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Need to remove the gravel from my tank


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  • Regular Member

Well, my fish have finally grown big enough for the gravel to become a problem. They used to pick it up and immediately spit it out but now that they are bigger, they hold the gravel in their mouths for a very long time "chewing" it and then eventually (after several minutes) spitting it out.

I'm very worried that they are going to choke on it. Or...is it even possible that they can swallow it without me even knowing it?? :idont

I know it needs to come out, but I don't know the best way to do it. Do I gradually take it out over time? Can I take it out all at once?

Then...I don't know what to replace it with. I don't have any live plants so I'm not sure a bare bottom tank would look good with artificial plants. :idont I need some suggestions!

I thought about using colored glass stones (the kind that you can get at the craft store) but don't know if they are safe to use in a tank.

Any suggestions or pictures of your tanks would be greatly appreciated. I need ideas!

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I have gone bare bottom, used glass marbles (mine come from the craft stores, but you shouldn't get the ones that are painted), and had sand. Actually, I now have both sand and marbles, and I love the way the tank looks. :)

I would recommend removing the gravel in stages, but there are members who say both ways. Some say that they experienced a cycle bump, after removing it all at once, some say not. :idont Personally, when I pulled the gravel out of my tank, I did not see a bump, but then again, the gravel wasn't in there all that long. :idont

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When I initially setup my tank, I put in gravel. Upon reading the many posts in kokos about goldfish and gravel, I decided to take out the gravel and put in sand. Because my tank had not yet cycled, I took most of the gravel out at once. If your tank is fully cycled, I suggest you take out the gravel over time so that your beneficial bacteria can build up elsewhere (like over a period of 2-3 weeks). Although some believe there isn't much bbs in the substrate.

The sand I use is not a fine sand. I don't know the size of granule, but I can throughly clean out the sand using a siphon without it being totally sucked up and out.

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I experienced a cycle bump when I took out my substrate after it being there about a year. It was a small one but still I wouldn't risk it if you don't have to :)

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I have two filters running on the tank right now with ceramic filter media and replaceable filter cartridges in both. I remove the carbon from the filters when I replace them and also alternate so that I'm never replacing them at the same time.

The tank has been up and running for 11 months. Is it possible that I have enough BBs in the two filters and media to keep my cycle from experiencing a bump if I remove the gravel all at once?

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I'm in the latter camp, I used to routinely pull gravel out of one of my past tanks like I was having a clearance sale (I was rather indecisive). I never once experienced a bump, although I do know it is possible.

If you have trouble getting the last few pieces out, you can take the end off a siphon or python and use the hose to pull it out. Just be careful near fish. Without the guard on the suction is much stronger.

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If you have trouble getting the last few pieces out, you can take the end off a siphon or python and use the hose to pull it out. Just be careful near fish. Without the guard on the suction is much stronger.

This works like a charm, but like he said, you MUST be careful of the fish. Also, remove your gravel *before* you change the water, as it always stirs up a lot of nastiness. I used to vac that stuff like crazy, and when I went to pull it out, I was shocked by just how much stuff kicked up. :o:scared

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