Hello Guy and Gals,
Today was one of the most exciting days I have ever had in the hobby. I been planning to do a rescape on my 75g for a while; there were numerous reasons as to why I wanted to change things up. For starters, my old substrate (safe-t-sorb) was nothing but problems and I regret using it as a substrate. I would advise against it for most hobbyist but it does have its benefits, but it simply wasn't working for my tank.
As I was completely new to the hobby when I first started this tank just over a year ago I didn't plan things out very well and ended up change a lot of things over that time. Only in the last little bit is when I really knew what I wanted out of my tank. I decided pretty early on that I wasn't to focus on non-stem plants for my scape because of the low maintenance aspect as well as the beauty that they posses. I been slowly collecting all the species that I thought would work out nicely together and quickly fell in love with crypts.
Fast forward to 14 hours ago where I began tearing down my tank. I started off by bringing in the 200lbs of PFS that I had washed last night, it took me about 2 hours total to rinse it to the point where I felt it was clean enough for the tank.
Once all the sand was inside I moved onto setting up the temp home for my fish. I used a 15g cooler filled with tank water and adding my canister filter which has an in-line heater. I also treading the water with a dose of prime to ensure levels don't spike while the stressed fish are in there.
I was able to catch all non-bottom dwellers pretty easily, didn't have to remove any plants other than some really long hygro willow so I could see what I was doing. I quickly came to the conclusion that there was no way I could possible catch the corys and loaches with the amount of plants I had in the tank. I also couldn't even locate my 3 vampire shrimp..
I decided I had to remove all plants. I was very careful not to be too quick or rough on the plants. I wanted to avoid any major stirring of the substrate as I would then lose visibilityn and the whole even would of been halted. I also didn't want to stress out the fish too much as I was removing the plants.
Once I removed everything, minus the hard scape (bolts down to slate tiles under the substrate) I was able to catch the rest of the fish pretty easily. I used 2 big nets (14x10) as well as a few smaller nets as needed.
All the plants where laid out on a tarp then covered with newspaper and sprayed with water to keep it damp. Occasionally throughout the day I would mist the paper to ensure my plants didn't dry out. It seemed to do the trick perfectly.
On to removing the substrate and the hard scape. Then came time to clean the tank and get the glass looking like new again.
The tank is now read for substrate. I decided to lay about an inch of substrate down and then insert my diy root tabs right at the bottom. I spaced them all out perfectly even to ensure I didn't overdue it.
The hardest part of this whole thing was deciding what to do for the new scape. I struggled on how I was going to shape the substrate; I wanted to have some depth to my tank so I decided to make some slopes. Ready for the plant, I was a little in shock when I realized how many plants I actually had crammed in there previously. I decided to work largest to smallest plants, picking the plants that I wanted to stand out the most first and giving the the best spots. I didn't want to group plants together but didn't want it to look too random either.
As the planting moved along I realized I was not going to be able to achieve the look I wanted if I used all the plants I had. It was simply too much and would crowd everything. I also wanted to ensure I didn't have no plants pushed up against the front glass like I had in the other scape. It was also import that I left some of the substrate in the front of the tank exposed. I feel like these little details really enhance the looks of the scape and adds depth to almost any tank.
Another important consideration I had while planting was to make sure that the plants that required more light was placed closer to the centre of the tank. This was they would get the most par out of my 48" finnex planted plus.
Tank was finally all planted and ready for fresh water and moving the residence back in. I have so many crpyts and loads of hygro willow to sell now. Also have a bunch of other plants like swords, ferns, and stuff left over. I have counted but you can see the pics
It was pretty easily to get all the fish back in to the tank which was nice because it kept stress as low as possible given the situation. The fish seemed to be fine in the cooler for the day. I did lose 2 young cherry barbs which I am bummed about, the stress must of been too much for them.
Everyone is now in their new home and they seem to be adjusting well. The yoyo loaches are still a bit frantic but that's to be expected. The gouramis seem fine just not as colourful as normal. I expect that by tomorrow night everything should be back to normal.
Here are some pics of the process and a before shot of the tank, lemme know what you folks think. I really really like it so far. Enjoy! I keep updating this thread as the plants and fish continue to grow.