Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Cichlid Discussion
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 06-24-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Crawdaddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montgomery, TX
Posts: 423
Need advice - Changing Gravel to Sand

Hello all, I need a little advice. When I first set up my 55gal cichlid tank, I used gravel because the wife liked the look. Cleaning it is a pain though. It seems like I can never get all the waste out of it. I'm wanting to change the gravel to sand. My questions are these:
1. The easiest way to do this?
2. The type of sand? I used coral sea cichlid sand in my 37gal for my barbs, and really like the look of it, so should I go with the same, or can I use pool filter sand and add some colored sand to it for affect?
3. Do I need to remove my fish to do this, or can I get away with just removing the decorations and some of he water and then scoop out the gravel? Remember, this is a 55gal so there is quite a bit of gravel.

I have been trying to think of the best/easiest way to do this that will reduce the amount of stress to the fish. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
__________________

__________________
12, 37, 55
Crawdaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2012, 10:17 AM   #2
come get me tang police!
 
jetajockey's Avatar


 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: In a swamp near you /Pensacola, FL
Posts: 12,047
Your best bet is to remove the fish to a bucket while you are doing substrate change. It'll make the process easier since you don't have to worry about hurting any of them while scooping the old gravel out. A clean dustpan works great to scoop out old sand or gravel.

You can mix sand types if you want, people use everything from playsand to pool filter sand to blasting sand. Is the tank for african cichlids?
__________________

__________________
Dont Forget to Join my FREE weekly Plant Giveaway.
Click Here!
jetajockey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2012, 10:28 AM   #3
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Crawdaddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montgomery, TX
Posts: 423
Yup. I have never been able to get the nitrates down where hey should be, even with lots of water changes. I know this is because of not being able to clean under the gravel as well as it should be. I really like the look of sand, and wanted to go with sand from the beginning, but my wife really wanted the color from the gravel. I should have stood my ground, but the things we do for our spouses, lol.
__________________
12, 37, 55
Crawdaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
come get me tang police!
 
jetajockey's Avatar


 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: In a swamp near you /Pensacola, FL
Posts: 12,047
The nitrate levels may also be in large part due to stocking levels. The detritus that collects has the potential for nitrates but I believe that the majority of the eventual nitrates are directly due to ammonia excretion by the fish themselves.

With any substrate you have you'll never be able to get them completely clean, so I think at some point it's just ends up being a lot of work for minimal gain.

I would suggest live plants to help with nitrate reduction but depending on the kind of cichlids you have it may not be possible.
__________________
Dont Forget to Join my FREE weekly Plant Giveaway.
Click Here!
jetajockey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2012, 10:40 AM   #5
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Crawdaddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montgomery, TX
Posts: 423
Tried the live route, and they provided hours of fun for the fish, and hours of frustration for me . I was new to keeping fish, heck even after a year I'm still new to it, but they really liked to pull them up. Every night when I got home from work I had to replant them. Currently I have fake plants with real heavy bases on them so they can't move hem.
__________________
12, 37, 55
Crawdaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 05:58 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Importcrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawdaddy View Post
Tried the live route, and they provided hours of fun for the fish, and hours of frustration for me . I was new to keeping fish, heck even after a year I'm still new to it, but they really liked to pull them up. Every night when I got home from work I had to replant them. Currently I have fake plants with real heavy bases on them so they can't move hem.
My fish are pretty much the same way. I have 1 turtle (baby painted turtle), 2 Koi, and 1 cichlid. I had 3 live plants in there along with a few soft plastic and silk plants and lets just say that I'm down to 2 Live plants now. I'll be buying a couple more later on.

The fish doesn't even touch the plastic/fake plants at all. So I have no worries about that. But since I will be getting another painted turtle, I'm setting up my 10 gallon tank and putting the turtles in there from now on. I just have to clean it out, put the sand, decorations, basking area, ect. And as soon as I do my next water change on my 65 gallon tank, I will be making some stone "caves" and will be adding a few more fishes.
__________________
Importcrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 08:35 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Soccerfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Importcrew
My fish are pretty much the same way. I have 1 turtle (baby painted turtle), 2 Koi, and 1 cichlid. I had 3 live plants in there along with a few soft plastic and silk plants and lets just say that I'm down to 2 Live plants now. I'll be buying a couple more later on.

The fish doesn't even touch the plastic/fake plants at all. So I have no worries about that. But since I will be getting another painted turtle, I'm setting up my 10 gallon tank and putting the turtles in there
Do you have your koi, turtle and cichlid together?
__________________
Soccerfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 08:51 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Importcrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 22
Yes. Well I did. I just took out the turtle today and placed the turtle in a smaller tank since I will be getting an additional turtle tomorrow.

As for the turtle being with the fish, (turtle is only a couple inches at most), and has not attacked my fish.
__________________
Importcrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 09:07 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Malawi Freak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Vernon, NJ
Posts: 1,237
You need to split up your koi and cichlids. They have much different water parameter needs.
__________________
Malawi Freak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2012, 10:18 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Soccerfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 45
Yes the koi and cichlid need to be split up, and your koi, will outgrow your aquarium. Although not for awhile (you said 65 gal, correct? So a few months, at best) Your Koi will be much a happier in a tank cooler then the cichlid. You also know a ten gal. Is going to be small for two painted turtles, and they will out grow it fast. It is easier to keep hatchlings in smaller aquariums, but I would recommend a 20long. Its thw same height but about 10 inches longer and I believe slightly more wider.
__________________
Soccerfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 12:43 AM   #11
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Texasreef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 61
I just did a gravel to sand conversion about a month ago. I used pool filter sand and left the fish in as I did the change. I added the sand slowly after removing the gravel and the fish got out of the way. Mine is a 90 gallon so it took some time. The water was cloudy for about 4 days with the filters running the whole time. I rinsed the sand thoroughly before adding it but it still clouded up a ton. Now that it's finished i'm really glad I made the change, yes it marginally easier to clean but the payoff for me is watching my cichlids dig and play in the sand. Here's a before and after pic of mine.


