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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a few weeks I plan on buying some Flora Max or Flourite and adding it to my Aquarium. I have plants in the my ten gallon now, but I am going to take some of the gravel out and add one of those two substrates and add a lot more plants. My questions is, can I add the substrate with the fish in or will it kill them when it clouds the water? I can net them all and do it, but I want to know what would be less stressful, and have a better chance of not losing fish. I have eight neon tetras, two julii cory catfish, one hillstream loach, and one mini mexican lobster. Any help will be appreciated.
 

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In a few weeks I plan on buying some Flora Max or Flourite and adding it to my Aquarium. I have plants in the my ten gallon now, but I am going to take some of the gravel out and add one of those two substrates and add a lot more plants. My questions is, can I add the substrate with the fish in or will it kill them when it clouds the water? I can net them all and do it, but I want to know what would be less stressful, and have a better chance of not losing fish. I have eight neon tetras, two julii cory catfish, one hillstream loach, and one mini mexican lobster. Any help will be appreciated.

IMHO the best thing to do would beto empty the tank and redo the substrate.

But you can add new substate but it does create a mess.

my .02
 

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There seems to be some question as to whether those substrates make any real difference in the plants. liquid and substrate fertilization might do what you need without the whole hassle of a substrate change.

Is there an issue that you are trying to address with this plan or is it just because you are adding more plants?

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm going to be adding more plants, and to be honest I want the tank to look more natural. I am going to make a slope coming down from the back of the tank to the front, and put a piece of wood and a rock in. They are going to be jutting out of the slope. There is going to be a good amount of more plants and I'm going to put java moss all over. I want something that the plants can root into better. I may even use soil instead of substrate.
 

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I'm going to be adding more plants, and to be honest I want the tank to look more natural. I am going to make a slope coming down from the back of the tank to the front, and put a piece of wood and a rock in. They are going to be jutting out of the slope. There is going to be a good amount of more plants and I'm going to put java moss all over. I want something that the plants can root into better. I may even use soil instead of substrate.
Just use sand, it's cheap and doesn't get much more natural. How steep of slope are you planning... very tough to slope it much and expect it to stay. Maybe 2-3" front to back in a 12" tank.

Jeff.
 

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I agree that perhap's just emptying the tank and starting new would be easiest for relatively small tank.
I WOULD however leave a bit of mulm in the bottom of the tank to help kick start the bacterial process in the substrate.
Some folk's use ladies nylon filled with sand to help create/maintain slopes in the aquarium where everything seem's to want to settle over time, and slopes level off.
As for the flourite,,it is little more than clay product which help's hold nutrient's, but nutrient's take time to settle in substrate so this type of material work's better as it get's older.(plain unscented cat litter work's as well).
To add substrate to existing tank's you can rinse the substrate well and then place it in freezer bag's .
Then lower the freezer bag into the aquarium near the bottom,and gently pour it out on top of existing substrate.This method help's prevent too much clouding of the water.
If you go with soil,,I would remove the existing substrate,leave some mulm in the bottom,place a layer of damp soil about one and a half inches deep,then plant the plant's,then add about an inch of flourite,then cap it with about an inch or inch and a half of sand or fine gravel.
This way you don't kick up a lot of dirt trying to plant after all layer's are placed.
Take note to place plant's that will grow tall near the back and shorter growing plant's near the front.
With soil,,you don't wanna be moving plant's about lest you also end up with cloudy muddy affair.
hope some of this help's.
P.S I found that "Special Kitty cat litter" found at walmart work's just as well as flourite and is way less expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
After watching that video, I just might use sand. That's a lot of great ideas guys, and I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do now. I don't want too crazy of a slope, but want to give the tank a little dimension. I think I may be able to work with sand. Maybe a few rocks in the back, and cover them with sand will help with the slope. I appreciate all the help guys.
 

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After watching that video, I just might use sand. That's a lot of great ideas guys, and I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do now. I don't want too crazy of a slope, but want to give the tank a little dimension. I think I may be able to work with sand. Maybe a few rocks in the back, and cover them with sand will help with the slope. I appreciate all the help guys.

FWIW I used sand and it worked just fine for live bearers but I also noticed neon tetras did not fare well.

But with peat moss in the sand they lived for years.

decades later (literally :lol:) I finally measured hardness and found the tanks with just sand became very "hard". 20 degrees carbonate hardness (KH), and 35 degrees for GH.

but with peat moss in the substrate the hardness did not increase for the 3 years Imeasured.

So now I recommend using the peat moss as the bottom layer in the substrate.


my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If I put the sand on top of the gravel I have in there, would it be better? I would think it would keep all the bacteria in, and make it easier on the fish. I don't have a lot of gravel as it is, so it wouldn't be overkill on substrate. Beaslbob, I thought sand was inert? I just read that peat moss can cause really bad ammonia problems too. I'm not saying you are wrong, but just asking because I just read a different opinion. Thanks for the feedback.
 

