eventually got so bad my room started smelling, was fish less because i refused to add any once I noticed the different smell compared to my all sand tank


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-08-2012, 03:56 AM
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I've never used MTS so I'm of no help there. But I just changed out my substrate in my 75g so I know what it's like to be dealing with housing the fish during the process.

As long as you're doing the changeover within a day or two, your fish should be fine in the smaller tank (assuming they're not aggressive). To make sure they don't get overly stressed, be sure to put things in the tank for them to hide in and around even if it's just plants weighted down. It really doesn't matter what you use as long as they aren't sitting in a completely stark tank. Keeping the lights off will also help keep the fish calm.

If you're going to need more time, then it's best to get the smaller tank cycled. You can do this very easily by transferring over dirty filter media. In fact, if you can hook up one of your filters from the 55g tank, that would work (just decrease the outflow). As long as the 25g has bacteria transferred over, then the fish should be fine. Just test the water each day and take corrective action if needed.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-08-2012, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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The 25g QT tank has been continually running for about 10 years, so I'm not worried about cycling. It is lightly to moderately planted, but has a decent amount of hardscape for hiding places. The only current inhabitants of the QT tank are a pair of bn plecos.

The fish to be temporarily moved are all relatively docile: 7 black skirt tetras, 20 pygmy corys, 14 ottos, ghost shrimp, a farlowella, a rubberlip pleco, and 20 cardinal tetras. They're all healthy and I've had all of them for > 9 months.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-08-2012, 05:03 AM
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Move the filter over too to keep the bacteria alive, and prevent a cycle in the 25 gal. Even though it has been set up, it'll only have enough capacity for the two bristlenose and will cycle when you add the other fish.


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