Thinking about changing up my tank..

Dec 14, 2011
I have an established 60g that I'm thinking of converting to a planted tank this summer. I want to dig out the gravel and replace it as well, but I'm not sure if that's going to throw my cycle out of whack. I don't have any particular plants in mind yet because I'm not too picky about them, but this is about what I'm thinking:

-LED Pent 48" HI Lumen Timer Ready 6500K (6800 Lumens Super energy efficient 0.5 watt high output LEDs
180x 6,500K LED)
-Bottom layer of organic soil
-Mid layer of flourite
-Cap layer of black sand or something similar
-Planning to search the area for local driftwood
-Also planning to build some slate caves as well-- is there a general weight limit for adding things to glass tanks?

I don't know yet if I want to do CO2. Could I manage without it, or is it a necessity? I also wonder how long the fish will have to be out of the tank while I'm converting this.


Elite Fish
Jul 19, 2004
Cape Cod
I would think if the tank is well established, as long as you ONLY change out the gravel that week you should be fine as far as the cycle. Just don't mess with the filter media for like 2 weeks on either side of the change. Since you're doing dirt you can't exactly do half the substrate at once.

You'd be surprised how much weight you can stick in a glass tank. I've had maybe 50lb of rock in a 20g tank at one point, plus another 40+lb of sand. As long as it is stable it is fine. If you are putting the hardscape on top of the substrate, the substrate will also prevent a lot of weight from being placed on one particularly pointy edge of rock right on the glass. (If you have any burrowers, make sure to put the hardscape directly onto the bottom glass instead, so you don't have a cave-in).

How many/what size fish? If it were me, I'd put the fish in a 5g bucket with a heater and some water movement (bubbler works), and they'll be fine there for hours and hours while you situate the tank.