The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have started adding plants to an established 46 gallon bow front. At least for now I am not planning to change out the substrate, so I just have small brown river rock style gravel. The filter is a Fluval 406. I am considering adding a power head for more circulation. The fish right now are a school of 5 Bronze Cory, a school of 7 Glow Light Tetras, and a Dwarf Gourami. I am waiting for some Black Neons and Cardinals to add 7 each of those as well.

I have had a moss ball in the tank for a couple of years, but I do not count that as a planted tank :smile2:. There are lots of artificial plants as well as a fake rock stack, log and stump. I am considering driftwood and real rocks as I proceed. I have been replacing the fake plants with similar real ones. So far I have added an Amazon Sword, a Val, Hornwort and a hair grass in a small pot. I have already split the hornwort into a second group.

I had a low power Mainland LED light strip. I recently got a generic Chinese LED strip that is much brighter. I estimate it as a 120W equivalent which gives me about 2.5W per gallon.

My main concern is if I should switch out the substrate before going much further. If I kept almost all the water, cycling should not be an issue for the fish. But it would be an all day job to get it right.

I'll add some pictures when I get a chance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
745 Posts
You can add root tabs of any kind and leave the substrate you have right now. I'm using simple sand with peat-clay balls (something like JBL balls) and everything grows nicely. For swords those balls are the best in my opinion. If you like this gravel - leave it as it is and add something, if you were considering changing, because of the looks - go for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,419 Posts
I recently planted my tank after getting better lighting (Finnex Planted+ 24/7). I had plastic decor but the advantage of a silica (pool filter) sand substrate. I removed all the plastic, added some more sand, a couple of rocks and then planted away in stages...all while the fish remained.
If you really want to change the substrate, you might want to remove some of the water and the fish to a temporary holding bin (a rubbermade would work) being sure to continue filtering with your existing filter to keep the ammonia in check. This allows you to do all of the work without stressing out or harming the fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,116 Posts
I just recently swapped the substrate in both of my tanks. The way I did it took longer, but the risk of having cycle problems was minimal and I haven't had any to speak of.

I swapped out a quarter of my substrate on water change day for 4 weeks or a 1/4 per week. In the 29, I simply added to the gravel I had, but I still added to new stuff in slowly so that the old stuff that was in there did not become capped. That and I added Flora Max which is known to do things to pH levels. Adding it slowly meant I could watch for pH spikes.

For each section I removed from the 10 gallon, I vacuumed really well to prevent too much junk from getting into the water column. Root tabs work, but I found that I didn't like to vacuum at all as I didn't want the stuff from the root tabs floating around with every water change. After the change I stopped using them and now both of my tanks get a good surface vac every week so I don't have pockets of stuff everywhere.

For the 10 gallon I swapped out the old gravel entirely. The stuff that was in there was too big, there was sand in there, ect... If your tank has been set up for awhile, there is a risk of having cycle problems if you change all the substrate at once. Bacteria lives everywhere in your tank, but losing all the bacteria on the substrate can be a huge hit. Some tanks do okay, others do not. If you decide to swap all of the substrate at once, closely monitor your tank for a few weeks. At the first signs of trouble, start doing water changes.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top