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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks,
I've been thinking about completely redoing my 10g. My plan is to place a new piece of wood and tear up the plants and replant them in different areas. I've never done this before so I would love some guidance and have many questions.

First, is this a wise decision to make? Will uprooting the plants and moving the substrate around cause my tank to crash? There's quite a bit of mulm deel in the substrate (inert black sand) and it is easily stirred up.Will I have to cycle the tank again due to all of the uprooting and substrate disturbance?

Second, should I remove all of my fish and inverts (neons, otos, and RCS') before rescaping? I wish to keep them as healthy as possible and am afraid of them becoming ill due to the large amounts of mulm being stirred up into the water column all of a sudden.

Third, will the plants be negatively affected by this? I have two swords whose roots spread across the whole tank and the roots will have to be cut in order to replant the swords. Will this harm them? Also, I fear my crypt parvas will not take being moved too kindly.

All thoughts, advice, and suggestions are welcome!

Please forgive me if I did not post this under the correct category.
 

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I would first try to suck up as much mulm as possible over a period of water changes.

What type of plants? Stems will be easy but heavy root feeders (swords and crypts) can be a bit more difficult.

Do you have root tabs in the substrate?
Osmocote for example can be problematic if disturbed and introduced to the water column.

I have rescape with fish in on my large tanks (240 and 65 gallons) with little issues but I usually set up a temp tank for holding livestock in my small cubes < 10 gallons.

Bump: Just saw you have swords. Try to trim lightly as possible on the roots but you may see some melting. Just remove any leaves that melt and it will recover.
 

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Definitely remove the fish.
Once you start, keep on going.
As suggested above, do a lot of gravel vacuuming ahead of time. As much as you can without disturbing things too much. Perhaps in several small sessions spread out over a week or two.
Clean the filter each time, too. The more mulm you kick up the faster the filter will clog.
Prepare enough water for more than 100% water change. You might end up doing a partial fill when you are finished replanting, then dump that water because it is still stirring up debris.
I would have a bottle of nitrifying bacteria on hand, too, just in case... Make sure it includes Nitrospira species of bacteria.
 

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I've done this several times in my 50g. I've never removed the fish to be honest. I turn the filter off, carefully remove the plants to make sure not to disturb too much in the substrate. Once everything is removed, I drain the tank down about 70% to remove anything I did disturb. Rearrange hardscape and replant at this point, then fill the tank back up and restart the filter.

I've never had any algae blooms or fish death from this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you everyone for all of the help and advice! I will go ahead and start doing the vacuuming over the next two weeks. I have not used Osmocote root tabs yet (I just purchased the fertilizer and gel caps to do so) and will hold off using them until after rescaping.

Regarding the DIY root tabs: how close should I place them to my swords and crypts (distance from the crown of the plant)? And should I wait off adding the tabs until the plants have settled into their new positions or insert the ferts straight away after rescaping?
 
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