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I dont think anyone can really tell if a substrate is exhausted. Plus if you're introducing ferts through the water column, and into the substrate I dont think you'll have a problem personally.

But if I was going to replace a substrate into an established aquarium. I would move all fish, snail and plants that I wanted to keep into a tub or second aquarium along with their filtration equipment. That way I do not know risk killing anything accidentally.
 

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I use a bunch of 5g buckets.
Remove about 4g of tank water into three or four of them depending on the need.
All the plants into one, fish, driftwood, anything I want to keep wet into the rest.
I run an air stone in each bucket of fish and plants, whether it's needed for the weeds IDK.

I clear a corner down to the glass and siphon out all the water I can get.
Having a small ice scoop I use that for removing the gravel, sand, what ever being careful to stay off the sides dumping it into dry buckets.
Using an old credit card I push the remaining substrate to center as possible and use the scoop for all I can get.

ShopVac eats the rest LOL

I've done this by choice changing things up.
 

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I just did this today, I had sand though and just siphoned it out into a rubbermaid tub out the window. Sand settles in tub and water overflows. With gravel I just empty it out n shop vac away.

Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry that I wasn't more specific. My substrate is a mixture of peat moss, a low-nitrate garden mix (cactus mix if I remember correctly) and sand, with a layer of sand on top. It totals about 4" thick.

I do use fertilizers in the water and fertilizer sticks from the hardware store for some of the plants, especially the lily and swords.

I was more curious about if the proper pattern would be to do several partial changes over time, or a complete change all at once. The later seems to be the consensus.

I am not having a problem with the growth of the plants (In fact, I have the opposite problem, if that's a problem. My LFS loves me.), but I don't like waiting for issues to develop before knowing what to do about it. My substrate is about 5 years old now, so it occurred to me that it might be getting tired.

Thank you all very much!

Mike
 

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Mini cycle?????

I use a bunch of 5g buckets.
Remove about 4g of tank water into three or four of them depending on the need.
All the plants into one, fish, driftwood, anything I want to keep wet into the rest.
I run an air stone in each bucket of fish and plants, whether it's needed for the weeds IDK.

I clear a corner down to the glass and siphon out all the water I can get.
Having a small ice scoop I use that for removing the gravel, sand, what ever being careful to stay off the sides dumping it into dry buckets.
Using an old credit card I push the remaining substrate to center as possible and use the scoop for all I can get.

ShopVac eats the rest LOL

I've done this by choice changing things up.

I was wondering if this is worth it cause I have the silly blue black aquarium walmart gravel that I bought when I thought the tank was gonna be fake plants.

Well now I want live plants in there. Of course... lol.....

I know with most of the plants that I will be using I can put them into this crappy substrate but is it worth it to go through this to put in a better substrate? i.e. Eco complete, so the plants do better in long run and just in general growth.

Or can I add some Eco complete to my old crappy gravel? will this help at all?

If I do change all of the old crappy walmart gravel and start over will the tank go through a mini nitrogen cycle?

I would also be using root tabs and I have some java moss on some driftwood already so I do dose the tank with flourish once a week. I will probably get c02 device in long run too. O and my lighting is HO T5 so I can do any type of plant but will be sticking to more hardier, easier ones as this will be my first attempt.

Thanks for your help in advance?
 

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Changing sub as ROZDAB is describing I would change nothing else at the same time only adding water to top off the tank, save everything from the tank keeping it wet and leaving it 'dirty' through the change period. Bacteria creates a bio film on everything in the tank.

I have mixed subs but the question here is will you be happy mixing with the blue/black clown poo?

HTH
 

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I'm a little cornfused about your response sorry I'm a little slow today or everyday lol but u asked 'will u be happy with mixing the blue and black clown poo?' What are you saying there? I'm cornfused lol

Do u mean am I gonna like the look of the mixed result if I go mixing route? I was planning on using the black Eco complete and maybe finding it without the liquid?

Don't know if this is what u r asking or asking or stating? Sorry
 

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And yes I would do a wc and put everything besides old fake plants in wc water and then go to town and just change substrate and put everything back into tank if I decided to start with all new sub.

Am I even making any sense on what I'm trying to get across and ask please let me know thanks lol
 

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I saw the other thread but had answered here first.
Changing the substrate keep all the tank materials wet during the swap in tank water. Put everything else back in the tank the day you do the swap to help avoid another cycle.
Will you like the look of mixed materials? If not remove ALL the old substrate and replace it.
While doing this do not even wipe off the glass inside the tank, don't clean hoses, heaters, don't clean anything with 'tank slime' on it. Put the fake plants, EVERYTHING back in to maintain as much bio film as possible. Do not clean the filter for a week after the substrate change.
Add to top off the tank but don't do a major water change. Changing all the substrate is drastic enough in one day. I re use as much old tank water as I can save.
Hope this makes sense
 

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K thank u for breaking it down for me that makes perfect sense to me sorry I'm tired today and it's my Friday. Lol

Just one more question you mentioned put fake plants back too. That makes sense to me for avoiding a mini cycle but in terms of taking them out and getting rid of em, follow the same time frame as when to do the w.c. to make room for the live plants? (changing to live plants is why I'm doing this)

Also would I c a huge difference in the plants? again hardy easy to maintain ones if I mixed it opposed to changing all of it? Or is it basically same difference because of the root tabs, liquid ferts, and c02 I will also be using?

I will be very observant in terms of testing the water so I guess a lot of it will be determined off of my results.
 
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