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 Substrate swap

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Liz
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PostSubject: Substrate swap   Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:48 am



My 20H goldfish tank in the kitchen has had white sand since I set it up in December 2010, when I took the goldfish out of the 150 (holding a cycle for me, as much as the wee little guys could do!) and didn't know what to do with them. I decided to set them up in this tank and used some of the sand from the 150 to seed the 20H. I have left it there ever since, and recently decided I had HAD IT with sand in this messy tank. Here's how it looked:




Every day you'd see debris on the sand from the goldfish and from the snails, and trying to siphon it up, either with water changes or with a turkey baster, was a trick since I wanted to avoid removing sand too. I'd been talking to Deb about gravel in goldfish tanks and since I already had a bag of Estes black gravel I STOLE her idea, and made the swap this weekend. I'll be so glad to be able to jam the siphon tube into the gravel and remove all the gunk! I do love sand tanks, but for these fish it was just not practical. What took me so long???


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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:04 am

Looks beautiful!  great  The white sand was a bit bright anyway and change is good for goldfish.  It gives them a chance to work their brains a little. *lol*
Love your snail!  Is that the regular ramshorn or that other kind? (I forget the name.)

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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:15 am

We're calling them Marisa cornuarietis, or the Colombian ramshorn.

I have two of them in with the goldfish and they're pretty cool. They like veggies the best and are voracious plant eaters, so no planted tanks for them, but they'll eat leftover pelleted food as well - they're not picky. They lay big, gelatinous clutches of eggs (the eggs are about the size of a green pea), usually in the plastic plant on the right, and I'll occasionally get babies out of them, which go to Otis.  Crying or Very sad 

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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:52 am

Really Nice Liz. Really makes the tank and fish Pop!

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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:06 am

Looking good Liz but I guessing the real big advantage will be the ease of maintenance...

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30 gal. Bare Bottom Adult Angelfish Tank
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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:01 am

You are very right, Johnny. The goldfish tend to rummage around in the substrate and sand gets kicked around.

I really like it for cory cats and loaches (soft sand), and for the the geos that literally sift through it, passing it through their gills, since this is a natural behavior that they can't do with gravel. Cichlids that build sand pits for spawning really benefit from it as well. Otherwise, sand is a pain, lol!

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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:23 am

On a related note, in general I don't recommend a substrate swap to be done all at once, since you can quite easily cause a mini cycle doing this, and I have done it before. Since I've been challenged many times on this topic ("I do 100% gravel swaps ALL THE TIME and nothing ever happened - you're full of it!") I'll give my two cents, worth exactly that.

This tank was the exception for a few reasons:  

* It has been going as is for 3 1/2 years, with the same rocks, fake plant, sand and filter. That means the beneficial bacteria is well established all over the tank on all of the hard surfaces.
* There was a very thin layer of sand in the tank - the bottom was almost exposed in many places - so the substrate was not holding much of the beneficial bacteria present in the tank.

If you have a gravel tank it likely holds quite a bit of the beneficial bacteria, especially if the tank has not been going for very long (under 6 months). I believe the majority of the bacteria resides in and on the gravel in most tanks, especially when the filter is maintained regularly and the tank in general doesn't have a lot of decor, and is not planted.

I do not have any pure science to back me up (I wish I did) but over the decades, after changing my mind, moving, having an issue with inhabitants, etc., I've made drastic changes in tanks and I've learned the hard way what I can and probably shouldn't do to a tank to avoid a cycle that is harmful to fish.

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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:07 am

I can see where there is the potential for a problem but as you stated there is nitrifying bacteria throughout the system. That is also why frequent large water changes for dilution of a problem water parameter is possible without disruption of nitrogen cycle.

As you and others may have figured out by now, I have a very conservative bare bones approach to the hobby. I have only changed substrate color only once in the past 30 years. I did that years ago by layering brown aquarium gravel on top of the white gravel I first used when setting up the tank. In a short period of time they mixed together and resulted in a mixture I liked. I added a few pea sized aquarium pebbles and rocks and have been happy with it every since... Smile

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     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
55 gal. Planted Community Show Tank
(Swordtails, Neons, Kuhlii Loaches and Bristled Nose Plecos)
30 gal. Bare Bottom Adult Angelfish Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Fry Tank
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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:10 am

I have definitely done a lot of boneheaded, impulsive things over the years, and have learned much of what I know the hard way. Early in the hobby I lacked patience, and that afflicts me sometimes even now, though I should know better!  Embarassed 

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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:04 pm

@Liz wrote:
I have definitely done a lot of boneheaded, impulsive things over the years, and have learned much of what I know the hard way. Early in the hobby I lacked patience, and that afflicts me sometimes even now, though I should know better!  Embarassed 

I call that creativeness, experimenting and self-education...  Cool

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     ~~~ My Aquariums ~~~
55 gal. Planted Community Show Tank
(Swordtails, Neons, Kuhlii Loaches and Bristled Nose Plecos)
30 gal. Bare Bottom Adult Angelfish Tank
20 gal. Bare Bottom Angelfish Breeder Tank
10 gal. Bare Bottom  Angelfish Fry Tank
10 gal. Planted Show Tank
(Guppies and Bristled Nose Plecos)
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PostSubject: Re: Substrate swap   Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:42 pm

You are too, too kind!!

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