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Thread: Changing substrate on established tank

  1. #1
    SCAPE Member Just Planted tangerine's Avatar
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    Changing substrate on established tank

    Hello,

    My friend just gave me their 50 gallon tank that has been established for 10+ years. I want to change it up to a planted tank with no CO2. What is the best substrate that would work for plants and not upset these two fish (koi I believe)? They like to suck on the rocks in their mouth so I need something big enough for them but can still hold plant roots. Also, is it going to harm the fish that have never had real plants or new substrate before? I've tried searching around on Petco/Petsmart images but everything seems too small or sharp for them.

    The tank has a bunch of alge and I'm hoping plants will help keep it clean and neutralize things.

    Also, any tips on an easy way to swap this out? After I rinse the new stuff, I guess I would scoop out the old and then using a cup to scoop in the new, all in the same day? I worry about all the dirt floating up making the tank cloudy for the fish or losing too much of their current bacteria.

    Thanks!

    Julie
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    Last edited by tangerine; 07-01-2020 at 05:20 PM.

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    SCAPE Member Just Planted lilpozerz's Avatar
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    Iíve never had koi but I know if you rinse the dirted substrate it still not Gona remove all the ammonia that come with planted substrate. Iíve tried this with controsoil and ada Amazonia (I and II). So if you do it I recommend you do it a section at a time or your Gona have to do massive water changes to keep the tank slightly balanced.


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  3. #3
    SCAPE Member SCAPEr BossLoRd's Avatar
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    Welcome to scape Julie! You might want to rehome those kois if u plan on keeping plants. They will uproot everything you plant and might eat them too.

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    SCAPE Member Just Planted MatsunoKumiko's Avatar
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    People seem to soak the substrate in a separate tank/bucket for a day with no filter on
    Do a 100% water change; if you have hardscape that you already cleaned, you can put it in this bucket too, so that it can get waterlogged
    Run a filter for like 2-4 days
    Do another 100% water change, and then they would add it in

    You can maybe separate some of the old gravel, and keep it in there/making a path to keep some of the bacteria colony?

    I wouldn't say it's an easy way, but I personally would drain the whole tank (setting aside the old gravel and a lot of the old tank water)
    Put in the substrate / gravel - this is going to give you the opportunity to scape the substrate and plant more easily
    then fill it back up

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