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I recently converted from blue gravel to flourish substrate. I moved the fish and filters and water to another tank first. Then removed the blue gravel and washed down the tank, etc. Then setup my low tech planted tank. Turns out that most of the beneficial bacteria were in my blue gravel and my tank went through a 3 day re-cycle. I lost 3 of 25 fish. Wasn't that bad but I was disappointed. Looking back I would have put some blue gravel in mesh bags (maybe 2 small ones) and left them in the tank for a couple weeks to avoid the recycle.

I think you need to determine what will look best in the long term and bite the bullet now if you think changing is the way to go. I also think covering up that gravel may force a mini re-cycle. Just something to consider.

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