Upgrading from 3 to 5 gallon cycling

bored411

I've got a 3 gallon tank with a single betta, sand substrate, and plants. I'm planning on upgrading to a 5 gallon but I want to use Fluval stratum instead of sand and an internal filter or HOB since I had an integrated filter before that won't work in this new tank.

When it comes to cycling, will I be able to just move all the plants, decor, betta and the water over without too much issue? Or should I do the whole cycling process over with the 5 gallon because I'm using a different substrate and new filter? I might have an old HOB filter I can use to help cycle everything with the previous media and then I can get an internal filter later once it's fully cycled. I'm just trying to figure out the easiest way to do this.
 

Azedenkae

I would recommend cycling the new tank from scratch. Moving plants and decor over can help, and in some cases that may be all that is needed. But to be sure, it's better to make sure the filter is where the majority of your nitrifiers are.

Though you can use water from the old tank to help seed the new tank. Or better yet, some biomedia from the old tank.
 

MyFishAddiction

Honestly, if you're just going to move everything over and not put anything in the 3 gallon, I would move everything over. The cycle is kept, it's a lot less time consuming, and it's simpler.
 

Azedenkae

Honestly, if you're just going to move everything over and not put anything in the 3 gallon, I would move everything over. The cycle is kept, it's a lot less time consuming, and it's simpler.
Problem is op is gonna not move the substrate nor the filter (media) over. That makes it more complicated. Otherwise yeah a straight move would work.
 

bored411

Problem is op is gonna not move the substrate nor the filter (media) over. That makes it more complicated. Otherwise yeah a straight move would work.
So, if I move everything but the fish and the substrate, it should at least help the cycling process, correct? And if I use a HOB filter with media from the old tank, it should work out? I was mostly concerned about not using the same substrate. I'll definitely keep the 3 gallon running with the fish until I'm certain the 5 gallon is cycled, but if there's a faster/easier way to cycle it I'll do that.
 

MyFishAddiction

Oh ok. may I ask why you are moving everything the betta and substrate?
 

Azedenkae

So, if I move everything but the fish and the substrate, it should at least help the cycling process, correct? And if I use a HOB filter with media from the old tank, it should work out? I was mostly concerned about not using the same substrate. I'll definitely keep the 3 gallon running with the fish until I'm certain the 5 gallon is cycled, but if there's a faster/easier way to cycle it I'll do that.
Mm if you also move other the filter media, then yes it can really help... though then the concern is the 3 gallon lol.

Tbf if it was me, I'd move as much over along with the betta, and worse case scenario just do a fish-in cycle.
 

Flyfisha

Hi all,
Hey bored411 Fluval stratum substrate will release ammonia for around 5 weeks. This is dangerous for fish but will help cycle a new tank . Alternatively put the stratum in a bucket etc as soon as you get it and toss out the water every few weeks. No fish can/ should go in a tank with new stratum for around 5 weeks.
 

Azedenkae

Hi all,
Hey bored411 Fluval stratum substrate will release ammonia for around 5 weeks. This is dangerous for fish but will help cycle a new tank . Alternatively put the stratum in a bucket etc as soon as you get it and toss out the water every few weeks. No fish can/ should go in a tank with new stratum for around 5 weeks.
Actually, the is a very good point that I glossed over. Keep on forgetting some substrate is pretty 'bad' in such sense.

Apologies bored411
 

bored411

Hi all,
Hey bored411 Fluval stratum substrate will release ammonia for around 5 weeks. This is dangerous for fish but will help cycle a new tank . Alternatively put the stratum in a bucket etc as soon as you get it and toss out the water every few weeks. No fish can/ should go in a tank with new stratum for around 5 weeks.
Could I put in the plants and mopani wood I have with the stratum in the new tank or should I wait for those too? And I didn't plan on putting the fish in until I was certain the levels were where they should be.

Oh ok. may I ask why you are moving everything the betta and substrate?
I wouldn't put the betta in until I'm certain the levels in the new tank are where they should be. The substrate I want to switch to the stratum. I'm doing sand right now and it's a mix of old sand and new sand (I had an old bag of sand left over and bought a new bag of sand, not realizing the company changed the color and the size of the sand). I wanted to do stratum because I've increased the amount of plants I have in the tank and a nutrient-filled substrate is something I'd rather use instead of dealing with root tabs.

Mm if you also move other the filter media, then yes it can really help... though then the concern is the 3 gallon lol.

Tbf if it was me, I'd move as much over along with the betta, and worse case scenario just do a fish-in cycle.
Actually, the is a very good point that I glossed over. Keep on forgetting some substrate is pretty 'bad' in such sense.

Apologies bored411
My concern was the stratum messing with ammonia. It says it doesn't do big changes but other people on here have said it does. I also wouldn't want to move my betta until I'm certain the levels in the new tank are okay for him. He's been through one fish-in cycle already, so I'd rather not put him through it again if I don't have to.
I've got more media I could put in his tank so I could use his old media in the new one. I've altered his integrated tank to have a sponge, biomax rings, and the media pouch thing that came with the tank, so I could just borrow his sponge and biomax rings for the new one.
 

Azedenkae

Yeah so I would actually just go with my original plan suggested.

Keep both tanks running. Only transfer minimal biomedia over to the new tank to seed it. Some tank water from the old tank helps too. Then cycle it fishless, while having the old tank running as is until the new is ready.
 

Flyfisha

Many of us believe the water has almost no bacteria in it bored411 ? . I believe it must have a very small amount? Rinsing out a very dirty filter into the nice new tanks filter is my recommendation. This must/will transfer a very small amount of bacteria as well.

You ask about adding plants and wood to an uncycled tank as you begin to cycle it.
Most definitely add both. If they have come from a tank with fish ( cycled tank) they will have bacteria ON them. Getting the plants established is a sensible idea.

It is recognised that bacteria doubles it’s numbers in 24 hours so it will only be a matter of weeks before the cycle grows if you feed it an ammonia source.
 

bored411

So here’s day 2 of the tank. Everything in it is from the old 3-gallon except the substrate. I put in the old biomax as well and soaked the new filter media in the old tank before putting it in. All my tanks have a false reading of 0.25 ammonia. But do these levels look right? I might already have a small bit of nitrate and ammonia? Just trying to make sure this is going well. Any tips on what I should do next? I’m used to doing a fish-in cycle.
 

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Flyfisha

Hey bored411,
Is that tank empty of fish?
 

bored411

Hey bored411,
Is that tank empty of fish?
yes, it is empty. there are no fish in it. I'm keeping my betta in his old 3 gallon until the tank is cycled.
 

bored411

So I tested again today and the levels were basically the same as yesterday:
ammonia- 0.50
nitrite- 0
nitrate- between 5-10

I have a false reading of ammonia in all my tanks of 0.25ppm. I've been using Seachem Stability for right now and all the plants and decor are from the previous tank. I've also put in the sponge and biomax rings from the old tank to seed the new filter media.

Should I use Prime now to detoxify the ammonia? Should I be doing anything else like adding ammonia, water changes, or anything? I'm used to doing a fish-in cycle so I'm not sure where I'm at exactly. Haven't seen any nitrite readings but I didn't test until the second day to give the tank time to settle and not be cloudy. Just wondering when I can add the shrimp I'd like in the tank and the betta.
 

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