Doing the right thing. 20 Gallon Tank

  1. emmynk

    emmynk Well Known Member Member

    Alright I was going to take the easy path, but now I'm rethinking it.
    I'm turning my old axolotl tank into a new shell dweller tank. It is already cycled so I figured it would transition smoothly. Was going to go pick up fish today, but as I thought about it...
    the tank had previously been planted, so there is dirt under the sand cap. From my understanding, shellies like to dig... unburying a bunch of dirt.
    so what would be the easiest way to remove the substrate and maintain the bb/cycle? What if I unplugged the filter, then removed the top layer (crushed coral and shells that I added in hopes of getting the shellies in sooner) and then the top layer of sand, stored them in a bucket of tank water, drained the tank, scooped out the dirt, then rinsed and drained with a siphon, then add sand and small amount of tank water back in?
    Any ideas? This seems so complicated.
  2. T

    Teishokue Well Known Member Member

    take a sample out keep it underwater, clean the rest and start over. Best way to go is to "seed" the bb. they will have to restart due to dirt being such a small particulate.
  3. poeticinjustices

    poeticinjustices Well Known Member Member

    I don't know about sand in particular but in general there tends not to be much BB in the substrate. Especially if you are not overfeeding and have adequate filtration. I would just take the sample and seed as mentioned above. It can't hurt but I don't think you will have much of s problem just changing ot the substrate.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  4. Phishphin

    Phishphin Well Known Member Member

    I took a look at the filter you're using. Your biomedia in the filter probably carries 90-95% of your bacteria colonies. I wouldn't worry too much about the substrate.
  5. stalefish83

    stalefish83 Valued Member Member

    Hello and welcome! You're not going to ruin your cycle by removing any or all of the substrate. The majority of your BB is in the filter media. I have done full substrate changes with no problems many times. You wouldn't even need to worry about storing your substrate in water. Just don't let the filter media dry out and the BB will last up to 48 hours without a source of

    EDIT: didn't see any of the replies above. I was sitting on this page doing other things :) (like work, haha) sorry for the duplicate info.
  6. ricmcc

    ricmcc Well Known Member Member

    If I read your profile correctly, you had an axolotl, and a giant snail, both of which can produce lots of waste. Your filter alone should be sufficiently cycled to support a group of shell dwellers.
    As poeticinjustices points out, the BB on substrate are really not that important, as they receive so little water flow compared to a filter.
    To err on the cautious side, you could always start with juvenile fish (cheaper, and more easy to get any aggression issues out of the way).
    Also, depending on what type of sand you currently have, you may wish to replace it will a sand that will tend to produce harder, higher pH water.---------rick