how to transfer old contents into new tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-23-2011, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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how to transfer old contents into new tank

I have a 30 gallon tank right now and I am planning on getting either a 55 or 65 gallon tank. Their is only one problem I want the new tank were the old tank is. I have a yellow tang clown fish, 6lined wrasses and a sunrise dottyback. What I am asking how should I transfer everything to new tank? I also have a 10 gallon hodpital tank I was thinking of putting everthing in until I set up everything good idea or bad idea?
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-23-2011, 02:50 PM
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10 gallon tank for that many of those species of fish... bad idea. Get yourself some buckets, like the empty salt buckets. Plan plenty of time so that you can start and continue to work straight through until the fish are in the new tank.
Save all of the tank water from the 30 gallon, put it into the buckets. Live rock, into buckets of tank water. Fish, into the buckets of water with a few pieces of the rock to offer them shelter. Cover the buckets with the fish, not a tight seal, but enough to prevent jumping and to keep it dark.

Once fish, rock, water are out of the 30 gal then its time to work on moving the tank. If it is on a stand that you can slide without removing the wet sand from the tank, that is the easiest way to do it. Slide it out of the way enough to get the new tank in, then begin scooping the sand into the new (rinsed) tank. Use small amounts of the water from the bucket to rinse when needed and add it all to the new tank, along with live rock. If you can place the base pieces of rock in before filling with sand, that will help to anchor them and avoid rocks that can tumble later if animals dig out the sand around them.

Once rock and sand are in the new tank begin adding the water from the buckets. As soon as enough water is in the tank to cover the heater, transfer that to the new tank. Once the water level is high enough to allow the fish to swim in the tank, add the fish, one at a time, making sure to acclimate for temp if need be.

At this point, let everything settle while you go about setting up the filtration on the new tank. Add small amounts of clean water to top off the tank, 5 gallons at a time at intervals so it serves more as a water change for the fish and will help to lessen the stress. When tank is fill, start filtration (use all filter media from old tank in new filter(s) if possible) and let the tank be for 12 - 24 hrs. The cloudiness will clear from the water on its own during that time. Any clean up from debris and etc. should wait at least 48 hrs and work like small regular maintenance clean up.

As long as you can avoid drastic changes in water chemistry, salinity, temp, and as much stress as possible, the fish should make the transition just fine. If you expect all of this to take more than 30 minutes to complete, drop an air stone into the bucket with the fish until they are able to go into the new tank. Watch water temp in the bucket containing the fish, you may need to move heater to the bucket to maintain temp, depending on your room temp and how quickly you work.

If you have corals or other inverts in the 30 gallon, be sure those go into a bucket of their own, away from the fish, to help avoid damage to the inverts.

I hope this helps. If you have more questions, please ask before you begin. Working quickly is the key to making the transition easy for the animals. Have everything right there and ready to go to avoid wasting time chasing around for stuff once you begin. If adding more/new substrate be sure to use old as well as new, and add it at the same time you transfer the old to the new tank.

Best of luck to you!

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-27-2011, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Ok their is a change of plan I am proably moving out of my house so I need to set up the new tank about 20 mins away. I can keep the old tank running but how can I get the sand out and my biggest live rocks are on the bottom how would this work while keeping the fish in the old tank?
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post #4 of 4 Old 03-29-2011, 07:54 PM
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Are you planning to do this all in one day or over the course of a few days? That will make all the difference.

If done in 1 day it can be done as described above. If done over a number of days then you will need to watch water chemistry closely because there won't be any way to move all (or almost all) of the water from the old tank to the new tank to get the new one started. This means the new tank will need to cycle.

With the new tank being larger than the old, you will also need to accommodate more live rock (and sand) into the new tank. You then have the option of starting the new tank with the new live rock, cycling it, and then moving fish/animals... or you have the option of moving it all right away, adding new rock & sand at same time, and daily small (5 - 10%) water changes to control rapid fluctuations during cycling. Test it daily to keep things as stable as possible, which will help the fish to avoid as much stress as possible from the fluctuations in water chemistry.

There are a number of options depending on what you can best accommodate. If you need more detailed help as you know your schedule and how much time you have to do the move, let me know and I will coach you as much as I can.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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