Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Gilljay 01-31-2014 01:42 AM

Changing to a new tank
Hi everyone, please could you offer me some advice based on your experiences?
My husband (much to his regret) suggested we could do with a bigger tank :lol:
I jumped at the thought but then my practical head snapped into gear and I have been trying to work out the logistics of it all.

Ideally the new tank would sit in the space currently occupied by the current 180 litre Juwel Rio (I'd like a Juwel Vision 260) which is fully stocked with plants, fish and shrimp.
Would I be better simply housing the new tank in another location? That would be difficult as I only have space in a corner and would, I think, lose the panorama we both love. Any help and guidance would be wonderful :-D

Sylverclaws 01-31-2014 03:00 AM

Well, if you have room to temporarily make it a mess and set up the new tank where you want it with the smaller one still set up can actually cycle the new one faster by moving everything over.
What you do is you fill up the new tank half way(depending on the size of the tank more or less will work out unless the tank is like three times the size of your smaller one...if the new tank is more than double the size of your new one, it may be better to slowly change things over during the course of a month or so), with fresh, conditioned and primed water, and half with water from your current set-up(all of that if the new tank is exactly double), move the plants and fish over. Now while you do this, be sure you keep your filter insides wet and in a safe place. What you want is to get a bucket and put your tank water, fish, maybe a couple plants, and your filter in there, and once that is done you can move your substrate over there and re-plant the plants. Wait until it settles, remove some of the dirt if you can, and then let it settle for AT LEAST two or three hours, maybe a few more while keeping your current critters in a bucket with the filter going, they should be alright in there. Once everything is settled you can move your fish over, filter too(be careful as it has your beneficial bacteria to help keep your new tank from going into a full cycle, though I suggest you get prime and some protective chemicals...they don't do much, but they do a little, as it will likely go into a mini cycle at the very least...depends how much bigger the tank is...I moved a ten and twenty to a 55, moved everything over from them and averted a cycle. But that was only a 25 gallon difference, so about a halfy with the already established filters).

Yeah, it's a mess when you're moving things over versus a full new set-up, and it will likely be a bit messy LOOKING until it's fully settled again, but it's worth it if you have the time for a larger tank, your fish will surely be happy with more room....they usually are after they settle in. All in all, the brunt of the work shouldn't take more than an hour or so(again, depending on the size of the tank), it's the waiting and replanting everything that's the messy part, as well as waiting for everything to settle in for the next few days. Be sure you test your water daily and change out water and Prime as needed so you can avoid a large cycle if it tries one.

Gilljay 01-31-2014 05:12 AM

Thank you Sylverclaws, that is very helpful.
Sorry I didn't put the dimensions in gallons. The current tank is 40 UK or 48 US gallons and the new one will not be that much bigger at 58 UK or 69 US gallons.
I had thought to try those furniture slides under the cabinet of the new one (tested on our incredibly heavy sofa), put it alongside the old one and start afresh with substrate and gravel. Should I seed it with bacteria as well?
I could then transfer half the water from the old tank (about 24 US gallons) along with some plants etc. and use one of the old filters in place of a new one temporarily.
Do you think I could then start to transfer fish as my pump/heater etc. won't operate below a certain water level?
By carefully sliding the old tank aside (it's OK we have tiled floors) I can then put the new one in it's place and fill with the rest of the water.
Gosh - I know it will be worth it and 'messy' is my middle name but I like to think things through properly before rushing off to buy my new tank.

Sylverclaws 01-31-2014 07:48 AM

Well, if it's only a few gallons larger, that'd be about the equivalent of a small water change just changing them over. lol But still, keep the kids in a bucket with the filter until the substrate settles, whether you're going to use new or old. You don't want the fish to get the "Dust" under their scales as it can sometimes cause problems or even mess up their gills.

As for the filter? You know, if you haven't started setting this up yet, I would suggest you put a sponge in the current old filter(WITH it's current cartridge so the beneficial bacteria colonies can scoot over to that) for a week or more before you do anything with the new tank, and then take half the water out of the old tank and put it in the new, add the sponge to the new filter, fill the rest up with new water, and then let it do its thing, it may or may not have a mini-cycle. So if you can keep them together for now, it'd be better to do it this way, and if the new tank DOES have a mini cycle, your fish will be safe in the other already established tank. If you mess with one of the filters, there is going to be a cycle somewhere(you don't want to change those around too much, and without a beneficial bacteria colony, it will need to do a whole new cycle if you just put in new filters somewhere, even if you take the old media out of the old filter and add it to the new, unless you have an already colonized cartridge to keep in the old one that tank will cycle...see what I mean?), and you want the least amount of toxins near your fish as possible.

If you have the room, even if it's a tad cramped for a week or so, it shoudln't actually be too messy. lol Like I said, the worst is the waiting and getting things to settle.

Gilljay 01-31-2014 08:02 AM

:BIGgrin: Looks like I'm in for a jolly week or so.
We have the room to house the new tank alongisde the old one so that's no problem. It has an internal filter cartridge with the sponges etc. in layers - 2 fine, 1 coarse, ceramic, nitrax and carbon.
Although the dimensions in the new one will be different I will do as you suggest. Now I think about it you are sooo right - a 30% water change would be normal and this is no difference.
Fingers crossed it settles down quickly - now it's time to shop - what a girl does best (if at 62 I am still a girl!!)
Thanks again for all the advice.

Flint 01-31-2014 08:28 AM

With that little bit of a change, you would be safe switching everything right over. You'd only have to let the substrate settle if you use sand and just make sure you run the old tank's filter on the new tank for a few weeks to allow the bacteria to colonize in the new filter and on the new decor and such. (:

Gilljay 01-31-2014 09:14 AM

Thanks Flint - once I realised the small difference in tank size I have more confidence.
What would I do without you all :lol:

Sylverclaws 01-31-2014 09:24 AM

Considering you had the sense to worry and ask...I'm sure you would have figured it out without us. We're just glad we helped you do that sooner. :3

With your regular maintenance you'll be changing 15-20 gallons out of it weekly anyways. lol Or so, if I did that math right...yeah more like 10-15. ^__^

Flint 01-31-2014 09:25 AM

This hobby is full of worry warts! Nobody wants to hurt their fish is all, we all worry over nothing, don't worry!

THANK YOU for thinking ahead and asking questions, though. It's always better to know you're doing the right thing before you do it!

Gilljay 01-31-2014 09:54 AM

Internal or external filter
OK - while I am on a roll, can anyone advise me on the pros and cons between an external filter, pump etc. and an internal (as I have now).
Immediately it appears to me that I would be able to run an external filter with less than maximum water levels. Is that right? I like my internal filters in their nice neat housing but am willing to explore all the options :thankyou:

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