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Old 06-27-2007, 04:29 PM   #1
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Doing a substrate change - Update - With pics!!

I'm finally pulling the trigger on my substrate change in my 75 g tank. I've got the Turface I'm going to use (all 100 lbs of it) and I'm all set I think. I just don't have the time to do it today. I'm figuring 4-5 hrs and probably more to do it right.

My plan:

Drain some of the water from the tank into a 35g tub.
Remove all the plants and decorations.
Disconnect heater, filter, etc....
Drain more water into the 35g tub
Catch all the fish and transfer them into the tub.
Drain the rest of the tank.
Scoop all the gravel from the tank into a smaller 18g tub for storage
Clean out any detritus or other garbage accumulating in the tank
Add the Turface. Refill about halfway with new water and dechlorinate
Add the plants and decorations and transfer the fish back into the tank.
Add the old water from the 35g tub to the tank.
Collapse in a heap from exhaustion in front of the tank and enjoy the view

Does this sound like a good plan? This is a 75g tank I'm doing this to.

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Old 06-27-2007, 04:40 PM   #2
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I'm far from expert on this subject, but from what I've read, your plans seems solid. Good luck, will be waiting for pictures...
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:43 PM   #3
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Looks ok to me. Make sure to keep temps in the tub up or controlled during the process. I'd set the heater in the tub with the fish during if you werent already planning on that, and matching the refill temperature. You might also want to consider an airpump/airstone in the tub too.
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Old 06-27-2007, 04:54 PM   #4
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I figure at worst, the fish will have to spend a night and part of the next day while I'm at work in the tub. I'll prob put a cycled HOB filter on it if that happens. It's been about 80 degrees here locally so I don't think water temp will be that big of a deal.

I plan on starting this tomorrow so I'll probably fast the fish today and tomorrow to cut down on any waste that might show up in the tub.
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Old 06-27-2007, 06:18 PM   #5
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I would pick a time when you can do the whole thing at once. I did just what you described a few months ago. No losses but the fish when back in the same day. I guess if you use a filter they should be ok. No need to reuse any water, doesn't contain anything you need. Since its the same as your tap, why reuse dirty water?
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Old 06-27-2007, 06:28 PM   #6
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I was thinking the old water had bacteria in it that would be beneficial. And since the tank has been set up for over a year, the new water would be "aged" and would cut down on the time needed to re-cycle the tank (which should be short since I'm not doing anything with the filter.
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Old 06-27-2007, 06:47 PM   #7
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No bacteria in the water, it attaches to solid surfaces.
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Old 06-27-2007, 06:53 PM   #8
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Rich is correct. The water doesn't contain any "cycled" material. It's in your filter, on the decor, and covering the glass. Adding 100% new water will not cause you to need to re-cycle the tank.
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Old 06-27-2007, 07:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishyfanatic
Rich is correct. The water doesn't contain any "cycled" material. It's in your filter, on the decor, and covering the glass. Adding 100% new water will not cause you to need to re-cycle the tank.
Cool. Thanks for clarifying that. I'll just refill with new water and dechlorinate it in the tank then.
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Old 06-28-2007, 06:07 PM   #10
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In the middle of doing the change now. I can't catch my black skirt tetras no matter what I do. The other fish seem to have gone quietly and are now resting in my 35g tub. The tank still has some water and tons of algae. I"m taking a dinner break, then right back at it.
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:48 PM   #11
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little late, but I would have suggested rinsing the new substrate first...it'll be murky water for awhile otherwise.
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:00 PM   #12
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Yeah, I forgot all about rinsing it. Needless to say it's so cloudy right now I can't see to plant anything. I added the fish back. The plants can wait in the tub until tomorrow evening to be planted. Only two things went wrong. 100 lbs of Turface was way, way, way too much for my 75g tank. The 50 was almost enough and I probably could have got by on it. I had to take out a bunch of it. Then the filter wouldn't restart for some reason. Finally after some cajoling I got it up and running. I'll try to to post pics I took before during and after tomorrow.
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:33 PM   #13
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Well, I'm finally done. Took about 7-8 hrs total, but I could probably shave an hour or so off of that in the future. Anyway, I started with this - two bags of Turface and two tubs to store everything in.



This was pretty much what I had to work with in the fish tank. I'd been out of town for a few weeks and hadn't quite gotten back in the swing of things. The DIY CO2 had run out and the hair algae had taken over the tank. Needless to say it was a mess. There was green algae growing all over the glass.



Tank here partially drained into the blue tub. All the plants removed.



The tub with all the fish and plants in it.



The gravel was all removed and all the detritus was vacuumed up from the inside. Then I was ready to put it all back together. I put the big piece of driftwood in first.



One bag of Turface later.



I should've stopped there while I was ahead, but people had said I need 100 lbs so I needed 100 lbs. Here's what happened.



So I took out about 30-40 of those 50 lbs got the look I wanted and started refilling. I tried to funnel the water from the Python into the betta cup so it wouldn't disturb the gravel as much. No luck.





I added the fish back and started re-planting the plants. However, the tank was so murky I couldn't see and it was getting late. I decided to just let it all settle down and finish planting the tank the next day. This is how it looked when I went to bed.



And when I came back the next day. Definitely much better.



And once I planted the plants back, I wound up with this.



Now, all I have to do is hook up the CO2 tank (when it gets here) and find some Dwarf Hairgrass (can't find any locally for some reason). Apologies for some of the pics being fuzzy. I'm still trying to figure out this camera.
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:39 PM   #14
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Nice work. I think it looks good and it will only get better.
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:29 PM   #15
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nice lookin tank, that substrate looks good, keep up the work
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:55 PM   #16
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nice tank, the substrate looks awesome and it has a more nautral feeling now
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Old 07-01-2007, 02:03 PM   #17
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Looking good. I like the driftwood and the overall natural look.
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Old 07-01-2007, 04:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazeherd2306
Looking good. I like the driftwood and the overall natural look.
The natural looks is what I was aiming for. I'm looking for some way to add some sort of a cave without having to break everything down or add something artificial.
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:11 AM   #19
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I think the back left corner is the obvious location for a cave setup. You can make them yourself with some silicone and slate, or get a hunk of inert stone and drill/gouge out your own cave (much more time intensive but much more natural looking).

You need some foreground plants. That would really bring out the tank. Oh, and if you find out you still have more substrate then you need just suck a pocket out at each PWC. My tank had too much PFS and the easiest and least messy way was to just stick the vac into the substrate and have gravity do its work. No need to smooth it out as it will naturally level itself.
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