Changing Gravel in my tank
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Changing Gravel in my tank

This is a discussion on Changing Gravel in my tank within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I was wondering if I could get some advise. I have a planted fish tank that I have had for well over a year ...

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Changing Gravel in my tank
Old 01-28-2014, 01:33 PM   #1
 
Changing Gravel in my tank

I was wondering if I could get some advise.

I have a planted fish tank that I have had for well over a year (maybe even a few years). I would like to change the gravel. Right now I have the eco complete but I'm not to fond of it. #1 I can't have any bottom feeders since the gravel is small and sharp. #2 it gets stucked up when I"m cleaning the tank (this isn't THAT big of a deal but crud gets stuck in the stones and it's hard to clean)

I was reading online that sand is a good alternative. While sand would still get sucked up the tube I read that food and other stuff (dead plant material etc) won't sink into the sand. It will sit on top. So not only is it easier for the fish (and bottom feeders) to eat but I can just hover the tube over the sand and suck up all the crap.

Is there any down side to sand? Anything else recommended?

I want to do this with out stressing out my fish. I have plants that I will have to take out but it's not a big deal. My plants aren't sick but they aren't flourishing either (that's another post entirely)

I have 3 neon tetra's and 3 black skirt tetra's. it's a 55 gallon tank.

Thanks,

Amy

Last edited by aklick; 01-28-2014 at 01:35 PM..
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:08 PM   #2
 
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I changed from gravel to sand recently and I'm very pleased with the results. Plants do much better for me in the sand and my catfish love to dig and forage through it. My cichlids too, love to play with the sand.
Make sure to rinse the sand very, very well or it might cloud the water for awhile. Also, be careful that your filter does not discharge too forcefully and disturb the sand or it will settle on your plants. No big deal ,but you will have to shake it off to avoid yellow spots. I have a fine mesh cover over my filter intakes to keep the sand out, but everyone says its not needed.
Another thing to be aware of with sand is depth. If its too deep( more than 3" or so) it will lock out oxygen and create anaerobic conditions that might lead to the production of harmfull or bad-smelling gasses. With plants that is less likely, but just keep it in mind.
I would reccommend sand as a substrate instead of gravel to anyone thinking about changing.
Good luck!
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:20 PM   #3
 
those bad pockets of aenerobic sand are... i seriously don't know why people freak about them

if you have them, if it develops H2S, fine, just leave it, it's not going to go anywhere, and slowly diffusing into the water column will neutralize and gas off

if you are one of those people who messes with the substrate on a (ir)regular basis, then ya, you are going to cause problems, and your fish are going to suffer for it.

if you have plants, the plants will ensure there is enough oxygen around the roots that no aeneroxic areas will develop (in areas with roots)
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Old 01-28-2014, 03:45 PM   #4
 
Thank you both for you input. I don't have a traditional filter. I have a sponge filter so I'm not to worried about that :)
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:22 PM   #5
 
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You aren't anywhere near moderately stocked, which means less fish-poo fertilizer. It may be why your plants aren't flourishing. Also, those fish need to be kept in groups of 6+. You could always cap your current substrate with sand. You could possibly even do it and keep everything planted.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:32 PM   #6
 
Thanks. I will go pick up some more fish at the fish store I guess.

I guess I could cap the current rock's with sand. Interesting option

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flint View Post
You aren't anywhere near moderately stocked, which means less fish-poo fertilizer. It may be why your plants aren't flourishing. Also, those fish need to be kept in groups of 6+. You could always cap your current substrate with sand. You could possibly even do it and keep everything planted.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:18 PM   #7
 
The problem with capping stones with sand is, eventually the sand will sink to the bottom and the stones will show through.
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Old 01-30-2014, 03:43 PM   #8
 
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The problem with capping stones with sand is, eventually the sand will sink to the bottom and the stones will show through.

Very good point
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Old 01-30-2014, 04:52 PM   #9
 
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You could cap it again and by the third cap you should be fine. Eventually there won't be space inbetween the gravel.
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:16 PM   #10
 
You need to stir the "gas spots" in the sand regularly otherwise it could come out all at once and harm your fish. You may not want to cap it over the rocks because of this.
I'm also sure you know that because all the gunk sits on top it's very easy to see and of course this doesn't look good. If you do get bottom feeders though I don't think it would be a problem.
Also, you might have a mini cycle because of changing the substrate.
It's nice you get to have sand :( I hope I can get sand soon too.
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