Can I leave my fish in the tank?

  • #1
I want to replace my gravel with sand. Would it be best to remove the fish first, or would it be ok to leave them in there when switching? I have to do it on a day when I am off work so I am looking towards Tuesday or Wednesday. I have a jack Dempsey and convict in the tank. I want to put in sand and hopefully some plants.
  • #2
I know of a good video that should help you.
  • #3
You should be fine with leaving them in the tank when switching from gravel to sand. Just make sure you rinse, rinse, rinse, and rinse again your sand before you add it to your tank. This helps to prevent cloudy water from suspended particles that come from the new sand.

Also when you are switching do a very good gravel vac before you remove the gravel to remove any gunk stuck in it. As when you remove it it gets disturbed and can foul your water up and then later it settles on you new sand which doesn't look good.

When I removed my gravel I used a large fish net to scoop it out. Then I gently added my sand and it worked well. Don't worry too much if you leave a little gravel in the tank as it can be hard to scoop in the corners, once covered with sand no one will know.

Just be aware that removing the gravel can sometimes cause a slight cycle to occur as you remove the good bacteria with the gravel. Your filter will regenerate the bacteria and it will seed the sand given time. Just keep an eye on the water readings and do water changes as needed.

Which type of sand are you thinking of using? I used playsand as it is the only sand I can get here, others use pool filter sand or another type.
Good Luck.
  • #4
The first time I did it, I left the fish in. The second time, I took them out. Either time, it didn't seem to stress them out at all. The tank I did leaving the fish in was a little cloudier because I had to leave enough water in there so the fish would be ok. The other tank I was able to drain just about completely out before adding the sand and it wasn't quite as cloudy. Either way, it took a couple of days for the water to clear up completely.

I was able to get everything changed out in a couple of hours. Of course, I had spent 2 hours the night before each rinsing sand.

I used pool filter sand on mine.

And don't forget your Prime .
  • #5
Thanks for the video Eienna...I would like to seitch to sand someday too. This was very helpful!
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
I bought pool filter sand. I have already started cleaning it. I put some in a 10 gallon aquarium about a month ago, but it didn't have anything in it yet. I still haven't put anything in it. I think I may want to move one of my puffers into it. I prefer to have it completely aquascaped before I add anything. I hate when I get my ideas AFTER I have everything set up.

I plan on cleaning sand for the next couple of days when I get home at night from work.

I know underneath the gravel is nasty. I bought the tank when I rented the house I am in (the house came with a 50 gallon tank - 2 oscars, 1 convict, and 1 JD - and a puppy!). I think they only cleaned what what on top, not actually getting down into the gravel. I have been vac and water changes once a week, but really need to have been doing them twice a week to get it really clean.

I thought maybe about 1/3 of the gravel on Tuesday, clean underneath real good, then next week remove more gravel and get it all cleaned out. Then it won't be so nasty when I take rest of it out.
  • #7
thanks for the video eienna...I would like to seitch to sand someday too. This was very helpful!


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