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I've Got An Old Tank, I've Got A New Tank - What Do I Do Next?

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by SiC, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. SiC

    SiC Member

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    Hi all,
     
    I've had a 60l tank that I've been running for a number of years which has been relatively successful (only a couple of Tetra's have died after a couple of years) and decided to upgrade.
     
    So I've gone out and bought a new tank! I did it for a number of reasons - not least deciding that the existing one is a bit small really for the fish that I have got. Anyway I ended up on a Fluval Roma 125 from Pets at Home (it wasn't a bad price at £229 with tank/stand/pump/heater/accessories). I've been digging around online to work out what I should and shouldn't be doing when setting up a tank - turns out that I didn't know much about the nitrogen cycle... In fact none at all! I also thought that your supposed to do a 40%-50% water change around every month (rather than 10% every week) - no idea where I originally got my wrong info from. Probably a good bit of luck that they have all survived this long in hindsight!
     
    Anyhow I've ordered an API ammonia/nitrite/nitrate liquid testing kit that should be coming in the next couple of days, which should help me monitor what is actually going on and keep the fish happy.
     
    Now I want to transfer the fish from my old tank to the new one, but unsure the best way of going about it and which way is the most idea. I've read that the best way of getting a new tank started is using old media. But I've read different things about this from putting the old media in, to squeezing the media into the tank.
     
    Here are the ideas that I've thought of doing so far:
    1. Run the two tanks together and separately, while adding the tank starter solution in the new one and squeezing the old filters media into the new tank. Monitor the tank cycle and after 2-4 weeks when the ammonia and nitrites go down transfer the fish over.
    2. Run the tanks as number 1, but put some of the old media into the new tank, and the new media into the old tank.
    3. Transfer the fish/complete pump+filters/ornaments (but not gravel as its a different type+colour) over to the new tank immediately. Keep an eye on the cycle daily to make sure things don't get out of hand.
      Also run both the new and old pump filters together in the new tank for a month or so.
      Maybe putting a small cut square of media from the old filter into the new pump too. Alternatively remove the new media from the new pump cram the old media into the new pump and run just that on its own.
    4. Put some new fish into the new tank, run it with some tank starter solution and squeeze the filter media. Then keeping an eye on the cycle. After a month, add the old fish across.
    The fish that I've got in my old tank are:
    • 6 x Tetras - small ones - I couldn't tell you what ones they are! Around 5 years old now.
    • 1 x Rainbow Shark. Around 5 years old too (got him/her a couple months after the Tetras)
    • 3 x YoYo Loaches. Around 3 years old.
    Nothing too special about them but like everyone, I don't want to stress them unnecessarily or risk loosing them! As I've had them a couple of years I have grown attached to them and really don't want kill them...
     
    This is the old 60l tank. It has 2x 55w heaters, Fluval 2 plus, 1x 15w bulb and an air pump. The shark+loaches seem to like living inside the rock in the middle. I'd like (and think it would be a good idea) to transfer this to the new tank. I guess this is not a bad thing as it has a lot of the good bacteria on.
    tank_old.jpg
     
    This is the new 125l tank. It has 1x 150w heater, Fluval U3, 2x 20w T8 bulbs. The water has been in there for 24 hours and has been dechlorinated - but nothing else done to it.
    tank_new.jpg
     
    Cheers,
    Si.
     
  2. Zikofski

    Zikofski Chatroom Moderator
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    okay, for a start i would not do 10% water change every week i do 50% every week but you dont need to do that much more 30% each week is a good place to start, well done on doing your research and looking into buying a test kit,
     
    i would NOT put the fish over until you have that test kit just to be sure :)
     
    okay when moving over the tank i would recommend to just put the old media into the new tank filter along with the new media, do this at the same time as the fish
     
    the old media will hold enough bacteria to support the fish inside the old tank so it will in the new tank.
     
    for gravel/sand and ornaments just plonk them in at the same time, or when you want, all the bacteria will be in the filter media / bio balls or foam what ever is in there :) after a month or two you can take the old media out give the filter good clean in TANK water, NOT tap water, tap water kills the bacteria
     
    hope this helps
     
    :)
     
  3. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    I upgraded from a 60 to a 125 a few years ago.
    I set up the new tank and let it run for a day or two to make sure everything worked and nothing leaked. Then I removed some of the water from the new tank and put the fish in a bucket with some water from the 60 litre. I moved all the substrate over and the decor, then 'persuaded' the old media to fit in the new filter with a pair of scissors. Finally, added some water from the 60 litre, put the fish into bags, added the water from the bucket and acclimated the fish as if they were new. I kept an eye on the water stats for a few days but never saw even a tiny blip of either ammonia or nitrite.
    It was easier for me because I was setting the new tank up in a different place from the old one. If the new tank is going in the same place as the old it just takes a bit longer.
     
