Looking to upgrade my aquarium
Hello. I haven't been on this site for quite a while, in fact since I bought my aquarium 2 years ago.
I have a ten gallons right now, and have had the same neon tetras since I got it. I have a penguin 100 filter. My nitrite is zero, nitrate looking good, doing water changes regularly.
I'm looking to upgrade to a 40 or 50 gallons tank. How should I do this? I'm not sure what filter has to be used, but I imagine I will have to put it inside my old tank for a while to let bacterias build up on it? How long? And once it's done i will have to transfer all my water and (how's it called? Gravel? ) inside the new one. Should I use the stock filter if it comes with the aquarium? I imagine that I will need to transfer my fishes to the new tank and let all of this sit for a week or two to stabilize everything before purchasing new fishi. I'm also thinking of installing more powerful light fixtures to experiement with plants, since the plants I have have never looked too good. I imagine it's because of the lack of light. Oh by the way, to grow plants, am I better off with rock gravel or sand or.... ?
Also, I would like to get some kind of fancier fish. I mean it's kind of a waste to have a 40 gallon tank just to house tetras...
So, yes, if someone could enlighten me on all of this I would be very greateful.
Sorry for all the questions I realised there are a lot.
Set up your new tank in the location you want it. Add your sand or gravel, whatever you decide. Personally I like sand. Install the new filter and heater but do not plug in the heater yet. Fill the tank with fresh water and add dechlorinator and plug in the filter. Allow about 10 minutes or so and then plug in the heater. Once the tank is up to temp take a couple handfuls of your old tanks gravel and put it in a nylon stocking and hang it by the intake of the filter in the new tank. Also move over your 10 gallons filter. Move your fish over making sure to acclimate them like you would a new fish. Test your water daily to watch for any ammonia or nitrite spikes. Do water changes if there are any spikes. Wait about 3-4 weeks before adding any new fish. Good luck!
I too would suggest a 55g and by all means, plan on plants. I also suggest sand instead of gravel as with or w/o plants it's much easier to maintain (uneaten food and detritus gets down into gravel and unless gravel siphoned a lot, creates issues - with sand, it remains on top)....and sand is fine with rooted plants (but don't also overlook floating plants as these succeed with almost any lights - but suggest you get 6500k bulbs).
For a 55g you can either go with a larger HOB or a canister - pro's and cons on either. I'm not a fan of cartridge filter HOB's, but like the AquaClear design that allows us to control media type and amount. For canisters, Eheim, Rena and Fluval are the top contenders. You might save a few dollars on other models, but buyer beware - "cheap tools aren't good and good tools aren't cheap".
You don't need to run the new filter in the old tank and never move old tank water to a new tank. Assuming your existing tank is healthy, you can put old filter media in the new filter and/or put old substrate in a bag and suspend in the new tank for awhile. Don't be afraid to transfer the fish after the new tank is up and running for a day or two, temp is correct and things look good. Just be sure to use drip acclimation.
For drip acclimation, I like to have two buckets - a smaller bucket inside a larger one (so if the smaller bucket overflows, it's trapped in the larger one). Some old tank water then fish go in the smaller bucket. An air line tube is used to siphon new tank water into the fish bucket. Use either a valve or a knot in the tube to control the flow. Set the drip to more like a slow flow than a drip and let it run for 15-30 minutes or so - even if the small bucket overflows. When your convinced the fish have seen enough new water, they can be netted and transferred to the new tank (I say netted rather than dumped because I use this method for new fish to minimize fish store water getting into my system.
Okay, I'd let the new system stabilize for a couple of weeks before adding new fish and when you do add new fish, just a few at a time to let the beneficial bacteria colony increase to handle the additional bio-load (many folks add too many fish too quickly and have problems).
Since you have neons, you might get more so you have 12 or more. But neons are a small fish and although a large school of neons is really cool, you will need to select other community fish that do not see them as FOOD. Look in the 'Tropical Fish Profiles' for compatible fish.
Good luck! Welcome (back?) to TFK! and keep us posted.
Thank you for the detailed answers.
I am somewhat worried about canister filters. Are they easy to set up? How do they work? I could look it up on other websites, but maybe you could make me a quick rundown. I've had the same filter cartridge on my penguin for a year and a half, as people say you should not change them. But it's at a point where water is starting to not flow correctly. I shake it off but that does not unclog it anymore. For future reference, can i buy a new cartridge and just let it sit inside the tank for a week or two to build up bacteria and use it? would that work?
So about canister filters, they have internal removeable filters correct? Do those need to be changed or I have to keep using the same one?
Does sand get syphoned up the tube with water changes?
So basically you are saying that if I use a canister filter, to stabilize the bacterial colony I will have to put my old HOB in the tank as well for a week or two, and my old substrate in nets. alright.
