How To Best Upgrade Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Siggygym, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Hi everyone, as per the advice give on some members of this forum I've decided to upgrade my 24l tank to a 60l one. I have troy, a male betta and 6 neon tetras (the fin patrol as we call them!). Ok, so I have several questions so please bare with me. I want to make sure I'm doing everything right. Please bear in mind a few things I think you should know which may impact the way in doing things: I am struggling with nitrates as I have 40+ in my tap water, and I also have an explosion of diatoms which I'm struggling to keep under control.

    1. I have upgraded the filter. I've bought a fluval u2. The reason for it is that my current filter is what came with the standard kit and I don't believe is the most effective or adequate for my fish. So the question is, do I let the new filter do the nitrogen cycle with its current media? Or do I replace some of my matrix from the new bio max which is in the cartridge to help kick start the cycle? Could the diatoms contaminate the new tank and affect the cycle?

    2. Existing plants and decorations... I know I can clean the decorations but what shall I do with the plants? To be honest even though I've tried my best to wipe off the diatoms they are looking quite bad. Would they recover in the new tank? Would the diatoms spread over the new tank as well? Or shall I just get new plants?

    3. I'm using stability and Prime so will be using those to start up the new tank. How will I know the tank is cycled. According to stability I can add fish as long as I keep dosing for a week as per their start up instructions but I'm keen to get it right so would rather wait if that's best. Also I always have nitrates so how will I know tank is cycled? Any tips from anyone with same nitrate issue?

    4. Airstone or not? Is it advisable? I don't have one in the existing tank but I've been given an air pump with the new tank (2nd hand though) advisable or not?

    5. Transferring fish. When and how? Can I transfer them all in one go or do I need to add 1-2 fish at the time? I'm conscious tetras need to be in schools so worried they will be distressed.

    5. Algae eating stock- once I transfer my fish to the new tank and are settled I'd like to introduce some corys and/or nerite snails or shrimp to help to keep the diatoms at bay. Good idea? Bad? What are your thoughts?

    Thank you for your help! :)
  2. Esimm03Well Known MemberMember


    I'm only sure of the answers to 1 and 4:


    You could put some of the old filter media in there to help speed up the cycle or you could put it on with the new media and let it cycle naturally.


    I'd advise an air stone but if your filter output is making the surface of the water agitated then you should be ok (some people get air stones because of there looks).


  3. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Thanks Ethan

    Can anyone comment on any of the other questions? Thank you :)

    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2017
  4. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    So, diatoms can spread to your new tank from media and plants, but realistically your new tank will get them no matter what... they are common in new tanks, usually due to excess silicates. If your old tank has it, then your new tank will too... you can add a nerite snail to your new tank to help control them until they are finished running their course. Until then wipe off what you can and do a water change after to remove some of the free floating diatoms. You can also dip the plants in hydrogen peroxide to help kill what is there when you switch tanks.

    Filters- when you move the fish just move over both filters at the same time. I wouldn't play with the media just yet. You can add a few pieces of old bio media to the new one to help seed it, but in truth it will catch up on its own, and the old filter which is currently maintaining your current bioload will be there to prevent any spikes. Also, you can entirely brake down your old filter and add everything from within to the new, shouldn't experience more them a mini cycle.

    Stability is a bacteria additive, but you will still be running a fish in cycle. The stability will help speed it along, but numerous water changes will be needed without the old bio material.

    Nitrates- I hate them! Depending on the time of year mine get to 60 from my tap. Seachem matrix is a biomedia that after some time will help to lower nitrates to some extent.
    API makes nitrasorb that you can put in your filter to do the same, but I wouldn't add it until your tank is established as it can mess with your cycle some. It needs to be recharged often in a salt solution. I use this if my nitrates skyrocket.
    Alternatively, instant ocean nitrate remover I find more effective in the long run over the API. It's a liquid you add with water changes. Meant for saltwater but fine for freshwater as well. After about a month of using the API and the instant ocean I was able to remove the nitrasorb from my filters and my nitrates are around 30 in tank... kills me that I add more with water changes!
    You can also get RO/distilled water to use with water changes, cut it to 50 nitrate free and 50 tap. Gets expensive in larger tanks (I have a 75 and multiple 40s) but for your tank size it's a viable option. The only thing with doing this is you have to watch your kH (prevents ph from crashing) and you may have to remineralize the water...

    Go to the aquarium water section, there is a sticky from cindiL about nitrates and products for removal.

    Airstone is a matter of personal preference. Most hobs will provide enough oxygenation for your tank, but if you like the look of it go for it!

    Transferring fish- all depends on if you use your existing filter or media. If you use cycled media or add the other filter you can do all at once. If not I would do it slowly to reduce the stress on the fish during cycling.

