Aqua Soil or Gravel? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Aqua Soil or Gravel?

When I started my 29 gallon planted I hadn't fully realized how involved growing a beautiful tank could be. I originally expected to buy some swords, java fern and maybe some crypts. But as time has passed I've realized I need red plants, and other demanding plants.. I also want a really nice carpet! Anyways I originally filled the tanks with gravel but I've been noticing that many of the more sucessful tanks use aqua soil and alternatives to gravel. Is it possible to grow a really nice tank without the soil? Is it possible to swap the soil out after having the tank running for 3 months(It is fully stocked with fish)? Also, for those who use soil as a substrate. Do you siphon the soil ever when doing waterchanges? Or just the mid and top areas? Thanks everyone! Noobedy noob noob here.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-09-2008, 12:21 AM
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It is certainly possible to have a nice planted tank with gravel. That being said, smaller grained substrates, and those with nutrients, such as aquasoil, flourite, eco-complete etc. are helpful and probably make it a bit easier to achieve.

If you want to swap the substrate, it is certainly possible. Lots of folks have done it, including me. However, it can be somewhat of a pain. if you decide to go this route, here is my advice. This is only my $0.02, based on my past experience. I'm sure others can chip in their methods as well.

I would get a big tub or bucket that is only for aquarium use (ie. never been used for cleaning or anything else). You can siphon tank water into this container, put the fish in it, and put the existing filter on the container. This will prevent the loss of the beneficial bacteria in your filter (the biofilter for your tank). You can run an airstone to help keep the o2 levels up in the container. You can remove your plants and place them in some tank water as well (or just in the same container with your fish if it is big enough). Then drain the rest of the water from the tank and remove the existing substrate. Once you get it all cleaned out, you can add the new substrate and re-plant and scape the tank. At this point, you can re-fill the tank with dechlorinated water, return the filter to the tank, and slowly acclimate the fish back into the tank.

You may want to monitor the tank for ammonia/nitrite etc, in case the tank re-cycles for some reason (or if you use ADA AS, which will release some ammonia). At this point, you should be all set.

As for the ADA AS, I don't vacuum the substrate. I just stir up any visible junk by waving the hose around near the bottom. HTH and good luck!

Mike


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-09-2008, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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I've got a couple of really nice fish in the 29.. A couple of which can be difficult to find and just generally nice specimens regardless.. Would it be possible to carefully lower the soil into the tank while the fish are still in the tank? Carefully placing the soil at the bottom? Would the fish be heavily affected by the soil getting kicked up? If I were to try the putting the fish into a bucket, then how long after would i reintroduce the fish to the tank? Also I read your directions but i'm still a little unclear, what percentage of my tank would be new water after the soil move? Thanks a lot!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-09-2008, 06:28 PM
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You can replace all of the water if you want, as long as it is dechlorinated, so as not to kill the biofilter. Just bring the water up to temp, and acclimate the fish slowly once the tank has cleared up a bit. You can use the drip acclimation method if your fish are very sensitive. Just take your time and they will be fine. Personally, I think it would be easier on the fish to take them out. Think about it this way. If someone was completely gutting your house and re-doing it, would it be more stressful to be trapped in there while it was all going on, or if you could leave and chill in someone else's house until it was all done.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-10-2008, 02:17 AM
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you cant switch do AS unless the fish are going to be in another tank for like 3 weeks because it releases a lot of ammonia

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-10-2008, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishsandwitch View Post
you cant switch do AS unless the fish are going to be in another tank for like 3 weeks because it releases a lot of ammonia
You can add lots of stem plants and do water changes to prevent this from being a problem. I've done it a few times little to no ammonia readings

Mike


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