View Full Version : Changing Substrate - help...

06-25-2009, 11:58 PM
I want to change the substrate in my tropical tank. I don't like the color or the sand, and it's not got the right feel to it, if you know what I mean. It's river-rock colored (multi browns, reds, black, beige). I just don't feel it compliments the vibrancy of the tropicals I have in there. I want to go with more of a black with a little white thrown in.

I know I can't just toss new substrate in. Can I cure the rock in a tub of water for like a month or two? Should I toss in an apple snail or anything? I would definitely add a plant or two to help start the bacteria. Does it need to be filtered even if I don't put a snail in? Should it be in the light, or in dark? I've only ever cycled tanks, not rocks separately...

I want to get this started in the next couple of weeks, so any feedback would be helpful.

06-26-2009, 07:59 PM
If you have a another tank you could transfer the livestock into that and redo the whole tank.

06-26-2009, 08:06 PM
Ya, that's what I would do too.

06-26-2009, 08:07 PM
I had thought about doing that, but I can't afford a new tank. I like the flexibility with a larger tank (mine's 50 gal), but it was a used tank, and I just went with the liverock it came with.

I would absolutely LOVE to have a new tank to re-do it all..

I lieu of a new tank, do you think the bucket idea will work?

06-26-2009, 08:13 PM
This is a freshwater tank right? There is no live rock in a freshwater tank. There is gravel/sand, but it's not live in the same way as live rock/sand in a saltwater tank.

If you can use a siphon hose to suck out 1/4 of the old sand per week, and replace it each week with 1/4 of the new substrate you can change it out like that without too much stress on the inhabitants.

06-26-2009, 08:26 PM
Hmmm... that could work... I'll just have to work out a system so the old stuff doesn't get too mixed in with the new or it will defeat the purpose...

06-26-2009, 09:26 PM
I did the same thing with my 55G tank. I removed half of the old gravel and piled the new gravel on one side of the tank. When all the old gravel was removed a couple of days later I spread out the new gravel.

Just a heads up if you have any algae problems with your new white gravel it will look slime green in color. I did the exact same thing your doing and I eventually removed the gravel.

06-26-2009, 09:59 PM
Hmmm... well, hopefully with the majority of it being black, I won't have too much issues with color. My plecs do an awesome job of clean-up so I think I'll be ok.

07-08-2009, 06:56 PM
Well, I just thought I'd update on this one for those who took the time to give me suggestions...

Firstly, I changed the lights in the original 50 gal that I didn't like the substrate in... I have a few plants in there and really want to do a planted aquarium, so I bought some better bulbs designed for planted aquariums. Then I noticed that the fish seem to like the end where there are plants, and really watched them in that area and realized that their colors are much brighter and show up nicer against both the substrate and the plants with the new bulbs in place. SO, I'm leaving the live-bearers and tetras where they are for now.

I did, however, find another tank to set up with black gravel. - a 60 gal here in town that I paid $125 for the tank and beautiful stand that now holds my new tank on top, and my 30 gal goldfish tank on the bottom.

I also am thinking about putting plants in here, but haven't fully decided yet. Either way, I'm researching cichlids and trying to decide if I want to have some of them in my new tank (when it's ready in about a month...) I put a mixture of jet black rock with charcoal sand - it looks really great! I took some pictures of everything last weekend, so I'll upload pics soon.

Anyway, thanks for those who gave me suggestions...

07-09-2009, 12:13 AM
Planted tanks are very nice when they fill in. Are you planning on running Co2?

07-09-2009, 02:17 AM
at the moment, no... I have thought about it. (All I have in there is a couple of onion plants and a variety of Anubias.) I want to do a bit more research on the best CO2 system for my budget. I have also heard of people running successful planted tanks without CO2, so I need to start looking for plants that will do well without it as well...

07-09-2009, 06:37 AM
Perhaps a DIY Co2? I bought one but I should have made my own. Not sure if they would work on a tank that big.

07-11-2009, 12:05 AM
I found a really good link to a "recipe" for a DIY system. It looks simple enough, and should work with my tank size. I will probably get this started sometime this week, and then on the weekend, get some new plants :biggrin: