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Old 08-15-2012, 01:02 PM   #1 
MadameDesu
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Bare Bottom Tanks - Purely Cosmetic?

Hello all,

So I've been playing with this idea for a while now since I've been bored with the way my tank looks.
I've seen some really gorgeous pictures of tanks with bare bottoms, and the look really appeals to me. I've grown weary of cleaning the gravel.

I am concerned that if I do remove my gravel that I'll be throwing away too much beneficial bacteria. My tank is only about 3 gallons, so any stable I have is likely unstable. Would removing the gravel adversely affect my pitiful little cycle? What are some pros and cons of bare-bottom tanks?

Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:44 PM   #2 
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A filter is able to support a cycle by itself, you will just need more media in the filter. If you have any decorations the bacteria will live on those as well.
It's posible, you will just need to keep an eye on your ammonia readings and adjust your water changes accordingly.
An alternative to gravel is sand. It's much easier to clean than gravel because the waste sits on top. I have sand in all of my tanks.
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:52 PM   #3 
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How do you clean sand? With a gravel vacuum?
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:56 PM   #4 
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Like 99% of your beneficial bacteria is going to be living in your filter media as this is where the most oxygen is present in an aquarium. Removing your substrate should have minimal effects on your cycle. However, if you want to be safe I'd recommend testing your water every couple of days until you are sure that your cycle hasn't suffered.

Bare-bottom tanks can look nice and make it much easier to remove waste and food. I have a couple of bare-bottom tanks and I can just pour water in without worrying about disturbing the substrate, which is always a plus in my books. However, if you are lazy with your siphoning it can look unattractive depending on how planted or covered the bottom of your tank actually is.
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:57 PM   #5 
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I use the tubbing on the gravel vac and just hover the tubbing about an inch from the sand. The sand is heavier than the waste so you will suck up with waste and not the sand, it takes a bit of practice.
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:00 PM   #6 
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I have river rocks in the bottom of my tanks, and I seem to remove a bit more with each water change, so there is barely a layer of rock. I like it much better when it comes to cleaning. My 5.5 I just bought a filter for, the other three tanks are under 3g so I don't worry about cycling, though I leave their decorations in their water when doing changes so I don't lose the small amount of BB they may have. I like the stones much better than I ever did gravel...and I would love to go bare bottom with all my tanks, but I like the ascetics of the rocks.
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:30 PM   #7 
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I think all kinds of substrates look nice. It's just the bare bottom tanks that have been inspiring me lately lol. They just look so ... clean or something.
I think I'll have to get more artificial plants before I go bare ... Make it look like a little forest :)
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:35 PM   #8 
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I use bare bottom tanks for my bettas no problems and for my dinosaur eel and parrot fish i use bagged sand from lowes really cheap just wash it first easy to clean
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:31 PM   #9 
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Oh yeah! When I can finally afford my 5-gal I'm going bare bottom on it with a bunch of fake plants. Maybe even put gravel or sand in half of it and add live plants.
Or put gravel in the big one and make the old one a bare bottom for a new betta ;)
You guys all inspire me so much, thanks for the info! :D
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:37 PM   #10 
Perseusmom
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I have gravel but wish I had gone with sand now. If ever I get another tank its sand for sure !!!! The bar bottom tanks do look nice seeing more and more people doing this.
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