Switching tanks and quarantining plants

Lily413

I have a 5 gallon and a 20 gallon. I have a betta and assassin snail in the 5 gallon and some shrimp and nerites in the 20 gallon. The 20 was supposed to end up with some fish like guppies or something but I've been having a lot of issues with both aquariums lately and decided not to get more fish. I want to move my betta and assassin snail into the 20 gallon with some shrimp and the nerites. I'll be putting some shrimp into the 5 gallon and most likely making that into an aquaponic system. My betta was bloated for a few days but he's finally recovering so now I'm focusing on how to set up the 20 gallon. I think the 20 gallon is cycled but I saw some ammonia for a few days when i added neon tetras which i ended up returning. The nitrites are now 0 and there is nitrates, i havent tested it in a couple days so i dont know ammonia and nitrates for sure.

My betta has a habit of hunting pond and bladder snails which are in the 20 gallon right now but will be moved to the 5 gallon. Since he already does this, im concerned he'll end up eating shrimp. If i add enough plants and hiding spots, would this end up being ok? It will be ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp. I would be adding a couple pond/bladder snails every couple of days for the assassin snail too. Would that snail eat the shrimp?

I will be getting a new filter for the 5 gallon and moving the current 5 gallon filter to the 20 gallon. That one is adjustable but the one currently in the 20 gallon has too strong of a flow so I won't be using it. How do I go about switching these without messing up either cycle? I haven't got my new filter for the 5 gallon yet but hopefully over the next few days I can go buy one.

I plan on making both aquariums more heavily planted and adding driftwood. How do I make sure driftwood is safe to add? I would be buying it from a fish store but I'm worried about chemicals or something coming off of it. For the plants, do I need to quarantine those before I add them and how do I go about that? I don't have an extra tank or lighting I can use for it. The most I could do would be put them in a bucket but I dont have a light I could set up with that. Im thinking about doing java moss to cover the bottom or something similar. I haven't really looked at other plants yet so I'm not sure what else I'll be adding.
 

Heron

You don't need to quarantine plants you can treat them to ensure they aren't carrying parasites, problem snails etc. I like to use a pottasium permanganate solution to treat new plants, just add enough pp to turn a bucket of dechlorinated water dark pink and soak the plants for about 15 mins. Then rinse thourghly again in dechlorinated water. It shouldn't turn the plants pink.
You can also use a mild solution of bleach but as I've never done this I can't say exactly how strong or for how long but someone else here may know how.
You only need a tiny amount of pottasium permanganate, I bought a 5g pot years ago and I've still lots left.
 
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Lily413

You don't need to quarantine plants you can treat them to ensure they aren't carrying parasites, problem snails etc. I like to use a pottasium permanganate solution to treat new plants, just add enough pp to turn a bucket of dechlorinated water dark pink and soak the plants for about 15 mins. Then rinse thourghly again in dechlorinated water. It shouldn't turn the plants pink.
You can also use a mild solution of bleach but as I've never done this I can't say exactly how strong or for how long but someone else here may know how.
You only need a tiny amount of pottasium permanganate, I bought a 5g pot years ago and I've still lots left.
Ok great. Where would I buy that? Would local pet stores carry it?
 
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dwc13

Search "potassium permanganate for sale" and you'll find online and b&m places that offer it for sale. In addition to use by aquarists to treat aquatic plants, it has other useful applications including regenerating iron filters (used to remove iron from wells/well water). Per Wikipedia, it's also used by film/tv industry to age props. Hmmm...I might have to try it on some of my wood structures & piers.

The link below was one of the hits using the above search. I have no experience with this vendor, nor is the link an endorsement. Just an FYI for your edification.
Potassium Permanganate | Chameleon Mineral or Condys Crystals (homesciencetools.com)

Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
UN1490.pdf (homesciencetools.com)
 
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Heron

Ok great. Where would I buy that? Would local pet stores carry it?
I bought mine at my local pharmacy, I believe it's used for treating fungus like athletes foot. It's also available on Amazon ( at least it is here in the UK )
 
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Heron

Search "potassium permanganate for sale" and you'll find online and b&m places that offer it for sale. In addition to use by aquarists to treat aquatic plants, it has other useful applications including regenerating iron filters (used to remove iron from wells/well water). Per Wikipedia, it's also used by film/tv industry to age props. Hmmm...I might have to try it on some of my wood structures & piers.

The link below was one of the hits using the above search. I have no experience with this vendor, nor is the link an endorsement. Just an FYI for your edification.
Potassium Permanganate | Chameleon Mineral or Condys Crystals (homesciencetools.com)

Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
UN1490.pdf (homesciencetools.com)
I have used it to stain wood, it's good for a red mahogany finish
 
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Lily413

Search "potassium permanganate for sale" and you'll find online and b&m places that offer it for sale. In addition to use by aquarists to treat aquatic plants, it has other useful applications including regenerating iron filters (used to remove iron from wells/well water). Per Wikipedia, it's also used by film/tv industry to age props. Hmmm...I might have to try it on some of my wood structures & piers.

The link below was one of the hits using the above search. I have no experience with this vendor, nor is the link an endorsement. Just an FYI for your edification.
Potassium Permanganate | Chameleon Mineral or Condys Crystals (homesciencetools.com)

Safety Data Sheet (SDS)
UN1490.pdf (homesciencetools.com)
I bought mine at my local pharmacy, I believe it's used for treating fungus like athletes foot. It's also available on Amazon ( at least it is here in the UK )
Awesome thank you! I will definitely look into where I can find that.

I just got my new filter but I'm not sure how to switch it over? The one currently on that tank is a different type so I can't take any filter media and put it in the new one.

