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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yall have talked me into a Tear down on my HIGH ph 55g tank. SO here come the questions.

Should i use Just the Pea Gravel OR Should i add a Layer of topsoil that has Peat in it.

If i Move all the water into a Big Tub, Will it keep enough of the Bacteria alive(if i put all my rock in too) Or will it have to Cycle?Mind you i only plan on the tank being empty about 1 to 2 hrs.
 

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The bacteria is in the filter, on the sides of the tank, on the plants, on the driftwood, etc. You will loose the bacteria in the substrate but as long as you keep all the other surfaces wet and it's a short time all the other bacteria will be fine. When I changed mine out I wrapped up anything I could not get into water with plastic wrap. Mine tank was filled back right away but some things stayed out overnight wrapped up.

Whether you use pea gravel or topsoil and peat is up to you. There are pros and cons to both. I think it's just a matter of preference. What pros and what cons would you rather live with. I personally would rather live with pea gravel than topsoil. Many other in the El Natural camp would rather live with topsoil.

Good luck with your change! :D Once you're done, at least this big struggle will be over! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree with Tex Gal on that one, look at what you want to do in the long run and look at what each substrate is good at doing :)
Thats easy i wanna be able to have most plants and without them Dieing on me in three days! i was thinking a Thin layer of the topsoil (maybe an inch deep at most) Just to Soften the water gradually (no PH Shock)
 

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Thats easy i wanna be able to have most plants and without them Dieing on me in three days! i was thinking a Thin layer of the topsoil (maybe an inch deep at most) Just to Soften the water gradually (no PH Shock)
I think either of those choices will grow your plants. I used pea gravel for decades. I did have to use root tabs, but the trade off for me was that I could move plants around without cloudy water. I could vacuum gravel when it accumulated too much mulm. I like to play in the tank and redo the aquascape from time to time. I love trying out new plants.

Since it seems that you had high pH because of the crushed coral and you are now removing that your pH should go down by itself. You had written that your pH from your tap was much lower.

If I were you I would do some reading on the sticky of the EL Natural forum or research substrates. You don't want to redo this just to be unhappy later on with results you did not expect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Stage One Done, Water fish plants rocks etc are all in tub with bubble wand going, on to stage 2 removing the Muck in the bottom of the tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Stage 2 done all Muck,Sand,Sludge, and Oyster shell is out of the tank, i have an old blanket Setting in the tank to soak up the rest of the muddy water.
 

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Here is a recommendation that you get a bag of cheap quartz sand, such as pool filter sand, and either just use that, or mix it 50-50 with some top soil for the bottom 1/3 of the substrate, topped with just the sand. I'm sure I'm late with this though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Stage 3 half way done, All Fish and water back in tank No deaths, But i realized real quick that i lost A TON OF WATER in this deal, Bout half the tank to be exact
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok Water is in im on BREAK my back is killing me dang degenerating discs and arthritis anyway! Its Cloudy but that's cause i didn't rinse the gravel(didn't wanna wake anyone up!)
 

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Glad to hear you are done. I struggled with my tank for months and finally changed things out. It was the best move I ever made! You won't be sorry! GOOD JOB!!! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Glad to hear you are done. I struggled with my tank for months and finally changed things out. It was the best move I ever made! You won't be sorry! GOOD JOB!!! :D
No fish losses as of yet, and PH is now 7.6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY i wont kill all the plants! Only deaths were the rams horns i didn't bother to pick out of the sludge in the bottom of the tank. and trust me i have PLENTY of them to go around!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'd love to see it too. I've had my fingers crossed for you. I knew you would do just fine! Hurrah for you! :D
Took about an hour and a half Maybe two and im still paying for it my back has been throbbing all day but at least i might stop killing plants now with my "salt Water conditions minus the Salt" lol i just wish o could have kept my SW tank that Stable when i had it up!
 
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