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Old 08-06-2004, 11:43 PM   #1
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changing the set up of a 20gal, looking for suggestions

At the moment I have a 20 gal tank that I have had up and running for about 2 months. (Not too long) I have big dreams for my tank but am not happy with the current set up. When I purchased the tank I put in a UGF, the cheapest way to start out. I then added a bio whisper filter. I have now in my tank:

4 long finned blue leopard danios
3 bronze cories
2 ottos
2 female guppies

3 unknown plants that have grown to drape the surface
2 other unknown plants, red and green colored that are pretty well established
1 pennywort, potted
1 dark red dwarf fern

I am considering (seriously) taking out the UGF and then adding some, small, schooling fish (in time), as well as removing the unknown plants and adding something that will grow nicely in low light (other than java moss). I have had a 10gal with a UGF in the past that turned into a complete mess. I am not sure WHY I ever bothered with one again, I wasn't thinking and was going cheap..

So my question is... how should I go about removing that UGF? Is there a specific time alotment, or procedure in what to do first etc..? What are the suggestions for my fish... I most likely set up a QT tank and let it cycle, then simply take my time rearranging the tank. But is it a better idea to add my fish to my husbands established tank for a time being? (He only has 5 cories) Would that be easier on the fish?

My problem is that I do not really want to make this into a week long + process; however I don't have any ideas about how to lessen the time this will take.

Are there any suggestions to help me out with the change in general.. Do you think removing the UGF and disturbing the tank is a good idea at this stage, being that the tank is only 2 months old?

Are there any tricks to this sort of thing... to keeping the fish from becomming stressed. Also about re-cyclying the tank after the UGF is out? I suppose it would be helpful if I wouldn't say, bleach the gravel or such things, and use the previously used filter. Would that however, make it "safer" or "faster" as in the time it would take to re-establish my fish population?

Your opinions and feed back are MUCH appreciated!!
Thanks in advance!


Oh and um.. ps...
any suggestions on good looking/interesting plants for low to moderate lighting?
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46gal semi-planted Community:
2 Long finned Blue Leopard Danios
4 Ottos
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20 Assorted Corys
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Old 08-07-2004, 01:42 AM   #2
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well the bacteria you want are in the filter and gravel. I would transfer gravel, water and filter from the old tank to the QT tank. Now your QT tank is cycled, at least long enough to pull the UGF. Then take the water level down the rest of the way. If there is more then 75% of the water left...(aka you only removed 25% of the water for the QT tank), I'd save an additional 25% to 50%, so that in total you retain 50% to 75% of the origional water. If you just did a recent water change, you could keep all the water. Anyway, just vacuume the gravel clean like normal and once the water is at the gravel line just remove the UGF parts. Obviously the plants and stuff come out first. Once the UGF is out, then resmooth the gravel, and start adding water back in. Once at 50% add your plants and decorations then add the rest of the water and fish. I would avoid bleaching the gravel as you want to retain all that glorious bacteria. As long as you retain the main biosouce (gravel and filter media) and keep the old already conditioned water....then you shouldn't need to recycle the tank. I would still drop back to some more frequent changes and testing just to make sure. After all you did remove some of the bacteria when you siphoned the gravel, but it should bounce back. Especially if you are running an oversized filter (larger biomedia area).
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Old 08-07-2004, 03:08 AM   #3
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Sounds good to me. i was wondering if i could use the water from my tank again when the UGF was removed or if i would have to use new water. That helps a lot. It actually didn't don on me to use my current tank water in the QT tank.. duh..

i am just extremely worried that i will loose one or more fish in the process and so i do want to limit the time this is going to take me. It sounds as if i keep enough of my origional water then i may be able to put the fish right back in after the UGF is taken out, so that sounds positive. i know i will keep checking my water once i have done this though. i simply don't want to loose any of these fish.

Thanks again wxboilermaker
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46gal semi-planted Community:
2 Long finned Blue Leopard Danios
4 Ottos
1 Sunset Gourmi
20 Assorted Corys
5 White Cloud Minnows
2 Dwarf frogs
2 Clown Loaches
2 plecos, 1 clown 1 rubber lip
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Old 08-07-2004, 01:50 PM   #4
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Here's what I would do--and I have changed over a few tanks recently with no problems Start a HOB filter and turn off the UGF. Allow a couple of weeks for the new filter to get established. Then, place the fish in something with tank water (I often use our fish bucket). Then I change out the substrate (or in your case, pull out that UGF) and put the fish back in.
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