Upgrading Aquarium tips?

Tammy44

Hello! I'm looking to upgrade my aquarium to a 55 gal tank. I was wondering if there's any tips to move old tank into new one.
I know about keeping the same substrate. Would I also need to keep the same tank water? What should I do with my filter? And how do I make it a less stressful process for the fishies (molly fish).
 

jake37

What size is your current tank and what kind of filter do you have on it. Also I would recommend a 75, 50 or 40B. These tanks are wider than a 55 which gives them more ground space (the 40B is not as long). The 50 and 40B are shorter (36 vs 48) but all three are wider 12 vs 18. Wider tanks allow for more landscaping and floor room if you have any scavenger like cory, pleco or kuhli.
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What I do when i move a tank or upgrade is use a 5 gallon pail ($3 from lowes, home-depot, walmart, ...) dedicated for fish use and i drain some tank water and put the fishes in it (if you have a large tank with lots of fish you might require 2). I then shovel out the substrate for the new tank and put he old filter on the new tank.
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The filter contains MOST of the bacteria required for a cycled tank - the substrate only has a tiny bit (relatively speaking) so the filter is the most important thing. What I do if it is a planned move is put extra sponge filters in teh tank and then move those - or if i am starting a new tank i again put a sponge filter in an existing tank for a month or so and use it.
 
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Tammy44

What size is your current tank and what kind of filter do you have on it. Also I would recommend a 75, 50 or 40B. These tanks are wider than a 55 which gives them more ground space (the 40B is not as long). The 50 and 40B are shorter (36 vs 48) but all three are wider 12 vs 18. Wider tanks allow for more landscaping and floor room if you have any scavenger like cory, pleco or kuhli.
-
What I do when i move a tank or upgrade is use a 5 gallon pail ($3 from lowes, home-depot, walmart, ...) dedicated for fish use and i drain some tank water and put the fishes in it (if you have a large tank with lots of fish you might require 2). I then shovel out the substrate for the new tank and put he old filter on the new tank.
-
The filter contains MOST of the bacteria required for a cycled tank - the substrate only has a tiny bit (relatively speaking) so the filter is the most important thing. What I do if it is a planned move is put extra sponge filters in teh tank and then move those - or if i am starting a new tank i again put a sponge filter in an existing tank for a month or so and use it.
Thank you! My current filter is only suitable for 10-20 gallons so it wouldn't be used for the upgraded one I'm thinking about. Should I still place the filter in the new one while switching it on?
 
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jake37

Yes 100% yes. ALso if possible run the new filter on the old tank for a couple of weeks before the move so it can start growing some bacteria. The most important thing in moving is to maintain the tank cycle. After the move you will need to test for ammonia the first 2 or 3 days to ensure the cycle carried over. Might also have an ammonia neutralizer (like sachem prime) in case you get some low level ammonia (.25-.75) to prevent harm to the fishes.

Thank you! My current filter is only suitable for 10-20 gallons so it wouldn't be used for the upgraded one I'm thinking about. Should I still place the filter in the new one while switching it on?
 
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Tammy44

Yes 100% yes. ALso if possible run the new filter on the old tank for a couple of weeks before the move so it can start growing some bacteria. The most important thing in moving is to maintain the tank cycle. After the move you will need to test for ammonia the first 2 or 3 days to ensure the cycle carried over. Might also have an ammonia neutralizer (like sachem prime) in case you get some low level ammonia (.25-.75) to prevent harm to the fishes.
Can I also ask how to do the moving process? Let's say the tank has arrived. Do I immediately put in the substrate and filter with new water and let it sit for a couple of weeks ? What would I do for the fishes in the old tank? I don't have a backup filter unfortunately.
 
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mattgirl

Bacteria is growing on everything in your cycled tank. How long has your original tank been cycled? How long have you had fish in it? If it is a well established cycle you can simply move it over to another tank.

When you make the move remove the fish to a holding container and then move EVERYTHING from the cycled tank over to the new tank. (water, decor, substrate and most important, the filter) Be sure you keep all decor and substrate wet while you are making the move. I am guessing the original tank is at least 10 gallons, if bigger then even better. Go ahead and move as much of the water as you can from it over to the new tank. It is going to help keep the substrate wet and the bacteria on it alive.

Run the cycled filter along with the new filter on the new tank. Once everything has been moved over finish filling the new tank with temp matched and conditioned water. If you have been doing regular water changes on your original tank there shouldn't be a need to acclimate your fish to all that fresh water so just go ahead and either pour them in or net them out of the holding container and put them in their new home.

You will have left some bacteria behind on the walls of the tank but there should still be enough to handle the bio-load of the original fish. Keep an eye on the ammonia. Should it spike up to more than .50 do a water change to get it down. Once you are sure the cycle has settled in you can very gradually start adding more fish if that is your plan.
 
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jake37

I would do as i said - set a moving day - siphon some water into a pail - put the fishes in the pail (an airstone helps but if all you have are mollies i wouldn't worry about it - you might put a partial cover on the pail (leave vented but sometimes fishes will jump) - then shovel the substrate into the new tank - muck with the plants (if you ahve any) and landscape - set the old and new filter on the new tank - top the new tank off with treated water (treated to remove chlorine); wait an hour for the temp to become stable or close to the pail water (esp important during winter where the water might be really cold); then net the fishes from the pail or just pour the pail into the new tank and you are done - then in 12 to 24 hours test ammonia and insure it is stable. repeat the ammonia test (I use api testing kit) 24 hours later - if you notice slight levels of ammonia (.5 or higher) use the recommended dosage of prime for your new tank (approx one lid full). If the ammonia is 2 or higher panic ;(

Can I also ask how to do the moving process? Let's say the tank has arrived. Do I immediately put in the substrate and filter with new water and let it sit for a couple of weeks ? What would I do for the fishes in the old tank? I don't have a backup filter unfortunately.
 
