Originally Posted by Cassandra90
The gravel I have now is black, but I will try just with the black sand.
Can I change the substrate all in one day? Or does it take longer. I know I have to wash the sand first. But if I put it in the tank and added old tank water back and new water would it be safe to add the fish back in that day?
Also, would you have any suggestions on plants? I have an aquarium store near me that pretty much carries all types of freshwater plants.
With a small tank such as this 10g, you could change the substrate with the fish in the tank. I personally prefer to remove the fish, in this case to a 2g bucket (or a spare small tank if you have one) and keep the filter running in the bucket/tank [just hang it in somehow]. This allows you to drain the tank and remove all the substrate. Then add the well-washed sand [rinse and rinse and rinse
]. Add live plants, and any decor [keeping decor from the existing tank in the tank water in the bucket or another bucket will preserve bacteria on it, don't wash or rinse it]. Fill with dechlorinated fresh water. If the fresh water differs from the existing tank water, acclimate the fish by mixing the waters slowly/gradually. Then net the fish into the tank. In this case, as it is your tank, you could "pour" the fish and bucket of water into the new tank half filled with dechlorinated fresh water. The live plants will assimilate the ammonia immediately, plus you have bacteria in the filter and on any decor. I have moved large tanks with more than a hundred fish in them to a new setup in one day, with new filter media and substrate. Live plants are miraculous.
Good plants for a 10g are pygmy chain sword, crypts (the smaller species, some are in our profiles), dwarf sword, and stem plants. Floating plants are always beneficial for fish, and Brazilian Pennywort is ideal floating, and Water Sprite if you can find it.