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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question part 1:

I'm going to remodel my non-planted 20L tank that currently has inert substrate which means I'm taking everything out down to the substrate, cleaning the tank, adding new hardscape, substrate, and heavily planting. The tank has 6 fish and 2 snails that I'd like to save.

Does anyone have advice for a complete tank remodel with same-day restock in a way that prioritizes fish health?

Question part 2:

I haven't decided whether or not I want to go low vs high tech in this tank. I've used CO2 in the past and have it available, but I know it may take me a week to get it stable. Would it be too extreme a change for my fish?

Question part 3:

If it just makes more sense, I could set up a cheap 10 gallon hotel tank. While not ideal, this may be my best option to save the fish. If I were to do this, would using the existing filter and water prevent a harmful nitrogen cycle?
 

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This is a very disruptive action, and I think an ammonia spike will be inevitable in the new tank, as you will be losing so much beneficial bacteria from the old substrate and hardscape. The question is, will the spike be big enough to cause issues or not?

Certainly, keep your filter and media from the old setup and install it in the new. Also, siphon some mulm from the old tank and use that to help seed your new substrate, the more the better. Your plants will also serve to reduce ammonia, so re-planting them will help. Finally, have some Seachem Prime (or another product) available to treat an ammonia spike if it occurs, and be prepared to do daily water changes. An ammonia test kit is essential, if you don't already have one. Good luck!
 

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Yes, if you were to take everything out except the substrate you could probably get away with this. But if you replace the substrate you will definitely crash the Nitrogen cycle and will have to restart it. Keeping the filter media will help speed things up but won't guarantee you won't have an ammonia spike, it's risky.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both!

What might you suggest for a water change schedule after remodeling the tank (assuming that I remove everything and want to avoid harming my fish). I have equipment to set up daily automated water changes of just about any size (using apex fusion + doser.)

maybe 30 to 40% every 2 days?
 

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Your ammonia tests should tell you how much water needs to be changed. If you need to reduce the ammonia by 50%, then a 50% change is warranted.
 
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