Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Jbrofish8 09-28-2011 07:22 PM

Going from Flourite to Sand
I've decided Im going to make the plunge into the world of sand. I currently have Flourite substrate in my 29g and I really am not loving it.

I have corys in the tank and I'd love to switch to black sand here in the next few weeks.

Im also planning on redoing my aquascape. I wanna get rid of some of the "beginner" plants I have and get a few more moderate light plants, since this tank has a little more light than my new tank.

My plan is to place an order online for the new plants, and then switch out the substrate the day the plants arrive. Im going to have the sand washed and ready to go prior to all of this. My question is, is it a bad idea to change out the plants at the same time as the substrate? Will this be TOO much change for the fish? Or is it better to go ahead and do it all at once and have it done and over with?

I plan on keeping everything wet in buckets and keeping an air stone in my fish bucket while I do this. Should I drain all the water out, also?

Boredomb 09-28-2011 08:46 PM

I don't think it would be a bad idea to do it all at once. When one changes out the substrate its often easier to take out everything and the wood,rocks and any decorations one may have needs to be kept wet. This way the bacteria stays wet and doesnt die. Then yes I would drain the tank once everything is out. Makes it much easier to get the old substrate out and the new in. Also a thought is to get a mesh bag and put the old substrate in it and float it for awhile to help get new bacteria built back up. Also not sure what kinda filter you have but don't forget to keep the pads and/or media wet.

gmate 09-29-2011 07:51 AM

Wash the hell out of your sand. I switched from pea gravel to sand last night and did not wash it well enough. Boy am I regretting it. 24 hours later, still cloudy as hell. I am going to have to do a ton of water changing when I get home, which I am not excited for.
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Jbrofish8 09-29-2011 08:08 AM

I was reading some reviews about the caribsea Tahitian moon sand, and a lot of people said it was messy. So I'll make sure to clean it really really well. :P

I use a sponge filter in this tank so I'll be sure to keep that wet as well. With it being heavily planted, do I still need to put the bag of old fluorite in the tank?

gmate 09-29-2011 08:29 AM

As for the old flourite, I wouldn't put it in. Most of your bacteria should be fine from the surface of your plants and the filter media. If you really feel the need to add old substrate in netting or a bag it certaintly can't hurt though. I personally wouldn't worry too much about it.
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KendraMc 09-29-2011 08:34 AM

whatever you end up doing, it would probably be a good idea to monitor your parameters for a while, just to make sure you don't get any spikes. should be a problem, but might be good to make sure.

gmate 09-29-2011 08:34 AM

Last night I used playsand, which was 3 dollars for a fifty pound bag. So cheap. After washing it, it settles quick. It has a very natural look to it in the water. I just threw my fish in a giant pot while switching the substrate out, they were fine for fifteeen minutes. I also used it as a chance to propagate my plants which was long overdue.

I used playsand to stay away from the expensive marine and undergravel sands at my LFS which were nearly 10 dollars for a 10 pound bag.

I ran a new filter for the first 24 hours just for the sake of sucking up any loose sand, but then switched back to my old colonized pad after. I kept the colonized pad wet in old tank water in the meantime.
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Jbrofish8 09-29-2011 08:44 AM

I was going to use play sand, my sister has it in her planted tank and I like the way it looks, but I really want some black sand. I have blue tetra and I know the dark substrate will make their color look amazing. SO I guess Im gonna shell out the extra money.

Does anyone have a good substrate calculator so I can figure out how many bags I need?

gmate 09-29-2011 11:02 AM

That's the after picture...about 10 hours after changing the substrate. It hasn't settled yet completely, and I need to do another water change or two to get it up and running. Unfortunately I found two dead Zebra Danios that didn't survive the change but everything else seems fine. I cleaned out the filter as well and set it back in, should clear up nice by tonight.


BarbH 09-29-2011 11:07 AM

For a substrate calculator I have used the one on the planted tank site Substrate Calculator

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