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Adding Laterite to an Existing Tank

4992 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  dantra
I'm looking to switch my 55 gallon planted tank over to sand from gravel, and while I'm at it I'm looking to add some laterite, and I'm just looking for some suggestions on how to do this. I understand how to switch from sand to gravel, no problems there, but I'm just wondering what would be the best way to get the Laterite in there without clouding my water red. The only way I can think of would be to drain most of the into some big storage containers along with the fish and plants, scoop out the gravel, put down the laterite and the sand on top of it, then refill with the old water, redecorate and put the fish back in. While I don't have a problem going through all that trouble, I'm a little concerned about the fish.

In that tank right now there are:
Apistogramma Borellii x 1
Apistogramma Agassizii x 1
Apistogramma Cacuatoides x 2
Apistogramma Cruzi x 3
Microgeophagus Ramirezi x 4 (2 pair)
Emperor Tetras x 6

(excuse any spelling errors, that's off the top of my head, and i can't for the life of me remember the scientific name for emperor tetras :icon_roll )

It's a kind of pricey and sensitive collection (apistos are hard to come by where I'm from!), so I was hoping there would be a secret to this that would be easier on them. Another concern I had was with removing the beneficial bacteria in the old gravel. I will be filling a nylon bag with the old stuff and hanging it in the tank for awhile to transfer some bacteria, but how much of a re-cycle should I expect with those kind of stocking levels?

One last question (I promise!). I'm running a rena xp2 on that tank, and I know that sand can ruin impeller filters pretty quick. How long should I leave the filter off for after doing the switch, and/or are there any other precautions I should be taking?

If you have any suggestions at all, please speak up! :)
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quite a predicament you got going there! its going to be tough getting that laterite in decently with lots of water, so i think that the best way is to do what you wrote. Remove the fish with your old water and re-add that. I think the fish should be fine as long as youre careful. (im no expert). That route would probably be better than doing it with the fish in the tank anyway, so you dont have much choice. As for the rena, the sand should settle to the bottom pretty quick because it is dense. So i dont think any should be getting sucked into the impeller unless your inlet is relatively close to the sand itself. I would leave the filter on after the sand is settled with the water red, but also making sure the inlet is high off the ground. That's all i got, hope others can give you more thoughts and suggestions!
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I'd just bury a few fertilizer tablets around every Month,
don't bother with laterite if it's going to be such trouble.
if you want to avoid cycle burn, then wait a good Month
before introducing your most valuable fish. since Cichlids
prefer acidic water, maybe a dusting of peat moss under
your sand will help with tank cycling and help lower pH.
make laterite mud balls, bake in oven for a few minutes, let em cool off, stick em in the sand. easy. no mess in tank, only when making laterite mud (use gloves if going to mix by hand).
latorite as a powder will turn your water the darkest muddiest red you have ever seen. i used latorite in the beginning set up no water and added the water very very ery slowly it took 2 day to fill and the tank was murky for weeks. i like the sugestion mentioned above with the mud balls but perhaps instead of making balls you may make sheets i'd imagine the laorite may break down in time but i think it's worth a trial first in a container light and plants see if there roots get through it you may be making adobe bricks
Or Another Way, Credit goes to Momotaro he came up with it
Put the LAterite into Ice cubes tray, put a little bit of water, When they freeze.. shove the ice blocks in the sand... Its pretty hot right now.. so the temperture shouldnt change alot
Thanks for all the replies :)

I'm definitely giving laterite a second thought now. I've read a few things about keeping the plants in pots, and I think I'm going to give that a shot. 4" pots without drainage holes, laterite on the bottom topped with sand, and bury the pot in the substrate. Thoughts?

Obviously this will restrict the growth of the plants, but it's a lower light tank so I can't see anything really taking off, and I'm lazy when it comes to pruning anyhow.

Unfortunately, slowly reintroducing the fish isn't an option. My only other aquarium is a smaller tanganyikan setup with J. transcriptus. I'll just have to cross my fingers and keep a close eye on water quality for a few weeks after I do the change.
Actually if you use Duplarit G (I think its G) the laterite is in a glandular form not power so it won't turn your water red at all. You can use Duplarit K which are balls of laterite (smaller than a golf ball size) and shove that under the plants. The cheaper laterite is in powder form, (you get what you pay for).

Obviously you would use the Duplarit G under your substrate.

Whatever you decide to do I hope it works out for you

dantra, that Dupla Duplarit G{ranular} sounds great!
where else have you found it for sale? post a link ;)

here's some interesting Duplarit reading...

shame I didn't read about this a 2 Months ago when I was setting up a
new tank with inert 1-2mm course sand... oh well. too late to add it now.
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From what I gather Duplarit hasn’t been sold in the states like it has been years ago.
I know this place sells it.

Picture of Duplirit products.

Interesting read.

Hope this helps
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