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Faster Way to Remove Substrate?


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  • Regular Member

Okay, so I know there is already a thread somewhere, explaining ideas of how to safely remove substrate. I am currently trying to switch my tank to bare-bottom, because I have had way to many rocks-stuck-in-mouths to feel comfortable with the gravel.

My problem is that I've only been taking out a cup and a half every water change to avoid any bumps in the cycle, and it's taking forever. (But my water quality has stayed good! haha :teehee )

Anyway, I am patient about this, but my babies keep putting the dang rocks in their mouths :madrant and I want to find the quickest way to be able to get this gravel out of my tank. I wish I would've been more educated when I started the tank up.

So if you have any suggestions on a quicker method of switching PLEASE let me know. :) I was considering buying some of that start up bacteria from the store and doing a 50% water change to take it all out, and add that stuff in. I've never used that stuff though, so I don't know if it is even a quality product.

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  • Regular Member

You can take out a cup every day, or just bite the bullet and taking it all out and deal with a possible cycle bump. You may not actually get a cycle bump, but we won't know until you've done it, unfortunately.

Those cycling products are somewhat hit and miss.

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  • Regular Member

You can take it all out at once, just make sure you test the water daily for at least a week after you do it. I just switched substrate and got a pretty significant cycle bump. If you are willing to test and do extra (possibly daily) water changes for a few weeks there is no need to wait, take it all out ;)

I'd skip the bacteria in a bottle. If your tank is cycled the bump shouldn't last long. About a week in my experience, but every tank is different.

EDIT: posted at the same time as alex :P

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Okay! Thanks. My tank has been cycled and running for at least 6 months by now, so it shouldn't last too long. I just always like to check with the lovely people on koko's before doing anything with my tank. :D

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  • Regular Member

Just to say I upgraded to a big tank with fresh new sand and just swapped over the filters.. never had a cycle bump so I guess its how much BB you have in the filters

yeah, it's interesting because I have changed out all the substrate at once before and didn't get a bump but this time I did :idont and I didn't remember to take my own advice and test until days later when nitrites were already 1ppm

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  • Regular Member

I think each tank is different based on the different experiences people have had. I removed half of mine one day and then the other half about 4 days later and didn't have a cycle bump. I thought for sure I would get a bump as I didn't think about it until after I did it but not a thing.

Also, I found slowly pushing it into a pile and then into a small colander worked really well, kept the water in while I removed the substrate. Usually my fish are totally in my way but for some reason while I was taking out or adding back in a different substrate, they totally stayed out of my way :) Guess they didn't like it.

Edited by CindiL
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