Breaking down tank to change substrate? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Breaking down tank to change substrate?

I got my 29 gallon tank 7 months ago. I knew I wanted plants from the beginning. LFS said I didn't need special substrate. Sounded great to me that stuff is expensive. But my head said no. So I compromised and planted my plants in terra cotta pots that contained Fluval Statum. I have a wonderful light I got from Build My LED. I am sick of the way the pots look.

Here is my plan. I am very nervous about this, please advise if I am missing something.

setting up a second tank, [which long term I want anyway for my snails] this will also be planted, [I know snails eat plants, two snails, lots of plants...we will just have to see] will use Eco Complete, another great light from same place. I am going to set this tank up using a significant amt of water from my next change out. Place some of the smaller plants in there with the pots. When this water is cycled/stable... will place fish in the 29 into the 10 gallon while I replace all substrate with Eco Complete.

Fish; 3 angels, 6 cory cats, 5 neon tetras and one very special bristle nosed pleco.

I know that is too many fish for a 10 gallon, but it will be a holding tank until the 29 is ready. I will stop feeding fish for a few days before.

Also I have been able to vac my gravel because plants are in pots. Once planted do you vacuum a planted tank at all?

Last edited by BooRadley; 08-12-2014 at 07:13 PM. Reason: want to add a picture, if I can figure it out!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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picture of my tank as it is now

Hopefully, the attached picture comes through.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 08:29 AM
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That's more or less what I did when I changed out my substrata. If your going to buy a 10 gal tank to use as a holding tank, I'd say get something a little larger, like a 15 gal, but if you already have the tank use it.

I vacuum the substrata in my planted tank, but only go down about 1/2", just enough to get the worst of the buildup out.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:54 PM
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the newer eco-complete is insta-cycle, well at least the one I used was, worked like a charm and thank god be ti my tank is "overstocked", but I would use activ-flora substrate it works better than eco in my opinion and it insta-cycles as well.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 03:17 PM
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What snails do you have? If they're Nerites, or Pond....or Mystery, they don't eat plants, just decaying plant matter.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 04:18 PM
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When I vac I just skim the top of the substrate. That mulm is great for the plants so I leave it in a planted tank.

Since you're still going to be using the same filter you shouldn't be going through a new cycle. Bacteria is in the filter.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Well now I have more questions, but this is good-right?

Speaking of cycling. Yes, maybe this was my biggest question, but I didn't know it. Yes I will keep filter. I will set up the 10 gallon with change out water first, to get it 'settled' and will put in a few of the potted plants at the same time. Then do I just test for water with the little strips like usual? Put in maybe 1/2 the cory cats at first? Time frame? I am thinking in the vague general sense...work about 12-24 hours stages?


"insta start" what is that ? do I need it?

THANK ALL FOR FEEDBACK. THIS FORUM IS SO HELPFUL. I am so nervous....completely forgot I should be looking for plants locally, because I will need more. Finally get to at least think about doing some shopping.

Snails. So happy that they don't eat the plants, I made that assumption. Why don't more planted tanks have snails? they so rock.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BooRadley View Post
Speaking of cycling. Yes, maybe this was my biggest question, but I didn't know it. Yes I will keep filter. I will set up the 10 gallon with change out water first, to get it 'settled' and will put in a few of the potted plants at the same time. Then do I just test for water with the little strips like usual? Put in maybe 1/2 the cory cats at first? Time frame? I am thinking in the vague general sense...work about 12-24 hours stages?


"insta start" what is that ? do I need it?

THANK ALL FOR FEEDBACK. THIS FORUM IS SO HELPFUL. I am so nervous....completely forgot I should be looking for plants locally, because I will need more. Finally get to at least think about doing some shopping.

Snails. So happy that they don't eat the plants, I made that assumption. Why don't more planted tanks have snails? they so rock.
Apple Snails may be your exception, p.brigs which are mystery snails (experts correct me if I am wrong) do not eat health plants. And some snails, depending if you're overfeeding may multiply (MTS, pond snails, etc). Other snails, such as Nerites eat algae, but their eggs are ugly (they won't hatch in freshwater).
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 04:14 PM
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When I upgraded a 26g to a 40B, it was going in the same spot, so I had to tear down one, move it out, set up the new one with a new stand. Here's what I did that would also work for you just changing substrate, although you're not moving one tank to make room for another. Should only take a couple of hours and your fish will be fine in a temp tank for that long provided you move the filter and heater with them to the temp tank.

I had bought 20g tank for $20 at Petco sale. Moved my kitchen table near to where the 26g tank was and put the 20 on that. Siphoned about half the old tank water from the 26into the 20 and filled the rest with new conditioned water. Moved the fish, filter and heater to the temp tank - no deco.

Finished emptying the old tank of water, the plants and most of the gravel, moved it out of the way, set up the new 40B, and went to work on this one, adding all new substrate, driftwood and plants (I used mostly silk for this tank). Added new heater and new filter. Filled with all new water using Prime, close to the temp I wanted. Got the filter and heater going, moved the old filter from the temp tank back onto the new tank and moved the fish into this new tank. By keeping the original filter on the new tank along with the new filter, there was no cycle and no problems with the fish. All are loving their larger home.

I wouldn't worry about getting the temp tank fixed up until the 29 is redone and fish are back in there. Just move your fish, filter and heater to the bare temp tank while you work on the 29g. Then you can work on the 2nd tank at your leisure.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-27-2014, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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switching out tanks, feel like one armed paper hanger

Moving tanks, changing substrates, have empty 29 gallon tank w/ 40 pounds of eco complete just added. It seems to be separating nicely. I thought I had considered this process pretty well, but a bunch of questions arise.

Fish from 29 are sitting in their holding tank.

have 5 gallon of the aquarium water with an airstone going

have 5 gallon tub with rinsed filter and filter medium
QUESTION:
1. what is the best way to care for filter set up? What to do with filter and charcoal, sponge...? I [opps] let the filter sit empty and unattended for about 4 hours? is bacteria dead?
2. how can I keep the fish the best in this over crowded situation??. have HOB filter for 30 gallon. Would you consider a dose of 'Prime" or 'Melafix?'

3. tank substrate is about 2 1/2 inches deep, have another bag? or is that enough. Bag is sitting right next to me.

4. Large Amazon Sword is in clay pot in holding tank. Can I pull it out and plant it in the eco-complete before I fill the tank completely.

SO SORRY for so many questions. Gotta run, I guess the angels are happy, they are staring at me.

Thank you. Jeff
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 01:11 AM
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4 hours is not long enough to kill the nitrifying bacteria, but opening it up and allowing oxygen in is good.
Run it on the tank the fish are in now. They need the nitrifying bacteria now.

When you get the new tank ready to go add a bacteria in a bottle that includes Nitrospira. These are the actual species of nitrifying bacteria that you want to have plenty of.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 01:24 AM
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Read through this thread. Pretty much all the same info.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=712098
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