Substrate Change (existing tank) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-06-2006, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate Change (existing tank)

I am thinking about changing my substrate to something a bit more live plant friendly. Before I even go down the road of what to get (I have ideas from reading around here), is it advisable with an already established tank?

I have:

125 gallon
4-clown loaches
2-angelicus botia
6 - Angelfish
13-cardinal tetras
4- rummy nose tetras
12 - cherry red shrimp

Current substrate is small to large quartz like natural gravel.

So, if advisable, what is the recommended course? Full removal of all fish and plants, then all gravel, add new, replant and readd fish? Bio is in fluval canisters (304 and 404) along with large piece of driftwood and live plants. Place fish in aquarium water in 50gallon tupperware storage bin during transition (with heaters)?

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Ted
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-06-2006, 02:58 PM
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I'm in the Process of doing a substrate change myself. That is pretty much the way I'm doing it... I'm just afraid of placing my heater in the plastic bin. I don't want it to melt through & cause any damage to the fish, bin, or floor... So, I'd like to hear other people's thoughts on it too!

Ted,
I'd watch out for your Cheeries becoming food though... I had 24 in a tank with one Clown loach & now they are GONE! I even had enough Java moss in the tank where they could Hide!

Steve X.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-06-2006, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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I think that is starting to happen (snack time). I have noticed all BOTIA species digging into the java moss with most likely bad intent... and it just hit me the other day... Duh -- I feed shrimp pellets to my bottom dwellers....
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-09-2006, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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If I go through and change my substrate, will my tank cycle somewhat? I will have same filters, driftwood and plants.

Plan is to put fish and driftwood in 50gal+ Rubbermaid storage unit, along with one of the filters and possibly heater (rig it up so it does not touch sides or bottom. Put shrimp and plants in a separate 5-10gal tank with heater.

Max sitting in this state would be 24-48 hours. Two reasons for this change. One, it is better for my plants and two, we are having carpet replaced, so unit must be moved, then moved back.

Thoughts? Am I missing anything of importance? The cycle question is troubling me.

Thanks,

Ted
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-09-2006, 06:14 PM
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The easiest way I have found to change out the substrate on a tank is to Vaccum it out. Just pick a hose at your local home supply store that is a little larger than the substrate to be removed(you can pick out the larger pieces after you have got the smaller stuff out). I just vaccum the substrate into a tote or large container. all the substrate falls to the bottom, I then either dump this water or siphon this off with my python. Works like a charm. I have tried to remove the substate by hand for a swap, but this method seems to work a lot better. you can even change out half of the substrate and leave part of it the same way. That way you don't have to replant the whole tank and can leave the fish and plants in place.

Cheers, Whitepine

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-09-2006, 06:16 PM
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If you are pretty high on bio-load, or even medium, I would think you will have a 'mini' cycle or two when you get everything back together... however, with the same filter material, plants, and wood, I would think you will line back out pretty quickly. I would just test your water frequently and water change if something gets too high.

Something so expensive and addictive HAS to be illegal. I'm just waiting for the police to break down my door and confinscate my fish food.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-09-2006, 07:43 PM
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Changed out my substrate w/o a hitch! I used the method you stated above, only I put my fish in bags & floated them in my 75 Gal tank to keep the temp up for them. I haven't noticed any type of cycle. I have checked my parameters 2 times since... So Far So Good! -0- Amonia, -0- Nitrites, -0- .2 on nitrates. The only problem I had was, while I was waiting or my Soilmaster to come in, I had already ordered the plants & when they arrived were beautiful & healthy. But, I didn't have the substrate, so, I put them in a 10 gal. tank I have... w/o a light, substrate, or filter (stupid move) & half of them turned to mush! Although I had a heater, as the temp in my house was going down to 69.6 deg. at night... What I was able to salvage, I planted & I'm hoping for the best. Only drawback I see so afr with the Soilmaster is that it's fairly light material & the plants like to float, so I have been having an issue with them floating ou of it. I have Vals & I don't know how deep to plant them. I don't want to plant them too deep & make them rot out from having the actual plant under the substrate. Originaly I was planning on a Shrimp only tank. But, my girlfriend has been getting upset with me, cuz, I have MTS (Multi Tank Syndrome) & I won't let her get another cat or dog... So, I told her she can add fish of her choice to the planted tank ;-) That worked Like a Charm! So, I have my 45 Gal getting ready to be set up (just have to finish the stand, I mean finish as in poly the outside {I built the stand} & Waiting for the light a just purchased from someone here at the Forums) Then I'll be changing over the 20 once again... The inhabitants that is. She wanted Molly's... So, she got molly's! But, they won't be good in a 20 Gal. planted tank... But, she likes the planted tank. So, she wants to do the 45 gal. as a planted Molly tank. With is fine with me! That way I'll get my 20 Gal. shrimp only tank! But, bad also, cuz Now I'll have 2 planted tanks to try & keep up with! LOL! More money, More Money, More Money... LOL! But, I LOVE the way Planted tanks look... I'm hoping that this 20 Gal. wors out nicely for me... I was getting frustrated with trying to plant around this HUGE piece of driftwood I have in the tight 20... (it's a tall tank, small bottom area.) Plus, with the plants floating up out of the substrate, Boy was that a bother! Anyway.. I'm rambling on & on... (Very Excited if you couldn't tell! LOL!)

Thanks for listening ,
Steve X.

Sorry, I just noticed I "Highjacked" the thread... Totaly unintensional...

SORRY TED!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-09-2006, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all!

It is unreal how hard it is to get Soilmaster Select in Charcoal. Spent all afternoon and the closest is Conneticut (I am in Central PA)... I will be getting a price with shipping in the morning. Bags are $12.50 each, but UPS will kill me on this..
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