changing substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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changing substrate

hi, my daughter's tank has some BRIGHT gravel in it. i want to change it out and want to know what the best way to do this would be. i don't want to disturb anything already in the tank and would like to mix what is currently in there. there is sand on the bottom (for the plants to dig their roots into) and then this colorful gravel on top of that. i would like to add some dark colors into it for my fish. while i have colorful fish in there i think it is kind of blinding. please let me know what you would think would be best. i don't want all sand...that is for sure but is there a method to changing the substrate? or is it just gut out the tank and add? i don't want to hurt any of the plants in the tank as everything is established. i have had this tank running for almost two years.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 08:41 PM
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Doing it without disturbing anything is going to be the tricky part.

Two methods came to mind, one is you could just gradually add the substrate you want to mix in, like a handful or two a week, and let it settle amongst/mix with the present gravel, and keep adding until you like what you end up with.

The other would be to go in and actively remove the colored gravel (either pick it out by hand, use tweezers, or maybe suck some of it up with a gravel vac when you do water changes), and then immediately put the substrate you want to use in that area.

I'm sure some of the other people will have some better suggestions, I'm not much for rescaping/changing tanks once I get them started.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lochaber View Post
Doing it without disturbing anything is going to be the tricky part.

Two methods came to mind, one is you could just gradually add the substrate you want to mix in, like a handful or two a week, and let it settle amongst/mix with the present gravel, and keep adding until you like what you end up with.

The other would be to go in and actively remove the colored gravel (either pick it out by hand, use tweezers, or maybe suck some of it up with a gravel vac when you do water changes), and then immediately put the substrate you want to use in that area.

I'm sure some of the other people will have some better suggestions, I'm not much for rescaping/changing tanks once I get them started.

i really didn't want the colors that are currently in there. my daughter picked the whole thing out. it is time for change and she is FINALLY open to some change. lol. i am going to take her with me when i do pick out some darker gravel. i was thinking just taking out half of the water, and putting the fish in the bucket with the water (with something over the bucket so they don't jump out) and changing the gravel that way. if i prewash everything and get it all set up i should be ok right? i want to take out about 2/3 of what is in there and mix in something black or brown. just to take out some of the brightness. idk if that is a good idea though. would i be changing the bactiera from an already well established tank? that same gravel has been there for almost two years and it seems like it would be harmful to take out the life forms that have grown on it. or maybe i am just thinking to much into the whole biosphere of the tank. lol.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 12:45 AM
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More than likely you will get a mini cycle. Nothing you can do about it. I've done multiple substrate swaps with no losses. Main thing is to keep up with water changes, maybe 50% everyday or smaller wc's twice a day. Just test and see if ammonia keeps rising. Also, some fast growing floaters will help suck up all the excess.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 01:35 AM
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I just did this with my tank when I upped a lot of my tech with it....

The sand I think is going to be your tricky part I ended up removing about 1/2 of my old substrate and blended plant substrate in with it.

That being said if you aren't able to scoop it out I think your least invasive plan would be to slowly remove the big gravel by hand and if the plants you have in there now are rooted into the sand that shouldn't be a problem. After removing it Gently place in your new rinsed substrate.

Be sure to do this slowly or if you are doing it all at once and have an extra filter set up both filters, take out all fish into a holding tank (if you have one), pull the old substrate, replace with the new, allow filter an hour or so to get the big particulates out, replace fish. Be ready to have a mini cycle with any substrate change since you're getting rid of a lot of the microbial system going on, or you could replace the substrate in portions, say one quarter area a week until replaced?


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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i plan on leaving the sand there. there is about half sand and half gravel. i like having the sand on the bottom honestly. makes planting SO much easier. and it really seems to help her tank out a lot. so, i really just want to take out 2/3 of the gravel. not the sand. i don't think should do to much of a mini cycle..... i can do it a little at a time. and just kind of take out handfuls every day. i do want to leave some in so that way my daughter doesn't feel like it is going to be a whole new thing. she doesn't really like change that well. and it took her about a year to get her to agree to adding some darker colors into the tank. i am trying to upgrade her to a 29 gallon tank soon. if i do that will the tank go threw a mini cycle even though the current filter i am running would be the one going onto the new tank and i would just move everything in this tank into the new one? the only differnce would be i would add more sand/gravel of course. but i would keep 100% of everything that is in this one. and would my plants have to re-adjust to this new tank? same water and everything. *this is currently a 10 gallon set up*
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-25-2012, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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bought more gavel today, so i am going to start changing out the old for the new. going to do it slow. see what happens.
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