How to change substrate with fish

huntery18

Candiru
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Nov 12, 2018
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hey guys so currently i have a 40 gallon breeder with 4 jack dempseys, a pictus catfish and a pleco (all juvenile) but my bottom currently is tan colored gravel and im switching to black sand, how do you recommend i do this, move out fish then take out my bottom or? keep fish in? i am worried that doing it with the fish in will stress them out to much , i don't have a backup tank or hospital tank so i would have to put them in a 5 gallon bucket if that is what you suggest, thanks.
( below is a picture of current bottom for reference)

IMG_3078.JPG
 

fishhead0103666

Goliath Tigerfish
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May 14, 2018
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If you wanted to do it slowly you could take a handfull out every water change until it’s all gone.
 
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punman

Plecostomus
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Feb 22, 2016
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I did it fish- in -the- tank once. Removing gravel stirred up the muck underneath so visibility became poor. I did a 50% water change after removing gravel and then finished it the next day when the water cleared and I could see the gravel I missed. Seemed to not bother the fish too much.
 

tlindsey

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I suggest taking the fish out and place them in the 5 gallon bucket. Do you have a spare air pump on hand ? If so attach airline to it for the fish in the bucket.

Also could siphon the gravel out with a 5/8 or larger tubing with fish still in aquarium.
 

huntery18

Candiru
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Nov 12, 2018
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I did it fish- in -the- tank once. Removing gravel stirred up the muck underneath so visibility became poor. I did a 50% water change after removing gravel and then finished it the next day when the water cleared and I could see the gravel I missed. Seemed to not bother the fish too much.
so you reccomend just dropping my water down a little bit scooping all the gravel i can see out then putting in the sand the next day, i thought about this it might be what i do
 

huntery18

Candiru
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Nov 12, 2018
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I suggest taking the fish out and place them in the 5 gallon bucket. Do you have a spare air pump on hand ? If so attach airline to it for the fish in the bucket.

Also could siphon the gravel out with a 5/8 or larger tubing with fish still in aquarium.
im low on funds so i have to make due with what i have so i wouldn't be able to buy a air pump or siphon sadly, appreciate the reply though
 
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Chefken

Redtail Catfish
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Sep 17, 2010
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im low on funds so i have to make due with what i have so i wouldn't be able to buy a air pump or siphon sadly, appreciate the reply though
The tank is not that big so you should be able to do the change in 10-15 minutes....fish would be fine in bucket for hours....dont skimp on water in bucket and add back with fish. Be ready and work fast. How old is tank? If not years old and well maintained you might not stir up as much as you fear!
 

huntery18

Candiru
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Nov 12, 2018
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The tank is not that big so you should be able to do the change in 10-15 minutes....fish would be fine in bucket for hours....dont skimp on water in bucket and add back with fish. Be ready and work fast. How old is tank? If not years old and well maintained you might not stir up as much as you fear!
ive had the tank and fish in tank for about three weeks (which is why im slightly worried about overstressing fish this new) ive also done weekly gravel cleanings and water changes if that changes anything, should i hold off on putting sand in the tank til the next day, do you recommend me just taking out the dempseys or take out the leco and pictus as well?
 

Chefken

Redtail Catfish
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Sep 17, 2010
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Harwinton CT
ive had the tank and fish in tank for about three weeks (which is why im slightly worried about overstressing fish this new) ive also done weekly gravel cleanings and water changes if that changes anything, should i hold off on putting sand in the tank til the next day, do you recommend me just taking out the dempseys or take out the leco and pictus as well?
Sounds like a new tank....is it even cycled yet? The gravel is probably an important part of your Bio filter....I would remove the fish with water skimmed off top into bucket and then vacuum the gravel down to half tank or less.....remove gravel....RINSE SAND until it drains clean!!!! Then scape and return and fill er up.....Do lots of testing in the days after and dose with Prime when changing water or if ammonia or nitrite spike. Good luck!! Everyone should be fine!!
 

huntery18

Candiru
MFK Member
Nov 12, 2018
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Sounds like a new tank....is it even cycled yet? The gravel is probably an important part of your Bio filter....I would remove the fish with water skimmed off top into bucket and then vacuum the gravel down to half tank or less.....remove gravel....RINSE SAND until it drains clean!!!! Then scape and return and fill er up.....Do lots of testing in the days after and dose with Prime when changing water or if ammonia or nitrite spike. Good luck!! Everyone should be fine!!
yeah i had the tank running and added biological booster prior to having my jd's, alright i believe that is what i will do, thanks for the reply i will keep you updated.
 
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