Switching from dirt capped with gravel to dirt capped with sand? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Switching from dirt capped with gravel to dirt capped with sand?

Hi everyone.
I know this is gonna be tough, but I finally got my hands on a decent amount of Pool Filter Sand and I really want to get rid of the annoying gravel I have in my dirted 20 gallon tank. The gravel is like pale grey and ugly.
Anyways the tank has no fish in it and I believe it makes things easier. It is planted and the only plants that I'm worried about during this proces are the crypts? I have two other types, both stem plants but I don't remember their name at the moment, however they're both burried in the substrate.
Here's where I really need your help, has anyone done it before? If yes, how? Any video or link to this?
Tank is uncycled, if that information is worth to share.
Thanks, looking forward to your advice!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 05:40 AM
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You are basically gonna have to take it down and redo it. You will need to sift out all the gravel from the topsoil so you can reuse it. Good luck! I just did that myself. A lot of work

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 05:48 AM
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Drain and start scooping if you don't want to move the plants you will picking alot of it out with your fingers. Then start adding the sand. Sometimes there isn't a easy way.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 05:51 AM
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good luck, im still trying to find the best way to remove the soil from my eco so i can reuse the eco.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 05:56 AM
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Is there a benefit to sand vs. gravel?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCryptKeeper View Post
You are basically gonna have to take it down and redo it...


Don't stress out over this. Crypts are very adaptable plants. I just pulled maybe 40 Crypts from my 40, removed the Black Diamond sand and replaced with Sakrete all purpose sand. I wanted a lighter color. I trim 1/2" off the roots and removed the old leaves and replanted. 3wks later tank logs great..

My tip would be to turn off the filter and SLOWLY, GENTLY, Wiggle/Pull the plants out. Work neat & clean and this will be easier.

Then drain the water and scoop the travel out...

In one corner use a syphon hose to suck as much water out as you can. You'll get a little dirt, don't worry just replace it.Use some paper towels and place them on the dirt to sick up some more water.

I find it's easier to replace the Cap, if the dirt is not like GRAVY try to dry it until it's more like MASHED POTATOES.

Kast note>>>Don't clean the inside glass. You are removing a lot of the bennifical Bacteria culture withe the old substrate. Also, hold hardscape in a bucket with the tank water alng with the plants. The idea is to really only remove the gravel and make as little change as you can.

Good luck! ~ Post before after Pics ~ Help the next guy
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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To the one asking about what's the benefit of this: I'm doing this because the dirt would often come out lf the substrate if I moved a plant or something, since the gravel is bigger than the sand it wont be a bother after I switch it. Plus the PFS looks nicer and is more compact.

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Don't stress out over this. Crypts are very adaptable plants. I just pulled maybe 40 Crypts from my 40, removed the Black Diamond sand and replaced with Sakrete all purpose sand. I wanted a lighter color. I trim 1/2" off the roots and removed the old leaves and replanted. 3wks later tank logs great..

My tip would be to turn off the filter and SLOWLY, GENTLY, Wiggle/Pull the plants out. Work neat & clean and this will be easier.

Then drain the water and scoop the travel out...

In one corner use a syphon hose to suck as much water out as you can. You'll get a little dirt, don't worry just replace it.Use some paper towels and place them on the dirt to sick up some more water.

I find it's easier to replace the Cap, if the dirt is not like GRAVY try to dry it until it's more like MASHED POTATOES.

Kast note>>>Don't clean the inside glass. You are removing a lot of the bennifical Bacteria culture withe the old substrate. Also, hold hardscape in a bucket with the tank water alng with the plants. The idea is to really only remove the gravel and make as little change as you can.

Good luck! ~ Post before after Pics ~ Help the next guy
Can I really do this without repeating the dirt proces ? That would be great... How would you remove the gravel to the point that you dont bother the soil?
Also not only thr crypts, but I'm worried about
y bacopa monnieri as well. I, as a stupid I am, cut the side shots it had produce and tossed the mother plants since they had no leaves and weren't growing new ones since after shipment. Now the new plants I planted are starting to die because their stem is rotting .
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by In.a.Box View Post
good luck, im still trying to find the best way to remove the soil from my eco so i can reuse the eco.
I would put the eco-complete in a strainer and run water through it until it runs clear. The good thing about eco is, it is larger than sand so it will mostly stay while the dirt breaks down and flows through.


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 02:36 PM
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"... How would you remove the gravel to the point that you dont bother the soil"

Once I got my plants out, hard scape out, and as much water as I could. I would start scooping carefully in one corner until I hit dirt. I have an old Serving spoon that works great for stuff like that.. Then I would use the syphon hose as I posted earlier to get as much water as I could out. Then simply stop the gravel of the Dirt .
As mentioned by another member at so,e point you will be picking out pc by hand. If the dirt is less than 1 yr old I would just get it as dry as I could before adding my Cap. Then put it all back together.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by In.a.Box View Post
good luck, im still trying to find the best way to remove the soil from my eco so i can reuse the eco.
Go to the hardware store and buy some screen for a door and sift it. You can get a large deep fryer bucket that has smaller mesh to remove the soil. Something like this...

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/prod...p?SKU=18784254

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeTheCann0lis View Post
Is there a benefit to sand vs. gravel?
Depends on what size gravel you are talking about. Mainly a personal preference. If you get sand that is too fine of a grain then it will compact down too hard and make it difficult for plants to root solid in it. I use 3m colorquartz sand and I have no problems with plants rooting in it at all. It doesn't compress too much.

You can see the sand here in these pics




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