Aquarium fellows - help!

Everything that doesn't fit anywhere else!

Postby call2arms » September 20th, 2010, 9:28 pm

I have a 10 gallon aquarium with a couple of tetras and 2 cherry shrimp, a million snails, and live plants. And ugly pale blue and black gravel.

I'm sick of the gravel. It's also dirty despite the weekly water changes and the gravel vacuuming (I think it's because there may just be too many plants in there, I can vacuum decently in certain areas, but I'd need to de-plant to do the rest)... Plus there's not enough gravel to cover my plant roots, every time I move a little bit of it to cover roots, some other roots are uncovered, and the gardening starts.

So what's the safe bacteria saving way of doing this?
I don't want to kill anything! I know you have to have the new gravel sit in dechlorinated water for a while, what about squeezing the filter sponge in there to start growing some bacteria? I also saw about removing parts of the gravel at a time, and putting some new one gradually (I've read about putting some in a pantyhose to have bacteria grow as well) but what about all the plants, and the fish? Seems like doing two kinds of gravel at a time could be messy and end up in a black, blue and brown mix.
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Postby Malli » September 21st, 2010, 2:26 am

The only way to do it is the pantyhose method. Get new pantyhose or a mesh bag designed for aquarium filter media, rinse well. Suggested amounts of gravel is 1 lb to 1 gallon or more - probably more like 1.5 lbs to 1 gallon for a planted aquarium. if I were in your place, I'd remove 1/2 of the old gravel, and replace with 1/2 quantity of the new gravel in a mesh bag, let that sit in the tank for 2 weeks, remove all the old gravel 2 weeks later, and add the rest; rinse the new gravel really well and then rinse it in dechlorinated water and let it sit for a few minutes. Make sure when you remove the last of the old gravel and add the last of the new that you put the stuff that HAS NOT been sitting in the tank on the bottum and the gravel that has been in the tank for 2 weeks in a layer on the top.
What kind of filter do you have? With a mechanical filter you'd be in luck because most of the good bacteria will live there, so in that case this is just a "better safe then sorry" measure.

I would also suggest an extra 25% water change during this time.

Let me know if you have any questions :)
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Postby iluvk9 » September 21st, 2010, 5:57 am

I read the title of this incorrectly.... I thought you were an AQUARIAN and wanted help with your horoscope. :neener:
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Postby call2arms » September 21st, 2010, 6:50 pm

Nah, I'm a leo and I don't need help with my feline. lol

Thanks Malli, I have to go gravel shopping... I have a Fluval underwater filter for up to 20 gallons, with foam in it. I guess it'll hold enough bacteria, but I'm worried.
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Postby Malli » September 22nd, 2010, 3:11 am

thats why the 50/50 2 week gravel switch ;)

Unless the snails are insane, you have a pretty low bioload too ;)
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Postby call2arms » September 22nd, 2010, 11:44 am

I can count 11-12 of them, I was told that usually it's double of what you can see cause they'll come out more in the dark.

But what do I do with all my plants? Most are rooted in my gravel, only 2 are attached to driftwood...
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Postby Malli » September 22nd, 2010, 12:13 pm

just move them all to one spot, you can replant them as long as you're gentle.

Are they pond snails?
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Postby call2arms » September 22nd, 2010, 11:57 pm

I'm really not sure, they're the kind of small snails that sneak in your aquarium when you buy plants from the fish store, lol.
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Postby amazincc » September 23rd, 2010, 12:10 am

call2arms wrote:I'm really not sure, they're the kind of small snails that sneak in your aquarium when you buy plants from the fish store, lol.


Ewwww... you have Physids then... lol
They are notorious for clogging up really expensive filters, and turtle lovers are NOT fond of them... :wink:
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Postby Malli » September 23rd, 2010, 12:11 pm

yep, aka common pond snails ;)

I was thinking they might be a much larger type of snail, in which case they would affect the bioload.
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Postby call2arms » September 23rd, 2010, 11:30 pm

with the amount of poop they produce, i'm sure they do affect the bioload... what exactly do they eat except for my plants? algae? fish poop?
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Postby Malli » September 25th, 2010, 12:19 am

pretty much all of the above that is soft I think ;)
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Postby Tubular Toby » September 25th, 2010, 1:20 am

A nice way to get rid of some of them is to throw a piece of blanched zucchini in there for a few hours at night. Then you can just pick it out with a lot of them on it. They eat dying plants parts, algae, uneaten food, etc. No poop, if they did that I'm sure they wouldn't be hated as much as they are. haha

You may try removing as many of them as possible manually and then buying an otocinclus catfish (or two, they like groups, but it's also recommended one per ten gallons. =\) to help clean up the algae and compete with the snails to keep their numbers down. Otos will also help keep the algae off your plants really well. Probably would be best to supplement their diet anyway with blanched zucchini and algae wafers.
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Postby call2arms » September 25th, 2010, 6:07 pm

Hum, bit I don't walt to KILL the snails and I'm pretty sure the store doesn't want them...

I have my cherry shrimp to eat my algae, and there isn't that much of it growing anyway. I'm trying to get some fish food at the bottom for them to supplement them, but the fish get it all...

I have another question: 2 of my tetras just don't seem to be able to get to the food. I put some across the top nicelu spread to have it available for everyone, but since the bigger guys don't let the little ones get to the top, I put some under the surface for the little ones... But the big ones get all of that too! I'm not sure what to do!
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