Changing tanks, advice please on bacteria transfer - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-30-2011, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Changing tanks, advice please on bacteria transfer

My 11 year old daughter keeps guppies and neon tetras, she wnats to move them from their rectangular tank to a biorb, would I be correct doing this:

Putting the new biorb ornaments and ceramic media in the old tank while it's all still running, to colonise with bacteria and placing the filter circle in the back of the tank to get some bacterial growth on it, then transfering 70% of the old water into the biorb and topping up with fresh conditioned water? How long should it take for the bacteria to grow on the new items?

Many thanks for your help
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-30-2011, 04:08 PM
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Is there any way to put the media from the old tank into the new one when it's set up?

That would likely suffice, if so.

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post #3 of 6 Old 03-30-2011, 05:58 PM
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I agree. Nitrifying bacteria only live in an aquarium at the level required to handle the ammonia and nitrite. If either increases, the bacteria multiply accordingly; if they decrease, the bacteria die off. Without "food" the bacteria cannot live beyond a few hours.

So putting decor and a filter on an existing tank is unlikely to encourage much of a bacteria colony unless the tank is itself over the limit with excess ammonia and nitrite. Moving objects (wood, rock, decor, filter media, substrate) from an established tank--meaning one that has been running quite a while, not just a few weeks--to the new tank works better. Of course, there has to be a fish or two in the new tank, or again the lack of ammonia.nitrite will cause the transferred bacteria to die off.

Moving the water is not recommended. It contains ammonia and nitrite--and since the bacteria colony in the new tank is small, you don't want to overwhelm it. It also contains liquid waste, pheromones, possibly pathogens, etc. Provided the parameters between tanks is very close (meaning pH, hardness and temperature), "new" water is much better for the fish.

Another thing that will help is using a bacterial supplement. These "seed" the new tank with nitrifying bacteria in exactly the same way as transferring live bacteria. Provided you get one that is 100% live bacteria. I know of two, Tetra's SafeStart and Seachem's Stability. I have used the latter myself. These do not miraculously "cycle" a tank as some think, they merely introduce a colony of live bacteria to get things started faster. Again, you need a source of ammonia, like a fish or two, or these bacteria will also die off.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 03-30-2011 at 06:01 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-31-2011, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that, am going to put the lava rock pebble things it comes with in my old tank asthese are what you have to use for the bacteria colony in a biorb, along with the central big ornament thingy, leave it a week then add fish, new water to the new tank, use prime and seachem stability and hopefully we'll be safely up and running
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-31-2011, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Pufferfish22 View Post
Thanks for that, am going to put the lava rock pebble things it comes with in my old tank asthese are what you have to use for the bacteria colony in a biorb, along with the central big ornament thingy, leave it a week then add fish, new water to the new tank, use prime and seachem stability and hopefully we'll be safely up and running
If you transfer over hard objects containing bacteria, and leave them for a week without fish, the bacteria will all be dead. They die within several hours if there is no continual source of ammonia, as from a couple fish. I would put a fish or two in the new tank when you move the items. Or better yet, do it all at once; move the items, add the supplement, and a few fish.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-31-2011, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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If you transfer over hard objects containing bacteria, and leave them for a week without fish, the bacteria will all be dead. They die within several hours if there is no continual source of ammonia, as from a couple fish. I would put a fish or two in the new tank when you move the items. Or better yet, do it all at once; move the items, add the supplement, and a few fish.
I'll do it all at once, everything together after soaking everything in the old tank with the fish in for a week
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