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Tammy44

Bacteria is growing on everything in your cycled tank. How long has your original tank been cycled? How long have you had fish in it? If it is a well established cycle you can simply move it over to another tank.

When you make the move remove the fish to a holding container and then move EVERYTHING from the cycled tank over to the new tank. (water, decor, substrate and most important, the filter) Be sure you keep all decor and substrate wet while you are making the move. I am guessing the original tank is at least 10 gallons, if bigger then even better. Go ahead and move as much of the water as you can from it over to the new tank. It is going to help keep the substrate wet and the bacteria on it alive.

Run the cycled filter along with the new filter on the new tank. Once everything has been moved over finish filling the new tank with temp matched and conditioned water. If you have been doing regular water changes on your original tank there shouldn't be a need to acclimate your fish to all that fresh water so just go ahead and either pour them in or net them out of the holding container and put them in their new home.

You will have left some bacteria behind on the walls of the tank but there should still be enough to handle the bio-load of the original fish. Keep an eye on the ammonia. Should it spike up to more than .50 do a water change to get it down. Once you are sure the cycle has settled in you can very gradually start adding more fish if that is your plan.
Thank you very much, that's really helpful!!!
 
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Gage6

So I understand there are multiple posts on this topic but I feel that I need some feedback specific to my situation.
So about 6 weeks ago my dad suprised me with a 20gallon hex aquarium. I gladly took it but understood that it would be a pain to stock. I decided to plant it up and give it a few weeks. Needless to say, I feel very uninspired by it and want to make the switch to a 20 long as I feel that I can stock and plant it to something that I’ll enjoy.
Currently the hex is still fishless cycling (nitrites are dropping) so I’m not sure if I should wait until it’s done cycling to make the switch to a 20 long. When I do switch my plan is this:

1. Set up the 20 long with the 1 bag of eco complete (will add the eco complete from tue established tank on top of it.
2. Drain 50% of the hex into a bucket and remove the plants. Place the sponge filter in the same bucket along with heater.
3. remove the substrate and place it on top of the new stuff in the 20 long.
4. Fill 20-30 percent with old tank water to be able to plant easier.
5. fill the tank with 20 or so more (to equal 50% of the old water) place the sponge back in, may do this earlier, just as long as it stays submerged and I’m not placing it in the tank where it can be exposed to air)
6. Either fill tank with 50% new water or just use old water to prevent too much shock for the bacteria.

I’m not really sure if that amount of old tank water is necessary as I know the bacteria doesn’t live in the water column. Just trying to minimize multiple drastic changes in a short period of time.
 
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BigManAquatics

Sounds like a pretty sound plan overall. Make sure to keep an ammonia source to keep the bacteria fed til you add critters.
 
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ruud

Not sure if I completely understand. In any case, I would continue with the hex and put everything you intend for the long 20, including the substrate, also in the hex and continue cycling. Once you have the long 20 in place, move everything from the hex straight into the long 20, regardless where you are in the main cycle. The bacteria in the substrate, filter media and on the plants will survive the (I assume) short trip.
 
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Gage6

Not sure if I completely understand. In any case, I would continue with the hex and put everything you intend for the long 20, including the substrate, also in the hex and continue cycling. Once you have the long 20 in place, move everything from the hex straight into the long 20, regardless where you are in the main cycle. The bacteria in the substrate, filter media and on the plants will survive the (I assume) short trip.
If you need me to clear up any confusion, I will. So my only issue is that I will need more substrate for the long so I was planning to just put the substrate from the hex on top of the newer substrate that will be in the 20 long. Now as you suggest, I could put it in the hex for the time being but I don’t want to “cover” the current substrate as well as having to replant the plants only to have them be moved to a 20long in a short time. Also I assume most of the bb lies within the upper layers of the substrate so covering it with newer substrate might hinder with the cycle, I could be wrong course. Although if adding the newer substrate to the hex is something that would be more ideal that I will do it. The reason for more substrate is my hex only has about 2 inches of substrate and I’d like to go with more like 3-4 for the 20 long.
 
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ruud

The type of substrate obviously has some influence: aquasoil? gravel? sand?
3-4 inch is considerable. Is it for an aquascape or are you trying to create a sandbed?

In case of aqua soil, I would add 1 inch in the 20 long then fill it up with the 2 inches from the hex and see how it goes. If ok, then add a fresh new layer of 1 inch on top of the 3 inches you have.

In case of sand, I would add the 2 new inches in the 20 long and then cover it with the 2 inches from the hex.

In case of gravel... I think the same as sand.
 
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Gage6

The type of substrate obviously has some influence: aquasoil? gravel? sand?
3-4 inch is considerable. Is it for an aquascape or are you trying to create a sandbed?

In case of aqua soil, I would add 1 inch in the 20 long then fill it up with the 2 inches from the hex and see how it goes. If ok, then add a fresh new layer of 1 inch on top of the 3 inches you have.

In case of sand, I would add the 2 new inches in the 20 long and then cover it with the 2 inches from the hex.

In case of gravel... I think the same as sand.
Oops! I forget to specify…I’m using eco complete.
 
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ruud

I believe that is similar to lava split, or perhaps it actually is lava split. But it's an inert substrate. Fill the 2 inches in your 20 long and cover it with the 2 inches from your hex along with other materials and filter you are running in your hex. I really can't imagine the new 2 inch of eco complete will have any effect on your plans.
 
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