Changing Substrate

Coolysd

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Hey y'all!! Right now I have Spectrastone gravel and I'm thinking I should probably change it. I currently have 3 Dojo Loaches in a 75gal tank and with my inexperienced self, I purchased the gravel (75lbs) prior to knowing that I needed to choose stock first. And by the way, the pet store owner who I purchased it from is the same guy who recommended putting in Dojos for a fish in cycle. 🤦🏼‍♀️ Now that I know what substrate is best for them I'm feeling guilty. 😔 My tank is apparently still cycling (started Aug 8) how, when, How!! Do I accomplish this?
TIA for y'all's expertise!!
 

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Rocky998

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Hey y'all!! Right now I have Spectrastone gravel and I'm thinking I should probably change it. I currently have 3 Dojo Loaches in a 75gal tank and with my inexperienced self, I purchased the gravel (75lbs) prior to knowing that I needed to choose stock first. And by the way, the pet store owner who I purchased it from is the same guy who recommended putting in Dojos for a fish in cycle. 🤦🏼‍♀️ Now that I know what substrate is best for them I'm feeling guilty. 😔 My tank is apparently still cycling (started Aug 8) how, when, How!! Do I accomplish this?
TIA for y'all's expertise!!
When I did my complete tank makeover I put my fish into a large bucket of old tank water and added in the substrate. For you, you will just need to remove the other substrate before adding which should be easy with gravel.
If you think the tank won't be ready for a day or two then run a separate tank beside yours. But it doesn't have to be large if it won't be for long. Just use a 10g or something and run a small sponge filter in it
 
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Coolysd

Coolysd

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I do have an empty 10gal in storage. Guess I'm gonna have to dig it out! 🤪 THAT is the best reason to do it!! I've been thinking about getting it running for a while now. Is there any way to maybe do half and half? Also, I just fed them a couple of peas (yes boiled and skinned) and they were digging in it like it was their last meal! They didn't seem to be having any issues. The gravel itself is very small and light, nor do I see any sharp edges. I do have another issue with one of them having what appears to be yellow spots on his tail. I've taken a couple of pics but gonna start a new thread for that.
Thanks for the tips!
 

Rocky998

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What we think isn't sharp can be sharp for them and cut them up if they roll around in the substrate.
What do you mean by half and half? Like changing out the substrate in parts? Its possible but its wayyyy easier to just take it all out and then put all the new stuff in. And less stressful for the fish cause they don't have to be taken out twice or stay in the cramped 10g for long, which leads me to my next concern.
Remember that the 10g is only there to serve as a VERY temporary set up. Those large loaches shouldn't habe to be in there for more than two days. A few hours after adding new substrate to the tank do a large water change to help with clouding and do a good sand vacuum as well.
 
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Coolysd

Coolysd

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Gotcha! I was thinking if putting half gravel and half sand was possible. Is there a way to maybe put a small divider between the two? Just tall enough to separate them?

The 75gal is their home. They would only be in the 10gal for the shortest time possible. But I've read about having a hospital tank. That just sounds like a very good idea.
 

Rocky998

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Gotcha! I was thinking if putting half gravel and half sand was possible. Is there a way to maybe put a small divider between the two? Just tall enough to separate them?

The 75gal is their home. They would only be in the 10gal for the shortest time possible. But I've read about having a hospital tank. That just sounds like a very good idea.
I've thought about doing the same if you switch out substrates but really think... Its just going to be more complicated. The less time the better right? As soon as you move the loaches to the 10g you get to work on the main tank. I did that with my tank and got it all done in one day. Man I was tired but totally worth it!
The fish got in that exact day but for you I would recommend having the separate tank set up just in case there is an issue. Its a big aquarium...
Plus a divider is probably just more money or more time...

Or if there is not going to be ANY fish in there for that amount of time you COULD remove half of the substrate with no divider and don't add any new stuff. Then later take the rest out and THEN add the new sand... I don't know if I made sense but hopefully I did...
 
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Coolysd

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Perfect sense ty! So I would be okay to do that even tho it's not fully cycled? Today we have .5 amon 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 6.2 ph. I also found an amon calculator that says the NH3 is .0003 I attached a screenshot. Not sure what to do with that info but it sounds good... right?
 

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Rocky998

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So I would be okay to do that even tho it's not fully cycled?
It would be best to do this while the tank is cycling that way you don't get cycled and then decide "Ya know, I want sand". Then get rid of a TON of beneficial bacteria that would put you into a mini cycle. The good and bad timing about this, is that it would only set you back a little with the cycle.
After you change substrates, definitely keep a very close eye on the water parameters. You should already be testing daily with a fish in cycle but to be safe I would do it twice (one morning test and one night test). Only keep that up for a week if everything seems to be looking good. Then just do the daily testing until the tank is cycled. And don't forget to do a water change anytime ammonia or nitrites are over 0.
 

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