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-   -   Substrate change in established tank (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/substrate-change-established-tank-128338/)

Absntmind 02-09-2013 05:55 PM

Substrate change in established tank
 
Fixing to attempt a substrate change on a 55 gallon planted tank. I will be switching from play sand to Black Diamond blasting "sand" (20/40).

Right now I am thinking I will do a 50% water drain, pull everything on one side, and switch half the substrate. After I will stick a few plants temporarily in the completed side while I change the remaining. After which I can organize as needed then refill the tank.

My thoughts being it would be less stressful on the fish by not chasing them around the tank to catch em, placing them in a bucket for a couple hours, then putting them back in a completely new environment. The plants stuck in the new side temporarily will give them "shelter" while I am finishing the tank.

Is this a bad idea? Would they be better off if I just wrangled them all up and placed them in buckets as I made the change?

I've never done anything like this, so I would be grateful for any advice or ideas on how to go about this.

AbbeysDad 02-09-2013 06:56 PM

Your sitch is not much different from when I switched from gravel to sand.
I filled a 5g bucket and moved the fish out, then drained to half, scooped the gravel and added the sand. Since only half the water was removed, it was no more than a water change - the fish all did fine.
Each to his own, but I think moving the fish makes the process easier.

thekoimaiden 02-09-2013 09:05 PM

I did something similar when I switch my goldfish tank over to large gravel. I switched one side and then the other. The largest problem I ran into was the two substrates mixing. And while this wasn't a problem with multicolor gravel, I can imagine it would show up with two very different colored sands.

Just food for through.

Absntmind 02-09-2013 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AbbeysDad (Post 1425021)
Your sitch is not much different from when I switched from gravel to sand.
I filled a 5g bucket and moved the fish out, then drained to half, scooped the gravel and added the sand. Since only half the water was removed, it was no more than a water change - the fish all did fine.
Each to his own, but I think moving the fish makes the process easier.

Yeah, I'm not planning on treating it like a water change for the most part. At least as far as the water and filter goes. Now I'm thinking now I might drain some of the water into a couple buckets when I start, that way I have them in case it appears to look like that would be the better route I still have the option.

Quote:

Originally Posted by thekoimaiden (Post 1425160)
I did something similar when I switch my goldfish tank over to large gravel. I switched one side and then the other. The largest problem I ran into was the two substrates mixing. And while this wasn't a problem with multicolor gravel, I can imagine it would show up with two very different colored sands.

Just food for through.

Good point in regards to the sand mixing, I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't give it much thought. In my defense it's been a hectic week with a baby expected anytime now, lol. One of the reasons I want to hurry and get this out of the way, as I don't see having the time to do it in the near future.

Thanks to both of you for the input. The way my brains been working lately I'm lucky breathing is autonomic or I'd probably be dead by now :lol:

Byron 02-10-2013 02:16 PM

Blasting sand, is it not sharp? I have heard it is, so it should not be used in an aquarium, especially with substrate fish. What's wrong with the play sand?

Byron.

Absntmind 02-10-2013 05:35 PM

My understanding is it is no sharper than most other sands, and some people even use regular sand for blasting purposes. The size is the same as or smaller than play sand.

I took some out of the bag yesterday and it appears fine enough and without jagged edges. Rubbed it on my inner arm and it felt no different than regular sand. Of course that was only a small sample. I have read up about using such for the past couple weeks and from what I have found many people have tanks using it without issue running for over a year. Many with cory's and no damage or loss apparent on their barbels. Plant growth seems to be on par with regular play sand.

I was going to run it through a screen as I put it into the buckets for washing, that way I can catch any larger particles. Then of course a very thorough washing.

Honestly my only reason for the change is cosmetic, and the choice is cost. I did find some people with negative reviews, yet far outnumbered by the positive. About the same with using play sand from what I've seen. I value your opinion and you've given me solid advice in the past, so if you know of a good reason not to use it, please let me know. Thanks!

Absntmind 02-10-2013 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Absntmind (Post 1425266)
Yeah, I'm not planning on treating it like a water change for the most part.

That should have read "I AM planning on treating it like a water change"

Byron 02-10-2013 06:46 PM

My understanding, which admittedly may be off the mark, is that blasting sand is used to break up a surface, and sharper particles would obviously do this better. Paver sand can be the same. There is also the issue of coating sometimes used on blasting sand, intended to prevent the silica dust which is hazardous to health if you breathe it in. In the aquarium, the dust wouldn't matter, but the coating might.

Play sand is smooth and safe for kids. One of our members researched into this a few weeks back, and we all came to the conclusion that among sands it was likely the best. Of course, aquarium sand from the fish store would be better, depending how you view it, but much more expensive.

Not sure why you would screen out larger particles; most of us would probably prefer a coarser particle. The smaller the particle size, the more it will compact.

Absntmind 02-10-2013 09:39 PM

Yes, sharper particles do work better. The way it was explained to me was all sand is abrasive to some extent, and with blasting sand the diameter is too small too be harmful to the fish.

The one I purchased is actually coal slag, which is an inert matierial that contains almost no silica and zero coating or additives. They market it as an environmentally safe material. The only worry I have would be the overall coarseness of it. Yet from what I've seen based on other experiences that hasn't been an issue.

Yeah, I've had play sand in my tank for almost a year and it makes a great substrate. I've been looking for a darker alternative on a budget. I'm definitely planning on doing more research before making the change, maybe taking some to work tomorrow getting a closer comparison to play sand.

I was planning on screening it due to hearing sometimes small pieces of slag slip through and are not ground up properly; so occasionally some people will come across a batch with larger/longer particles in it. That's all I am screening for as the size overall is about equal to play sand (from slightly larger to smaller).


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