Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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ShrinkMD 12-11-2010 07:07 AM

Change over from gravel to Flourite?
I've been reading more about plant keeping, and I'm ready to take the next step up from just tossing in a few live plants into my 10 gal freshwater tank. Right now I have some Anacharis, one Banana plant, and an arrowhead. I have the typical multicolor stone gravel in the tank. I have a Coralife Trichromatic bulb (which is about 10 years old...but wasn't in use for about 8, I restarted my 10 gal tank about 4 months ago) which I've been keeping on for 12 hours on a timer. Now I'm getting brown stringy algae all over my plants, so I know I need to up the fertilizer and lower the lights, right? So, if I would like to change over to a natural gravel like Flourite, can I do this while the fish are still in the tank? I have 8 black mollies in the tank. I don't want to stress them out too much, so would I be better off temporarily transferring them to my old 6 gal (not cycled, but we're talking just enough time to scoop out the old gravel and add the new and reaquascape everything), or just taking it out and adding the new by the handful (or scoopful) until the change is completed. So, which is it? Netting them twice and transferring back and forth vs. just having their home be invaded by hands for a few minutes. And the other question, can I just put some fertilizer in (like the Flourish) and call it a day without disturbing my little fishies? I would like to add more plants in the future and get them growing nicely, though. As it is, my arrowhead has grown 2 new leaves (2 died when I first got the plant, so we're even) and the Banana has added four, lost one original. And the Anacharis is growing all over the place like the weed it is... Thanks for any advice. I will try and get a picture up later.

redchigh 12-11-2010 12:40 PM

Adding fertilisers will sometimes just encourage the algae.... I would only change one thing at a time.

Add ferts, then if the angae isn't improved, slowly lower the lights (while maintaining the ferts)

If you're talking about the flourite gravel, then I don't see a problem with just adding it...

I bet transferring them to a new tank would be even more stressful.

Byron 12-11-2010 01:34 PM

I would always move the fish out when changing substrate. It makes working in the tank much easier, particularly in such a relatively small space. Moving the fish to the 6g (siphon water from the existing 10g for the 6, and move the filter unwashed) will not be that stressful compared to pulling their existing environment apart.

When the 10g is finished, fill with new water and use a good conditioner. Again move the filter back without rinsing/washing to retain bacteria. Also, any decor like wood, rock or plants in the 10g should not be washed as bacteria will be living on all that too.

Diatoms (brown algae) may be due to under-light rather than too much. Or it could be an organics issue if it is not true diatoms; this sounds like something I have had in two of my tanks periodically and it is not diatoms.

Your light probably needs replacing; a tube with a Kelvin around 6500K is best. Can go more into that if asked. And regular ferts are essential to feed the plants. Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is my recommended choice. The Flourish will obviously contain nutrients for plants rooted in the substrate.


SinCrisis 12-20-2010 10:22 AM

i just redid my substrate and aquascape, it was way easier to do without worrying about fish in the tank. Sometimes they get scared and sit in the spot that you need to place a rock or a plant and sometimes they get confused and are in danger of your falling gravel.

ShrinkMD 12-20-2010 06:35 PM

Too late. I did it all with them in there. The Fluorite made a huge cloudy mess and I couldn't see the fish at all for a day or so, but I vacuumed the gravel and got a lot of the dust out. Now they are happy and the plants are perking up as well. Next time I think I would take the fish out, though...

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