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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have gravel at the bottom of my tank and I hate it. It's very hard to keep clean, I can't plant anything in it, and I have a better substrate that I would like to put in. I have the new substrate in my tank at work and it is tiny ceramic beads that the company i work for makes. It's just like sand but puts off no cloud or anything when cleaning it because it's fairly heavy.

Which would be a better way to do this.

1 remove the fish and put them in a bucket remove the gravel and add the new substrate while they are out of the tank?

2 scoop the gravel with a fish net then pour the new substrate in?

Also being that I'm changing the substrate is there anything that I need to do with my fish to ease the transition?


I was thinking of leaving half the tank gravel and putting the other half the new substrate to make a white and brown tank bottom. Would this be better for the fish (less harm to the water quality)?
 

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#1 is the best option. I've done it before and it worked fine.

I wouldn't mix the substrates because after a while they will just become intermingled.

Good luck.
 

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Use option # 1. It happened to me couple time. I have few dead fish every time I did it. Couple days ago, I pulled out an amazon sword plant with my fish in the tank. My substrate got disturbed a little and I ended up with 2 casualties.
 

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if you gravel is real dirty you could have any ammonia pockets or anerobic bacteria you can kick that up and have negative effects on your fish. so removing your fish and then the gravel and water and cleaning your tank first would be ideal. then you can put your new substrate in then your plants (its easier to plant when there is no water) and then add water and then fish. just make sure you keep your old filter dirty so that you still have a bacterial filter.

also i have buried a few fish before by accident by being lazy and not cleaning everything out first
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
this is the first i hear of fish dying because of moving the substrate.

Why doesn't this happen when I vacuum the gravel in the tank? I normally kick all kind of nasty stuff up when I do that.
 

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Yes, I'd also be interested in hearing more about it and seeing some pictures. I've never seen anything like that used before.

I have gone both ways--tearing the tank down and putting the fish in a bucket to change substrate, and just scooping out the old and dumping it in. I think I've had equal casualties both ways. (I learned that rainbowfish ned a lid on their bucket or they jump!) I do disturb my substrate--the top layer at least, the bottom of it is potting soil and messy--with every water change to be sure there's no pockets of anything nasty, because with sand in my substrate, those do develop. If you've got the standard size aquarium gravel, I don't see pockets of ammonia being an issue, though. But, to be safe, I'd vote for taking the fish out.
 

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+1 on the lid on the bucket. I have done a substrate change before and gone with removing most fish and lost a couple because they jumped out while I wasn't paying attention.

Also, I would suggest removing all your substrate, add new stuff, then do at least 50% water change then add fish back in. The more water you can save from your tank before disturbing it the better too. If you can save all of it you can avoid some of the water changing.

You will certainly have ammonia spike by disturbing all your gravel and the water change or saving the water before removing substrate should help with that. I would continue at least 25% water change daily for a week or so if you don't save much of your water. Make sure you condition the new water with Prime or something if you have chlorinated tap water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The material is called proppant.

It is used in the oilfield to allow more oil or gas to come out the ground when they fracture the rock under the ground.

It is expensive. $100 for 50lbs. We'll I've never bought substrate before so I'm not sure if that's expensive or not.

Here are some pictures of the different varieties that we have. these are taken under a microscope so the actual size is much smaller


Here is what it looks like in my tank at work. Sorry the pic is kinda fuzzy. My camera on my phone sucks. You can get the size of it by looking at the yellow flakes in it. It's all the exact same size. When i say exact it's measured down to the millionth of a meter.

This is the brown proppant. they also have many different shades and sizes. White, black, brown, and tan from the size of M&M's down to a powder.




The only downside i can see with this is that it has no nutritional value to the plants because it is ceramic. It doesn't give off any chemicals or ever degrade. The good side is that it is very easy to keep clean. I just suck it all up into the gravel vacuum and then pinch the hose and it falls out right back where it was.

My tank at home has super high nitrate because i can't get all of the matter from under the horrible gravel i have. I'm hoping this fixes that problem.
 

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The only downside i can see with this is that it has no nutritional value to the plants because it is ceramic. It doesn't give off any chemicals or ever degrade.
it gets its "nutritional value" from ferts you add to your water column and root tabs that the ceramic will absorb and then slowly leach back to your plants, almost like shultz aqua soil works i belive
 
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