To follow up with this thread I started...
...I now want to start a discussion about the next change I want to make in my tank - possibly changing out the substrate to a more plant-friendly type. On this subject, I am completely clueless, and I am asking for a whole bunch of input.
The first thing I plan on doing, once I get my new canister filter, is to leave the UGF
in place w/power heads running, install the canister, and fill one tray with gravel to get bio going. I plan on getting the Cascade 1200 which has 4 trays, so I can fill the second tray from the bottom (and maybe just both of them) with gravel, then the top 1 or 2 with bio media, and let it run like this for at least a week or two before shutting off the UGF
and pulling the plates. Then I can re-configure the trays in the canister. So that's step #1
Step #2 is where it gets fuzzy. I currently have about 3 inches of plain old gravel above my UGF
. I understand that there are several different types of substrate but am uneducated about the benefits and detriments of each kind or style or brand for that matter. So help me out please!!! Give me some benefits/detriments/experiences with everything you know about. Here's a few items to start, based on what little I know:
Gravel size - fine, large?
What about Flourite? Read a little bit about it.
How about crushed coral?
What about sand?
Which is good for plants, is there a kind that is best in general?
Will some plants not grow in specific kinds of substrate?
I plan on packing the tank with plants once the canister is running, right now I have hyper-duplicating Vallisneria, a sword that is struggling (2 actually) and a couple Echinodorus, one is great, the red one is holding it's own. I would like to add as many plants and decor as possible after pulling the plates.
As for the method of changing out the substrate, the first question I have is related to the nitrogen cycle. Having been in the hobby for 20 years on and off, I am very familiar with it. That being said, I've never changed out substrate on an established tank.
If I have enough of a bio colony established in the canister filter (say I let it run for a full 6 weeks) could I theoretically change out all the substrate at once without causing a cycle? Or would it be wiser to do it in stages, say 1/2 the tank then another 1/2 a few weeks later? Or maybe in 1/4's every few weeks?
Any finally...should I even bother? Is the gravel I have just fine? Check out my pics...
Any advice is greatly appreciated!