10-11-2012, 08:29 AM
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With perhaps some rare exceptions, you should never add water from one tank to another. This is a best practice even with your own tanks. If/when you add new fish or plants to any tank, you potentially introduce disease organisms which could be a disaster for that tank - why risk other tanks you may have?
(an exception, for example, would be if you have an established tank with healthy stock and haven't added anything new in the last 6 months).
Nowadays relatively inexpensive bacteria in a bottle products have come of age. Products such as Tetra SafeStart, Seachem Stability, API QuickStart, Dr. Tim's One and Only, Aquabella. These products will 'seed' a new tank with beneficial biology to jump start the necessary colonies.
Some have suggested that these products are snake oil and don't work. Ten years ago that may have been true and even today, bad shipping and/or bad storage can create problems. Others claim that aerobic bacteria can't survive in a sealed container, not realizing that bacteria is very resilient and achieves a stasis like dormancy when packaged.
Note: the same rule of not transferring water holds true when introducing new fish. Float the bag to equalize the temperature and/or empty the bag into a smaller container inside a larger container. Create a drip line siphon using airline tubing to acclimate the fish to your tanks water chemistry. The drip should be slow and can be simply controlled with a single knot in the tube (tightened to reduce the drip). The two containers allows the container with the fish to overflow without making a mess. Once the fish are acclimated, you net them and transfer them to your tank (minimum water exchange). Toss ALL of the water away from the containers and top off the tank if necessary with fresh, treated water.
For plants, always rinse well under a faucet before adding to a tank.
These precautions better ensure that stock is slowly acclimated to your water conditions as well as better protects your system from anything that may have come along in the transfer water.