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If I put the sand on top of the gravel I have in there, would it be better? I would think it would keep all the bacteria in, and make it easier on the fish. I don't have a lot of gravel as it is, so it wouldn't be overkill on substrate. Beaslbob, I thought sand was inert? I just read that peat moss can cause really bad ammonia problems too. I'm not saying you are wrong, but just asking because I just read a different opinion. Thanks for the feedback.
Sand is inert with a bit of limestone or shell material depending on the brand.

The sand would settle through the gravel and it would up back on top.

Bob's method isn't for everyone and needs some research before attempting it.

Jeff.
 

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If I put the sand on top of the gravel I have in there, would it be better? I would think it would keep all the bacteria in, and make it easier on the fish. I don't have a lot of gravel as it is, so it wouldn't be overkill on substrate. Beaslbob, I thought sand was inert?
It is supposed to be. Some sand though is silica free tropical play sand and is actually calcium carbonate and does reace with water increasing hardness.
I just read that peat moss can cause really bad ammonia problems too. I'm not saying you are wrong, but just asking because I just read a different opinion. Thanks for the feedback.
I guess it depends on the peat moss you use. Some have added ferts for potted plants and therefore probably have ammonia. I use canadian sphagum peat moss at $13 for the large plastic bale.

see:
Peat Moss from Premier | The Home Depot - Model 70976040

(notice at the bottom of the page a line 'fertilizer enriched---NO'.

According to a site in canada peat moss will actually retain ammonia then release it later. Don't know how that works in aquariums but it sure shounds like a good thing in a cycling tank.

The layering is to trap the peat under the sand so the tank is almost totally clear right from the start. Of course you also have to plant the plants before filling the tank for that to work also.

The pc select is here:

http://www.proschoice1.com/products.html

It make for a nice red substrate in addition to being good for the tank.

I have not seen ammonia spikes with this system. but then I do let the plants work on the tank a week before adding fish.

Sometime I will get an initial nitrate spike which goes down to unmeasureable levels in 3 weeks or so.

After a few weeks and wtih high bioloads PH in all my tanks with or with peat moss are above 8 with the api high range test kit.


Of course none of this is cast in stone. Or even sand for that matter. I'm sure everyone has their particular favorite methods. That is just what works for me

and worth at most .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok I just wanted to make sure. I appreciate all the help guys. Ill be sure to post pics once I get my tank all redone. I'm going to put a lot of thought into it. I'm probably going to remove about 75% of the gravel and put sand in. The gravel I have is a very natural looking mix of small rocks so I think it will go well with the sand. That way I be able to keep a lot of the bacteria in. Thank you for all the feedback.

Luke
 

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Ok I just wanted to make sure. I appreciate all the help guys. Ill be sure to post pics once I get my tank all redone. I'm going to put a lot of thought into it. I'm probably going to remove about 75% of the gravel and put sand in. The gravel I have is a very natural looking mix of small rocks so I think it will go well with the sand. That way I be able to keep a lot of the bacteria in. Thank you for all the feedback.

Luke
I wouldn't recommend this, unless you have a divider that is firm/permanent. There is (or should be) a natural flow of water throughout the substrate, and the sand and gravel will mix, not only when layered but when side by side too. And fish move it around. I have experimented a bit and it never worked. Another thing is it will look very artificial and not natural with two different substrate surfaces. If you are after a natural appearance, as you mentioned, stay with one substrate material and break it up with wood or rock or both.

On the earlier Flourite, I would not waste your money on this. I just tore down my 70g after two years with Flourite because (a) the plants were no better, (b) I couldn't keep substrate fish because it is too rough. I replaced it with play sand, which I now have in 6 of 7 tanks. Waste of money that Flourite.

Having changed over many tanks over the years, there is considerable advantage to removing the fish to a temporary tank [plan on it running for a few days] and taking your time. As for the bacteria, if you have live plants this is less of a concern. And bacteria will be on wood, rock, decor in the current tank and keeping this either with the fish in the temp tank or in a tank/pail with tank water will preserve the bacteria.

Check the photos of my tanks under the "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left. And I have some of the 70g rebuild in a thread in the plants section started today.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OK, Ok you guys convinced me, I'll just go with all sand lol. Now as for what type of sand, I am undecided. I hear play sand works well, and is inert, but I also hear that it can compact roots. Obviously you have been successful with play sand, so the question is, what do you do to ventilate the sand? I heard that Malaysian Trumpet Snails are great at it. I'm planning on get some of those, along with some Assassin Snails. Also, I heard that pool sand works great too. I like the color better than the color of play sand. Again, I hear it compacts the roots like play sand. Thanks for all the info in advance.

Luke
 

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I've got a whole herd of MTS in my 75 gal! They came with the hornwort I got from PetsMart xD
That and PetsMart will gladly give them away for free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yea I have a guy I'm going order a bunch of plants from and he said he will give me them for free. If you know where I can get some free Assassin Snails from, I'll gladly follow up on it lol. Thanks
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I don't remember, but I don't think MTS breed that easily. I don't remember tho.


ETA: Yes they do breed easily xD I've never gotten any assassin snails. I have loaches tho ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I guess they breed slower than rams, but can still get out of control if not kept in check. I would much rather get Assassins rather than havin to crush baby snails or bait them with lettuce and throw them in the trash. At least with Assassins its a little more natural.
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