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Old 09-27-2013, 10:18 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Gravel change

I have a betta that lives in a 10 gallon cycled tank with a fluval c2 filter with a fluval prefilter. I have 1 silk plant, 1 feather type plant, 1 plastic plant, a leaf bed, 3 rock type hiding places and a floating log thing. My daughter wanted a fish so we bought Regan and decorated his tank the way my daughter wanted so the tank has blue gravel and lots of bright colors. She doesn't really pay much attention to him anymore so now he is my fish.

I would like to give him a boys name and make his tank more natural looking but I don't want to crash the tanks cycle. I know I shouldn't change everything so I thought I would start with the gravel and swap rocks monthly. If I swap all of the gravel at once will it crash my cycle? Should I only swap out half of the gravel and wait another month to do the other half. I really don't want to put him through another cycle and I don't want to put him in a holding tank.

Any help you can give will be appretiated.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:58 PM   #2 
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I've changed substrates several times in different tanks and never crashed my cycle.

When switching substrates in my 10 gallon, I just floated the filter media in a bucket of the old tank water while I worked to scoop out the old gravel and replace it with a different color. Once the new gravel was rinsed and put into the tank, I just put the old filter media back in the filter. I tested my water every day to every two days to make sure I wasn't experiencing a mini-cycle but everything remained stable.

When I switched from black gravel to natural colored gravel (brown) and then eventually back to black again (UGH, I'm so indecisive!) in my 75 gallon tank I did the same thing except I kept the HOB filters running in a bucket of the tank water and just put them back on the tank when I was done. I kept the filters running because it took much, much longer to change the gravel in the bigger tank than in the 10 gallon. Again, after closely monitoring for a crashed cycle, everything remained stable in this tank also.

From my experience, if your tank is cycled, you can safely switch substrates if you keep your old filter media wet while you're making the switch. If you want to be extra cautious, you can put some of the old blue gravel in a mesh bag or a knee-hi panty hose, tie off the end, and lay it on top of the new substrate near your filter and this will help to populate the beneficial bacteria into the new substrate.

Switching out the substrate seems like a daunting task, but it's not so bad and you'll be happier in the end if you have a substrate you find more pleasing - unless you're like me and decide the first color looked better after all!
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:49 PM   #3 
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Thanks for the help. Looks like its time to pay the pet shop a visit.
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