Substrate

Discussion in 'General Aquatic Talk' started by melissa, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. melissa
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    melissa Algae harvester

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    Hi Guys

    I posted this on SAFF as well but I'm not getting any replies there... so let's try here.

    I want to replace the gravel in my tanks with sand. City Bowl said I should try Pool Filter sand or River sand.

    Now I just want to know. Will my tanks go into a mini cycle if I replace all of the existing gravel? (loss off bacteria)

    :JumpfJ: PlecoLady :JumpfJ:
     
  2. Andre
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    Andre Green fingers

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    Hey melissa

    It could go into a mini cycle, so you should maybe feed less for a while after replacing the substrate.

    Just watch the substrate that its not too course as it can damage the barbels on your cories. Riversand works well - just wash it thoroughly before you put it in the tank.
     
  3. melissa
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    melissa Algae harvester

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    Thanx Andre. Any idea where I can get River sand?
     
  4. R.C.
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    R.C. Moderator Staff Member

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    Stodels. 8)
     
  5. melissa
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    melissa Algae harvester

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    :thumb:

    So what's the difference between pool filter sand and river sand?
     
  6. Rattail
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    Rattail Algae harvester

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    I used Malmesbury sand (used for building) in my nano tank. Available from any hardware store. I then baked it in the oven at 220 ºC for 2 hours to sterilize it. Very good texture.
     
  7. Ryan
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    Ryan Green fingers

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    Pool filter sand is a bit more coarse, and I think it's a bit easier to clean up nicely. Not as many little bits. As for the cories being able to hurt their barbels, I think that's a myth. I kept cories in a tank with massive pet shop gravel (for over a year), and I never had any problems. I just don't think that a fish that sometimes needs help escaping java moss has the physical strength to push itself into gravel hard enough to damage the barbels.
     
  8. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Melissa:

    I always use Riversand. Available from Super Plants more or less R30 for enough of it to cover a 1.2.
    Packed by Master Organics.
     
  9. melissa
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    melissa Algae harvester

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    Thanx GDJ.

    Should I take out all the fish when removing the old gravel and adding the sand OR should I work around them. I don't know what will stress them more... being caught and kept in a heated/filtered 150L container for an hour or staying in the tank with the mess, stirring up the gravel will make?
     
  10. Andre
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    Andre Green fingers

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    I would catch them out :)
     
  11. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    Melissa, definitely take them out of the tank first. You might also want to keep them in that container overnight until 'all the dust settles' so to speak. You will also have quite a large 'mini cycle' as most of the tanks bacteria population will be in the gravel. One thing you could try is to not remove the old substrate completeley but perhaps leave a cm at the bottom and then top up with new stuff.

    You might also want to get a small bag of filtyer floss to run in the filter overnight just to help trap all the particles that will be floating in the water column. You can remove the floss in the morning and ditch it. A couple of small water changes a few days after the change will help alleviate the harsh effects on the mini cycle.

    Good luck, be sure to post pics of the tanks 'new clothes' :)
     
  12. Pedro
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    Pedro Algae harvester

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    I also baked river sand and beach sand in the oven at 220 ºC for 2 hours to sterilize it. Getting some more beach sand this weekend and will do exactly the same after washing it thoroughly.
     
  13. R.C.
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    I'm guessing that your wives were out shopping while you guys baked some sand. :p
     
  14. Discus
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    Discus Algae harvester

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    You can also try to minimise your "mini cycle" by replacing the substrate in sections.
     
  15. GDJ
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    GDJ Algae harvester

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    Melissa:

    I would have to agree with everybody take the fish out when doing it. The best way is to drain all of the water out the tank then replace the substrate and refill.
    If you rinse the sand properly it wount foul up your water.
    I use a bucket, fill it halfway or 3/4 with sand then stick the garden hose in it and let the water spill over the side of the bucket keep on doing this till the water in the bucket is clear. It also helps to move the hose in a circular motion inside the bucket. I've never had any problems with this method.

    Try and leave some mulm in the bottom of the tank and put the sand over it, this will help your bacteria to regrow a bit quicker.

    I replaced the substrate on my 1.5 in one go with sand. I took some old gravel and put it in bags made of pantyhose and left it in the tank for a couple of days or could have been a week then removed it. I also left some mulm in the bottom of the tank. During that change my water parameters never changed and there was no mini cycle.
     
  16. Pedro
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    Pedro Algae harvester

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    My wife looked at me like I was a total plonker when I told her I was going to "bake" a sand cake. Best she gets ready for it again, as this weekend I'm getting more beach sand from Mozambique...
     
  17. melissa
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    melissa Algae harvester

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    Thanks for all the info guys.

    I got Riversand from Build-it, R30 for 30L. Gave that a very good wash with very hot water (didn't bake it though)

    I took the fish out and kept them in a big container while busy. I left a layer of old gravel and some mulm as suggested then added the layer of sand. Added back half of the water and half fresh water. Rearranged the wood in the tank (I have about 6 pieces left) let the water filter for about half an hour then put the fish back. All in all it took me about 2 hours.

    Picture attached. I'm not done yet... have to figure out what to do in the middle. I removed a lot of wood because I wanted to give the plecs more room to swim on the ground.
     
  18. Cameron
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    Cameron Green fingers

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    2 Hours?! Don't fool yourself, speed kills. :)
    Did you take steroids before you did the changes? :)

    Nice one Melissa, looking good :thumb:
     
  19. melissa
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    melissa Algae harvester

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    lol... Cameron... I had to get it done before bf came home to the huge mess I made   :eyeroll:

    p.s The 2 hours doesn't include the hour it took me to wash the sand :taz
     
  20. Rattail
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    Rattail Algae harvester

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    This must be one of the most beautiful tanks I've seen in a long time! Well done, and as for changing the middle..... I'd leave it as is. What is that fuzzy looking plant mass you have in the centre (rear)? It's amazing but I can't make out what it is though..?
     

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