How to change substrate?

Beckett

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Hey all,

Long term maintenance question! I currently have a blend of tan gravel and white sand as my substrate. Of course as I have been doing tons of research on all aspects of aquariums I realized I like black substrate better. Is there a way I could slowly shift the substrate over to be black without losing a ton of beneficial bacteria and causing my tank cycle to get all messed up?

Also I do have live plants in my tank and root tabs in substrate right now. I would be okay with leaving the substrate around the plants for now and just trying to begin making a shift to dark substrate in the near future.
 

JBAwrench

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Hey all,

Long term maintenance question! I currently have a blend of tan gravel and white sand as my substrate. Of course as I have been doing tons of research on all aspects of aquariums I realized I like black substrate better. Is there a way I could slowly shift the substrate over to be black without losing a ton of beneficial bacteria and causing my tank cycle to get all messed up?

Also I do have live plants in my tank and root tabs in substrate right now. I would be okay with leaving the substrate around the plants for now and just trying to begin making a shift to dark substrate in the near future.
Most of the BB is in the filter but a seasoned and speeded tank will have some in the substrate as well, be mindful of gas pockets.
I had a nitrite spike when I switched half my scape to sand when i removed the gravel.
I divided the substrates with a mopani wood piece.
I would do this very slowly and with a plastic cup,scoop it out a cup at a time.
If anything also doing this will lower nitrates as well. Ha
 

Lajos_Detari

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Sorry to disagree with you.
Actually black and white are the two worst colours for substrate.
Based on my experience, black will make your tank look dirty and too dark.
It doesn't have the look of a river or stream as it's too dark.

I used black before but I really dislike it and I will never use it again.
Any other colour will be better than black or white.
Light brown, light yellow, light grey, light pink, etc will be a better choice.

As mentioned by JBA, most BB stays in the filter medias.
So, I guess it should be quite safe to change all the substrate at once though you may lose some BB that stay in the substrate.
Perhaps you can cut down your feeding for 1-2 weeks after changing your substrate to once a day or once every 2 day for the BB to catch up.
 
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Byron

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White substrate is certainly detrimental to fish, and it now seems black can almost as bad. Aside from any aquarist issues. A darkish substrate is generally better all round.

The entire substrate should be changed at one go, and this is much easier on the fish (assuming fish are present). Another member di the partial substrate change over and hit anaerobic spots that seriously harmed (may have killed) the fish. Aside from this risk, it is highly stressful to fish having the substrate torn up in sections. Better to remove them to a temporary tank, which also means you can do a better job of getting what you want.

If you have live plants that are healthy, they are dealing with most of the nitrifiction, not bacteria in the filter. The bacteria in the substrate is more essential than the filter in this scenario.

Set up a temporary tank, siphon water from the surface of the existing tank to fill the temporary, and net over all the fish. Some of the decor can be used to provide shelter for the fish, and thee plants can be laid on the surface. The filter and heater can be moveed over, depending upon the set-up.
 
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Beckett

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Thanks all! Ok so it seems like not too crazy an ordeal if I do decide to change it someday. Thanks!
 
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Beckett

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And right now my blend is with tan gravel which is the dominant substrate not the white... so maybe that is better to keep if black or white alone is unhealthy for the fish in some way.
 

Lajos_Detari

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Recently, I setup a new tank with sand, gravel, driftwood and rocks.
I realized that a nice/beautiful big piece of driftwood will give the greatest impact on your tank.

You can observe some of the Aquascaping from the videos below.
Watching these videos really inspired me to change my tank.

If you observe carefully, they mainly used one of these:
1) Light colour sand/gravel or
2) Soil (black colour) but are covered with plants/grass or
3) Soil as a base/bottom layer but the top layer is covered with light colour sand.







 
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