Making gravel safer for kuhlis with leaf litter?

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BlackOsprey

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I love kuhli loaches, but many of my tanks are dirted and capped with gravel. Some gravels are especially course, such as eco-complete. I understand that kuhlis and other bottom feeding fish can get badly scraped up over time and even lose their barbels to gravel. I'd really rather not go through the massive ordeal that is replacing the substrate of a dirted tank, so I was wondering if adding a layer of leaf litter would make a difference or not.
 

MissNoodle

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It would *help* but wont necessarily prevent anything. Mostly because theyd still go UNDER your leaf litter and rest on the gravel anyways (mine are always under the leaves, they go nuts for them, so i recommend them regardless of sand or such)

What might be a compromise is remove half the substrate where you can and add half sand, so they can at least have a choice. Pick the tank with the smoothest gravel at the very least, but tbh its more worth while to change to sand. Easier upkeep than gravel too
 
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BlackOsprey

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Ok, thanks, good to know.
I used gravel mainly because it's a more robust cap than sand for the dirt. Didn't want planting or burrowers or just a water change to mess up the cap and spew dust everywhere, you know?
I know sand's considered easier because waste collects on top instead of compacting down to rot, but mulm's a pretty good thing for all my plants. Plus you don't want to gravel vac a dirt substrate.

Replacing is kind of out of question at the moment, it would be equivalent of completely tearing the whole thing down. I've got a lot of fish, shrimp, and a jungle of plants in there. Replacing just wuld not be worth it unless I was already fixing to redo the whole thing.
 
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