Need advice on substrate change out - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice on substrate change out

Hello everyone. New here. Well I have read through a bunch of these posts and am somewhat confused and have questions too. LIke a lot of uninformed people I bought the cheap bags of medium sized gravel for a substrate, which unbeknownst to me at the time, is not really a great thing for plants.

So I have seen you all mention these three types (Flourite, Eco-complete, and aquasol). I have a 55g tank (link with photos here)
http://picasaweb.google.com/CaritoBito/Aquarium?authkey=ZrPPG3IIZGA
and want to change out the substrate. Here are my questions that I am confused about
1) Money is not an option. Which of these three would you recommend? Im thinking the black and green contrast will look good. Should I use all of one of the types of mix in sand with it?
2) Does any of these have to end up being replaces?? I read on a few other sites that the eco for instance only lasts about 7 months and then you have to completely change it out again?
3) Would you still do like a montly vacuuming, or need to use plant food pellets etc?
4) If I overhaul all my gravel, I think I could keep the same water in there and carefully remove the gravel so as to not loose too much of the good bacteria.
5) Finally the whole peat thing. With whatever of the three types you might recommend, Ive read some posts that said to put down a thin layer of peat and then the substrate and others that said not to?

I might have forgot to mention my filtration is a Rena3 Canister. I'm not using CO2 or anything else. Is CO2 really necessary? I mean how do you know when you need that if you have the right substrate and lighting?

Sorry so long. I hope someone can help.

Carito
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 10:56 PM
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1) Money is not an option. Which of these three would you recommend? Im thinking the black and green contrast will look good.

I agree. I like black substrate. ADA Aquasoil Amazonia is black. Everyone who uses it sings its praises. It's gotta be good stuff. Personally, I'm a big fan of sand. Just sand.

1a) Should I use all of one of the types of mix in sand with it? There has been some research done that supports that idea. I don't know where I read it ( I think it was Tom Barr??) . Can't hurt.


2) Does any of these have to end up being replaces?? I read on a few other sites that the eco for instance only lasts about 7 months and then you have to completely change it out again?

I don't know for sure. I'd imagine after the nutrients that it contains are used up, it's just another inert substrate like sand or gravel. Once your tank matures, the mulm will act as a sort of fertilizer.

3) Would you still do like a montly vacuuming, or need to use plant food pellets etc?

I don't vacuum the substrate. I fan over the substrate to remove the fish crap. I don't stir up the substrate. Some will say doing so will create anaerobic pockets that, if stirred up, will cause fish death, etc. I've not experienced this myself nor have I studied it.

4) If I overhaul all my gravel, I think I could keep the same water in there and carefully remove the gravel so as to not loose too much of the good bacteria.

Nah. Most of your beneficial bacteria resides on your gravel and in your filter media. If the gravel goes, so goes your bacteria. No biggy, it'll grow back. May want to reduce fish load if possible for a few weeks to reduce chances of an ammonia spike. Or you can stick in a bunch of fast growers for a few weeks.
5) Finally the whole peat thing. With whatever of the three types you might recommend, Ive read some posts that said to put down a thin layer of peat and then the substrate and others that said not to?



6) Is CO2 really necessary? No. It is a good thing to look into though. A tank with supplemental CO2 will provide faster growth and create more interest ( IMO) . Your water has CO2 dissolved in it out of the tap. If you aren't pumping a bunch of light into the tank (maybe 2 wpg or less) you don't have to add more. Plants need a few things to photosynthesize. Light and CO2 are big ones. The more of those you provide (within reason and with balance) the more they will grow.



7.)I mean how do you know when you need that if you have the right substrate and lighting?

To me, the right substrate is the one that holds the plants down and gives them something to root in. Other than that, your light, CO2, and ferts are right if you've got healthy plants and little algae. No test kits or computers, the plants will tell the tale.

Sorry so long.

No prob.

I hope someone can help.

Hope i did


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Yeah i kinda figure that if I change out all the gravel to one of these three that I may loose a few fish. I only have maybe 18 in there now and only a couple that are over 1.5". I'll prob wait a couple days and see if anyone else has some ideas, suggestions etc before placing an order for anything.

I guess to start with I'll add the new substrate and maybe a T5 light and see how that goes.....
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 11:15 PM
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Maybe change half, then after a few weeks, the other half? Also, your canister filter is gonna hold a lot of bacteria. As long as you haven't just cleaned it or anything, your fish might be fine.


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Changing out 1/2 at a time was something that I didnt think of. Nah I havent messed with the canister in prb 2 months so all should be good there.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2007, 07:12 PM
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Do a ADVANCED SEARCH for "changing substrate" or "change substrate" in the TITLE only, you'll find a few threads with all you need to know, changing it out all at once shouldn't be a problem w/ a cannister, and a good plant load going back in...

Also see here I just did it yesterday on my 55g:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/su...tml#post472492

NOTE: To do a *SEARCH* and get the answer you want, its often best to go to "Advanced Search" and search in the title only.
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