Re: question about changin from gravel to sand
A couple of years ago when I changed my substrate from gravel to sand, this is what I did. I picked up two sterlite totes, made sure they where food grade plastic. In one container I placed my fish with water from the tank, in the other I placed my plants and driftwood. On that tank I was running sponge filters which I also placed in the container with the plants to keep them wet. The night before I made sure to wash my sand, so that it was ready to go. From there I took out the gravel and replaced with sand, filled the tank back up and placed everything back in. For your filter I would make sure they you keep the filter media wet, either by running the filter or placing it into a container with water from the tank. You can replace the substrate with the fish in the tank, but I found it easier to remove everyone to a temporary container. Also for removing the gravel from the tank I found that a dust pan works very well, I have a dust pan and small brush that is for aquarium use only to ensure that nothing may be on them that I wouldn't want in my tank. Good luck and if you haven't already, my final piece of advice would be to plan on changing the substrate on a day that you don't have anything else planned. This way you will have plenty of time to work on your tank and not have to worry about getting it done within a certain time frame.
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