Raising Substrate level - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Cool Raising Substrate level

Hello, this is my first ever post on this thread (and many more to come). I'm not new to this forum, just never registered haha! Anyway, I got into this hobby over a year ago, starting at the very bottom, learning through trial and error with additional research etc. I am now at the point where I am going to rescape my over grown, high-tech planted tank. It is roughly 20g, bow front.

With this new tank, simply put I'd like to raise the bed level upon my next rescape. I've bought some more ADA Amazonia NEW however, I'd like any suggestions as to what I could add in addition to raise the level of the substrate. It doesn't need to be seen nor provide anything other than structure for my purpose.

Money isn't an issue, although smiply buying butt loads of ADA Soil just to solve this trivial problem is not something I would do, mainly because I haven't gotten all my knowledge and experience from taking the simple way out of things. I like challenges, especially if its economically friendly haha
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 09:37 PM
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Are you removing your old substrate or just adding on to it?

How deep do you want your substrate total? If you're adding on to your old substrate, how deep is it now?

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 10:02 PM
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Are you trying to make a slope?
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-07-2012, 10:46 PM
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If there fish in the tank the ammonia release from the ADA product will be a problem. House the fish elsewhere while the rescape is going on and until the new substrate quits releasing ammonia.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 01:20 AM
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Generally if you watch any of Amano's tanks (check them on youtube, he actually aquascapes them himself), he just piles up a ton of substrate then slopes them himself (so there's nothing underneath them just more substrate)

So you answered it, buying a boat load is there to solve the problem. It's not just a waste as I think there'll be more nutrients and more buffering from the soil. It also depends on your plants... definitely stemmed plants will benefit from more substrate. If you say, put a hard rock in there, the stemmed plants will reach further for nutrients only to hit a lump of coal. So my answer is just add more substrate, not sure how big your tank is but I imagine just 1 more large bag would do it.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 01:35 AM
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Please remove your fish prior to adding new substrate. I would do that with any substrate really not just ada, its soooo stressful for the fish, just dont put them thru that.

I had to do this along time ago. I started with a natural pebble tank my grandmother gave me. I removed the fish and a few gallons of water. Basically I moved the old stuff to one side, and using a bowl filled with the new stuff I lowered it into the tank and dumped close to the bottom. Seemed not to kick up as much "stuff" then just pouring it into the water column from the top of the tank.
Turned out pretty cool, had eco-complete on one side and those natural colored pebble things on the other side.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Diana View Post
If there fish in the tank the ammonia release from the ADA product will be a problem. House the fish elsewhere while the rescape is going on and until the new substrate quits releasing ammonia.
Would it be possible to "age" the substrate in another tank to release the ammonia, and then move it over to the active tank with fish? It may be a pain to do it that way, but it would be easier to house the new substrate elsewhere than to house the fish elsewhere.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 02:31 AM
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Please remove your fish prior to adding new substrate. I would do that with any substrate really not just ada, its soooo stressful for the fish, just dont put them thru that.
It depends. There are a number of factors at play. If the tank is large, heavily planted, with a large number of fish, the process of catching all the fish would, in itself, be highly stressful. Housing the fish in temporary quarters would be stressful, as well.

Forgetting the ammonia issue for the moment, if the new substrate was added in small increments over a period of time, it would be possible to do it without overly stressing the fish. I have done this myself. You put 1/2" of substrate on one portion of the tank, and the fish naturally swim off to the other side of the tank. If you only do a little bit at a time, the disruption is short lived, and the fish quickly return to check out the new changes. Then you repeat the process again the next day. You simply keep at it until you've done the entire tank. It's definitely a very slow way of doing it, but I think it's the least stressful for the fish overall.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 02:57 AM
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don't you think adding something like substrate would kick up so much stuff that it would be harmful for the fish to be breathing that water?

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 04:05 AM
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don't you think adding something like substrate would kick up so much stuff that it would be harmful for the fish to be breathing that water?
No. You're just putting the new substrate on top of the old substrate. You shouldn't be stirring up the old substrate.

But I use Eco Complete. Maybe ADA AS is different? Is it really that messy just putting it in the tank?

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 04:11 AM
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I use the ADA Amazonia, and the biggest problem stated above is the Ammonia. It will leach ammonia, lots of it, mine did. The substrate doesn't really get soft and cloud the water if moved until a couple days of being in the tank. I would move the fish to a quarantine tank until the tank is stable (done releasing amm.) and then put them back.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 04:23 AM
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I use the ADA Amazonia, and the biggest problem stated above is the Ammonia. It will leach ammonia, lots of it, mine did. The substrate doesn't really get soft and cloud the water if moved until a couple days of being in the tank. I would move the fish to a quarantine tank until the tank is stable (done releasing amm.) and then put them back.
I asked before and I'll ask again. What about putting the ADA in another tank to leach out the ammonia. Then, when it's stable, add it to the tank with the fish. Why wouldn't this work?

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 05:06 AM
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You'll have to put amazonia in another tank for at least 2-3 weeks with regular water changes to leech out all the ammonia. You'll have to test the water to see it's at 0. Then afterwards, you'll want to scoop it out with a cup then place it at the bottom of your tank (as opposed to just dropping it in from the top which will cause cloudiness/mess)

This is why the ADA method is get your aquascape correct first, fill it up with water, then wait. Of course we don't always know what we want so it's possible to add more, it's just a pain in the butt. No one says it has to be ADA, however, as it's obviously the hardest substrate to add into a existing tank with its ammonia problems. You could get akadama, or eco complete, and place it below the ADA substrate. Those are another option I'd consider. Just as long the Amazonia is on top, it'll look even. One thing to note about this is if you ever have to pull out a stemmed plant, it'll stir up all that other non-amazonia substrate and might not look so great... but at least you won't need to bother with the ammonia found in amazonia.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 07:11 AM
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I can see where you are going complexity with the idea, I didnt think of that when I had to deal with something similar. But my grandmother only had goldfish and so fishing them out was easy enough. Shrimp and small fish I could see being a problem though.

With your idea though, wonder if the substrate would have to be forcefully stirred since it wouldnt have the filter moving the water column around to get the ammonia gone before entering the tank.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, I didn't expect so much feedback so quickly. Which made me realise I wasn't clear enough as well to cause some people to worry, sorry about that.

Ok, yes, I have already removed all livestock from the tank and placed them into another planted tank.

I plan on stripping it down and rescaping entirely.

I'm not going to have stem plants in the tank as an end result of this rescape, although, I will have a bunch in there for the start to help control algae but then later removed when the tank is past its vulnerable stage.

My Tank is 20G Bow front, rougly 60x35x30. It was simply a tank I re-used after my sister had left it dry for 2-3 years. I used to to gain all my knowledge and understanding of planted aquariums, all my trial and errors have been through the use of this tank.

The substrate is roughly 1-2 inches thick on the front and +1 more or so on the back. I'm going for an Iwagumi style simply because its one of the few styles I have yet to try and have admired.

Yes I have watched around 300 of T. Amano's planted aquarium videos, including the 3 large tanks that he created. I will be re-using the AS inside the aquarium, just adding on top of what's there with another 3 litre bag really however, I, would like the option of having ''steep'' slopes. Its not 100% needed, just, something I may want.

One thought I had was to use styrofoam boards, simply using aquarium silicone on bits of one side and have it plastered to the bare bottom of the tank to give it some depth. Another idea was to use the previously used silica sand that I had washed out til my hands bled dust just so it made no dust clouds in the tank; placed in bags on the bottom.

Again, thank you for so many replies, really didnt expect it within one night!
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