switching substrate

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by jdmLuzon, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. jdmLuzonValued MemberMember

    I am actually considering switching from gravel to sand substrate. the problem is I already have a fully established full cycled aquarium, and I also have quite a few fish in there already....how would I go about doing this without actually taking the fish out of my tank? or should I remove my fish?

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  2. nhaiflichValued MemberMember

    IMO taking the fish out is going to be a personal choice. Some say yes others say no. I feel there's a small risk either way. It can be done without taking them out though. I believe I have read that not that much bacteria is housed in the gravel so removing shouldn't affect cycle.

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  3. WendigoblueWell Known MemberMember

    I would take them out and put them in a rubbermaid bin. Make sure it's big enough to house them for a few days. If you leave them in they could possibly get sand particles in they're gills. Did you wash your sand? If not here's a link:   . When changing the substrate you may need to add extra beneficial bacteria to your tank as an ammonia spike could happen. If you have an extra filter on hand you could start that up in the main tank, then when you set up the bin tank the filter is already cycled. Make sure to add a little gravel to the bin tank to help with the instant cycle. Remember your tank could be cloudy for a few days and you need to be ready with your bin! I hope everything goes as planed!
  4. jdmLuzonValued MemberMember

    thank you...the sand im using is frpm my LFS and it says rinse free...no rinsing needed.

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  5. delta5Well Known MemberMember

    I switched from gravel to sand, 100% natural play sand from toys r us, and I didn't remove any fish. No mini cycle either. I highly suggest cleaning your tank as you remove water. After all gravel is removed unplug your filters before adding sand. Your filter motor will love you.

    As for not needing to be rinsed. I'd take a small amount and do the cleaning process just to make sure.

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  6. Maxi1Valued MemberMember

    Having done this I suggest putting the fish in a bucket, is good to have them out of the way while you are working. And I bet less stressful as well. I used the wet sand but it still needed to be rinsed.

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  7. jdmLuzonValued MemberMember

    so how much water exactly do i need to take out from my tank? it's a 65 gallon tall tank.

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  8. renthusWell Known MemberMember

    Whenever I need to do a substrate swap (yes, it's happened a few times), I completely empty the tank of all fish, plants, and driftwood, then pull out the old substrate. I can't even imagine doing it with the fish still in there. Also, leaving water in there means that unless you're REALLY careful and rinsed INCREDIBLY well, it *will* fog the water significantly.
  9. Adam55Well Known MemberMember

    I switched from gravel to sand and took the fish out. Even after rinsing, the water was still extremely cloudy for a good while after I made the switch, so it's good they came out.
  10. delta5Well Known MemberMember

    That is odd. I used sand from toys r us and did, what I consider normal, the 5g bucket and garden hose. After that added it to the tank and water stayed crystal clear. My cichlids are digging a hole to China.
  11. dgmirageValued MemberMember

    haha love the posts. i actually just did this a few days ago. i placed the fish in a bucket for about 30 minutes. the sand looks amazing and fish are very happy. good luck!
  12. amdpayneValued MemberMember

    I personally find sand really hard to vacuum... must just be my vacuum. :/ Looks great, but I end up removing a ton of sand when I vacuum. I could also have just gotten a not-so-great brand of sand that's too fine, but overall it looks beautiful. Glad you're having luck! Post a pic? :)

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