I have my 55 setup with Silica sand about 1mm in size, but recently I have been reading and finding that Plants are just not doing well in this envoroment, also the sand is white and with the lack of sifters I have in the tank it becomes unsightly fairly quickly.
So im contemplating switching out the sand. Heres my problem - my tank is heavily populated with some fairly sensitive fish (dwarf gouramis/ angel rams etc.) so im worried about the mini cycle that will take place after i swap the sand out.
anyone have any ideas on the saftest way to switch substrates?
I actually just did it last weekend and didn't see any cycle. I didn't touch my filter which has a lot of ceramic rings and stars in it. My nitrates went up between 5-10ppm but that was it. If your worried about it, I would set up a smaller tank, cycle it completly, and put the fish in there as a temp home while you do the change to make sure you don't get a small cycle. I'm sure the more experience users will have other idea but that would be my thought. I was very surprised I didn't have a mini cycle and I too pulled sand out, with Flourite base that was very nasty and mucky, but I cleaned every piece of it out by hand without a problem. Good luck since I know it's stressful.
Oh..a word of avdvise..get what you really want the first time so you don't have to go through all of this! I got what I did since I liked it, but not loved it, and later on had the money to buy the right substrate so I had to go through all of what your going through now. I kick myself in the butt often for now doing it right the first time!
personally i would put some of the old stuff in a couple of pairs of panty
hose and suspend them in the tank afterwards,not the
most attractive looking thing in the world,however if it helps
then where's the problem.
how long was the 55 up and running for ?
i feel that the most important bacteria is in the filter,and that's
something to watch,however if the filter can somehow be kept running,
then it should be ok.
keep a close eye on the tank when you are done,as in the water results
then you can act quickly if there are any problems,
i hope it goes well for you.
the only other thing i was thinking would be to leave a thin layer of sand the bottom of the tank as a layerd substrate can be good for plants - but i know this could cause me more problems then its work also.
The sand will hurt you in the long run. I was going to do the same thing but on the advise of someone who knows, Bettababy, I'm glad that I didn't leave anything in there and I started over. The roots don't grow well in sand and they won't grow to their full potential
cool holly thanks- seems we are in the same shoes in some respects - im looking back at your posts have yet to see your original one about switching but what i can tell you is that i do love the original setup!
what substrate did you end up picking / what was the cost? if you dont mind me asking.
Thanks! I did a mixture of Volcanic and Flora Base. I bought 4 bags of Volcanic and 3 bags of Flora but have one bag of each left over. There's a $100 worth of substate in the tank but I love how it looks and it's going to do the job I need it to do for a long time to come. Dr Fosters only charges thier shipping rates on the total cost so I had 3 boxes, 7 20lb bags and other things sent for $15.99. You can't beat it. Did you see the new final product? I'm so proud of it! I have to get some better pics this weekend now that everything is cleared up.
I would definatly not suggest using Flourite. I had a horrible experience with it and would not refer it to anyone since I believe it changed my water parameters also.
Sorry - i meant your new setup was the one I liked.
if i knew the tnak was gonna be setup for a good long time in my room i would definatly invest in the good stuff - problem is im probably gonna be moving out fairly soon.
Im thinking i have around 50 lbs of pea sized gravel and 50lbs of sand - i might try mixing them. just something im pondering.
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