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Disturbing 2 year old dirt

881 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Diana
I've had my 5 up for about two years, and the whole time I've had the same dirt substrate in parts of the tank. Some of these parts haven't been messed with since the day I first planted them. I've been noticing a clear decline in my plants, and I'm suspecting it's dirt that's either formed toxic pockets, or is just flat out suffocating the roots by compacting.
Either way, I've decided that I need to, partially or completely as I can, remove the dirt, and just switch to using root tabs only.

I'm planning on doing the clean out in one day, and temporarily moving the fish and shrimp to a separate container (with their filter, plants, driftwood). I've never tried something like this though, so I really don't know what I'm getting in to. Any tips or suggestions?
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Move all fish, plants, shrimp to a separate container. Using the old water is optional.
Run the filter on that container.
Redo the tank.
Add some nitrifying bacteria if you think you need to. If the tank is densely planted (so many plants you cannot see the back wall) then I would not bother with the bacteria. However, if you are also doing a major plant trim I would add a bottled product that includes Nitrospira species of bacteria.
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