Originally Posted by WalkinH2o
Thought I'd finally say hi to the community here after lurking around for a few weeks. Just set up a 37 gal FW and I'm in the last stages of cycling it. So far I have a Peacock Cichlid (I think?), a Senegal bichir and a couple Synodontis Cats. Been monitoring my water and doing pwc's (about 20%) every 3 days or so. So far so good! I think I'm on the right track but I already want to change out my gravel substrate for sand. I also bought some nice Texas Holey rock that I'm waiting to be delivered. I guess I decided I want to go more the Cichlid route and I already ichin' for a 75 gal tank but I think I'll wait until this first tank is stabilized. Eventually I'd like to set up a 75 with the Cichlids and convert the 37 to a community tank with something that can handle my high PH, hard water tap water. Any suggestions that can handle the 8.0PH tap water (I really don't want to get into trying to constantly change the PH and from what I've read so far most people don't recommend it!). My immediate question is... should I wait for the tank to completely cycle before changing out the gravel to sand (16 grit blasting sand probably since I can find much around me so far and I don't want really fine sand)?
Sorry for being so long-winded on my first post!
Welcome to the forum! Glad you decided to join us.
When you say the last stages of your cycle...what exactly are your water parameters?
Swapping out gravel for sand doesn't have to throw your tank into a cycle if done properly. You can put a large amount of your gravel into the foot of a nylon hose and remove all the gravel and replace with sand, then set the nylon bag of gravel on top of the sand to seed the new substrate. If your tank isn't cycled there's no need to do this and you can do a 50/50 as Mollies suggests.
I live just down the way from you and have that same darn tap water. I've been able to keep my ph at 7.8 with lots of driftwood in planted tanks. A lot of fish in our local LFS(s) have been captive bred in our same crappy water. I've had no problems keeping loaches, barbs, catfish, captive bred discus and rams.