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Old 12-05-2012, 05:10 PM   #1 
Leopardfire
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Can you put substrate into a full tank?

I was going to do a bare bottom 10 gallon tank, but I don't want to anymore. I've filled the tank up with water already and dosed the ammonia for cycling so is there anyway I can add substrate without emptying the tank? That would be a ton of work and it would mess up my cycle.
I am choosing between ecocomplete substrate and white gravel from Petsmart, but I think I'm going to use the ecocomplete. It has bigger granules then sand, but smaller than gravel. (It is for my female betta and ADFS) If I take out the decor and pour the substrate in will that work? I was hoping that it would just sink to the bottom.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:24 PM   #2 
shellieca
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You would need to remove some of the water because the substrate is going to add volume to the tank & push the water up. Removing water won't mess up the cycle & adding substrate gives the BB something else to adhere to. You may have to redose ammonia because adding new water will dilute the ammonia you have in there but test before adding more ammonia.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:27 PM   #3 
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How much water should I remove? Should it be just enough so the substrate doesn't overfill the tank or should it be more like 1/2 the water?
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:31 PM   #4 
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I think the lower you go the less mess there will be but you could start with 25% & if its not working draw out a little more.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:30 AM   #5 
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To do it right, bite the bullet and dump the water. There's not much bacteria in the water anyway. Put your filter(s), plants and decor in treated water---keep them wet.

EcoComplete is a little messy anyway. Do yourself a favor and deal with it dry.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:49 PM   #6 
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It's hard to empty the tank because I have to pump 10 gallons water out with my tiny gravel vac. It's a lot of work and it takes a while. That's why I want to put the substrate in without emptying the tank very much.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:35 PM   #7 
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It's pretty easy to add substrate to a tank, but it will be easier if you can take out at least some of the water. 25% should do it. There are videos on youtube, but this is the basic process:
- put some of the new substrate in a plastic bag
- submerse the bag upright in the tank allowing it to fill with water but not allowing any substrate out
- once the substrate is soaked inside the bag, start tipping the bag over to empty it onto the tank bottom
- spread the substrate out with your hand or a tool
- repeat as needed

I just topped up the eco-complete in my 45 gallon tank with sand, and this process worked beautifully with almost no cloudiness to the water.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:46 PM   #8 
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Use something to scoop the water out with - I use a larger tupperware container to scoop out majority of the water and then use the vacuum hose to get the last little bit out when I need to move a tank or change it out. Just scoop the water into a bucket - lots faster :)
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:51 PM   #9 
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i just did it (had to overhaul Caligula's tank)...had the water about 75% full with hardscape in place (rocks and a "cambodian house ruin" insert) and started pouring...it actually gave me a very even coating on the ground, looks a lot better than the tanks i've done gravel-first-then-water.
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