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Old 01-14-2013, 03:24 PM   #1 
stellar981
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Question - changing gravel

I have a ten gallon tank set up, it is still currently cycling. When I set it up I was debating between black and white gravel, and got black because the original fish I purchased was white. Now he is in a different tank, and the fish in my ten gallon is darker, and I really don't like the black anymore. I used natural in my second, five gallon, and I really like that. So either that or white. Is it a HUGE pain to switch out the gravel? Would I be killing my cycle? I was going to wait, but I figure I should do it now, before it cycles - if I'm going to do it at all. Any advice/suggestions about this is appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:59 PM   #2 
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Anyone?
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:25 PM   #3 
Oldfishlady
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The dark and natural colored substrates IMO/E are better to use-because fish tend to wash-out in the lighter colored gravel to try and blend in. Darker and natural also can help even a dark colored fish colors to pop IMO/E. Plus, it can help make the fish feel more secure.

Since your tank isn't cycled-you could break it down to swap substrate-that would be the easy way...IMO.

Since the beneficial bacteria are sticky they adhere to all the surface areas in the tank and a lot are in the top layer of your substrate-more than you think and a lot are in the filter media too. Very little are in the water column and so removing all the water for the substrate change shouldn't be an issue, however, I wouldn't clean the non-viewing walls or decorations-and unless the filter media is clogged up-I wouldn't rinse it-but this also depends on how long the tank has been setup even though the nitrogen cycle isn't established-you should have some BB that could help seed the tank-you could also-remove the top layer of the black substrate and place it in a nylon or mesh bag and hang in the tank for a week or so-but only if this tank has been setup for at least a month or longer-otherwise, I would do a full tear down and clean to start from scratch....
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:40 PM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
The dark and natural colored substrates IMO/E are better to use-because fish tend to wash-out in the lighter colored gravel to try and blend in. Darker and natural also can help even a dark colored fish colors to pop IMO/E. Plus, it can help make the fish feel more secure.

Since your tank isn't cycled-you could break it down to swap substrate-that would be the easy way...IMO.

Since the beneficial bacteria are sticky they adhere to all the surface areas in the tank and a lot are in the top layer of your substrate-more than you think and a lot are in the filter media too. Very little are in the water column and so removing all the water for the substrate change shouldn't be an issue, however, I wouldn't clean the non-viewing walls or decorations-and unless the filter media is clogged up-I wouldn't rinse it-but this also depends on how long the tank has been setup even though the nitrogen cycle isn't established-you should have some BB that could help seed the tank-you could also-remove the top layer of the black substrate and place it in a nylon or mesh bag and hang in the tank for a week or so-but only if this tank has been setup for at least a month or longer-otherwise, I would do a full tear down and clean to start from scratch....
Thank you for your input! I may do that! Might as well before the tank becomes cycled. It's actually going on about 6-7 weeks since the fish was re-added. I removed my first fish when he had SBD issues. Didnt realize I could have treated the entire ten gallons. So being he was out 10 days, the initial cycle was broken. He was put back in the end of Nov. Not sign of nitrites or ammonia spikes or anything as of yet.. so I guess its a good time to do it. Thanks again!
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:15 PM   #5 
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Agree about the fish looking better with dark gravel. I used some white thinking it would be good for a dark fish, but they do look sort of washed out with the light I have.
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