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substrate changing question
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cks
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Joined: 05 Sep 2005

PostPosted: 2006.12.31(Sun)3:53    Post subject: substrate changing question Reply with quote

First off, let me start by saying that even though I do the work on the tanks, they are "technically" my son's. We let him pick out the gravel color and decorations for each tank. On one of the tanks, however, I pushed for a more natural look and got white and brown gravel. I didn't think about my current problem when I did this, but here's what's going on.... we have 2 African Dwarf Frogs in this tank, and because of the color of the gravel, and the color of the frogs, they are VERY difficult to see! Sad My main question here is can/should I change all of the gravel out? If I change the gravel completely, what is the best way to do this? Also, if I change the gravel out completely, would it cause any sort of mini-cycle? OR, if I added some colored gravel on top of what's already in the tank, would that work as well, worse, or better? I'm also a bit torn on what color gravel I would go with. If anyone has some frogs and colored gravel, I'd love to hear how you like it! Sorry to go on so long...thank you in advance for reading all this and for any advice and ideas you can offer.

Char

p.s. The other fish in the tank are 5 White Cloud Minnows. Is there a centerpiece fish I could add? All of the inhabitants have been in the tank almost a year. Thanks again!
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cks
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Joined: 05 Sep 2005

PostPosted: 2006.12.31(Sun)13:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone have any tips or advice? I'd really appreciate it!
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Char
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Cinder
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Joined: 16 Jan 2006
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: 2006.12.31(Sun)14:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my thoughts: First, IMO, animals are happier when living in conditions as close to their natural habitat as possible. (Toy dogs' natural habitat is on a couch or someone's lap - not out in the backyard with a doghouse Smile -- Hillstream loaches feel most comfortable and are healthiest when living with/in a fast moving current.) So - your frogs will feel best when in colors and an environment that is closest to what they would be in the wild. Therefore - the gravel you have now is probably a good choice for them. Using some other color (all white, yellow, etc.) wouldn't be normal as those colors aren't naturally in nature with the vivid hues we see in store bought gravel. However, I understand the desire to see what actually lives in your tank - that's the whole point right? So - what if you replaced part (maybe even half) of the gravel with something else so that the frogs are easier to see on one side of the tank. If they hate that new color gravel they probably will spend most of their time on the other, more natural side, and that in itself will be a great learning tool. My ADF is all over my tank. I use natural aquarium gravel and really only have trouble finding him when he's hiding in my Java Moss.
If you do decide to replace all or part of your gravel I would do it in two shifts. One day do half of what you are going to replace and then wait a week or so before doing the other half. Unless you are going to only replace like 1/4 of the tank then you should be fine doing it all at one time. When adding new gravel to an existing tank you need to really wash the new gravel well before putting it in or you will have quite the 'dust' cloud. I used a colander to wash the gravel in small parts until the water ran clean each time. I then used a cup to place the gravel into the tank. That way I could lower the cup, filled with gravel, down to the bottom of the tank and slowly pour it out. I had almost zero cloudyness at all. (Oh - I used the same cup technique to take out the gravel in the first place before adding the new substrate.)
Hope this helps and good luck with your decision.
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fishlover888
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Joined: 20 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2006.12.31(Sun)14:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

You did not say how big was the tank. I had to change gravel of my 125 g tank after I found out it was increasing my pH. It was not fun. I bought a 1.5" clear hose from HomeDepo, Use it to suck the gravel out into a big container(good luck starting the suction!). Make sure the container is big enough because 1.5" hose can fill a bucket very quickly. Yes, you have to do it in stages. I take out 1/4 of gravel at a time with water change. After all of them were out, I started to add in the new gravel, 1/4 section of the tank at a time.

If you have an UGF, this will not work since you just killed the filter
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125 g discus tank 13 discus, 5 Sterbai cory, 3 clown loaches, 1 Albino BN pH 6.3 50% WC x2/wk
2 g nano tank 3 Danio, pH 7.6 80% WC/ 2 days
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cks
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Joined: 05 Sep 2005

PostPosted: 2006.12.31(Sun)17:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, forgot to say the size. This is a 10 gallon, with a hang-on-back filter. I understand the point about making the habitat natural, which is why I talked my son into the neutral colored gravel for this particular tank. (He has another tank w/orange gravel and one with green and blue gravel.) I think I will try the suggestion of only doing half of the tank first and seeing what the frogs (Kermit and Robin) do. *(Yes, we have 2 theme tanks - these are for a 10 year old! One is Muppets - freshwater, and the other is Disney - saltwater, and yes we even have Nemo!) Anyway, I would still like a suggestion on if I could add a centerpiece fish with the 2 frogs and 5 white cloud minnows. I do 40-50% water changes once a week at least b/c of the waste from the frogs. All params are normal (0's, 7.4ph, 78F temp). Any thoughts? I don't want anything overwhelming because the minnows are so small! Thanks again for the advice!!!
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