Aquarium Setup Change

  1. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Hi everyone :) I would like to move my tank to another room, and change my tank's setup without harming my fish and - accordingly - have some questions about it. I am going to put inside my tank rocks (I am replacing my current decor with rocks), add more plants, and add driftwood or bogwood to it. My current gravel wouldn't really look nice with all these new additions, therefore I'd like to change my gravel into one that plays nicely with the entire setup. My question is: what to do with all my fish in the meantime? My tank is 30 gallons in volume, but I also have a 10 gallon quarantine tank. I have 12 neons, 2 angelfish, and 1 algae eater (soon would like to add 1 or 2 more angelfish). The water in the quarantine tank is filtered, aerated, cycled and safe - only the 10 gallon volume would be the problem for all of my fish together. So, when I change my 30 gallon tank's setup, I will take the water out of it and put it into buckets, and then put it back into the 30 gallon tank, after the change of setup is complete. the same goes for the fish - I will put them in my quarantine tank, then back to the 30 gallon tank with the same water they had before. I will do this so that I don't have to cycle the tank again, and so that my fish don't have to stay for too long in a small 10 gallon quarantine tank. It is safe to do, right? That is, putting the water into the buckets and then back into the tank, is safe, right? Or should I put new water into the newly set-up tank, and cycle it anew? As for the filter in the 30 gallon tank, I'd keep it the way it is - with all the beneficial bacteria in it. Can anyone tell me if all this is OK to perform? And - if anyone knows - what kinds of rocks are best for neons and angelfish? Thanks for any replies :)
  2. Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    The easiest way to do it is to put your fish in a bucket, drain and empty your tank, and then put it all back together adding the fish last. Saving the water won't help much except you should probably use it in the bucket you hold your fish in. The bacteria will be in your filter, in your gravel, and on your tank walls and decorations. If you can continue to run your filter in the bucket your fish are in, you will be able to save most of the bacteria. You may have a small mini cycle, but it won't be anything like having to do daily water changes, so don't worry about that. Just remove your fish and filter to a bucket, move your tank and change out the decor in your tank, and put your fish back in. Monitor your water everyday for about a week, and everything should be back to normal. ;)

  3. Susie Initiate Member

    Good luck with the change! I changed the gravel in my tank and I'm happy with it. Now I'd like to change it the other tank!

  4. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Thank you Gunnie and Susie :) I actually want to remove the old decor (which isn't rocks) for new rocks, and old gravel for new one. That means that there will not be any bacteria in the newly bought rocks and gravel. And that is one of my concerns. Therefore, except for the walls and the filter, there won't be bacteria enywhere else. Unless I put back in the tank the entire 30 gallons of old water. I know that if I put in new water and dechlorinate it, it would probably be OK with the filter which already has bacteria - but somehow I would feel safer if I put back in their old water, which they are used to. That would cause less stress I suppose. As for the filter, I will certainly keep it running, and indeed it may be better to put the fish in the bucket with the water from the 30 gallon tank. Any idea which rocks are best for angels and neons?

  5. 0morrokh Fishlore VIP Member

    It probably would be good to save the tank water, but make sure the buckets are clean. About the gravel, save some of the old stuff and put a layer on the bottom. Then put the new gravel on the top. Make sure you can't see the old gravel around the sides--make it very thin around the edges. That way you will save some of the bacteria but will just see the new gravel. Make sure not to mix it when siphoning, though. About the rocks, just make sure it won't harden the water. If you're not sure, test it by pouring some vinegar on a piece. Look closely, and if the rock fizzes, it will harden the water and you don't want to use it. However, Neons and Angels come from the Amazon, where it is densely planted, not rocky. A rock or two can add a nice touch, but if you want to go for a natural look you might want to reconsider adding a lot of rocks. Wood is great, though, and will even lower the pH a bit which tetras and angels like. If you can get it, the book Aquarium Designs, Inspired by Nature by Peter Hiscock is an excellent book that explains how to create natural-looking aquariums from places all over the world, including two from the Amazon. What I would do, when moving your tank... If the water in your 10-gal is exactly the same as your main tank, transfer your fish, filter, and whatever decorations you're keeping into that tank. Otherwise, use Gunnie's bucket idea, but make sure the fish don't get chilled if they're sitting in there for a while! Then, take out aerators and heaters and decorations you're getting rid of. Scoop out the gravel into a bucket, and siphon the tank water into that bucket and others if needed (I wouldn't fill them too full since water's heavy!). Move the now-empty tank to where you want it. Scoop some old gravel back into the tank, and refill it. Redecorate the tank. Transfer the equipment back into the tank, and make sure everything is working. It might be necessary to wait overnight for the water to heat up again. However, this won't be possible if the fish are in buckets. (You will have to choose between the risk of chilling [the bucket] or the risk of shock from a slight water chemistry change [the tank]. However, I would personally feel better if the fish were in a heated tank). If you are leaving it for any length of time, drop a few flakes into the filter to make sure the bacteria are getting plenty of food. Also, cut down on food for the fish before, and don't feed during, the move, to avoid ammonia buildup (Even if you use the 10-gal tank, the bacteria aren't used to that many fish!). Once everything is set-up and running, transfer the fish in small containers of tank water to the tank. Test the water every day in case it does a mini-cycle, and do water changes when necessary. Wow, this is a long post! I hope this helps, and good luck!
  6. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    WOW 0morrokh! Thanks for such a detailed post! That is why I love this forum :) People really do care here! Thanks! I will definitely look for this book. As for the rocks, if I get any - I will inquire all I can about the particular kinds that I get. If I can't find any rocks that won't harden the water, then I'll stick with wood alone, and perhaps some of my old decor in this case. I'll just add more wood instead of less wood and rocks. And as for the buckets, I have 5 or 6 of them, each capable of holding around 5 gallons of water. They're all clean. If I use my 10 gallon tank, I'll add to it the water from the 30 gallon tank - to feel safer when keeping my fish in there. I'm not moving and re-decoprating my tank now, but will do it in the near future. That is why I inquired about all this in advance. Thanks again to all who replied to my post :)

    P.S. Cool trick with the vinegar! Didn't know about it. Where did you learn it?
  7. Isabella Fishlore VIP Member

    Hi 0morrokh. I've lately been to a river (Delaware River, Upstate New York) and I've found nice pieces of wood there. Maybe I'll disinfect this wood and use it. I also found nice pebbles and rocks (in the river). Do you think rocks and pebbles from the river could be safe? Do I need to disinfect them too? Or they, too, will make the pH rise? Do I need to test them with vinegar too?
  8. 0morrokh Fishlore VIP Member

    I wouldn't take tank decorations out of the wild myself, because of the risk of it harboring germs. Test and disinfect any rocks you use. Wow, I didn't realise myself how long that post was--talking runs in the family ;)