Adding Substrate? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 11-17-2009, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
Hawkian's Avatar
Adding Substrate?

Hi All,

I started a new tank setup a few months ago and being relatively new to the hobby I am now realizing that in order to cut down on the initial cost, I did some things wrong. One of these things is that I didn't get enough substrate in the tank for me to be able to keep a well planted tank. I have a 32g that's 36" wide and got 22lb of GEO system gravel substrate in there. While it covers the back of the tank nicely (anoput 1.5" deep), it is not enough for the front of the tank if I want to add some foregroung plants.

Question: has anyone ever added substrate to a "live tank"? If so, how should I go about doing that? I was thinking that if I get the same kind of substrate, and wash it thouroughly and only add it is small doses (say 2 lb / day for a few weeks) that it would get me to the level I would like to have, without clouding my water over too much. However, I am uncertain how the fish would take it... or if it's bad to add substrate on top of an already cycled layer?

Thanks for any anwers. :)
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post #2 of 3 Old 11-17-2009, 09:02 PM
teddyzaper's Avatar
its fine, just wash it put some water dechlorinator and plop it in ur tank. preferably right after u do a water change so u can vacum the gavel.

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post #3 of 3 Old 11-18-2009, 12:52 PM
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Agree with teddy. I would do the partial water change and vacuum the gravel in the front part of the tank and while doing that move it further back; its easy to shift gravel with the gravel vacuum hose. Then you will have almost no substrate in the front, so add the new washed gravel to the front; use a small container to add it just above the bottom so it will be less commotion and clouding. When it's in, gently sweep the older gravel over top or mix them, whatever, to get what you want.

This should avoid burying old gravel to any extent, because that could create "dead spots" with anaerobic bacteria and such, and that is better avoided.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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