Transfer Fish Safely From one tank to another

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by nicole4434, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. nicole4434Well Known MemberMember

    So my plan is tomorrow im getting my tank stand for the 46 gallon tank, and I want to completely shut down the 20 gallon tank, its well planted and belongs to 5 Pea Puffers, my thought is to get a new heater tomorrow (as the one I have isn't big enough in wattage), more sand as I only have enough for the 20 gallon tank, the filter is good for 60 gallons and is fully cycled for the puffers, I know that I have to keep the puffers in water even when transferring, but how do I move everything in the 20 gallon to the 46 gallon safely as they are staying In the location that the 20 gallon is in so it must be shut down before I can set the 46 gallon tank up.

    The 20 gallon has:
    5 Pea Puffers (they have been together since the beginning of may) they are 1 male and 4 females
    3 Otto's
    Cherry Shrimp

    Java fern
    Java moss
    some anubias

    Can I transfer (keeping puffers in water) to an ice cream bucket, put ottos in a separate bucket, gather what shrimp I can get- of course all plants and caves have to be out first so that I can see what I need to catch, then drain the water into my fish tub (10 gallon bucket), then remove the tank from area, set up the 46 gallon, place newly rinsed sand in tank, and add old sand in by sccoping it out of the 20 gallon, using a bucket put old water back in tank, plant the plants, check the temp of the water, dose the tank for the entire amount then use my python to fill the tank back up, and then add fish back in (puffers go in last, so shrimp can hide if need be)

    Does that sound like a viable option or does anyone else have a suggestion

  2. DTurnerValued MemberMember

    Not 100% on a suggestion here, but even though you are using pre-established sand and filter media I would think you would want to have the 46G tank set up and tested that it is establsihed prior to adding the livestock, where you are essentially doubling the size you may have a slight cycle which wouldn't be good for the fish.

    Not sure if this helps, i'll be curious what some others say.

    As far as placing the inhabitants in the smaller buckets for a temporary buckets this should be just fine.

  3. nicole4434Well Known MemberMember

    Since for a tank to be established the filter needs to be established, the only thing that's recommended for having a tank set up a few days is to establish that all equipment is working and to get the temperature equalized, setting up a tank and having it sit there does nothing else, since the good bacteria lives mostly in the filter (with some in the plants and decorations and substrates) but I cant shut the 20 gallon down and wait to see if the heater works well on the 46gallon tank, and I cant set the 46 gallon tank up to get the temp equalized, without shutting the 20 down. I know that when I moved everything from the 46 gallon tank to the 75 I had no issues, as the filter that was being used was used to the fishload and I wasn't adding anymore fish, im just wondering if theres a better way to move puffers as they shouldn't be out of water at all, so I know I will have to net them and transfer them into a container while still in the water in the tank.

  4. alirayFishlore VIPMember

    Why can't you turn off the plugs and drain off some of the water into a good sized bucket, then put in your puffers., Next drain some more into a couple of more container one of your ottos and one for your shrimp. Put the filter in with which ever bucket is big enough just to keep it wet while you take down one tank and set up the new one. Your filter is already working for the biolaod of your present stock so the bigger tank should not make a difference. Set up the new one, check the bucket temps and match the new water to the current temp in the buckets you could even run a heater in the bucket with the fish if needed. The new one should be good to go when everything is moved over, and plugged in, and the fish are in. Alison
  5. ricmccWell Known MemberMember

    If I read you correctly, your basic problem is that you wish the new tank to occupy the old tank's space. I have moved 20g tanks short distances before, after draining all but a couple of inches of water, and all decor, and substrate causing damage to neither tank nor fish. Having help is useful:).
    Once the 20 is moved, say to the floor immediately in front of where the new tank will be placed, Immediately refill the 20 and treat with prime or whatever you use, obviously. You can get within a few degrees of correct water temp. just by touch, although an infrared thermometer gun would be handy. Then place and fill your new tank; you can add the old tank's substrate later without problem. It should then be easy to transfer first the equipment, substrate and decor and then the fish, from your old to your new tank.
    I know that it sort of requires a leap of faith to move a tank with an inch or two of water, but I really have never had a problem doing so. A couple of minutes in 1-2" of water will not harm your fish. Just be quick about partially refilling the 20 after moving it. All the best, rick
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  6. delta5Well Known MemberMember

    I'd like to agree with ricmcc; however, i'm assuming you can't safely move an odd sized object, a 20g tank, plus 15+ pounds of whatever is still inside the tank.

