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My 75g cichlid tank is no more and I'm converting it to a planted tank. I have a few options on how to deal with the current substrate, since it's a coarse cichlid gravel in ivory coast color. Complicating matters is that the cichlid tank isn't *totally* empty. It has two plecos and two cichlids who still need to get sold off. They can't be stored anywhere else because every tank is either overstocked or in use by something that won't enjoy two plecos.

My current planted tank is using Fluorite, which is dusty as [censored][censored][censored][censored] and whose look I am just tired of. I may go with EcoComplete but I'm wondering if I can layer it on top of the some of the gravel or whether I need to take out all/most of the gravel to deal with pH issues. Can I mix the two so it doesn't look like I have some sort of weird sandwich thing going on? Most importantly, can I do the gravel change in a way that doesn't off the plecos or am I going to put them in the turtle tank with these two random hybrid cichlids who live there. The turtle would live in her box a bit.
 

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I would look over what it might look like mixed as I assume any two items will wind up mixed at some point. If it suits you wishes, I would just go with adding it. Done slowly and avoiding huges clouds, I can't imagine anything that would upset a pleco a great deal. The cichlids might be bothered more but they are probably tough guys.
I cut the bottom out of a two liter bottle to use. Holding the neck shut with fingers and filling it, then take it to the bottom where I stick it as far down as possible lets me keep it down. Back the bottle out slowly as it dumps.
 

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If you put eco complete over gravel some will sink and if you put enough it will cover the top, it may end up like you said, a sandwich. Also, if you combine the two, every time you disturb it some gravel will end up topside, giving a two color tone. I wouldn't do it, I have eco over gravel and I wished I hadn't done it. About changing the gravel, you can do it with fish in it, just buy large enough diameter hose that gravel can be siphon, no mess. Putting Eco complete in tank with water is not messy, I've done that also with many fish in it with no problem. You may need to do extra water change it it becomes too cloudy, but eco is not messy at all, that's what I like about it. I would at least empty 2/3 of the water, it's a little easier to set the new substrate, and just save the water.
 
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