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[APD] Refreshing substrate without a teardown.

Hello, as I mentioned before in a prior post, I was going to try and refresh
a 5 year old substrate in a 90 gal and add some flourite to a tank without
doing a teardown (fish stay in tank)..... well it is possible ;)

1. I removed ALL plants and put them in a covered bucket so they don't dry
2. I moved my slate rocks I use to create hiding spaces for my Clown loaches
and other similar fish to the front and off to one side so they had a place
to hide. Good time to razer any algae off the back wall of tank now that no
plants are in the way. Small gravel vacuuming to pickup the old algae I
scrapped off.
3. I started pushing the gravel at the back to the front of the tank  Lost
all visability in the tank so starting doing things by touch. My canister
filter remains running all the time btw.
4. Dug down in the back until I hit the old peat plates I had at the bottom.
Most were still perfectly intact as plates.  By touch I removed all the ones
I had.
5. As I have removed a lot of bulk from the bac, I refill the lost material
with my 2 bags of flourite.  I put scooped the flourite into the back of the
tank (after a wash of course) as evenly as I could guess (no visability in
the tank). Visability got worse which I thought wasn't possible.
6. Leave tank alone for dirt and flourite dust to settle and/or be filtered
out.  Hook up a diatom filter to speed up the process.  Prune and clean
plants getting them ready for replanting while tank clears.
7. Diatom output drops, flush, recharge and restart.
8. Diatom output drops, flush, recharge and restart.
9. I can see!!  Get python and start vacumming all the settled dirt on the
front (deep cleaning) and carefully at the back, just on the surface.
10.  Push the gravel piled on at the front of the tank back overtop the
flourite that has replaced the peat.  Poof, can't see again.
11. Fire up diatom again :p
12. I can see!!. Replant plants, put slate rocks back, watch fish buzz
around checking the new setup out.
13. Done!  Total time 10 hours (did grab a lunch somewhere in there)

Very happy with the new look, glad I did it.  Feel better that I got the old
peat plates out, some were smelling pretty bad... have to see how the
flourite works out.  Didn't loose one fish or shrimp in the process. Things
of note though.

Maybe at step 2 if I had done a DEEP vacuum before moving the gravel I could
have saved myself some time with the cloudy water.  I though I would get
blinded either way so didn't bother.

Unless you want to wait forever for the tank to clear, you will need some
sort of very quick filter, Diatom or others (are there any other types?). A
canister or regular filter would take forever to clear the mess and you
would not be able to go to the next step.  If you don't have one you might
want to pull the fish out also.  This wasn't an option for me (could have
brought a bunch of buckets I guess) but if you can remove the fish, then at
Step 6. you could just drain the whole tank of water, gravel wash and
refill. Might be difficult of your tap water is way different than your tank

Anyway, that was my adventure. ;)


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