I'd like to re-do my established 160L, advice/tips please!

  • #1

So this is my tank. I have a cobalt blue lobster in there, snails, red shrimp, and fish of course.

I've been wanting to redo it for a while but I've gone and scratched up the glass on the front and it bothers the heck out of me so I want to redo it and turn it around so that's at the back.

I started with a layer of that soil substrate, then sand, then gravel - however cleaning and general maintenance is a pain, I just want a single type of substrate really, or perhaps a layer of sand on the bottom with gravel / pebbles on top.

I want to make a couple of 'raised' planted areas in the corner (crappy attempt at back right now), which I've read up on how to do via aquascaping etc.

Questions are really.. where do I even begin? I mean, to start with I have no idea how I'll get all the fish out without stressing them out to death. Then there's all the shrimp. And finally the lobster, which, I love zoidberg, but he creeps me out and is gross as heck - how do I move him?

I've got quite a few large 60~ liter plastic tubs I can use as holding places for things. But I'm wanting to get everything ready and setup so I can do it all as quickly as possible.

I can get a friend to help.

So yeah, suggestions for what subtrate to switch to (I want a cleaner tank), and generally what the steps I should do when doing this?

What I am thinking so far is take everything out, lure zoidberg into a half-cut 2liter coke bottle with tape wrapped around so it's like a cave, use that to move him, empty out half the tank, start catching the fish and use some kind of divider to stop them running up and down the length of the tank until I get them all, make sure I get all the shrimp, find my snails / any buried, and stick everything in 1-2 60l containers with water from the tank mixed with treated tap water?

Once they are moved, quickly empty the rest of the water, carry tank into back yard, dump everything out, use the hose to hose it down, glass cleaner, soap, everything, then make sure I clean any soap off etc.

Quickly back inside, setup the raised planted areas, layer of sand, layer of gravel, plants/ornaments, then move the fish back?

If I'm quick, they shouldn't spend more than a couple hours in the holding tubs.

I have an Oase BioMaster Thermo 350 External Aquarium Filter filter, and an Oase ClearTronic UVC 11 Watt Aquarium Clarifier.

For sand I am looking at maybe two of these bags?

And one or two of these for gravel on top;
Marina Decorative Aquarium Surf Gravel, 10 Kg, Blue : Amazon.co.uk: Pet Supplies

Too much, 1 bag each enough?

Short vid of the tank from earlier.

Some zoidberg; PXL 20211230 100639242

Thanks in advance anyone.
  • #2
Remove the craw last, like when you get the water real low. Then you can use a plastic or even styrofoam cup to get him. We have done that catching them in the wild.

I find gravel the easiest to get a good clean on week to week, but sand is a close second for me.
  • #3
i dont recommend using blue gravel or painted gravel, chips of paint often fall off and can containment water and some fish or inverts can or try to eat it. You have a blue crayfish so if you want it to stand out and be a wow factor in the tank go with bright white/yellow sand with nice plants, try not to have too much artificial decor.

used cycled water from emptying tank, used cycled filter media and put into the 60litre buckets add fish and some hiding places, then do what you want to do with the tank
  • #4
There's a youtuber MD Fish Tanks who has used plastic mesh bags (like the laundry delicates bags, just make sure they're not metal) to control substrate and keep his plant soil under his sand without risk of them mixing if he wants to change things up. I can't speak for this, as I haven't tried it yet and can't tell if it actually works, but it does seem to work for him, and might make maintenance less of a hassle for you? Just make sure you have a good inch or more over top of them to avoid the sand getting moved and showing the mesh.

I would also be against using the blue gravel, unless you just really really want it for whatever reason. Honestly if you're stressed about how messy your substrate looks, maybe go for black/dark sand? I've heard from others that it looks less nasty when the mulm inevitably builds up, as mulm is somewhat good for planted tanks but it just looks awful. Some people really like using dark aquasoil with black sand on top, so that if they do mix, it's not super obvious, but the sand still caps over the soil so you don't get a huge algae bloom from the extra plant food in the water column.

I'd also caution that ripping up your old substrate can often mean you have to re-cycle your tank from step one, so be prepared to do that. Some people have kept a mesh bag of their old substrate in their tank for a week or two to help avoid a total crash, but being that beneficial bacteria tends to live in substrates just as much if not more than on filters, it's unavoidable that it'll need to be watched carefully.
  • #5
I just want to say, please don't use glass cleaner or soap in your aquarium! Use diluted white vinegar if you want to give it a really good scrub, but it is very difficult to ensure that you have removed all of the chemicals in cleaning products, especially if you are in a hurry to get your fish back in.

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