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I have a 5.5 gallon tank with normal gravel and I'm going to switch all of it to Flourite, but I'm worried about the loss of beneficial bacteria. My idea is this: In order to minimize the shock and and prevent a 'mini cycle', I plan on dividing the existing gravel in half using a 16"x3" piece of glass that I have. I'll take out one half of the gravel (either from the front or back of the tank) and add the Flourite. That way, there will still be a lot of bacteria in the tank (I hope). After a week or so, I'll take out the rest of the old gravel and add the rest of the flourite.

I also have a DIY sponge filter that I've been using for about 2 months. It will also help seed bacteria.

Maybe I'll save some of the water too...

What do you guys think?

The inhabitants include: 15 guppies (11 of which are itty bitty fry that will go in a larger community tank as they get bigger, and one is a 3/4" fry), 1 african dwarf frog and 1 oto cat.

Plants: 1 Jungle val (I think), a small ball of java moss, 1 ginormous java fern and a bunch of little ones, and a group of anacharis. Adding more next week! or whenever they arrive...
 

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If it were me personally, I'd just change it out all at once. Don't forget to rinse that Flourite!

The plants + the sponge filter should be sufficient for your cycle, just make sure they don't dry out while you're changing it over.
 

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Given that a new 5.5 gal with light runs ~$20 you might consider setting up the new tank with Flourite first and transferring the fish later. The spare tank is great for quarantine, grow out, hospital etc.

I have a 5.5 gallon tank with normal gravel and I'm going to switch all of it to Flourite, but I'm worried about the loss of beneficial bacteria. My idea is this: In order to minimize the shock and and prevent a 'mini cycle', I plan on dividing the existing gravel in half using a 16"x3" piece of glass that I have. I'll take out one half of the gravel (either from the front or back of the tank) and add the Flourite. That way, there will still be a lot of bacteria in the tank (I hope). After a week or so, I'll take out the rest of the old gravel and add the rest of the flourite.
 

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There is probably enough nitrifying bacteria on the pump and glass walls/plants that you won't have any cycle issue. Just reuse the water or at least 2/3 of the water and you should be fine.
 
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