Changing To A Planted Aquarium

innogens

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Hi,

I currently have a non-planted aquarium - with plastic plants and some gravel on the bottom with some fish and an angry lobster in it.

I am wanting to change this to a planted tank and as such was wondering how to go about it.

- Do a take out all the livestock and put them into a holding bucket (no spare tank D whilst I scape and plant the tank?
- Should I removal the currentl gravel, then place aquarium soil at the bottom and replace the gravel on top of it?
- Will the livestock be okay to go back into the tank on the same day as rescaping the tank?

+ any other tips to help with the transition will be very well appreciated!

Thank you!
 

Fanatic

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I would see if setting up a plastic tote bin is an option, and then you can hook up the filters to the temporary bin.

You can leave the gravel, but if you are wanting to do a variety of heavy root feeders and plants that would require a more nutritious substrate, then I would change the substrate to a planted aquarium type that you can find online or at the pet store. The fish should be just fine for that time, a filter on the holding tub will be even better.
 

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Watch some comparisons of planted tank substrate on youtube. Why? Because strangely enough some planted tank substrates actually do not keep the plants from floating to the surface. Fluval plant stratum does not keep plant roots down while eco-complete keeps the roots down. Why? Because one is smoother than the other. If you want to you actually can mix the new substrate with the old gravel.

Also, "Dirt" often called "soil" is also used but it needs to have the organic components taken out. If not, then you will have ammonia spikes, because organic material decays and ammonia is a byproduct of decay. If you do not want problems like ammonia spikes it is better to use non-organic substrate.
 
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innogens

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Fanatic said:
I would see if setting up a plastic tote bin is an option, and then you can hook up the filters to the temporary bin.

You can leave the gravel, but if you are wanting to do a variety of heavy root feeders and plants that would require a more nutritious substrate, then I would change the substrate to a planted aquarium type that you can find online or at the pet store. The fish should be just fine for that time, a filter on the holding tub will be even better.
Thanks for the reply! I'm assuming the fish can go back into the tank the same day?

Kalyke said:
Watch some comparisons of planted tank substrate on youtube. Why? Because strangely enough some planted tank substrates actually do not keep the plants from floating to the surface. Fluval plant stratum does not keep plant roots down while eco-complete keeps the roots down. Why? Because one is smoother than the other. If you want to you actually can mix the new substrate with the old gravel.

Also, "Dirt" often called "soil" is also used but it needs to have the organic components taken out. If not, then you will have ammonia spikes, because organic material decays and ammonia is a byproduct of decay. If you do not want problems like ammonia spikes it is better to use non-organic substrate.

Thanks for the info! I will have a look around
 

max h

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When I originally went to a planted tank I had a gravel substrate and started off slow. As I got more confidence I switched completely to all plants as money allowed. With the newer tanks I bought I went with sand substrate which I liked so much better for plants. I did finally switch my gravel tank over to sand this year and I'm much happier with it.

innogens said:
Thanks for the reply! I'm assuming the fish can go back into the tank the same day?
Yes they can, if you plan it right you don't even have to move the filters. When I did my 55 this summer it took about 2 hours to switch over from gravel to sand taking my time.
 
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innogens

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max h said:
When I originally went to a planted tank I had a gravel substrate and started off slow. As I got more confidence I switched completely to all plants as money allowed. With the newer tanks I bought I went with sand substrate which I liked so much better for plants. I did finally switch my gravel tank over to sand this year and I'm much happier with it.
Thanks for the reply! How did you go about switching your gravel tank over? I was looking at some aquarium soil substrates to hopefully encourage plant growth :/

max h said:
Yes they can, if you plan it right you don't even have to move the filters. When I did my 55 this summer it took about 2 hours to switch over from gravel to sand taking my time.
That's great, takes the stress of having to move the filter and the fish Thanks for the info!
 

max h

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I used BDBS since my other tanks need 150-250 pounds of substrate, at $8.49 for 50 lbs I can by a lot of root tabs and ferts for the difference. Rinse the new substrate ahead of time, depending on how much you need it can be put in clean 5 gallon buckets for temp storage. I then removed the plants, and fish and placed them in either a 5 gallon bucket or a Styrofoam cooler. Drained the water from the tank, scooped out the gravel with a plastic dust pan that is only used for the tanks. I then used a wet/dry vac to get any residual water and gravel out. Dumped in the sand and started refilling the tank. As it was filling I did the aquascaping and then put the fish back in.
 

max h

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innogens said:
That's great, takes the stress of having to move the filter and the fish Thanks for the info!
I did remove the fish, some went into a bigger tank which I had already planned on. As the water level gets lower they are easier to catch and less stressful on them. Half the time can be wasted trying to catch them in a full tank.
 
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innogens

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max h said:
I used BDBS since my other tanks need 150-250 pounds of substrate, at $8.49 for 50 lbs I can by a lot of root tabs and ferts for the difference. Rinse the new substrate ahead of time, depending on how much you need it can be put in clean 5 gallon buckets for temp storage. I then removed the plants, and fish and placed them in either a 5 gallon bucket or a Styrofoam cooler. Drained the water from the tank, scooped out the gravel with a plastic dust pan that is only used for the tanks. I then used a wet/dry vac to get any residual water and gravel out. Dumped in the sand and started refilling the tank. As it was filling I did the aquascaping and then put the fish back in.
Thanks for the tips. I will put the fish in a holding container of sorts halfway through draining the tank Will be doing this whole process in a few weeks time!
 

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innogens said:
Thanks for the tips. I will put the fish in a holding container of sorts halfway through draining the tank Will be doing this whole process in a few weeks time!
Hi! It might be more cost-effective to just get root tabs/water ferts and not spend all that money on planted substrate. Over time the substrate will lose its nutrients and you’ll have to get them, anyway
 

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