Substrate Switch! (Success) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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Substrate Switch! (Success)

Well, I finally did it. I switched substrates in a fully functioning and cycled tank. Risky business for sure. I had white National Geographic substrate that just looked nasty with fish feces and plants roots growing through it. It needed to go. So with a few Home Depot buckets and a few hours, I was able to switch everything out. I've lost one Otto catfish so far, probably due to the water temp dropping in the buckets then the new water being added. Also have what looks like zero algae at the moment.

I kept about 30 - 40% of the original water and all the decorations and plants. Also kept the canister filter in tact. Probably change that in a day or two.

So here it is. I definitely like the black substrate more than the white!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 01:44 PM
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Looks good and always nice to hear some success after all the drama we often read about!
Since you do have a good story to tell, how about details on how you did it. There are so many different ways we need to do things, lots of people need lots of different ideas for how to do this.
I have my ideas and you have yours but there are lots more out there that have no idea?
My idea might be to rock the tank situation as gently as possible and not too much at one time so I might wait longer before cleaning the filters just to give the bacteria time to totally rebuild. I'm sure some was lost on the old sub, etc. so I just like to wait and try not to get too quick so that I create trouble. Leave the sleeping dog lie for a bit longer?
Tank looks good, so maybe just prop the feet up and enjoy?
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-29-2017, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Looks good and always nice to hear some success after all the drama we often read about!
Since you do have a good story to tell, how about details on how you did it. There are so many different ways we need to do things, lots of people need lots of different ideas for how to do this.
I have my ideas and you have yours but there are lots more out there that have no idea?
My idea might be to rock the tank situation as gently as possible and not too much at one time so I might wait longer before cleaning the filters just to give the bacteria time to totally rebuild. I'm sure some was lost on the old sub, etc. so I just like to wait and try not to get too quick so that I create trouble. Leave the sleeping dog lie for a bit longer?
Tank looks good, so maybe just prop the feet up and enjoy?
Definitely leaving it be for a bit. It's been a week, so I might clean the canister a bit, or at least replace the water polish pad in there. I'm sure it's pretty clogged up after that.

The Otto's are gone, though.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2017, 01:56 PM
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Ashes to ashes, dust to dust? Sad to lose something but then we also have a hard time plowing a field without stirring some dust! Progress does come at a cost at times.
Maybe this is just an "opportunity" to change out that stock? Always needing bigger and better, aren't we?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2017, 02:03 PM
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Did you have any spikes in ammonia after losing so much of your biofilter? That's what would worry me.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2017, 03:02 PM
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Well, I don't care that much for black substrates as I think sand seems more natural...but your tank looks good!

I might suggest a background so there's more focus on the plants/decor and hides the wires 'n tubes.
I kinda wish I'd painted mine, but when it was fish only, I originally had a commercial background of plants taped on. After I planted, I switched to black poster board (although dark blue would be good too) taped on with black vinyl electrical tape.

Tank on,
-Mike

Tank On, Mike-
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10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-30-2017, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tperk9784 View Post
Did you have any spikes in ammonia after losing so much of your biofilter? That's what would worry me.
Just tested this morning and nitrates/nitrites/ammonia are all at 0 ppm.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Well, I don't care that much for black substrates as I think sand seems more natural...but your tank looks good!

I might suggest a background so there's more focus on the plants/decor and hides the wires 'n tubes.
I kinda wish I'd painted mine, but when it was fish only, I originally had a commercial background of plants taped on. After I planted, I switched to black poster board (although dark blue would be good too) taped on with black vinyl electrical tape.

Tank on,
-Mike
I've contemplated doing a solid background but just haven't gotten around to it. Might try out some foam core board and a rattle can laying around.

I'm still not totally satisfied with the planting but I like the moneywort "forest," in the corner.

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Last edited by Kayak83; 09-30-2017 at 05:55 PM. Reason: typo
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-03-2017, 04:56 PM
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That looks a great tank.

I would like to do a substrate change on one of my tanks but it is exactly what you have experienced that puts me off regarding the otos. I had originally planned to rehome them to another tank and let the one I am changing the substrate in to mature for a while before adding them back but the two tanks I had previously available now home a very aggressive Betta and the other one 12 Serpaes which I would not wish on any of my other fish.

I am actually going to play the long game and just wait until they have naturally died and not replace any until they are all gone and then do substrate change.
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