    Hope this helps, think I got it all :)

  5. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Thank you Jocelyn, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply... very good valid points. Didn't think about adding both filters, good point! In terms of nitrates I do already 50/50 RO/tap water changes and nitrates spike up within a couple of days again. Does not affect PH, my tap water is very hard and alkaline, the lowest I've seen it so far is 8! To be honest I know part of the problem is over stocking which is why I'm upgrading so hopefully with that and adding fluval clean&clear or API nitra-Zorb will help once cycled. Fingers crossed!
  6. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Just be sure to monitor your kH as well...
    my water is very similar to yours, super hard (gH 18), pH 8, but amazingly my kH out of tap was only three!!!! Esp if using RO just keep an eye on your kH, don't want to finally get everything settled and have your pH crash (been there, wasn't pretty)
  7. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Ok I've decided to do a diary to show progress on cycle on new tank. I've decided not to use the existing plants and I have put 3 matrix stones from exiting filter into the new filter with the bio max to help kick start the process
    Day #1 - Tank set up, waiting for plants to arrive... tap water only with stability and Prime
    Day #2 - readings +24hrs - 2nd dose of stability- ph 8.2 ammonia 0.25 nitrite 0 nitrates 80 - I'm going to guess these readings are normal for the first day however I'm surprised to see the nitrates so high straight away
  8. PunkinWell Known MemberMember

    If you want, you can test your tap water for nitrates. 2 months ago I had none in my tap, and now I have 5ppm.
    Edit: I see you already do RO/tap mix, so you may have already tested for it.
  9. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Hi yes, is a problem I have... tap water has 40ppm nitrates so is a battle I'm trying to win for a long time. However I'm surprised they have gone up to 80ppm in just 24hrs and with no fish or plants...

    Day 4 - fish-less cycle adding daily dose of stability. I can see ammonia is starting to ramp up. Do I need to add a bit of fish flakes? I see some people use that during a fishless cycle...


    Day 5 - plants arrived!

    Can't wait for Troy and the Fin Patrol to move here, they're gonna love it! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  10. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Lift up the Val's a tad... you want the white at base showing...
    looks great!

    So for cycling you need a source of ammonia, can be pure ammonia, dr tims ammonium chloride, a piece of shrimp, or fish food. The liquids are easier to measure out the correcting dosing and usually a faster cycle, plants will eat up some ammonia as well.

    Do not add the old filter until you add fish, without fish "feeding" your cycle you beneficial bacteria can die off... always wait until fish are in tank to use seeded media (unless using another ammonia source)
  11. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Thanks Jocelyn

    About the Val's I think I was trying to make sure they didn't lift back up! I'll try and leave the white bit, thanks for the tip. First time I'm using these. I am struggling to keep the java moss stuck to the stone, I used a natural thread that I bought especially for aquascaping but i don't think this is the best way to do it, I'm still learning... I keep finding bits of moss floating around! Lol

    In terms of ammonia I'll put a bit of fish food in there, or I actually have frozen bloodworms that my fish didn't like... I could use those?
  12. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    At least you have sand... try getting a Val to stay in gravel!
    The moss unfortunately will do that :( you can also get a shower scrubbie and use that to net the moss (in the worst at tying!)
  13. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Day #7 - nitrite spiking up! I guess I'm cycling! :) added a few pellets to help raise the ammonia as recommended :)
    When shall I do a water change? Now or wait another week? 9081409bca330202d8002087de813562.jpg
  14. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Day #9- no longer adding stability. Just adding a little pinch of fish flakes to feed the ammonia. Readings ammonia 0.25 nitrite 2-5ppm nitrate 80ppm. What shall I do? Continue to feed ammonia? Do water change to try and bring down the nitrite and nitrate? I'm not sure where to go from here... thanks :)

    Ps- I've ordered pure ammonia as I've heard that's the better than adding fish flakes
  15. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Day #11- ammonia 0.25, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 80ppm. Have done a partial water change and added bio boost in the filter to try and bring down the nitrites and nitrates to measurable figures. Not sure if that's the right thing to do or not?
  16. Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, totally the right thing!
    Once your nitrites hit around five, do a 50% change to drop the levels back to around two. Too high and it can stall your cycle.
    Do you only have fish food for ammonia source? You need to keep feeding the ammonia. Make sure you are giving a generous pinch right after the water change.
  17. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Ah good point, yes forgot to do that...! I ordered some ammonia so I can control the dosage but not arrived yet. Will add some more flakes ;) thank you!
  18. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    Regarding nitrates.

    Do you have anywhere you could store a big bucket of tap water?

    If so, get a bucket of tap water, fill it full of elodea/water lettuce. A week later, test the nitrate, and use that to change your tank water. Refill it, and leave it for a week, then change tank water, repeat.

    The plant should absorb the nitrate, or some of it anyway, depends on how much plant you cram in.
  19. SiggygymValued MemberMember

    Day #15 - getting really weird readings. Put 4ppm ammonia 2 days ago (pure ammonia) and tested today to find these readings: ammonia 0.25, nitrites 5ppm and nitrates 5ppm which are the lowest I've ever seen them as they exist in my tap water(40ppm)! I'm really confused... has anyone experience this before? What does it mean? I hope I've not stalled the cycle! Shall I do a water change? Add more ammonia? Totally confused!!

    Interesting... I'm using RO water in my old tank 50/50 ratio. But didn't know I could lower nitrates by doing that... worth giving it a go and probably cheaper in the long run! Thanks for the tip! I'll see if I can find a big enough bucket. Do you treat the water with something? A part from water conditioner of course...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2017
  20. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    I don't treat as I use rain water.

    I would treat your water as normal. All the plant will do is suck up nitrAte.

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