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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On the topic of substrare I'm a bit lost. In my sig should be a list of my plants. Now Ive got a sand substrate and need to upgrade to a decent substrate. Got any suggestions on substrate? how do I get the sand out and Ive got fish in there also. It's going to be a chore but It needs to be done. Ive got about 4 wpg. thanks.
 

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I like laterite....just mix it into the lower third of the substrate. You can add a bit of peat and mulm to the bottom layer, throw down some sand/laterite or gravel/laterite, and cap it with an inch or two of sand or gravel. You will probably have to tear down the tank to do this though.

You could also use flourite or any of the other commercial substrates as well. I just like the laterite combo because its so cheap!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Location

Where might I find laterite? I hope in removing the sand I can locate most of my malaysian trumpet snails.
 

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You can order it online, Bigalsonline is pretty cheap. You can also find it at your LFS or probably have them order it for you.

Dont throw away your MTS! Save as many as you can. You only need a few to start a thriving colony again though.
 

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PetSmart also carries Laterite (well, at least here they do).

As far as removing the sand goes, you can vacuum it out using a garden hose. You actually need two hoses, one to feed water into the tank, and another the syphon out the sand. Depending on how much sand you have, you can probably have it drain into a large plastic bin. Go to the hardware store and buy some wire mesh with holes big enough to pass the sand through, but small enough to catch any MTSs. Fold some over the bin like a sieve and let the sand flow through it.

Ideally you can do this outdoors so that you don't have to worry about water overflowing the bin. If the hose run isn't too long and you don't have anthing in the sand to clog it you can empty out a tank pretty quick this way without causing too much discomfort for the fish.

Now, adding in a new substrate is a differnt matter as that can get very messy. That may not be something you want to expose your fish to.
 

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When I first got an aquarium, I ended up changing the substrate and removing an undergravel filter so I could grow plants.

I went with fine gravel + laterite - I wouldn't do this again as it can be messy when you rearrange plants.

As far as changing your substrate goes...

1) Go to the store and get a plastic storage tub, should only set you back a few dollars... try and get one that is at least 50% the volume of your tank

2) Drain as much tank water into the tub as you can, put your flter and heater in the tub too. Move all your fish to the plastic tub

3) Drain off the rest of the water and get rid of it, remove as much of the substrate as possible

4) With most of the substrate gone, take the tank outside and use a hose to get any remaining sand out (you can skip this if a little sand doesnt bother you)

5) Put in the new substrate... move the old tank water back in to the tank, then the equipment and fish. Try not to let the water temperature fluctuate too much! You could try and squeeze a bit of mulm from your filter media into the bottom of the tank before you add the substrate if you want to "seed" it with beneficial bacteria.

The rest is just like a water change, simply fill the tank up to the top with conditioned water and you're done.

This process will be time consuming, good job for a Sunday :)

Alternatively, you could get a 10gal tank + small heater and set up a temporary home for your fish - this is a lot easier and less stressful on your livestock.

As far as the substrate goes, if you can afford it get Eco Complete or Flourite. Eco Complete is particularly desirable as it is a no mess, no fuss substrate and it comes with some beneficial bacteria in the bag (apparently). Looks good too!
 

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I have never had any trouble with laterite clouding the water, although i keep a cap of about two inches in my tanks.....
 

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believe me, if you keep your fishes in the tank when u change the substrate WASH IT WELL (except for the eco). i just added flourite to my tank and a)didn't wash it enough b) didn't take my fish out. I only lost 1, but that was mostly due to massive water changes. taking them out temporarily is prolly your best bet
 
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