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Changing Rock Gravel To Sand.


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#1 cfmurray4

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 07:55 AM

I currently have a 29 Gal tank with river rocks. I have 4 fish 3 cichlids, and 1 rainbow shark. I have had this set up for 2 weeks now, and now I want to change my river rocks to sand. I was hoping that all you nice people can give me some great tips to get this switch done without killing my fish. I want to do this to my tank without emptying my tanks water. Thanks for reading, and I can't wait to read everyone's responses.

#2 Aqua Tom

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:23 AM

As your tank is only 2 weeks old then the gravel shouldnt be too messy yet.

First turn off your filter.

Then remove the old gravel using a plastic spade from a bucket & spade set or a plastic dustpan. The gravel will be messy but not extremely so.

Next WASH YOUR SAND in a big bucket, just keep rinsing it through. You need to do this very well & need to get is so it no longer has any dust when you are rinsing it. It is best to rinse it in warm water as cold sand will lower your aquarium tempreture & shock your fish.

Next add the sand to the aquarium, my method is to take a 2 litre jug, fill it with sand, submerge it then gently pour the sand onto the bottom. If you just chuck it in it will make the water very cloudy.

Leave the water to clear for half hour or so.

Turn on your filter.

Enjoy.


ps. you mention you have had the tank set up for only 2 weeks, is it filter cycled?

Tom

#3 cfmurray4

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:40 AM

As your tank is only 2 weeks old then the gravel shouldnt be too messy yet.

First turn off your filter.

Then remove the old gravel using a plastic spade from a bucket & spade set or a plastic dustpan. The gravel will be messy but not extremely so.

Next WASH YOUR SAND in a big bucket, just keep rinsing it through. You need to do this very well & need to get is so it no longer has any dust when you are rinsing it. It is best to rinse it in warm water as cold sand will lower your aquarium tempreture & shock your fish.

Next add the sand to the aquarium, my method is to take a 2 litre jug, fill it with sand, submerge it then gently pour the sand onto the bottom. If you just chuck it in it will make the water very cloudy.

Leave the water to clear for half hour or so.

Turn on your filter.

Enjoy.


ps. you mention you have had the tank set up for only 2 weeks, is it filter cycled?

Tom


Thank you for your response. I am trying to think of how I can use warm water to rinse that sand good. Ya I filter cycled with some fish, and already cycled river rocks. Do you have any recommended brand of sand I should use?

#4 minnnt

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 09:18 AM

Already cycled river rock? :blink: huh?

Unipac is my favourite sand, not too mucky to start with, although it does still need rinsing, but nothing like play sand does.

#5 Aqua Tom

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:43 AM

Already cycled river rock? :blink: huh?

Unipac is my favourite sand, not too mucky to start with, although it does still need rinsing, but nothing like play sand does.



But much more expensive, I opt for playsand but that is just my preference. Stands bck for the inevitable "my sand is better than yours" arguments.

Tom

#6 Minstrel

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 01:09 PM

Can you leave your gravel in and then just add sand on top of is this not recommended for some reason? The only reason I want to change to sand is that I have read that its better for corys?! I have very little plane stones in the bottom of my tank currently but since I cannot keep my filter running and do not have a second tank (nor indeed room for one) I do not want to ruin the media etc?!

#7 minnnt

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 01:17 PM

I went with the unipac limpopo because I wanted a darker colour.

I think the sand would wash to the bottom of the tank and leave the stones on the top?

The filter will be fine switched off whilst you do it. Took me 4 hours last time I switched a tanks substrate.

#8 Aqua Tom

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 06:47 PM

I went with the unipac limpopo because I wanted a darker colour.

I think the sand would wash to the bottom of the tank and leave the stones on the top?

The filter will be fine switched off whilst you do it. Took me 4 hours last time I switched a tanks substrate.



+1

The sand would just sink through the gaps in the gravel.

The filter would be fine, I have had 12 hour long powercuts without loosing substantial bacteria, so a few hours would be fine.


Tom

#9 cfmurray4

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 06:53 PM

Awesome! Thanks for all the good info. I will be doing my research, and figure out what I like for my tank. I will be doing this by saturday, so I hope to get more info on if my fish will be ok doing this process. Thanks again.

#10 Man of fish

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 06:56 PM

You could put the fish in 5-10 gsllon buckets with the heater and tank water in it then drain most of the tank water.

#11 Far2lively

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 06:58 PM

I was thinkin of doin this aswell but im am unsure of how to clean the sand, as im using a gravel cleaner at the moment wouldnt this just suck the sand up?? or can u just pick the fish poop up with a net?? all my fish are pretty large so its not like the poo is tiny

#12 minnnt

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 07:48 PM

Whirl it around about an inch above the sand and it lifts any debris up and sucks it up. Sand is far cleaner than gravel.

#13 pablothebetta

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:55 PM

Ya I filter cycled with some fish, and already cycled river rocks.


I can't imagine how you've cycled your filter in less than 2 weeks with or without fish in cycle, how did you do it? Did you use media from an already cycled + established tank? Oh, and what's with those river rocks? I've never heard of being able to buy rocks with bacteria colonies already established, where were they from? If you bought them from somewhere, I'd imagine they could come in pretty handy for people.

Edited by pablothebetta, 26 December 2011 - 11:59 PM.


#14 ShinySideUp

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 12:27 AM

Can you leave your gravel in and then just add sand on top of is this not recommended for some reason? The only reason I want to change to sand is that I have read that its better for corys?! I have very little plane stones in the bottom of my tank currently but since I cannot keep my filter running and do not have a second tank (nor indeed room for one) I do not want to ruin the media etc?!


Take a look at a box of Cornflakes, all the big bits are at the top and all the dust and powder is at the bottom. If you put sand on top of gravel that is what will happen, the gravel will eventually rise to the surface and all your sand will line the bottom of the tank due to the action of water and fish movement.

BTW My cory's love the sandy bottom as do my clown loaches, it's great to see them leave 'footprints' in the sand.

#15 cfmurray4

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 03:48 AM



Ya I filter cycled with some fish, and already cycled river rocks.


I can't imagine how you've cycled your filter in less than 2 weeks with or without fish in cycle, how did you do it? Did you use media from an already cycled + established tank? Oh, and what's with those river rocks? I've never heard of being able to buy rocks with bacteria colonies already established, where were they from? If you bought them from somewhere, I'd imagine they could come in pretty handy for people.


I just used some gold fish for this process, and used some dechlorinate stuff. I had gotten the river rocks from a buddy that had them in his tank already, that is what I meant for that. My water has tested fine, and my fish are great.




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