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Best way Changing from Gravel to Sand?

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Best way Changing from Gravel to Sand?
Old 06-14-2012, 09:00 AM   #11
 
My pool filter sand has always been sandy brown (Have an 18' round pool - a welcome relief on a hot day!...big block of ice in the winter )

Wash/rinse the sand really well before hand - it may take awhile but don't rush it. Maybe even clean the sand the day off this week to do the switch next week?

Seems to me you don't even need to totally drain the tank...more like half. Fish can go in your 10g or even a 5g bucket. With or w/o an air stone, they'll be fine for the time it will take. Carefully remove your plants and decor and keep wet. Use a kitty litter scoop to remove the gravel. Add the sand and use the scoop to contour. Replant, refill - make sure the temp is right and re-add the fish. Clean up and enjoy a cool favorite beverage.

AD
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:48 PM   #12
 
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I've switched from gravel to sand without removing the fish. I don't recommend it though, but it's definitely not necessary to remove the water (though it's good to remove some so you don't have to worry about splashes). Nor is it important to get all the gravel out - what's left will eventually make it's way to the surface where it is easily removed.
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:01 PM   #13
 
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I've changed substrates (from various gravels to play sand) in five tanks over the past year or so. The easiest way is to remove fish and plants to a temporary tank, drain the main tank, remove the gravel, then clean the play sand about 3 cups at a time; this is actually faster because the smaller quantity will rinse quicker than having more sand in the bucket. Put the washed sand in the tank as you go. When done, fill the tank about half, then immediately drain it; you will remove a lot of silt. Then arrange the hardscape (wood, rock, etc). Add fresh water but dechlorinate it so the bacteria on the wood/rock (if it came from the former tank) isn't lost, and don't wash these items, just keep them wet during the foregoing. Plant the plants. At this point, you can drain the water out again if it is cloudy from the planting. Fill the tank, use dechlorinator. Get the filter/heater running. Do a partial water change on the temporary tank, 50-60%. Then net over the fish.
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:11 PM   #14
 
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I've changed substrates (from various gravels to play sand) in five tanks over the past year or so. The easiest way is to remove fish and plants to a temporary tank, drain the main tank, remove the gravel, then clean the play sand about 3 cups at a time; this is actually faster because the smaller quantity will rinse quicker than having more sand in the bucket. Put the washed sand in the tank as you go. When done, fill the tank about half, then immediately drain it; you will remove a lot of silt. Then arrange the hardscape (wood, rock, etc). Add fresh water but dechlorinate it so the bacteria on the wood/rock (if it came from the former tank) isn't lost, and don't wash these items, just keep them wet during the foregoing. Plant the plants. At this point, you can drain the water out again if it is cloudy from the planting. Fill the tank, use dechlorinator. Get the filter/heater running. Do a partial water change on the temporary tank, 50-60%. Then net over the fish.

Byron,

What if you don't have a spare tank, or any other tank than the one you want to change the substrate in?

I have read others mention a large tote of some kind, as a container for the fish and plants etc. But what would the absolute minimum requirement be for equipment needed? On my tank, the filter is housed completely inside the tank, and the heater sits inside this also, the heater can be removed, so I could put that in the tote holding the fish. but no filter, this just wouldn't work. I don't think anyway. realistically how long have you got for around 25 fish (all fairly small) in a container with no filter? Would an airstone be required, and would it do any good? would you need to get some kind of small portable filter?

cheers
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:30 PM   #15
 
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Byron,

What if you don't have a spare tank, or any other tank than the one you want to change the substrate in?

I have read others mention a large tote of some kind, as a container for the fish and plants etc. But what would the absolute minimum requirement be for equipment needed? On my tank, the filter is housed completely inside the tank, and the heater sits inside this also, the heater can be removed, so I could put that in the tote holding the fish. but no filter, this just wouldn't work. I don't think anyway. realistically how long have you got for around 25 fish (all fairly small) in a container with no filter? Would an airstone be required, and would it do any good? would you need to get some kind of small portable filter?

cheers
I would not risk my fish, as I have had fish temporarily in buckets and they are highly stressed (several kept jumping out even with my makeshift cover), water cools, oxygen is depleted, etc. Not worth it. I did this with some fairly hardy Emperor Tetra, but I would never subject my more delicate species to this.

A 20g tank is not expensive, and keeping a spare in the closet for this sort of occassion is well worth the minimal cost. This can be the same as the normal quarantine tank, provided it isn't being used at the time.

You can use the main tank filter on the spare tank, and the heater can sit in it too. Or you can have a sponge filter and heater for the 20g. to use in these situations. Some may say that the water cooling a bit is not an issue, but I don't accept this. With what we are considering, the fish are under significant stress from being caught and dumped in a temporary tank [using water from the main tank is wise to lessen the shock], a new environment, closer quarters in most cases..all this adds up. The temp lowering a few degrees might not matter much during a water change, but here it could mean the onset of ich or some other disease that may be in the water. The fish are more susceptible when stressed.

Byron.
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:42 PM   #16
 
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ok cheers,

I am not imminently itching to do this, I would like to switch my substrate but fear the things you mention, and not sure I have the inclination to bother..

I don't have the means to have a second tank, other wise I would have one already. We just don't have the room in our house, and my mrs would laugh if I mentioned buying another tank just as a spare... Even though I would love one, as just recently I thought I had a leak, and was in a complete state not knowing what I was going to do.. (as it turned out I didn't have a leak, but if I did I would be helpless..)

I know its bad but I don't have a QT tank, I trust the LFS I get my fish from so don't feel the need to QT any new fish, rightly or wrongly, and have yet to have a sick fish that needs medicating in a hospital tank or whatever.

I guess I will live with my gravel for now....

Thanks for the info though. as always.
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:55 PM   #17
 
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I too am wanting to change from gravel to sand...however is it possible to do half sand and half gravel? I've seen a lot of tanks that have a higher elevation of gravel on one side of the tank, is this ok for a 55g tank? Also, if putting some of the gravel in another tank, do I have to rinse it or is it better to not rinse?
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:00 PM   #18
 
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@CallieDee: The sand will end up settling below the gravel. You would be better off raising the level using a piece of wood or big stones covered with sand.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:05 PM   #19
 
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@CallieDee: The sand will end up settling below the gravel. You would be better off raising the level using a piece of wood or big stones covered with sand.
So if I use all sand instead of half and half, can I just pile up the sand on 1 end to about 3-5" high...or will I still need to use stones and/or wood?
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:18 PM   #20
 
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You don't want sand that deep, nor gravel for that matter. If you want to build up the "substrate" I would do it artificially so the actual substrate material (sand) is not m ore than 2 inches in depth.
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