02-28-2013, 10:55 AM
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The important question as one member alluded to is the time it may take for the filter/media/gravel placed in the existing tank to become colonized with sufficient bacteria to be useful in the new tank. I've never bothered with this, so I can't offer any suggestion to answer this question. But I think there are better methods.
Another crucial point is that an aquarist should never transfer anything from another aquarists' tank containing fish. Using media from a store is even worse. And there are many aquarists who will not transfer from one of their own tanks to another. In all of these, the issue are pathogens that will get moved across tanks. I have moved disease from one tank to another without realizing it, though I still move plants, wood, sometimes fish from one tank to another. But I would never do this from anyone else's tank, and never from a store without quarantining. If you believe in using a QT for new fish, you should apply the same principle here; they are two of the same thing.
With the proven bacterial supplements on the market today, there is no reason to be taking such risks. Dr. Tim's One and Only, Tetra's SafeStart, and Seachem's Stability are three I would use. These are 100% live bacteria and they do quicken the establishment of nitrifying bacteria.
Of course, the best method of all is live plants, and floating plants work best. I have set up dozens of new tanks with fish in the tank the first day, relying on plants, and never had issues.