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Tips for large re-aquascape

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by LyraGuppi, May 26, 2017.

  1. LyraGuppi

    LyraGuppi Member

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    There isn't a time where I walk by my 90 gallon without making some form of disappointed noise. I hate what I did with the hardscape. It's got no dimension, it's hard to work with, etc.
    So how do I go about fixing it? I've got a ton of questions, and a load of time before I'm actually going to do it.
    Should I have bottled beneficial bacteria ready to prevent any params from swinging? It's a planted tank with a lot of driftwood and a lot of sand I've never siphoned. (I will have some on hand, since I'll hopefully be doing this after I set up a few different tanks that will need to cycle very quickly)
    Should I do any prep work before, like extra WCs or extra siphoning? After?
    Should I take out all of the fish, or would it be less stressful to leave them be?
    Should I take out heaters/filters?
    I'm probably forgetting really important questions, so I may come back later. I won't be at my house until the 28th, so if needed, I can get pictures then.
    Hopefully I don't just ruin everything. :lol:
    Thank you!
     
  2. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

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    Well, the answers to these questions vary...

    I will just tell you what I did when I decided to change out the play sand for ceramaquartz sand.

    As I recall I did 50% water changes the weeks leading up to the change, and 75% the week before the big change over... trying to get my water as close to my tap as possible.

    Then change day came.

    I removed all the fish and put them in a bucket... with a heater and the plants... I had to pull them out anyway and replant, so I figured the extra cover in the bucket would make them a little more comfortable. I covered the bucket and let it sit. The whole process took about 2 hours.


    Then, I removed the sand and all the water. I just siphoned it all out... I added new water to get it all. The siphon method worked really easily. No mess. I just ran my hose into my front garden and the sand became a soil additive that I later raked in.

    All decor was placed in another bucket to keep it wet (beneficial bacteria live on this stuff...).

    Added mulm from my filter to the bottom of the tank, under the sand...
    Added new substrate... added enough water to just cover the sand... then added hardscape and added a little more water..... then replanted. And slowly added more water about 1/2 full. Then I removed the heater from my bucket and tried to get the tank temp as close as possible to the bucket temp, adding a bit more water either warmer or colder as necessary.
    Then I did a bit of a water change on the bucket. Pulled out 1/3 of the water and slowly refilled with tank water... this was done to help bring the two temp closer together. (They were different by about 2 degrees F by this time.). Then I emptied about half the water out of the bucket to make it easier to pick up. Then I lowered the bucket into the tank (only about 75% full), and tipped it over so the fish could just swim out. Then I refilled the tank the rest of the way... with lights off.

    Filter hooked up again and ready to go.
     
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  3. LyraGuppi

    LyraGuppi Member

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    Thank you! That's very helpful :)
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Having done this so many times, I will just add a couple of points to what Eaglesaquarium posted. Before getting to that...you also asked how to improve your aquascape. If you could post the present fish species, plants, decor you have, and what you'd like, I might be able tio offer some suggestions on the aquascape itself.

    Now to the change. Are you intending to replace the substrate, or just re-aquascape? If the substrate is being replaced, I would recommend a small tank rather than a bucket for the fish. I use a 20g when I change my larger tanks. The filter/heater can be placed in this tank and kept running (heater might have to be adjusted, it may overheat smaller tanks than the one it is now in), the decor (wood, rock, etc) the same. Even if the tank is mainly "stuff," it will calm the fish more than a more open space. Cover for sure; fish often jump in situations like this; I once did the bucket thing and several jumped out even with a cover--you can't "seal" the bucket with the cover as it needs some open air space. Using the tank means you don't have to be rushed; sometimes I think I can do the change in half a day, and it ends up taking two days. The fish won't survive well in buckets for this long. If you're leaving the substrate as is, and just re-aquascaping, you can sometimes leave the fish in their; this may be less stressful for them than netting them out and back again. Though in the majority of cases, a major re-aquascape usually goes better with fish removed; one less thing to worry about.

    If you keep the filter "as is" when it goes back to the re-aquascaped tank, and the decor items, and with live plants, you will not need to worry about mini-cycles. Nothing wrong with a bacterial supplement if it makes you feel safer, but having used this once or twice, I haven't since. Over the last five years I have re-set my 8 tanks at least once, some of them twice.

    Byron.
     
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  5. LyraGuppi

    LyraGuppi Member

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    The tank is currently stocked with 3 angelfish, 6 Colombian tetras, 8 Diamond tetras, 9 Black neon tetras, 4 Cardinal tetras, 4 Bolivian rams, 1 male BN pleco, and 10+ assassin snails.

    The angelfish are a breeding pair and a female, I'm considering rehoming the lone female after I do all of this. I'm not looking into upping any of the tetra count except for the diamonds. I'm also considering rehoming the rest of the cardinals: they're gorgeous fish, but really not well suited in this aquarium.
    If you think I should rehome anything else, I'll have to run it by executive branch (my mother :p), just like every other fish I plan to remove.

    I'm only planning to rescape. I'm not sure how to describe the aquascape that I'm planning: heavily planted, spiderwood looking like tree roots? Maybe like a river passage. I have a drawing, but it's all scribbles right now.
    I have loads of spiderwood in the tank, and would like to just reuse it. I don't quite have it in my budget for rocks, so none of those. (All of the native rocks where I am are either limestone based or siltstone)
    I have a lot of Anubias of varying sizes, crypts that have melted from accidental replanting (broody rams), two amazon swords, and a huge amount of dwarf water lettuce. I'm looking into buying Crinum Calaminstratum, Brazilian Pennywort, and Rotala sp. Green, but I'm open to any suggestions. My biggest challenge with these plants is my Colombian Tetras. I tried planting Hygrophila once, and just after 48 hours, they'd eaten the a good amount of the leaves off.

    I can't remember what my lights are (I had them documented in a journal, but the forum updated and it was lost), but I can get information on those, the tank's dimensions, and pictures, on Monday.
    I dose a cap and a half of Flourish either weekly or every other week, depending on if I remember. I think I'd like to buy root tabs for the swords.
    Thank you so much for the information!
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    It sounds like you have all the materials now...maybe just need to rearrange them? Lots of wood esp branches (I assume the spiderwood is this, branchy?) is very authentic for angels and the others. You could add some chunkier wood,like Malaysian Driftwood. You can find pieces that are straight to use as standing tree trunks, and others more suited for exposed tree roots. I have a lot of this wood. I would forget rocks too, they are not natural to these fish anyway.

    Delicate plants tend to be more likely as food for some fish, so staying with tougher plants might solve that problem. One I don't see mentioned is Amazon Sword. I would say for a 90g, at least three, or four or five. Sometimes when you buy these especially in the pots they are actually two or even three plants together, and can be separated at the crown.

    Byron.
     
  7. LyraGuppi

    LyraGuppi Member

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    I believe spiderwood is azalea root, but I'll have to double check that. It's comparable to manzanita.
    I have the two Swords, and they're very easy to come by where I am.
    Thank you!
     

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