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Adding Soil To Fishtank

Author Topic: Adding Soil to Fishtank  (Read 554 times)

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Offline Rustle

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Adding Soil to Fishtank
« on: February 18, 2019, 07:32:15 AM »
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Hi everyone i need some advice on a few questions on adding soil for a base layer to the fish tank in the summer months.

I want to empty my tank so i can add a base layer of aquarium soil to my existing gravel.

1.I need some sort of holding container for the fish for about 12 hrs, I was thinking of a 60 -80 litre plastic food safe storage box - container, Would this be safe for the fish ?

2. If i cut my sponge filter and added it to a smaller filter and ran it in the storage container would that be enough bacteria to keep the fish alive and well for those hrs i need.

3.How long can bacteria live in the sponges by just being kept wet and not being run through a filter.

4. How stressful would this be to the inhabitants.

5. Would i need to acclimatise the inhabitants while switching from tank to container and when i put them back at the end of the day, I will be using the same water.

6. If i use the same water and existing gravel plus some original plants plus new ones, How likely is it to go into a mini cycle or even the start of of a new cycle and cause ammonia spikes.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2019, 10:39:16 AM »
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The first thing to say is that some soils leach ammonia into the water for up to 6 months, and fish can't be put in the tank till it stops. I don't know which brand of soil you are thinking of, but I suggest you do a search to see if yours has a reputation for this.

A food safe storage box is fine for the fish, but ideally big enough to hold the filter and heater. Can you get all the media into the smaller filter?
Bacteria can live a fair while as long as the media is even just damp and floated in water so it's next to air for oxygen.
It's less stressful for the inhabitants than leaving them in the tank while you do it, but still stressful. Leave the lights off for the rest of the day, and maybe even the day after.
If you will be putting the same water back, it'll just be like a large water change. Provided your routine is weekly water changes the tank water should be fairly close to tap water anyway. The real need for acclimatisation is when the fish are moved from a tank with completely different water or if tank maintenance is poor where the tank water has been allowed to become different from tap water.

There is a chance of a mini cycle. To minimise the risk, don't feed the fish the day before or for a couple of days afterwards. Then feed less than usual for the next week. Less food = less ammonia.

Offline Matt

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2019, 12:48:28 PM »
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Sue got there before me  :cheers: but a couple of things to add...

2. If i cut my sponge filter and added it to a smaller filter and ran it in the storage container would that be enough bacteria to keep the fish alive and well for those hrs i need.
Depends... Will you have more than 2/3 of the filtration of the current tank being transferred over? Plants will also undertake a part of the tanks filtration so you might want to consider transferring them over as well (or adding any new ones to this tank)
3.How long can bacteria live in the sponges by just being kept wet and not being run through a filter.
A few days certainly no problem. Best tactic apparently is to leave them damp in sealable container with lots of air so they don't deplete the o2 supply in the water.
6. If i use the same water and existing gravel plus some original plants plus new ones, How likely is it to go into a mini cycle or even the start of of a new cycle and cause ammonia spikes.
Lots of factors here but you are thinking about all the right things... surfaces hold the beneficial bacteria so moving ans much over as possible is the best plan

Offline Rustle

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2019, 04:48:58 PM »
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Thanks sue I wasn't aware of soils leaching ammonia. I was going to use dennerle nutra basis 6 in 1 but I now have to rethink. The filter would never fit all the juwel sponges so I would have to float them like you said.i will do as you said about feeding the fish.@ Matt I can move all the plants but would have to float them as I'm not sure how could anchor them down without moving. I do have 2 large driftwood one with java fern on and one with moss. If I added extra rocks to the main tank now would that hold a lot more bacteria by say June and help the cause.

One more question if I tried to scape the tank with new plants and wood,would this work or do i have to use all of the previous wood and plants ?

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Offline Sue

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2019, 05:01:54 PM »
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It's Ada soil that has the worst reputation for ammonia, I haven't read anything like that about the Dennerle one. You could try a spoonful of soil in a glass of water, leave a couple of days and test for ammonia to be on the safe side.

I once had a Jewel Rio and I know what you mean about the filter. The problem with cutting the sponges up is if you cut them from top to bottom when you put them back it may be possible for water to flow through the gap instead of through the sponge. But cutting them side to side will not be easy and will still leave a big square of sponge.
As long as the sponges are kept damp/wet and in contact with air, the bacteria should be OK - float them in the container with the fish. This is the recommended thing to do with media during a longish power cut (float them in the tank)

Plants will be fine floating in the storage box since it's not for more than a few hours.


I'll leave the rescaping question for Matt  :)

Offline Rustle

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2019, 06:41:56 PM »
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Thank's again sue I will float the sponges and I think
I may have some soil left over from the shrimp tank I can test. :)

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Offline Matt

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2019, 08:24:35 PM »
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New plants and wood is totally fine. If you have roughly the same plant mass you have roughly the same filtration power. Only risk is some of the new plants melting... one easy thing to do if you want a comfort factor would be to add a very fast growing stem plant to help deal with any ammonia.

Offline Rustle

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2019, 07:02:44 AM »
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Thank you Matt & Sue this opens up a lot more options for me now. @ Matt i was thinking of adding Myriophyllum mattogrossense (Green) or Elodea densa or even water sprite as the fast growers.

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Offline Sue

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2019, 08:58:13 AM »
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It occurs to me that in theory you are supposed to run the filter in the temporary 'tank' so that ammonia from the fish does not build up. Not feeding them the day before will help but not eliminate ammonia.
But floating plants and a good light on the temporary tank should mean the plants can take up the ammonia, so maybe get a good amount of elodea (which is fairly cheap) to remove ammonia even if you don't use it afterwards. Using a light over the temp. tank will make the plants work harder!
Any filter media that you can squeeze into the small filter would help. Sponges which are just floating won't do much for ammonia because water is not flowing through them.

Offline Rustle

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2019, 10:34:28 AM »
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I was planning on trying to run some kind of filter, but the only problem is i don't really want to cut the sponges to fit the the filter. I need to look around to see if i can find a cheap filter that i can squeeze at least one sponge into and then float the others.


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Offline Rustle

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Re: Adding Soil to Fishtank
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2019, 05:50:05 AM »
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I could not find any left over NutriBasis, So i emailed Dennerle and got this response within a few hrs.

I thought this may help anyone in the future if anyone wanted to know about these products.



Hello Russell,
 
thank you for your inquiry.
 
Deponit-Mix and NutriBasis 6 in 1 is perfectly suitable as substrate under the gravel.
 
Deponit-Mix and NutriBasis are not a slow-release fertilizer in the classical sense. It contains no macronutrients (Ammonium…) and not all essential trace elements.
The product turns an aquarium floor into a living, biologically active substrate.
 
However, mainly the strongly rooting plants profit here.
Stem plants absorb over 90% of the nutrients through the leaves. Even the strong roots do not absorb only by the roots.

An additional, balanced fertilization via the water makes perfect sense - right from the start.
 
Kind regards
 
Andrea Ferner

Dennerle GmbH
Technical Support
Industriestr. 4
D-66981 Münchweiler
Tel.: 0049 (0)6395-9107 440
Fax: 0049 (0)6395-9107 441
Mail: kundenservice@dennerle.de
Web: www.dennerle.com
 


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