  4. Joshwainwright

    Joshwainwright I take my fish for walks
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    Wow, that really bright gravel! [​IMG]
     
    the best thing the do would be to try and fit your current media into your new filter and transfer your fish at the same time. Simply squeezing your sponges won't be enough, you'll need to put some mature media in the new filter. Also, the bacteria must be fed with ammonia so you might want to get a bottle of this to do a fishless cycle in the new tank before switching over. You could do that by putting a bit of your mature media in the new filter.
     
    Just putting a little bit of mature media in and then moving over all the fish straight away won't work though. You'll still end up with a build up of ammonia as the bacteria won't be able to deal with it all.
     
    So yeah, the best options are:
    1. Cut out some media for the new filter and do a fishless cycle
    2. Somehow move all/most of your mature media into the new filter
     
  5. SiC

    SiC Member

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    Lol, yes it is! We're going over to a more traditional "artic white" (still bright though!) gravel in this new tank. So the old red/blue gravel is staying in the old tank and not moving over.
     
    Which reminds me, unfortunately I bought and put in the gravel before I found out that the YoYo Loaches like small sized gravel/ideally sand. [​IMG]
     
    The new gravel that is between 6-9mm. Is this too large for the YoYo loaches, potentially damaging them as they root around? If so, could I just buy a bag of smaller sized stuff and layer it on top? At the moment it has a single 12kg bag in there - at about inch deep, so I guess it could do with some more, especially if I put some real plants in. I did look at getting sand (looks much better imo), but a guy at a fish shop said not to bother as it can be a pain to manage/clean.
     
    So from all your advice, it looks like the best way is to stick the old media into the new tank filter (with a little bit of surgery) and then put the fish in (after bagging and transferring them as if they were from the shop). Effectively making a nearly 100% water change.
     
    The new pump filter (Fluval U3) has both a sponge-like and carbon filter on each filter half - where as the old pump filter(Fluval 2+) just has the sponge pads. If the old filter sponge is a completely different size, my aim is to take the two thin carbon sheets out and replace it with the old tank filter sponge. Even with the carbon filter in, there is room between the two filter halves/caddy's. I guess making this new/old filter sandwich shouldn't be a problem, along I put both old filter sponges in? How long should this old media stay in?
     
    Do I need the carbon pads? The pump manual says I should, but everyone else online that I've read said they're not essential and can even cause problems!
     
    Is the gravel that essential to the new tank if the filter sponges are going in? As I don't really want to put any old luminous gravel in the new tank!
     
    The new tank has been running for nearly 2 days now (I changed all the water last night as it was very cloudy when disturbing the gravel - my girlfriend did assure me that she thoroughly cleaned the gravel... [​IMG]), there has been no leaks and every thing appears to work. I plan to do this over the weekend anyway. So I'm in almost identical situation as essjay did.
     
    I had hoped to start testing the water today, but despite paying extra for 1st class recorded it hasn't come yet. [​IMG]
     
    Thanks for all your advice (and sorry for all the questions!), its a great help and reassuring that I'm less likely to kill/hurt any of my fish!
     
    Cheers,
    Si.
     
  6. This Old Spouse

    This Old Spouse TOTM Winner May 2013

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    I see quite a bit of conflicting advice here. The process should be fairly easy for you, especially since you have the new tank set up. The old media should go in the new filter, but you're right ... you don't need the carbon pads. You might want to keep them in there for a week or so just to clear up any cloudy water you might get, but then they've outlived their usefulness and can be tossed. Do not toss the old media! It appears that you have sponges, which should last you for years, if not forever. All you ever need to do is lightly rinse them in old tank water. 
     
    This media should be able to take care of this new tank as long as you don't add any more fish for a while. Monitor the water stats daily for a couple of weeks. If you see any kind of ammonia or nitrite spike, do a large water change.
     
    As for not using sand, you were mislead by the LFS. Sand is absolutely ideal for your loaches, and is actually easier to clean than gravel. Everything stays on the surface so it's right there to suck up with a syphon. And no, you don't need your old gravel in the new tank. 
     
  7. Joshwainwright

    Joshwainwright I take my fish for walks
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    You should be fine without the carbon pads, they will just become inactive pads after 2 weeks or so anyway :p
     
    Personally, I'd just leave the old media in. You don't need it and it won't be doing any harm.
     
