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Old 07-16-2014, 02:47 PM   #1 
ZoZoe's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2014
Advice on how/when to Switch up Tank

Hola, I'm in the middle of cycling my 10g tank, I do water changes everyday & everything is going fine on that front. I started using live plants for my tank by tying java ferns onto the two pieces of driftwood in there, but I want MOARR!!

Haha seriously tho, I do want to be able to plant into the substrate/ground of my tank but all I have in there is gravel...

So long story short, should I switch out my substrate now in the middle of cycling? Or is it best to wait for that to finish?

Is soil with gravel on top usable for most beginner plants? I am interested in just getting rid of the gravel and using sand instead because I was looking into eventually getting a shoal of Pygmy Cories and read that they don't do well in gravel ?
Does soil have to be changed out from time to time?
I always loved the look of sand but didn't use it for substrate b/c it can be a pain? Since I don't have a spare tank for my fish, would it be possible to put in sand/soil and have it settle within a day so that the fish can go back in?

Sorry for the bombardment of questions, I wish I had decided to do plants from the get-go so that I could've just started with that set up... O well, no regrets, just wanna keep moving forward
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:19 PM   #2 
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well, Im no expert at ALL, but if you really wanted to... Im assuming if you keep the filter media wet, whatever cycle you have can survive, I just upgraded my tank from my 5 gallon to a ten gallon, but didnt want to lose my cycle that was recently completed, so I transferred half the gravel from the cycled tank to the new tank, and cut the filter media and stuck it in the new filter, because I got a different model. I could be wrong but thats what I would do and if it doesnt work then I guess you will have to cycle again but with more live plants it will be one of those "silent cycles"
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:07 PM   #3 
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My tanks were all gravel until recently and my plants thrived in there. I only added sand because of the mess with the algae tabs for my Panda Garras made when the bits fall through the gravel. My newest tank is all sand just because I had ended up getting a 25lb bag cause that was the smallest I could find for black sand. honestly you shouldn't need to change your gravel if you really don't want to.
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:22 PM   #4 
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Oh really? It was all gravel with no soil? Were your plants mainly low maintenance ? If I could just keep all gravel for now that would be so ideal... What were the plants you kept in the gravel itself? Is wisteria a candidate for that? Thanks for the input guys, really appreciate it
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:23 AM   #5 
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Location: Michigan
If your looking at low maintenance plants you can keep the gravel. Look into Seachem Flourish and maybe root tabs depending on the plant you have. I grew Hygrophilia, Amazon Swords, Anubias and Wisteria in a gravel tank.
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:58 PM   #6 
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Location: Michigan, USA
One of my tanks is all gravel, and the plants do just fine. I have some tanks sand, some floramax, some a mixture of sand and gravel. If you get stem plants and no heavy root feeders, gravel works fine. But cories do like sand better. If you want to switch, you can just scoop the gravel out during a water change and carefully lower the sand in cup by cup, and it won't cloud the water up too badly. When I refill my sand tanks, I either pour the water through the floating mesh tube, which breaks up the water flow so it doesn't kick up sand, or I am the water flow directly at the tank glass which does the same thing. I don't have any more trouble with the sand tanks than the gravel ones.
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:11 PM   #7 
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I think the substrate you use depends a lot more on personal preference and a lot less on the plants/animals you want/have than people would have you believe. Even glass marbles or bare-bottom would be fine for some.
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:02 PM   #8 
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I have gravel as well and have plants that are doing just fine. I think you'll be just fine with keeping your gravel. My issue has always been lighting. :P
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Old 07-17-2014, 11:12 PM   #9 
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Yeah, you can grow a lot of the easier plants in gravel, but you will need ferts and root tabs for most plants. Java ferns, java moss, anubias, some floaters, and moss balls can, I think, all be grown with no ferts, but they do better with ferts than without.
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:40 PM   #10 
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Does anyone have experience with wisteria or cardinals by any chance?
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