Adding Substrate to existing tank

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by Dacious, 4 Jul 2008.

  1. Dacious

    Dacious Member

    Messages:
    86
    Hi all,

    Can anyone recommend a good substrate that I can add to an exiting tank that already has plants and fish in it, without causing excessive particle clouding? The aquarium already has a honey coloured sand (not much) so it would be great if I could find a substrate that i could add and/or mix with it.

    I have read that ADA gives excellent results and many of you use it frequently but I have also read that upon installation it leaches ammonia or nitrates. If so is it wise to add an ADA substrate to an existing tank that is already stocked or would it be safe as the plants should soak up the nitrates, ammonia etc? Also would ADA require prior cleaning?

    From what I have read everyone puts in the substrate when they set the tank up but unfortunately I can't do that!! :mad:

    Thanks a lot
     
  2. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,278
    Location:
    London
    I have asked this question before too, and was advised not to change it while there are fish in the tank, specially adding the ADA stuff, so I decided to go ahead and only use the existing gravel that I have, and its working pretty well with the EI dosing regime, so if I were you I would leave it and try it before you go and cause a mess trying to change it.
    But I have seen people doing it sucessfully, guess you will need to do quite a lot of water changes after you do it but adding ADA to the tank already filled I can only imagine the mess, on my low-tech tank I have ADA and when I go to plant something a cloud of dust lifts right up.
     
  3. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Could you not remove everything in the tank, drain it and add the new substrate that way? This is what I did and it wasn't too much hassle. Take a look at my journal where I replaced the substrate with Akadama which is quite similar except it doesn't have added nutrients - http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=860.

    ADA AS does release ammonia but as long as you have a fully mature filter and do plenty of water changes for the first couple of weeks you should be OK. If this scares you though you could use Eco Complete which is also a very good substrate.

    ADA AS shouldn't be rinsed before use.

    James
     
  4. AndyTaylor

    AndyTaylor Member

    Messages:
    62
    There is a way to add new substrate to an already planted tank with minimal disturbance but it won't address the issue of ammonia release from the ADA soil...... I've used this myself with success in the past...

    Take a quantity of tank water, a quantity of the substrate to be added and as big an ice-cube tray as you can find/use.

    Mix water & substrate and freeze in ice cube tray. When frozen push your nutritious and delicious substrate ice cubes into the areas required.

    Stand back and contemplate the genius of the man who thought of the idea! :D
     
  5. Dacious

    Dacious Member

    Messages:
    86
    Thanks for that guys, very helpful indeed. I am trying not to have to strip the tank down and starting from scratch if I can but may do if needs be. I was wondering since ADA does leach ammonia would it be possible to "cure" it in some way before adding this to an established tank?

    Also I have another tank to which I would like to add a lily and possibly some vallis but to prevent these two from growing too large or rampant I am going to plant them in trays and pots. What substrate do you think I could add to these pots (again bearing in mind that the tank is already established)? Would this cause too much clouding?


    Thanks again.
     
  6. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Yes you can pre treat it by soaking it in water for a for weeks. To speed up the process add some mulm from an established tank to it which adds the necessary bacteria.

    I wouldn't recommend freezing any baked clay type substrates as you are likely to damage them causing them to crumble quicker. This is because the clay is very porous so when you freeze it the water expands when turning to ice damaging the clay structure. This is exactly what happens to house bricks that are too absorbant and is called spalling.

    James
     
  7. AndyTaylor

    AndyTaylor Member

    Messages:
    62
    Ah, good point. Maybe not quite so geniusy then. I didn't use clay when I did this. Well pointed out, JamesC.
     
  8. Dacious

    Dacious Member

    Messages:
    86
    Please forgive my ignorance, but why would you freeze it exactly???


    Ok sorry I missed out another reply! Now i get it!
     

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