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Author Topic: Substrate change  (Read 705 times)

Offline Harry_Baggit

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Substrate change
« on: May 25, 2020, 10:35:19 pm »
hi guys, been a while ! i have an established tank, 200 litres, i have decided to go for sand substrate, i seem to recall  some people using soil & sand ?  anyway my main questions are.

1. am i likely to ruin the bacteria colonies in the gravel by completely removing it ?
2. can i just bung the fish/shrimps in a much smaller container while i do the swap ?

im yet to buy the new substrate, i once used 'carib sea' if they are still going, maybe i can use them again?  any recommendations for a nice sand substrate ?

many thanks in advance.

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    Offline blackghost

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    Re: Substrate change
    « Reply #1 on: May 26, 2020, 12:10:31 am »
    Depends how heavily stocked the tank is. With a very light stocking, a fair percentage of the bacteria will be on the substrate. If you've got a big bioload, say big fish, there’ll be a lot more bacteria so most will be in the filter. I keep big fish so I can just change the substrate whenever I want without worrying about the negligible amount of bacteria I’m removing.

    Ammonia comes from food, so reducing the food reduces the ammonia. You could change the substrate and reduce the feeding for a few days after to let the bacteria keep up, and up their numbers again without an ammonia spike. You could also add a little bottled bacteria when you’ve done it (Tetra Safe Start, Stability etc).
    Personally I wouldn’t remove the fish. Scoop the substrate out with a net or a margarine tub, let the water clear so you can see again, then add the cleaned sand in the same way. It’ll be dusty even when you’ve cleaned it, so lower it down to the bottom in a margarine tub then pour it out carefully. The fish won’t mind as long as you don’t make quick movements, and go from end to end so they know what’s happening. Don’t make too much eye contact (when you make eye contact they think you’re coming for them). I’ve done it a few times and the fish gather round and watch. They enjoy it.

    Offline Harry_Baggit

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    Re: Substrate change
    « Reply #2 on: May 26, 2020, 08:18:48 pm »
    thanks, i can do that, but the substrate has sat in the tank for 18 months undisturbed, i suspect a real black storm is coming, lol

     i keep a community tank, was only supposed to be that way to get things started , lol i do have one monster sized shrimp tho, he does actually scare me !  haha

    Offline blackghost

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    Re: Substrate change
    « Reply #3 on: May 26, 2020, 09:28:40 pm »
    I’d give the substrate a thorough clean with a gravel cleaner before removing it then, if you’re leaving the fish in. If you’ve never done that it might be anaerobic and release noxious gases otherwise.

    Offline Harry_Baggit

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    Re: Substrate change
    « Reply #4 on: May 27, 2020, 02:08:35 pm »
    this is what i suspected, might be easier to strip the whole tank ?  ill give it some more thought, maybe a good clean up and some fresh plants will keep me happy for a while longer , maybe.

    Offline Phil R

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    Re: Substrate change
    « Reply #5 on: June 02, 2020, 03:57:23 pm »
    I did a complete substrate change on my Juwel 450 last year in sections when I did regular water change. Took about 20% out at each change and put new substrate back in at the same time. I did make up some plastic dividers to keep new and old separate. Tank didn't look great for a few weeks but all looks good now and more importantly no problems with fish or water parameters.
    Phil.