Opinions/Questions on tank look

  • #1

Okay I was wondering if anyone had some ideas on how I could make this tank look more natural possibly. I would like to put sand in instead of gravel but I don't know how I would do that without taking the water out which I know isn't good so anyway any tips on how I could do it if possible?

  • #2
You can scoop the gravel out with a clean, preferably unused, dustpan.

  • #3
I'd be careful with scooping out all of your gravel at once. Although most of your beneficial bacteria life in you filter bio media, some live in the substrate as well, as long as there's water flow through it.

When I switched my 50 gallon from 100% gravel to 50/50 gravel and sand, I only swapped out a 9-10 square inches per week. You could do more or less, depending on your bio load and water change schedule.

Then again, I've heard of people who switched out all of their gravel with sand in a day and had no issues. I'm only speaking from my own experience. Maybe one of them can comment.
  • #4
I swapped gravel out of a 46 gal & switched to black diamond blasting sand in January. I felt like I was drifting to old tank syndrome so I did it very carefully. I scooped out 1-2 pints of gravel every week with deep gravel vacuum for 2-3 months. I switched to prime in case I was really stirring things up. I added a cheap double sponge filter for use while adding the sand so I wouldn't ruin the impellers on my HOB filters. The final switch over I pulled out all the plants & decor and scooped with a new 6" dust pan into a container on the floor of the tank to minimize mulm clouds. I have a lot of media in my HOB's and with the sponge filter I did not have any issues with disruption of my BB cycle. Rinse the sand well (5 gal bucket and a hose for 15 minutes). I recommend the wet bottle method for laying the sand in.
  • #5
I like the way the tank looks now. Alison
  • #6
I swapped substrate around in mine all at once. Here's what I did:
Pull out a large chunk of tank water and fill the bucket I use for added new tank water to the tank with it.
Move tank inhabitants and some décor into the buckets.
Use the bucket I use for old tank water to get rid of the rest of the tank water.
Remove any remaining décor, put live plants and filter onto the bucket with the tank inhabitants and kept the filter running (may not be viable depending on bucket/tank size. If not, just keep all of your filter media in dechlorinated water or the bucket with the tank inhabitants)
Remove all substrate and gunk that settled in it.
Redo the tank structure setup, new substrate, add back décor, plants, etc.
Add water.
Let the dust from the new substrate settle.
Add tank inhabitants and filter.

I did not have any issues with the tank holding it's cycle from the full change of substrate in one go.


  • #7
I like it how it is also, but if you want a more natural look, creating strategically placed peaks and valleys in your substrate will help. Varying the height and placement of your plants will help too. Play around with it and see! Half the fun of aquascaping is the playing with the placement first and exploring all your options.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Okay thanks for all the great ideas!! I think I'm just going to swap it out slowly over a couple of weeks
  • #9
Paint the background black instead of that poster. And if you can do a grass bed.
  • #10
Just to add in, just did a full clean on my girls' tank due to a failed attempt with java moss using the same process I mentioned, and it worked without a problem.

I personally like the background, but if you do change it out, you may want to get some taller plants for the back of the tank to break up the black.


  • #11
I'd switch to PFS or BDBS, this is the video I used
I did all in one go to, took all the gravel, decor, plants, but one decor so the fish could hide. I left the fish in the tank, emptied it half way. I did use a cup to remove the gravel and put sand in. The one thing I recommend, is whenever you do a one go substrate change, is to add bacteria in, just as a precautionary measure since your taking all the substrate out.
  • #12
In this pic no tall plants but still looks amazing.
  • #13
Not saying it can't work, just emptier than my personal preference, but I like a lot of plants
  • #14
I did it the same way Bithimala, but I shut off everything and used my large cooler and some in other buckets. Put some of the decor and the heater in it to keep the fish calm and warm. After I did the transfer from gravel to sand I put in the buckets of tank water into the tank after setting it up the way I wanted to and then added the fish and heater and then the last decor if you choose to use it.

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