    Although the old gravel will have some bacteria, it won't be a lot so it really isn't necessary to move it over. Just keep an eye on the ammonia level for any spikes though which you'll be able to deal with by doing a reasonably sized water change. Everything should be fine though because most of the bacteria will be in the media of the old filter.
     
    Not sure about loaches, sorry!
     
  8. SiC

    SiC Member

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    Cool. Surprisingly, after having a good look around, there doesn't seem to be that much info about transferring from an old tank to a new one. The majority of articles I have read just say about new tank syndrome, tank/filter cycling, etc and maybe mention using a small amount of media from someone else tank. So for someone like me who is a beginner (maybe I shouldn't be considering how long the fish have lasted...), you can put a bit of intuition into it, but still not 100% its correct! I guess its like changing your brake pads on a car. If you've done it before its easy. However if you haven't, you need a bit of reassurance that it isn't going to end in disaster.
     

     
     
    How annoying, as I really wanted sand. :(
     
    Can you mix gravel and sand together? Or bad idea?!
     
    I did suggest to the other half about sand but I got that certain look.... especially after giving her grief about not washing the gravel properly! [​IMG]
     
    So I may buy another bag of small stoned gravel to put on top. The current gravel is very rounded, but I fear that the boulders (to a fish) that they will move around may injure them.
     

     
     
     
    I've never actually properly checked the water samples apart from taking a bottle of water into Pets at Home - which they measured and said was bad...
     
    I'm really interested to see what the old tank comes back as. I guess for an established tank, the ammonia and nitrite levels should be nearly or at zero? 
     
    One other thing, should I not feed the fish the day before I transfer them? I seem to remember reading that's a good idea for dietary reasons when they're stressed.
     
    Si.
     
  9. This Old Spouse

    This Old Spouse TOTM Winner May 2013

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    If you want to switch to sand, now would be the time, before you move fish over. If you put sand over gravel, the sand just works its way to the bottom. 
     
    And good idea to not feed your fish the day before the big move.
     
  10. Joshwainwright

    Joshwainwright I take my fish for walks
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    Should be 0, yeah [​IMG]
     
    And that's a good idea :)
     
    Keep us all updated when it comes to the move!
     
  11. SiC

    SiC Member

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    I got my chemistry set today and after producing a bunch of samples that looked like pee after various good nights out, I got the following results...
     
    New Tank:
    PH 8 / Ammonia 0.25ppm / Nitrite 0.25ppm / Nitrate 10ppm (but not sure on the Nitrate, this was difficult to compare)
     
    Old Tank:
    PH 7.8 / Ammonia 0.25ppm / Nitrite 0 ppm / Nitrate 80ppm (?)
     
    I did find it very difficult to tell the difference in colour between the low levels of readings - so it may be slightly above or below them.
     
    The only one I wasn't sure on was the old tanks Nitrate reading as, to my eyes, it didn't look like any of the colours on the chart! Here is a picture of all the old tank samples:
    Water Samples.jpg
     
    I know (in hindsight) that the old tank is probably well overdue for a water change - the last one was done about a month ago. As I'm not going to save the water from this tank, I won't bother doing one as I don't want to keep stressing the fish out when I'm moving them in a couple of days anyway.
     
    Apart from the Nitrate, I guess the ammonia/nitrite are ok?
     
    Si.
     
  12. SiC

    SiC Member

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    Well I decided to change over to sand! Wasn't too bad after all. Scooped the gravel with a plastic cup with holes cut out in it. Got 2 x 15kg bags of play sand from toys r us and ended up using 1 1/2 bags. I gave it a good wash and then scooped it in. Not sure how washing it needed as most of the run off ended up as sand on the patio.

    This is after half hour with the pump just turned on. Doesn't look too bad compared to some pictures I've seen!

    tank_sandy.jpg

    Big day tomorrow - wish my fish luck!!

    Si.
     
  13. Joshwainwright

    Joshwainwright I take my fish for walks
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    Great move, you won't regret it! Well you will, sometimes because of all the waste that shows up but it's loads easier to clean and looks LOADS better.
     
    By the way, loads of people worry about stirring sand often to get bubbles out. Don't worry about this... they're just bubbles, as long as it's a bubble the gas isn't in the water :)
     
  14. This Old Spouse

    This Old Spouse TOTM Winner May 2013

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    Yay you! Great decision!
     
  15. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    It looks fantastic, good job. Let us know how it goes.
     

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