I had a few hiccups when starting my first 5gal tank but it has really come into its own and my male (Augustus Pablo) is thriving.
However I would very much like to change the look of my tank and first and foremost this would involve changing the substrate from the current neon gravel to a lighter colored sand.
Amongst other things I had to perform a 'fish-in' cycle and try a few different water conditioners before I now have regularly perfect or near-perfect water parameters (also had to learn a bit about water parameters!).
My big question is that if I decide to change the substrate in order to redesign my tank, will I essentially be starting over again with the cycle?
Do most of the beneficial bacteria live in the substrate?
Does anyone who may have done this in the past have any advice?
I run a 5G, heated 79 - 80 degrees, filtered tank. Conditioned with Prime and every other month or so with API Stress Coat. Fake Plants with a single golf ball sized Marimo Ball (I would consider adding low maintenance aquatic plants during the redesign). Water parameters are perfect or near perfect over the past months weekly tests.
Would love some advice. Thank you.
Of course worse comes to worst I will just leave the tank as is - this redesign is more for my aesthetic pleasure.
Thanks in advance for your help.
EDIT: I also perform weekly 30% - 50% water changes. And bi weekly intense gravel vacuum scrubs.