Last thing is that I've had snails since the beginning. There is no way to prevent them from migrating to the new tank, right? I would have to buy the, how's it called, the black and red snake, or assassin snails. I'm not sure where I would actually find them I've never seen them in pet shops.
Who would have known simple water is so complicated to care for. I'd love to have a salted aquarium when I get the budget but I still have a lot to learn! My girlfriend would die if I could get her her much wanted clown fish.
AD makes good points. I'll add a bit.You can do the gravel in a pantyhose trick, can't hurt, but it's not needed if you go with the plants.
If you are already thinking of live plants, don't wait, go ahead and setup the new tank (yes, bigger the better, more stable water conditions are easier), add the substrate (sand is very popular and works well, many bottom feeders prefer sand as it is easier on their barbels) and plant the heck out of it.
Lighting, that would be the first upgrade as you can easily start out with the stock filter and change it later but your plants will need adequate lighting. You could consider LED, Marineland make a decent fixture (doublebright, not single bright and not reef capable) and I would suggest that you match the fixture length to the tank... a 24"-36" really should only be on a 24" tank the 36"-48" really should be on a 36" tank. I have a 24" on a 30" tank and I have a darker side, which is fine, I plant the really low light crypts and java fern over there, but I should have gone with a 36" tank and a 36" - 48" fixture. They have adjustable slide mounts, handy.
Once you get water, sand and plants in place (lots of plants are best, as many as one plant per gallon... they are usually sold in bunches so split them up and count them) you can add fish in a day or two. Just don't overdo it too quickly. I added 12 1" barbs and ended up with a short nitrite spike a couple of weeks later in a 37 gallon. It will cycle, just not as drastic and sometimes not even noticeable. I probably should have done 6 at a time.
Do be sure to have all your water parameters, GH and pH mainly, to fit your fish to, you don't want to get into a softwater fish if you have hard water. The plants like hard water so that is not much of a problem. Read the profiles up top to figure out what fish will work and ask questions, lots of people here like helping people out with even minor little queries.
Sand is heavy enough that it doesn't get sucked up while siphoning, but you don't stir it up like you do gravel. The crap just sits on top so you swish the vac around over the sand a bit to stir up the crap then suck up the particulates.
With a canister, the water does not "bypass" the filtration the same as in a HOB so you really just watch the flow. If it gets slow and reduced, you can (with some units, mine is one) unplug it, disconnect the manifold from the canister (it seals so the water does not flow or make a mess) take it to the sink and just squeeze out and rinse the various media. Put it back together, plug the manifold back in and be sure it is in properly, them plug it back into power. Might need to do this once a month... depends on your setup. 10 minutes once you get the hang of it, 15 if you really want it clean.
Oh, I use well water so I don't need to worry about chlorine killing the bacteria, you should do the rinsing in old tank water if you are on city supply.
Again, if you go with plants, and lots of them, don't worry so much about the bacteria, they will build up as needed. Keeping the old filter on does not propagate the bacteria in the new tank, it only treats the water that flows through it so it acts as an initial buffer, if you are concerned about cycling, it can't hurt but is unnecessary with the plants.
Snails, unless you loath them, don't worry about them. The less stuff you transfer from one tank to the other, the less likely they will re-appear. Clean the plants and any decor well and you might be OK. I have trumpet snails, pond snails and tiger snails. The first two reproduce the last will not. We have not seen many of either as we don't overfeed, that is the largest factor in having a snail population explosion.... lots of food floating around = lots of snails to eat the over abundance of food. We can count three pond snails even though we have seen many eggs... the fish love the eggs.:-D Trumpets are nocturnal and help dig up the sand and the tigers just clean house like crazy.
Yah, clownfish... I know. My wife wanted a coral....:roll:
Canisters have multiple baskets for media.
As to your filter and cartridge, it's important in a new tank to treat the cartidge carefully and rinse and reuse. However, after a couple of months, beneficial bacteria has also developed in the substrate* and hardscape...so you could change a cartridge without incident.
*Often, BB in the substrate far exceeds any in the filter.
Also, I neglected to mention that now-a-days, although there continues to be controversy and debate from nay sayers, bacteria supplements in a bottle have come of age, making setting up a new system easier than ever. Using one seeds the new system with beneficial bacteria.
Sand doesn't get sucked up during siphoning because you hover the tube high enough to collect detritus, but not sand.
I don't worry about snails as they are an asset in tank housekeeping.
Wow it's nice to see how active this community is.
I plan on purchasing the aquarium in the few couple weeks, and take all your advices into consideration. I will go with a canister filter, if just to experiment with it.
Out of curiosity, you mentioned changing the filter is not that big of a deal because the beneficial bacteria is everywhere once it's established (which really surprises me). But is that also true for small aquariums such as my 10 gallons tank?
Thanks again for all the help. I will keep you updated once everything is set.
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