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Hello everyone. I'm looking to change my substrate and decor. Currently I'm using glofish black gravel. But it chips and discolors and I think it might be raising my ph. Not to mention the food falls in between the gravel and my fish cant get to it. I also have a painted cave, ship wreck and volcano. Looking to go more natural. I will be using caribsea tihitian moon black sand and more natural looking rock caves. My question is how can I switch the substrate and decor without disturbing my good bacteria and causing a new cycle to start. Thanks.
 

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I think the majority of your beneficial bacteria are housed in your filter. If you're worried, you can always replace half of the substrate at a time. If that's going to be too messy, keep a bunch of your old gravel in mesh bags and leave in your tank with the new substrate.

When you're sure that your params are still optimal, remove the mesh with the old gravel.

I might be overly cautious here since I've never swapped out substrate in an established tank and what I'm suggesting might not even be necessary. Hopefully a few members who have actually done this will chime in soon.

Good luck.
 
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