Upgrading to larger tank...

Dragonswynter

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I am wondering, if I take the water and the filter and it's media from my current tank and use it to help set up a larger tank, will I still have to do a cycle period on the new, larger tank? It seems I read somewhere that if you use the water and the filter and it's media from the current for the new, you can go ahead and switch your fish over immediately. I plan on switching from current gravel over to sand or a substrate for growing plants, and new decor. I will keep and use the driftwood I currently have, also. Will it be ok to add my fish, and new plants, into the new tank as soon as I get everything switched and set up? Thanks for any help and advice!!
 

Flushable Pets

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In my opinion and experience, probably.

You will definitely get a headstart. Whether or not your media will be sufficient to instantly handle a larger tank and possible bioload depends on many factors, but if it were me and we weren't talking about extremes in any direction, I'd go for it. I've done it with success several times and never lost a fish. Just watch your parameters and I think you'll be fine. But if you're going from say a 10g with 3 fish to a 55g with 20 fish, I'd probably wait it out. If you're going from a 10g to a 20g with the same bioload, I doubt you'd have any issues that a water change couldn't solve. You don't need to reuse your water, but definitely keep your filter and media. That's where the vast majority of your beneficial bacteria lives.

I'd definitely wait for more opinions, though. Lots of far more knowledgeable folks on here than me.
 

PattyPs

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I thought I'd share our experience .... we upgraded from a 200L to a 430L tank with Filament Barbs (along with their babies transferred from a nursery tank), Flying Foxes, Minnows and Rainbow Shiners.

Following advice from our local aquarium shop, we kept every drop of water we could from our 200L tank and nursery tank. There were buckets, trugs and plastic containers of water all over the place! We were adding gravel, whilst also kept the original lot, but gave it a rinse. We also kept the original filter that had been cleaned about two weeks beforehand and installed a new filter at the same time.

This way, we were able to add our existing fish into the new tank the same day, but waited two weeks before adding in any further fish. We knew we were on the right track the day after the move when our male Filament Barb was chasing the ladies (he, and his babies, were the reason we upgraded in the first place!).
 

663

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Yup, you'll have a big jump on a new tank cycle. Hopefully, the worst you'll have is a bit of haziness as your transported bacteria will need time adjust. If the adjustment period symptom's start to freak you out, do a mild water change and test. Good luck to you and your wet people, Dragon.
 

seangee

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No need to move the water. Bacteria lives on surfaces and not in the water. When I did this I set up the new tank with fresh water and got it up to temp and planted. Then on moving day I simply transferred the fish and filter at the same time. Keep an eye on things for a few days because you do lose any bacteria living on the substrate but it will catch up very quickly.
 

663

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No need to move the water. Bacteria lives on surfaces and not in the water.

Stable water, meaning water that's been exposed and equalized, is always a good thing to toss into a new tank. Doing so isn't critical though. As for cycling bacteria not living in the water, it lives wherever it wants until reaching the level needed to handle the biological load on the tank. After all, these critters don't walk to the walls of a new tank. ;)
 

Essjay

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The bacteria live in biofilm wherever that exists - on surface everywhere in the tank but there's no biofilm floating in the water.


If regular large water changes are done, there is only a slight difference between tap water and tank water so using all tap water isn't a problem. But if large weekly water changes haven't been done and tank water is significantly different from tap water (old tank syndrome) then it does make sense to transfer tank water.
 

663

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The bacteria live in biofilm wherever that exists - on surface everywhere in the tank but there's no biofilm floating in the water.

If regular large water changes are done, there is only a slight difference between tap water and tank water so using all tap water isn't a problem. But if large weekly water changes haven't been done and tank water is significantly different from tap water (old tank syndrome) then it does make sense to transfer tank water.

I agree, but bacteria has to have a form of conveyance that gets it to that delicious biofilm. My point is that healthy tank water isn't devoid of cycling bacteria. In PC liquid-cooling there's an interesting phrase: "Life will find a way." This truism isn't always correct, but close enough. In this case, it means bacteria will get to where it wants/needs to go. I've had the pleasure recently of watching the process. It started with a slight haze in the water and tiny spikes in all non-ammonia related parameters. My new filter has started to grow the colonies' it needs to have on-hand to replace its predecessor. BTW, my fish weren't harmed by this process due to having a cycled filter inline.

Please explain further. Does the tap water need to be treated to remove chlorine and chloramine? Of course this is a potentially stupid question, but I need to make sure what you're saying. You mention a "large weekly water change." What percentage of tank volume should that be?
 

mcordelia

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Are you asking about old tank syndrome? OTS occurs when the tank water parameters (not the commonly measured ones) start to drift away from the composition of the water that comes out of the tap. Basically, your tap water has a certain amount of minerals and other gobbledygook in it that results in what the pH and hardness etc is. If you change 50% of your tank water weekly, then it's likely that your tank parameters will stay pretty close to what your native tap water is, since you refresh the tank with the source water on a frequent basis.

On the other hand, if you only do 20% water changes every month, then it's likely that some minerals get used up, others increase, and the ph and nitrate amounts change compared to your normal tap water. If you then go ahead and do a 50% water change all of a sudden, you can shock your fish because the new water will be really different than the water you just took out of the tank was.

Did I answer the question, or did I totally misinterpret what you were saying?
 

