Changing substrate

Discussion in 'Freshwater Substrates - Gravel, Sand' started by Jamieb284, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Jamieb284

    Jamieb284Valued MemberMember

    So I was just curious, how do you change out your substrate efficiently with a fully stocked tank? I've wanted to change from black gravel to sand for a while but I see no way that it could end well for my fish during the change. Anyone done anything like this?
  2. BamBamSorg

    BamBamSorgWell Known MemberMember

    Why would you want to change substrate? Live plants? What kind of fish? Whats the tank size? Ive done it before my fish are fine with me just stirring and moving my gravel around which creates a dust bowl. I have changed from colored gravel to black gravel but I didnt have much colorful gravel in it in the beginning. How much of gravel do you have? (Inches deep)
  3. Maxi1Valued MemberMember

    We have done it. Got everything ready, washed the sand until water got clear as it would. Then we used the python to move about half the tank water into a large plastic bucket, and moved the fish into the bucket. Then removed the gravel and put sand in. Actually we removed more than half the water and used more than one bucket. When you put the water back in, use a plate over the sand so it is not disturbed. The put plants or whatever back and then the fish. Then it's like a water change , be sure to use Prime to treat the tank. We did it as quickly as possible and the fish were fine. It took probably I didn't ask how big your tank is... The one we did was a 29 gallon. You will enjoy the sand. Good luck. I meant to say took less than 2 hours.

  4. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    You can leave the fish in while you do it, but I think it would be less stressful to take them out.

    Do you have a bucket or tank where you can put your fish? What fish do you have in the tank?

  5. OP

    Jamieb284Valued MemberMember

    My tank is 125G and has quite a few fish so can't put them in a bucket haha.
    I was more worried of the sand being kicked up while putting it in and the fish being harmed by the sand being suspended in the water...
    I currently have about 1.5 inches of black gravel in my tank in my tank. I just think, having pictus catfish & hoplo catfish that my fish would appreciate sand more than gravel.
  6. sunshine2012

    sunshine2012Valued MemberMember

    I myself changed from gravel to pool filter sand because I just like the way it looks. I didn't do it for live plants, all my plants are fake. I had a huge cooler and put that with my fish in it with the heater and a couple of bushes so they don't get stressed out with the air bubble wand then I emptied my fish tank and put the rest of the water in some bowls transferred to sand into the tank trashed all of the gravel when I was done setting up the tank I added all of my water that I took out and put my fish back in and they were fine.
  7. Maxi1Valued MemberMember

    Someone correct me if I am wrong because I don't know for sure but we thought stirring up the sand with all the stuff in it that's accumulated over time would be bad for the fish, as well as leaving them in stress wise. As for the sand particles, I don't know about that.

    Don't know if this would be an option for you but when we got new flooring we had a professional team come in and move 5 tanks to our sun porch. They had all the equipment, huge rubber barrels and pumps and 3 guys. Our largest tank is a 55G. It was a smooth operation. No fish were lost, only thing damaged was my pocketbook, lol.
  8. OP

    Jamieb284Valued MemberMember

    If I was wanting to have live plants in my tank, would I need to put anything else in other than sand on the bottom?
  9. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    You can do a thorough gravel vac of the gravel next time you do a water change and take out 1/5-1/3 of gravel. While water is low: turn off filters, add prewashed sand (using PVC pipe to direct it so it doesn't go everywhere and cloud tank), fill up tank by pouring water on a lid or cup so it doesn't stir up sand. If sand isn't too cloudy, turn filters back on. If it is, you can give it a few hours to settle before turning it back on (keep media wet). Every week remove more gravel and add more sand.

    Sand is fine for plants. You can add root tabs for the root feeders.
  10. OP

    Jamieb284Valued MemberMember

    So I wouldn't need soil or anything underneath to grow plants?
  11. Tmosis

    TmosisValued MemberMember

    You would not. I use black diamond blasting sand for my planted tank and outside a couple of plants occasionally floating up from my BN Pleco bumbling about they are all doing amazing.
  12. BamBamSorg

    BamBamSorgWell Known MemberMember

  13. bizaliz3

    bizaliz3Fishlore LegendMember

    I also use black diamond sand blasting sand. And since I have rooted plants, I use seachem root tabs in my TexasDomer said :)

    Edit: random question....but why did my words "root tabs" show up as a blue link for the readers, but not yours TexasDomer ? You typed the same words....I never quite understand how that works....

    same with the words "black diamond" which was also typed previously by Tmosis and did not show as a blue link....

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