Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Changing my Substrate. (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/changing-my-substrate-41386/)

FishySuzy 04-18-2010 06:16 PM

Changing my Substrate.
 
I STILL want to change the substrates in my 10 and 25 gallon tanks, and I do apologize if this seems like a repost, but last time things weren't very clear (and the forum gives me some 225 day old message).

First off, I don't want to scrap my tanks. I cannot afford to start over. I would be SO pissed if I had to give away my possibly prize winning angels. I cannot explain how pissed I would be.

What I am thinking is, while doing my 10 gallon, place my 10 gallon inhabitants in my breeder traps and put them in the 25 while I'm changing the substrate in the 10. I would leave a thin layer of rocks on the bottom of the tank or mix about 2 cups of it in with the sand. After the water has settled and I've gotten everything placed back, I can put everyone back in. I would obviously do a water change just to avoid splashing and an ass kicking from my mom for getting water on the credenza.
I've actually done this dozens of times, but don't tell her. I wiped it up and I clean it up when it gets dropped food.

With the 25 gallon, everyone is pretty big and knows my hands. Plus, it's a larger space to work with so I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have to take anyone out BUT this would take longer BECAUSE I'm not taking them out.

How fesable does this sound to you guys?

I'd also appreciate any stories on your experiences with doing this.

JohnnyD44 04-18-2010 06:58 PM

I have changed my subtrate in both of my 20G and my 55G....

20 Gallon From gravel to sand ::
I put all my fish into several 5 gallon buckets, along with my filter media and decor. I then siphoned out all the water and scooped out all of my gravel and wiped up and remaining waste and debris with a paper towel. Before I had done anything to the tank, I spent about a 1/2 hour washing the living crud out of the sand (sucks big time). I then added all the sand and flattened it out in the tank....I added all the decor and to avoid splashing and really messing up the sand I put a bowl in the middle of the tank and poured the water int the bowl and filled up the tank...I waited until almost all the sand had settled (which wasn't much because I washed it so well), then added my filter and put the fish in and I didn't lose a single fish! One point of advice, I would make sure to raise your intake on your filter to avoid sanding getting into from your fish digging it up.

I did basically the same thing for my 55 G, if you wanna follow the transformation, feel free to check out my plant build in the plant section...It's not too difficult to do either way. I would definitely recommend washing the sand over and over and over again. Just when you think you've done it enough wash it another 10 times.....

hope this helps!

FishySuzy 04-18-2010 09:59 PM

That sounds very good, Johnny! What about those kinds of sand you can buy at LFS'? They come packaged in plastic and water and comes with water conditioner. I don't know if you've ever seen them, and I'm sure you have, but would I have to wash that as well?

iamntbatman 04-18-2010 10:25 PM

It comes with water? You might be thinking of live sand, which is not something you want in a freshwater tank. For cheapo sand, play sand from Home Depot is $4-5 for a 50lb bag. You have to rinse it really thoroughly first to avoid clouding, though.

FishySuzy 04-18-2010 11:38 PM

Bat, I'm not sure what the exact item is. It's one of these.
I saw it at a LFS but the packaging said nothing about being live.

JohnnyD44 04-19-2010 06:28 AM

I have seen that before, but I generally stay away from it, no reason why....I just never used it before.

+1 On the play sand....just wash it about 100 times, lol. it will help with the settling

FishySuzy 04-19-2010 01:35 PM

The only problem I have with the way you did it, Johnny is that I don't want to take ALL the water out because then it'd mess up my levels.

JohnnyD44 04-20-2010 05:50 AM

thats not all true.....

alot of people make a big deal out of water holding substantial benefical bacteria. It doesn't hold much. Anything that your water gives off as far as a reading comes from other sources in your tank. Filter media, subtrate, plants, rocks...all that stuff it what makes up your water's chemistry. Think of it this way....if you change 25% of your water on a weekly basis....after a month....the water you started with at the beginning of the month (4 weeks ago) is gone, so to speak.

If you do a major subtrate change, you're likely to have a mini cycle. I did when I changed out both my tanks. It's nothing my fish couldn't handle. Anytime you change a major part of your aquarium, such as your subtrate, you're losing benefical bacteria.

To help avoid a mini-cycle, I would reccomend picking up some mesh bags or panty-hose works too, I would save some of your gravel you're removing right now and keep it wet with your filter media. Then after you change out all the subtrate put that mesh bag/pantyhose in your filter chamber, or leave it in the tank in an area of high current. This way, your tank still has beneficial bacteria seeding from your "old establishment". I did this for my 55G change, I filled both my penguin's chambers with old gravel in mesh bags.

The other option you have in changing out your gravel to sand 25% a a time, althrough this is alot more work, and requires more movement of your fish, it reduces the chances of a mini-cycle.

FishySuzy 04-20-2010 11:15 AM

Oh, well I see what you're saying now. Thanks for clearing that up. Will mixing up my rocks with the sand help?

JohnnyD44 04-20-2010 11:31 AM

it wouldn't hurt!


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