View Full Version : Swapping substate suggestion.

07-19-2010, 03:36 AM
Im tired of the substrate i have at the moment ( black gravel ) and i want to swap it out soo bad its not funny. I would want sand but since i got that in my 20 gallon already and i gotta be very gentle during water changes and yea im not . Im looking for something more fine than gravel and on the white side, what would be a good suggerstion for something like that ? And the big question do i disturb the heck out of the bottom so my filters could suck up the gunk so i wont lose BB ? how do i do that part? Thnks.

07-19-2010, 03:51 AM
There are a few things you can do with sand that might make it easier during your water changes. First, a prefilter (either filter substrage, or a nano-cube sponge) around your filter intake will help prevent sand from getting drawn in. If you use a python, you can also put a bucket beneath the python output to catch any sand you suck up which can just be re-added to the tank when you're done.

As far as your gravel concerns if you're looking for something light colored but not sand you have limited options. I've seen mini-gravels but they aren't common. You could also try river rocks, which can range in color from light tan to brown. I use these in my tank now and love them.

When I changed out my gravel I bucketed all my plants/fish and saved as much water as I could. Turn off your filters, then dredge the current gravel to kick up some mulm and save some of that as well. This will help seed the new gravel with beneficial bacteria. Drain the remaining water from the tank and switch gravels. Fill the tank with the saved water, then re-add the mulm water and let it settle for about 10-15 minutes. Replace the plants, fill the tank, adding any water treatment you need then let the temp settle to where it belongs and turn the filter back on. Once things are back to temp add the fish back in. Make sure to keep an eye on the tank after you change gravel as you can sometimes hit a mini-cycle (or a few mini-cycles) as the new gravel takes on bacteria.