Click image for larger version

Name:	image-2938547392.jpg
Views:	195
Size:	140.6 KB
ID:	106047

Before

Click image for larger version

Name:	image-3967983359.jpg
Views:	194
Size:	144.7 KB
ID:	106048

After
__________________
Texasreef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2012, 08:49 PM   #12
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Crawdaddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montgomery, TX
Posts: 423
That looks real good. What is that beast on the holey rock?
I actually went out and bought 60 lbs of cichlid sand last weekend, planning to do the switch this weekend,,,,,but the wife tarted talking about and then looking for a bigger tank. Currently it's a 55gal, it a couple of my guys have gotten big enough they are getting territorial, and we discussed a bigger tank to help reduce this. So I might be getting a new one, and hen to have to worry about swapping the substrate, yea . I'll keep everyone posted.
__________________
12, 37, 55
Crawdaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2012, 12:47 AM   #13
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Texasreef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 61
Believe it or not that's a common pleco.. Here's a quick pic of him chilling by my driftwood. Not the best because I took it with my iPad but you get the idea. He's about 16 inches right now. Makes the 90 lok small.lol
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	image-245702896.jpg
Views:	146
Size:	137.3 KB
ID:	106213  
__________________
Texasreef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2012, 01:35 AM   #14
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Jacobsal91's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Northeastern usa
Posts: 753
My way of doing this is by removing all fish and placing in a bucket while
Doing this as said above. Scoop out all gravel, clean it and store it away or throw it out whatever you wish to do with it. Then while
Your at it might as well do a water change. I did a 50% when i changed mine. Then make sure
Sand is clean and dump it right in. I wouldnt turn filters on until water clears up the waterborn sand can damage certain filters. Then you are all set to go! Its
Going to be a bit annoying no matter how you do it but i find this to be the easiest way. Heres mine before and after (dont mind roman ruin theme i know its cheesy but i find it to look decent. Working on new decor as we speak)

Before
Click image for larger version

Name:	image-2898113776.jpg
Views:	164
Size:	97.1 KB
ID:	106214



After
Click image for larger version

Name:	image-3842040975.jpg
Views:	193
Size:	146.9 KB
ID:	106215



And a side note, here was my old common pleco, the get pretty big lol

Click image for larger version

Name:	image-843343655.jpg
Views:	168
Size:	92.7 KB
ID:	106216
__________________
Jacobsal91 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2012, 01:19 PM   #15
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Labenator65000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Midwest-USA
Posts: 733
I would be interested in seeing a "before" and "after" picture with gravel swapped out for black sand. I like the look of a dark substrate.
__________________
Labenator65000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2012, 03:14 PM   #16
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Crawdaddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montgomery, TX
Posts: 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texasreef
I just did a gravel to sand conversion about a month ago. I used pool filter sand and left the fish in as I did the change. I added the sand slowly after removing the gravel and the fish got out of the way. Mine is a 90 gallon so it took some time. The water was cloudy for about 4 days with the filters running the whole time. I rinsed the sand thoroughly before adding it but it still clouded up a ton. Now that it's finished i'm really glad I made the change, yes it marginally easier to clean but the payoff for me is watching my cichlids dig and play in the sand. Here's a before and after pic of mine.

Before

After
What light fixture is that. I'm wanting to convert to LED and I'm not sure what length to get. The tank is a 55 gal, 48 inches long.
__________________
12, 37, 55
Crawdaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2012, 06:57 PM   #17
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Texasreef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 61
It's a 48 inch Coral life T5 dual. It's probably a bit overkill for freshwater no plant tank but it makes the colors of my cichlids pop. I've been considering doing some led moonlights though for the evening..
__________________
Texasreef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2012, 05:32 PM   #18
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Crawdaddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montgomery, TX
Posts: 423
Tomorrow is the day. We attempt the change. I think I have everything I need: buckets, check, 60lbs sand, check, new dustpan/scoop, check, quiet time to work, check. Will post pics when done. Thanks for all he advice. Here are a couple of before pics.

Click image for larger version

Name:	image-1409141521.jpg
Views:	133
Size:	164.1 KB
ID:	106578
__________________
12, 37, 55
Crawdaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2012, 07:44 PM   #19
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
gman42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,017
I added about. 30 pounds of playsand yesterday, and one advice i can give u is you can never clean the sand too much. I cleaned mine for an hour and a half and it really payed off. I had virtually no cloudiness, and that means less wc's to get rid of the cloudiness. Good luck on your change to sand!
__________________
gman42 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2012, 07:56 PM   #20
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Convict2161's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 14,818
I'll be doing the same in the near future so I'll be following along. I may ask a bunch of questions so be prepared lol.
__________________

__________________
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

"When creating an aqua scape, strive for the beauty of imperfection, as its art and there is no wrong or right, it's left open for interpretation" James Findley
Convict2161 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
changing, gravel, sand

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off








» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:39 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.