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Old 09-28-2004, 02:15 PM   #1
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Follow-Up on Swapping Substrate and Removing UGF

I can't say swapping out the substrate wasn't without some pain but I'm glad that I did it. If I were to do it over I would have setup a spare 20 gallon and moved the fish over there while I was upsetting the tank but other than that I would probably do it the same.

What I did.

1. Vacuum - Vacuum - Vacuum over a period of a week. I worked all of the nooks and crannies and did as much cleaning as I could
2. Two days before - cleaned the filters
3. Day before - I pulled out all of the plants (real and fake), rocks, and driftwood. Vacuumed again
4. Day of - I took out 75% of the water
- pulled all of the gravel off of the first section of the ugf. I used a
combination of scooping out and moving the remaining gravel onto
the middle ugf plate.
-Pulled the ugf plate did some vacuuming to clean this area.
-Added a little water back in to replace what I had vacuumed
-Pulled all of the gravel from the middle plate onto the bare bottom
of the tank.
-Pulled all of the gravel to the end of the tank and removed it
-Some more vacuuming and a water replacement
-Removed third and last UGF plate same way

At this point I had all of the gravel out and a fairly cloudy tank so I did another water change and let things settle. While things were settling I carried all of the gravel outside to the garden (Four - Five gallon buckets)
and started rinsing flourite to go back in. To rinse the flourite I made a 15x15 box out of 1x2 lumber, reinforced the corners, and put a piece of window screen across the bottom. I then washed up some of the flourite and took it back downstairs to the tank. By this time the tank had settled down considerably and I did a quick vacuum to remove some of the deitrus and whatnot that I had not gotten earlier. I could easily see through the tank at this point. Then I added the flourite and it completely clouded the water. So I proceeded to rinse and add the rest of the flourite. I then filled the tank halfway, did a water change, refilled it all of the way, did a 50% water change.

Day After - I ran the filters full blast overnight and cleaned them the next morning and evening. I also did a 50% water change. Water testing showed some ammonia
Two Days After - Another filter cleaning and a major vacuuming of the substrate. Tank was finally starting to clear ! Ammonia coming down
Three Days after 25% water change - clean the filters
Four Days After - Plants back into the tank, some vacuuming, small water change due to the vacuuming.
5-7 - Let the tanks do it's thing for a few days and let the fish recover. I was still testing water - Ammonia was going down, Ph was stabilizing, Nitrates are coming up.
One week after - No fish losses - Small trace of ammonia - Still a very slight cloud in the water a couple of more water changes and some mechanical filtration should finish this up. Plants are starting to take off, Hornwort exploded in growth increasing in size rapidly 10-20% per day. Cabomba caroliniana starting to grow well sending out feeder roots. Added some Annubias, Crypts, and Anacharis.
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150 gallon
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100% Flourite (soon)
C02 Injection (Phase II)
Java Moss
Horwort
Cabomba caroliniata
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Old 09-28-2004, 02:37 PM   #2
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Wow. What a project! Thanks for sharing what you went through, and it seems that the optimal plant growth helped ease the cycle you were experiencing. Now when people inquire about doing this kind of thing we can point them in your direction
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Old 09-28-2004, 02:56 PM   #3
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I just thought of something I left off. To help corral up all of the gravel I cut a small piece of plexi-glass the same width as the tank and about four inches high. I could then use this to push the gravel to one end of the tank. This was much easier than trying to move the gravel around by hand and made scooping it out much easier.
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150 gallon
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100% Flourite (soon)
C02 Injection (Phase II)
Java Moss
Horwort
Cabomba caroliniata
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Old 09-28-2004, 09:57 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for this post. I am (hah, eventually.. that is.. when i get the money.. so never!) going to switch to flourite, too!

How much did you pay for your flourite? I mean, 1 bag of it (since my tank isn't as large is yours).
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