Switched From Gravel To Sand - Cory Avoiding Bottom Of Tank
I have a 20 gallon long tank with 6 neon tetras and 5 peppered cory cats. Yesterday I swapped out the gravel in the bottom of the tank for 1" - 1.5" of well rinsed play sand. Since I made that change, the c
ory cats swim constantly and rarely rest on the bottom of the tank. When the gravel was in the tank, they would swim along the bottom of the tank. Now they avoid the bottom.
Any ideas on what might be going on here? Should I switch back to gravel?
Generally you want to wait for a few days, the change is still new to them and they have not got used to it.
If over a period of a week or two they are still not going back to the bottom then you could change back.
The only concern I have, is a lot of beneficial bacteria are located in the substrate as well as the filter.
I would seriously check with your water test kit and see if you havent started a mini cycle.
Removing the substrate is not really recommended.
Thanks. I did retain a minimal amount of gravel to anchor a couple of plants - about ten percent of the bottom surface area, and also retained the filter media. I'll check the water chemistry over the next few weeks in case the tank is cycling.
If you are unsure about your cycling place your old gravel in a nylon sock and stick it back in the tank. This will help you get your balance back.
Keeping it in the tank will keep the bacteria on it and aid in filtration.
If you left some of the old gravel in the bottom, (I did that when I went to sand) you should be okay, as long as you didn't clean it well in tap water. The big regret I have with doing that, as some of that gravel comes to the surface over time, just an FYI. Can't hurt either, to take some and put in a mesh bag for a couple weeks, in the tank or even in the filter. But again, if it's been washed and left to dry too long, it won't be any good.
I think your cats will be enjoying it soon. Give them a little time. Strange they are not on it right away though :-?
Washing anything from an established tank in tap water is never a good idea.
It should always be washed in tank water. The only time I would ever wash anything in tap water was if I was cleaning the tank out completely and starting again. The gravel if it has been kept wet and not washed as mentioned in tap water will be good...I would recommend though at most to get it back in the tank today otherwise the good bacteria will die off.
If it is already dry and has been washed, then you can put in back in the tank in a mesh bag, just keep an eye on your water parameters as you may experience a slight cycle as the bacteria colony establishes itself on the gravel.
In a few days, am sure your cats will be back on the bottom, it would not actually surprise me if they have been doing it during the night.
Thanks for the ideas and suggestions. I apologize because my first post wasn't clear, and I think that lead some of you to try to solve a problem I did not have.
I should have clearly stated that I never completely removed all of the existing gravel. I checked the water chemistry this morning, and all levels are fine. Specifically, the ammonia level is zero, the same as another established tank in the house. The second tank did not had any such substrate changes, so I know that tank's cycle is intact and is valid for comparison purposes against the first tank , where I did make the switch to sand.
It looks like GwenInNM and Tazman's theory about a period of adjustment was correct, because this morning the cories are no longer avoiding the bottom of the tank. I was wondering about their behavior yesterday because everything I had read said that cories prefer a sandy bottom. When that didn't appear to be the case, I thought I might have done something wrong.
Thanks again for all the ideas and suggestions everyone.
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