    So I would, if I were you, rinse the new sand and have everything prepped before removing anything from your current tank.

    Pull the sand out first and evenly distro it into each bucket you plan to hold your fish in. Leaving at least 4" to fill with water from the tank. Or you could bag the fish.

    Drain the remaining water into a bucket, and repeat if you can. Then if there is still water in the tank drain it out your window or whatever. (The reason I reuse water is it's water the fish are use to and its one less change they'll experience during the move.)

    Take your cycled bags, whatever of filter media and put them in the bucket with only water from your old tank.

    Once new tank is in position add the new sand, then the water you kept, then treated water to fill a few inches below the top brace. Install all your equipment and make sure the new water's temp is close to what the fish are in. (Do not start your filter yet)

    Add your fish/inverts, then the sand from their bucket. Add the plants last to minimize root damage. You should be ready to fire up your filter and add the media back into it.
  7. nicole4434Well Known MemberMember

    My thoughts are to:

    Step 1: Rinse new sand and place in 46 gallon tank.
    Step 2: Remove plants, and caves, driftwood from 20 gallon, making it easier to see and catch fish.
    Step 3: Catch Fish- Shrimp first as these will take the longest and Ottos secondif I can and place in container, Puffers will be the last fish as they require a little more care in removing from the tank.
    Step 4: Shut off Bubbler, Heater and Filter (Move filter sponges into container with otto's to keep wet
    Step 5: Drain the water from the tank into my 2 10 gallon buckets (this way only about 50% of the water will be new water), with this done the tank is ready to be moved out of way.
    Step 6: Put new stand in place and place 46 gallon tank on it (the new sand will already be in it)
    Step 7: Place old Sand in the tank and then Place old tank water in the 46 gallon tank
    Step 8: Set up the plants and caves, Heater, Bubbler, Filter
    Step 9: Treat the entire tank with Prime for 46 gallons, test water temperature in tank, as well as were the fish are, and the water coming out of the tap, and use python to fill back up
    Step 10: Turn Heater, Bubbler, and filter on
    Hopefully by doing it this way fish wont be out of the tank for very long and with summer here my ambient room temp is 27-28 degrees during the day so there containers shouldn't get cool
    Step 11: Release the Hounds (lol), Shrimp first, then the Otto's and then the Puffers
    I know that even though it will be warm in the house and their water shouldn't chill it will be perative that the tap water is as close to 27 degrees as possible, and like I said hopefully by leaving the filter and heater alone until just before draining the tank will speed up the process and hopefully the fish will be in their new home quickly.

    Only 4 plants need to be replanted the rest are Java Fern, Lacy Java Fern, Extra Large Java Fern (over 18 inches tall and 9 inches wide, and way overgrown Java Moss

    The transfer from the 46-75 took me just over an hour, but that was all buckets for filling I didn't have the python then.
  8. DTurnerValued MemberMember

    Sounds like you have a good plan in place. I would just think that the timeliness of the move is the most important part. So having everything set up and ready for the move before taking the fish out of the 20 gallon is going to be imperative.

    reading all this just makes me think of what i am going to have to do when i move houses and have to tear down most of the tank and drive over an hour away and set it all back up again. haha
  9. nicole4434Well Known MemberMember

    My best hope is that the majority of the shrimp stay in the Java Moss as there are over 100 shrimp, they came from my shrimp tank but were placed in there when I shut their tank down to give it to my husbands Betta

    Which if the tank was going to be in a different location would make it simple but the place the 20 gallon sits is the only place that's big enough for the 46 gallon as the 75 took up the other good wall space, I live in a PMQ and space is limited wall wise.

    I know what you mean if I ever move its going to be tight but I will move all fishies in the 46 gallon tank with heater and filter only and move everything else out to a container, the fish from the 75 will be store in the 46 (overnight only) and the 75 will be set up with everything minus filter as that will be on the 46 and the heater that is on the 46 will be running it, the heater running the 20 will be the old 20 gallon heater. Once the 75 is set back up then I can transfer fish into bags for travel, drain the 46 and pack it for travel, place the fish in newly set up 75 gallon tank floating set up the filters and release the fish, set up the 46 gallon tank with heater and leave it for a few hours, then shut down the 20 for fish travel and then replace fish in the 46, leaving the 20 gallon empty again, which I guess is better than having only 1 tank and having to do everything quickly and causing other issues (like fish being chilled during travel and resetting up tank in new location, so MTS is good for something
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2015
  10. ricmccWell Known MemberMember