I'm also still wondering how to make sure driftwood is safe. Are there any steps I need to take after buying it before adding it to my aquarium?
 
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dwc13

Lily413

Perhaps I missed it, but I didn't see where you identified which filters (name/model #/ type) are currently in use on your 2 tanks, as well as the same information for the new filter. When you purchase filters that have incompatible media, you have several options, including: (1) floating the existing cartridge/wheel in the new aquarium; (2) buying a filter media bag and placing old filter media inside, then placing the filled bag in the new aquarium; (3) placing old media in the filter basket of the new filter (where possible); and, (4) other. In an ideal situation, you would plan for the migration well in advance and buy filters that allow for easy filter media transfer. You could also start the new filter and give the beneficial bacteria time to develop & grow while the old filter continues in that same tank. Some keep a separate small sponge filter in their primary tank (along with the primary filter) so it is available when needed (e.g., for a quarantine tank, new aquarium). The search function on this site should provide you with additional information.

Whether your tanks have fully cycled and whether it is appropriate to move your "recovering" betta to a new home at this time are things you should carefully evaluate. You indicated you were having problems with both tanks -- if I was in that situation, I would make sure any issues with both aquariums have been satisfactorily addressed before proceeding with other changes such as moving fish/snails/shrimp, adding driftwood, etc. IMHO, trying to do too much in a short period of time can cause problems that are difficult to unravel.

FYI, adding driftwood obtained from a reputable vendor -- even after you have leached out tanins (if desired) through boiling/soaking -- can still potentially change the water's PH. Note that some fish/aquatic animals are more susceptible to changes in PH. There are numerous posts on this site on this particular topic (adding driftwood to an aquarium). Again, use the search function to find additional information.

Good luck.
 
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dwc13

I have used it to stain wood, it's good for a red mahogany finish

All of a sudden I'm having flashbacks of the color of the buildings in High Plains Drifter.
 
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Lily413

Lily413

Perhaps I missed it, but I didn't see where you identified which filters (name/model #/ type) are currently in use on your 2 tanks, as well as the same information for the new filter. When you purchase filters that have incompatible media, you have several options, including: (1) floating the existing cartridge/wheel in the new aquarium; (2) buying a filter media bag and placing old filter media inside, then placing the filled bag in the new aquarium; (3) placing old media in the filter basket of the new filter (where possible); and, (4) other. In an ideal situation, you would plan for the migration well in advance and buy filters that allow for easy filter media transfer. You could also start the new filter and give the beneficial bacteria time to develop & grow while the old filter continues in that same tank. Some keep a separate small sponge filter in their primary tank (along with the primary filter) so it is available when needed (e.g., for a quarantine tank, new aquarium). The search function on this site should provide you with additional information.

Whether your tanks have fully cycled and whether it is appropriate to move your "recovering" betta to a new home at this time are things you should carefully evaluate. You indicated you were having problems with both tanks -- if I was in that situation, I would make sure any issues with both aquariums have been satisfactorily addressed before proceeding with other changes such as moving fish/snails/shrimp, adding driftwood, etc. IMHO, trying to do too much in a short period of time can cause problems that are difficult to unravel.

FYI, adding driftwood obtained from a reputable vendor -- even after you have leached out tanins (if desired) through boiling/soaking -- can still potentially change the water's PH. Note that some fish/aquatic animals are more susceptible to changes in PH. There are numerous posts on this site on this particular topic (adding driftwood to an aquarium). Again, use the search function to find additional information.

Good luck.

Thanks for all that information! The old filter's brand is aqueon but i dont know the model or anything like that. It came with the tank when I bought it. The new filter is a fluval aquaclear for 5-20 gallons. The gph is 100. I set up the new filter so both are still running. I've been doing that for about a month. About how much longer should i wait?
The 20 gallon tank has a few shrimp and some pond/bladder snails. The 5 gallon tank has a betta, an assassin snail, and 2 nerites. I would assume the five gallon has a bigger bioload. The plan is to move the shrimp into the 5 gallon and put the betta and snails in the 20. Should I swap the filters when I do this since they are the same and the one in the 5 gallon is already able to support that bioload? The ph in the 20 gallon is lower than the 5 gallon. How do I go about switching everything around?
 
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dwc13

I like AquaClear HOB filters, which support removable media for biological filtration. Not sure of the capabilities of the 2 older filters you had before the recent purchase. I suspect the AquaClear 20 will probably end up being the better choice for your 20G tank because of the separate biological filter media. Are you able to keep the current filter on the 20G aquarium running on that tank along with the AquaClear 20? I'm assuming you have a filter on the 5G aquarium that can remain in place.

I don't know enough about snails to offer an opinion as to whether Assassins and Nerites (and any other snails) can successfully co-exist in the same tank. However, Assassin snails have likely earned their name for a reason. Others on this forum probably have had similar concerns.

A 5G tank (without the Betta) should be sufficient for red cherry shrimp. Ghost shrimp can grow considerably bigger and IMO they are better off in a larger tank (10G+). I kept a few Ghost shrimp in a well planted 45G tank. If you keep Ghost shrimp in the 20G with the Betta, make sure there are plenty of hiding places (e.g., plants, rocks, aquarium decorations, etc.).

I'm not a stickler for constantly testing water parameters once an aquarium is well established. Others might have a different perspective and test on a regular basis. That being said, before you make any major changes you should test the water to ensure both tanks are fully cycled and have key water characteristics (temperature, pH) that are substantially similar. Keep in mind pH of water in an aquarium can (and will) change over time; it's that sudden (dramatic) change that is more likely to cause issues.
 
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