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Will removing all the gravel crash the cycle?


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I hope this is the right section. I've had my 80 gallon tank running for about 3 years now. I have gravel in there and I've been finding it really annoying to deal with lately. My axolotl tank is bare bottom and I love how easy it is to clean...after reading a lot of posts on here, I'm seriously considering going bare bottom in my goldfish tank. My ammonia and Nitrites stay at 0 but my Nitrates tend to climb up quite quickly. I like how bare bottom looks, but there are a couple things I'm worried about

-Would removing all the gravel at once crash the cycle? Would I need to remove it a bit at a time?

-My fish love foraging in the gravel, will they find another way to entertain themselves?

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It shouldn't crash the cycle, but if the gravel is removed all at once you could experience a bump in the cycle in that big of a tank, which should go away. It's advised to remove the gravel slowly, taking some out with each water change.

[sniped! haha )

Edited by GoldenSpoiledRotten
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- Some people have had problems when they removed all their gravel, and others did not. So, unless there is a reason why removing all the gravel at once is necessary, I would do it in increments. It's not easy to predict whether you have a lot, or few, beneficial bacteria in the subtrate. You definitely have some there, though.

- Perhaps you can do some river rocks and some other things to provide them with things to root around for. :)

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What don't you like about it? If you want to give the fish something to forage through, consider a thin layer of sand. It's dense and doesn't collect and hold crud like gravel does. I would never have gravel again, but I love (and the fish love) sand.

And yes, you should remove the gravel slowly.

Wow, sniped by three other Kokonuts! :)

Edited by ShawneeRiver
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Good advice given by others above regarding removing the gravel slowly

whichever you decide to do I would recommend testing your water regularly during this time so that you can catch a cycle bump if it does happen and up your water changes as appropriate

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I just hate how much waste gets stuck in there xD No matter how much I vacuum it I never seem to get it clean :(

I'll go with removing a little each water change then, and leave a little bit or some rocks for them to forage in :D

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I just hate how much waste gets stuck in there xD No matter how much I vacuum it I never seem to get it clean :(

I'll go with removing a little each water change then, and leave a little bit or some rocks for them to forage in :D

That's what I assumed the problem is. Sand is not like that, and it's also small enough to not harm the fish.

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I'm one of those people that pulled it all out in one go. I didn't see a cycle bump, but I also had very little gravel to start with. I can't imagine having it in the tank anymore--it's so easy to clean now! :carrot: :carrot:

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Everyone has given good advice - a little at each WC til its all gone is the best bet.

I just want to echo what Shawnee has said really - If you want a substrate sand is very good. I have used both gravel and sand, and I would never go back to gravel. Sand is so much easier to clean as most of the junk stays on the top so you can just siphon it off at WCs. If I was trying to keep an unplanted tank pristine id use just enough sand to cover the bottom, but currently I have a planted tank so my sand is deeper - but its still way, way cleaner than gravel ever was!! Sand is also more inert than gravel.

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I just hate how much waste gets stuck in there xD No matter how much I vacuum it I never seem to get it clean :(

I'll go with removing a little each water change then, and leave a little bit or some rocks for them to forage in :D

Maybe you just have too much? I have about 1/4in of gravel and part bare bottomand find very little in my gravel. Since you are removing it anyways, take out enough so that it is only a very thin layer before you decide to remove all of it. I'm not against sand, its very beautiful too but since you have the gravel it might be worth seeing if that makes a difference.

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I just hate how much waste gets stuck in there xD No matter how much I vacuum it I never seem to get it clean :(

I'll go with removing a little each water change then, and leave a little bit or some rocks for them to forage in :D

Maybe you just have too much? I have about 1/4in of gravel and part bare bottomand find very little in my gravel. Since you are removing it anyways, take out enough so that it is only a very thin layer before you decide to remove all of it. I'm not against sand, its very beautiful too but since you have the gravel it might be worth seeing if that makes a difference.

Thanks, I think I do have too much so I'll try leaving just a small amount :)

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I had the Tahitian moon sand in my 29 gallon, and I recently got rid of all of it. I felt like it was filthy and I couldn't vacuum it properly. The waste and tiny food particles do sit on the top of it, until the goldfish decide to turn the sand over and bury all of it. Pretty sure I gave myself a bit of a cycle bump when I removed it (I did it all at once, because I'm stupid a rebel like that), but I still feel 1000 times better now that it's bare-bottom. All the little white worms I had are also gone since I got rid of the substrate. There were thousands of them living in it. /barf

Not trying to dissuade you from sand as I seem to be in the minority on it, just throwing in my :twocents.

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