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Old 08-12-2007, 02:34 PM   #1
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suggestions for changing substrate

Hello all,

I am curious if anyone has done a substrate change in a fully planted tank and how difficult it is?

I am concerned about another cycle since my fish would have to live in a rubbermaid container until I get the project done.

The thing is, I started another tank and used PFS instead of gravel and I LOVE IT! Now I want to do it in my planted 55 and re-scape a bit.

What is the easiest way? Total tear down and hurry and set it back up, put the plants back in etc?
I love the way the tank looks now except for the gravel, although the plants seem to like it fine it is hard to keep some of the stem plants rooted well and I regularly have floaters. I like how easy it is to push the stems down into the PFS on the other tank.

Would you (in this situation) set up a temp tank (rubbermaid container) with filter, heater etc to house the fish for a couple of days, or just put them in buckets and do it as fast as possible? I think it could be done in a few hours but would the fish have a problem with the cloudy water? Should they not go back in until it is all settled?

Any suggestions are welcome. I am still on the fence as to whether to just live with the substrate as is, or do the change.

Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:06 PM   #2
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I have done it. I removed all the plants. Took out half the water. Put the fish and some of the water in a cooler with a heater. I took out the gravel and the rest of the water. Replaced the gravel, rescaped, filled the tank back up. Checked the temp in the cooler and the tank and returned the fish. Took me 3 hours in a 29 gallon. No cycle and the fish barely noticed.
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:14 PM   #3
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NICE! I suppose part of the trick is perhaps not doing filter maint at the same time. Perhaps all the plants help as well. I am getting encouraged.
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:51 PM   #4
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Definetly don't clean the filter. Jchillin did his 75 not to long ago as well. He had no problems that I know of.
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Old 08-12-2007, 10:09 PM   #5
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Jchillin did his 75 not to long ago as well. He had no problems that I know of.
Yep, and tank was crowded with plants and approximately 35 fish which included an 8" Sailfin Pleco. I would follow Rich's advice which is the way to go. I would suggest ensuring that you have everything you need prior to starting, taking breaks as often as possible but be very quick about the transfer of the fish. My tank took me 5 hours.
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Old 08-12-2007, 10:11 PM   #6
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I don't think it's been specifically stated yet, but the fish won't mind the water being cloudy. Depending on the fish it might even be easier to leave them in the tank while changing things around. Sometimes it's more stress to net them to remove them, than just leave them alone and make sure you don't drop anything on them.
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Old 08-13-2007, 05:00 PM   #7
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I did mine the same as Rich and Bill. The quick and dirty method. I didn't have any problems either. I would suggest you clean the PFS really well and you shouldn't have that cloudy of a tank.
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