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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have a 30 gallon tank i have to drain to move off the ruined stand and i thought this would be a good time to change the substrate ... if i do, would the tank have to be cycled again ??? would i have to keep the fish in buckets ... if anyone has done this, i would love to know your process ... thanks :)
 

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i have changed substrate many times. in my experience removing the substrate effects biological filtration in a little to nothing amount. most of your beneficial bacteria live in the filter. when i remove substrate i leave the fish in and do it during a water change.



However, if ur using an under gravel filter then u may have a problem!!!!!!!!
 

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^ just curious, when you do that with fish in there, do you siphon the gravel out or just scoop with a cup or something?
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
okay, thanks for the info ... should i refill with tank water or fresh water ??? i like the idea of keeping the fish in the tank because if i put my puffers in a pail, there would be death ... and no undergravel filter
 

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okay, thanks for the info ... should i refill with tank water or fresh water ??? i like the idea of keeping the fish in the tank because if i put my puffers in a pail, there would be death ... and no undergravel filter
might as well use fresh conditioned water. tank water serves no purpose, its just filled with nitrates and fish hormones.
 

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So if you were doing sand or say eco-complete, would the cloudiness of the water be harmful to the fish. With eco-complete the water gets pretty black as I think the sand may get to.
 

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okay, thanks for the info ... should i refill with tank water or fresh water ??? i like the idea of keeping the fish in the tank because if i put my puffers in a pail, there would be death ... and no undergravel filter
I might be wrong but I don't know anybody who does a 100% water change. Reason being not to stress out the fish and the paranoia of starting the cycling process all over. Perfect example was past summer when forum members tried to cool down their tanks with constant water changes.

100% water change and removing the gravel it's a huge water chemistry change meaning the fish will be stressed.
 

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a 100% water change would not effect the beneficial bacteria what so ever. Beneficial bacteria live and grow in and on objects (mostly filter media). Beneficial bacteria are NOT free floating in the water column, therefore removing water would not remove it. basically, what im saying is large water changes will NOT cause ur tank to recycle... if done properly.

a 100% water change would be stressful to the fish if:

1. the temperature was completely off
2. the PH was completely off
3. the GH and KH was completely off
4. the water was unconditioned and contained chlorine/chloramine or other heavy metals.
 

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there is something you should consider... bacteria lives in surface, not too much in water. I usually count sand / decor as 1/3 of where my bacteria is; especially you have gravel. By changing the substrate, you might be taken out some bacteria but usually the tank will catch up pretty fast. Just do a light feeding for about a week for the bacteria to catch up.
 

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I know lots of discus keepers who do 100% WC's daily and their fish grow to be monsters. I agree with death sting, just match water parameters and you will be fine. I did 100% on both my tanks last week and no ill effects, even with putting straight tap water in with some prime. When I went to sand it did could my water, but I could have rinsed it more before putting it in.
 

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Hoola, I have been changing a lot of substrate lately and I have found it extremely easy just to take a bit out at a time... not sure when you plan on draining the tank but I usually dig 1/4-1/2 out after a water change & gravel vac, then dig some more out the next week, and then finally empty the dregs out and drain the tank and put the new stuff in.
 

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Nah, that's not true kbuntu. People are mixing apples with oranges here.

Hoolagal, if you have been doing 50% + water changes every week, then I agree with the others, the water doesn't matter, but if you've been changing 10% a week, a 100% water change would do what kbuntu said, which is a very significant pH/KH/GH and trace mineral change. Plus depending on how long you had the tank or whether it was planted or not, you could have old tank syndrome. In this case, a 100% water change would be unwise.

So if you let us know what you routine has been, then the decision would be more clear.

Discus keepers who keep bb tanks and change 99% of their water every 3 days are essentially keeping their fish in fresh tapwater, which isn't the case for someone who does a 10% water change a week.
 

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Another easy way of removing substrate out of your tank is use a clean dust pan.. works great. It worked for us on both of our tanks :)
& Just wash your substrate very well, to try to make it less cloudy
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
i have regularly changed 50% of the water weekly since i have had with the exception of christmastime when they went two weeks ... the water is consistently ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 0-5 ... i just got the test kits for kh/gh but have not used them yet ... the dust pan idea is a great one and should probably make the process much faster ... the tank contains four dwarf puffers, 4 otos, a bristlenose catfish and 11 amano shrimp ... the tanks is 30 gallons with 50 pounds of gravel and has been running almost a year ... it has a combination of real and fake plants, driftwood, and other senseless decorations :O) i have to drain it soon as the lean is freaking me out !!! i just keep imaging my dog eating every shrimp running for it if it were to crash :O)
 

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With that kind of routine, the only thing that would concern me is the Amano shrimp. Shrimps seem to be more sensitive to changes which don't affect fish. Other than that, if you don't touch your filter during the change for a while, I think you'd be fine changing all the water.
 
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