Gravel to Sand

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Gravel to Sand

Postby AlanTh » Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:30 pm

I will be switching from gravel to sand in the next few days and would like to have your thoughts on my plan.

I have UGF running in a 100 Ltr tank (2 uplifts + two powerhead pumps on the uplifts). The UGF has been running brilliantly for over twelve months, but I really do need to switch to a sand base, and therefore the UGF will have to go. In the tank there is a lot of gravel, I would say it runs from 2" at the front of the tank to 4" at the rear of the tank. My plan is .....

Switch off one powerhead pump (and keep the other running) and start an internal filter running. The planned internal should support a 150 Ltr tank. The internal will have been well primed with gunk and squeezes from a well established external filter that I have running (on a larger tank). I understand that a good squeeze of gunk into the water is what is required, but wouldn't it be better to get all the "stuff" directly into the new internal filter? In fact I could do both. Get loads of gunk into the internal, and some squeezes into the water.

Daily water checks should let me know what is going on. After two days, switch off the second powerhead pump, and see what happens. If the water readings go pear shaped, switch the powerhead pumps back on, and water changes as required. As I understand it, it takes quite a few days for the bacteria to die off completely. During this period will my internal filter be taking "up the slack"?

Should I switch off both powerheads, and let the primed internal do the work? Once the UGF has been off for a while, and the readings are ok, then the actual switch from gravel to sand (and removing the base plate etc) happens.

By necessity the fish will have to stay in the tank during this whole process. The tank is fully stocked.

I would love to hear you comments and suggestions. "Don't do it! I hear someone cry!" :)
Alan
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Re: Gravel to Sand

Postby miskin » Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:47 pm

Hi Alan, you might want to take a look at this post here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=15846

Its on the same subject, so should be of use to you.
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Re: Gravel to Sand

Postby AlanTh » Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:52 pm

Thanks for the link Miskin, but it is the fact that I am switching to sand, having used UGF, that is my problem.
Alan
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Re: Gravel to Sand

Postby miskin » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:28 pm

I'll confess I just saw the title and recalled the other post as it was also a recent post, Sorry about that.

If you "prime" the internal filter with gunk and have it running for a week along side the UGF, it will build its own colony of bacteria up enough to be the sole filter once you turn off the UGF. If you just turn the UGF off and leave it in there for a few days, if you end up with an ammonia spike you can turn the UGF back on and let the bacteria build up a little more on the internal. One thing I would watch out for, is using an UGF means your gravel itself is the bacterias breeding grounds, and removing it could cause imbalances for a few days when its moved.

Regarding the squeeze, only reason you squeeze into the water is so its sucked up into the filter and in the right place, but into the media itself will work the same and look much nicer on your tank XD
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Re: Gravel to Sand

Postby moocowmoneybox » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:15 pm

if you need gunk then there will be loads in the gravel and under the UGF trays :wink:

go for a good dig and you should stir up loads
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Re: Gravel to Sand

Postby AlanTh » Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:15 pm

moocowmoneybox wrote:if you need gunk then there will be loads in the gravel and under the UGF trays :wink:

go for a good dig and you should stir up loads


I made a start today and removed one pump and uplift (capping off the hole left in the base plate).

I soon realised whilst shoving the gravel out of the way, to remove the uplift, that I had enough gunk. I let the new filter suck it in. So, I haven't disturbed my external.

So for now it's running on the new filter and one uplift. I will see how things go, and shut the other pump off in a few days.

I have never found any gunk under the base plate. I often get a 1" pipe and syphon under the plate.
Alan
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Re: Gravel to Sand

Postby AlanTh » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:57 pm

All done and finished now. It took about five hours, but I was working alone, and doing it with the fish in the tank.

I can recommend the Argos Playsand. £2.99 for 15kg. One bag was enough, so I have an unopened bag left over. It took very little washing - maybe three swills round, and empty the dust out. I did it about a 1/10th of a bucket at a time. Once the water was clear in the bucket - transferred to the tank. Adding Prime as I went along. ( I warmed the sand with hot water also as the heater was off in the tank).

The water is pretty clear in the tank now, but I am going to give it a couple of hours before I switch the filter on.

We will see how the fish get on over the next week or so ....
Alan
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