663

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Did I answer the question, or did I totally misinterpret what you were saying?

You answered it just fine, and thanks for the much needed download. I've been guilty of making the assumption that the minerals in tap, the ones that make it taste good, are important to my wet babies as well. May I ask what you recommend be changed in weekly water changes. BTW, I saw some content that said it's now possible to never do water-changes. Of course, you need new equipment and 3rd party tests for this scheme to work. Have you heard of this?

Thanks again, mcordelia. :flowers:
 

Essjay

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Chlorine/chloramine - if the water supply has chlorine, you have the choice of leaving all the new water to stand in an open container for a day or two for the chlorine to gas off, or use dechlorinator. Chloramine does not gas off so if that is used in the water supply a dechlorinator must be used.

Most people now recommend at least 50% a week with many doing 75% a week. Most of us to not have the kind of set up that allows us to do no water changes. Are you thinking of the Walstad method? With this method, the tank is very lightly stocked - far fewer fish than most of us a willing to keep.
 

seangee

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I've been guilty of making the assumption that the minerals in tap, the ones that make it taste good, are important to my wet babies as well.
Yes they are - but not the chlorine, that kills fish (and bacteria). Its a bit more complicated, some fish need hard water (lots of minerals) and others need soft water (few minerals). And there is a huge range between water suppliers depending on their source water. So it makes sense to choose fish that are suited to your water.

Personally I change 75% of the water in each of my 4 tanks every week. I happen to think that the reason I have almost no experience of dealing with fish disease and illness has nothing to do with luck - so I will continue to do so.
 

Callisto405

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I am wondering, if I take the water and the filter and it's media from my current tank and use it to help set up a larger tank, will I still have to do a cycle period on the new, larger tank? It seems I read somewhere that if you use the water and the filter and it's media from the current for the new, you can go ahead and switch your fish over immediately. I plan on switching from current gravel over to sand or a substrate for growing plants, and new decor. I will keep and use the driftwood I currently have, also. Will it be ok to add my fish, and new plants, into the new tank as soon as I get everything switched and set up? Thanks for any help and advice!!
[/.

With a cycled filter and media you will have good bacteria to process the toxins but not a lot. Because you are changing substrate and decor, you will be losing a lot of bacteria. So what I would do is get a couple fish friendly plastic dishes, fill them with old substrate and carefully set the dishes on the bottom and leave them there for a couple weeks until the bacteria take hold. Then take some old decor and use it for a couple weeks as well. When a couple weeks go by just remove the old substrate and decor media and carry on as you wish. If you do both these steps you can add fish right away but keep an eye on the ammonia levels and make sure they don't spike. They can spike fast. Feed your new tank/fish very sparingly for a couple weeks as well so the waste stays to a minimum
 
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663

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Chlorine/chloramine - if the water supply has chlorine, you have the choice of leaving all the new water to stand in an open container for a day or two for the chlorine to gas off, or use dechlorinator. Chloramine does not gas off so if that is used in the water supply a dechlorinator must be used.

Essjay, if memory serves you're using RO? If so does having a unit turn water-changes into something more convenient? If applicable, I'd very much like to see the specs of your unit. My understanding is that our tap is treated with chloramine before it's piped out to Chicago and beyond. I don't remember what the process is called or recommended tank load. I saw the video at bulkreef.com, perhaps. I'm using Seachem Renew to treat tap. Good choice?
 

mcordelia

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you don't have to have a RO filter to remove chlorine/chloramine. I am planning on getting this under-sink filter: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Aquasan...aucet-in-Brushed-Nickel-THD-5300-55/301782806 it removes chlorine and chloramine, many pharmaceuticals, and also has a prefilter to reduce TDS slightly. It doesn't waste as much water as RO units do, so depending on the cost of water for you, the math may make this type of filter (replacing cartridges) cheaper than paying for the water than goes down the drain with an RO unit.

Regarding convenience of water changes, I guess it depends on your definition. The most convenient way of doing a water change is to have a python or similar system hooked up to your tap, pre-treat the entire aquarium with chlorine remover, and then run the water directly from the tap into the tank. There are various opinions on whether that is the best for the fish, since they get a higher dose of dechlorinator, and may be exposed to chlorine briefly before the dechlorinator takes effect.

The next most convenient way to do a water change is to use either an in-line filter from your faucet or a small holding vessel you run water into "real-time" from your filter that you then pump or gravity feed into your aquarium. In this case, you don't need to pre-treat your water at all (Assuming your filter removes chlorine), but you do have the hassle of figuring out how to get the water into the tank, since often the water pressure after the filter is not enough to get it all the way to the tank.

Third most convenient is to prepare your water in holding containers ahead of time. Some folks even have heaters in their holding containers so that they can temperature-match with the tank. The benefit of this method is that after sitting for 24h, the water parameters in the "new" water have stabilized (co2 dissolved has off-gassed etc), so you can test for the parameters of the new water and compare to the old water, and if necessary, wait another day before starting your water change if you need to add anything (like peat, lime rock, etc) to adjust the hardness or pH.

All in all, going back to what @essjay said, it really depends on what kinds of fish you keep and how well their water requirements match the water coming out of your tap. if you keep sensitive species that don't match your native water well, then you are almost by default stuck following approach three, but if your fish are more hardy and better suited to your native water source then approach 1 or 2 may work just as well.
 

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