    nicole4434 Your plan does sound very reasonable, and I fully understand why anyone who has not moved a twenty with a couple of inches of water in it would hesitate; I actually waited until I had seen it done before trusting the method. I also forgot to mention that it is very much easier to do if the tank to be moved is already on a metal stand. And that it definitely takes two people.
    At any rate, your plan does sound good, and really, you should go with what you are comfortable with; hope you find your shrimp. Very nice of you to give a tank to your Hubby, btw--would you mind having a brief word with my wife?:) Best of luck, rick
  11. nicole4434Well Known MemberMember

    I have moved a tank with water in it, a full 5 gallon tank is no problem, but when a 10 gallon tank full weighs as much as I do, sorry that just isn't happening, and the fact that the 20 gallon tank is going to have 25lbs of sand already in it, leaving much water isn't an option.

    I would love to talk to your wife, lol, I got my husband into fish by buying him a moontailed betta, when my birthday came around he asked how much I would allow him to spend on me, I said depends on what your getting ( I hate ), he said you know that 75 gallon you want to upgrade to, how about I get that for you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2015
  12. LeafrayValued MemberMember

    The plan sounds great! I was just wondering, do you have a extra sponge filter on hand? If you could pop on in there and wait for about a week or so, then put the sponge filter into the new tank, you could have extra healthy bacteria, which could really prevent the dreaded ammonia and PH spikes.

    Currently breeding: h/b purple guppies
  13. nicole4434Well Known MemberMember

    since I cant set up the 46 until the 20 is shut down that's pointless and my filters are always filled with extra sponges, so it isn't going to make a difference, if I was adding more fish than the bioload that this filter is used to then I would run the filter on the 75 to get the bacteria, but well I cant set up the 46 before hand #1: the 20 gallon is in its spot and #2: The stand is at the store until tomorrow it was a special order in as its a bowfront
    This is the 20 gallon right now, ignore the 10 platy fry, they are going to their new home soon, I have 24 in my fry tank that are petstore bound tomorrow and then these guys will go into the fry tank, but the person who claimed these guys is cycling their tank and I didn't want to mix them up with the others, and my puffers couldn't care about fry, they shared the tank with Guppy fry before

    I haven't seen Nitrates in that tank since end may and the tanks been up since end February (Cycled with Guppy fry), Ph Stable and weekly Tests show im 0 across the board, the only change in that tank since it was set up is that theres about 8 times more Java Moss in there then I planted
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2015
  14. LeafrayValued MemberMember

    Great to know! Java moss works great as a sponge!

    Currently breeding: h/b purple guppies
  15. nicole4434Well Known MemberMember

    Well the Transfer went easier as like I had hoped most of the shrimp stayed in the Moss, now my Otto's are zooming around the tank, and all 5 of the puffers are exploring the tank, its nice to see them all out except feeding time, though the tank looks pretty bare, I guess I will need more plants and I know that I want to get 3 more otto's, sometimes I wish there were other fish that could be kept with them but well I know that the otto's are the only fish. will post a picture tomorrow when the water is fully clear
  16. LeafrayValued MemberMember

    I'm a little hornswort crazy but... If you want a super fast growing plant that will fill your tank up in no time... Hornswort is your best friend :D

    Currently breeding: h/b purple guppies
  17. nicole4434Well Known MemberMember

    Im not a hornwort fan ive had bad experiences with it, it goes in great and then the needles fall off, a brat of a platy digs it up or it just dies, every other plant flourishes but not hornwort, though I did take a few cuttings of water wisteria from the 75 gallon, that thing is constantly shooting out new leaves and plants and my gouramis love it, lets see how the puffers do, I just hope it will grow as bushy as the one in the 75
  18. LeafrayValued MemberMember

    I will have to try to find some water wisteria. I've heared that hornswort goes in a cycle, grow, shed, grow... Don't know if that's the problem?

    Currently breeding: h/b purple guppies
  19. nicole4434Well Known MemberMember

    This is my 75 gallon, the entire plant on the left hand side behind the driftwood decoration is my water wisteria
  20. LeafrayValued MemberMember

    Looks awesome!!! I love how the wisteria spreads out into a bush! How long did it take to achieve this look?

    Currently breeding: h/b purple guppies

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