Upgrading to a larger tank

Discussion in 'More Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by obliviateprofoundly, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. obliviateprofoundlyNew MemberMember

    Good morning everyone,

    Today I'll be going to the pet store in order to get a new tank for my fish. Until now I have had a relatively small tank, of about 4 gallons (15L), and I am now upgrading it to a larger one, of around 15 gallons (55L). However, I am not entirely sure I am aware of the process required to transfer the fish to a larger tank, so as to maintain all the parameters the same and avoid cycling the new tank.

    In my 4 gallons tank, I have:

    10 guppies
    12 guppy fry (in a small floating tank)
    2 swordtail fish
    6 neon tetra fish

    + one Cabomba plant, one artificial plant, gravel (not very much though), a filter, a thermometer and a heater.

    I have no idea how the process of transfering the fish to a larger tank goes, can you please help me? I do not want to cycle the larger tank, what should I do in order to have the same water parameters, which by the way, are all normal, maybe the nitrates are a bit over 0, but nothing to worry.
    I don't want any of my beloved fish to die.

    Do I need to transfer the gravel first, then the plants? Should I squeeze the sponge from the old filter in the new water so as to move the bacteria in the new tank? Do I put fresh water over the old one? Please give me all the details I need to know.

    Thank you!
  2. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    If you were to move the filter media from the old tanks filter to the new tanks filter, along with the decor and gravel, you would be exactly where you are now, just with a larger tank. As long as the water parameters of the tank are the same as the source water, you don't even need to transfer any of the old water.

    I would get a larger tank than that. At least 20 gallons.
  3. bankruptjojoFishlore VIPMember

    honestly that many fish would need bigger then a 15g. i would suggest getting nothing smaller then a 29 gallon but the bigger the better.

    clean the new tank and gravel and set it up. make sure you use water conditioner and get the temp the same as your old tank. make sure you get a bigger heater as your old one might not be strong enough. you can get a second small one and run two if you would like. move the filter form the old tank to the new. dont touch any of the media inside it just move it over and plug it in. i would run the old filter with the new filter fo a month. then you can remove the old filter if you want.

    also move all your plants and decorations to the new tank. make sure not to clean them at all just put them in.

    after the filter and heaters are plugged in you can move the fish. some say its fine to just drop them into the new tank as the water is about the same. i still like to acclimate them a little bit when moving from tank to tank. so i recommend you acclimate them, not as long as when there from the pet store though.

    i would vac your gravel in your current tank before you move it. you will loose some BB/Beneficial Bacteria but i think its good to make sure its clean. then move it to the new tank use a cup or something to get it out. then add it to the new tank be careful if the fish are in it already.

    you can feed your fish a lil less and do some extra water changes to make sure you dont have a mini cycle. just be sure to test your tank regularly for a month or so.

    i hope this helps and welcome to fishlore. im sure other will have more to add.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  4. Mrs.PriceValued MemberMember

    I second this advice. Nothing smaller than 29 gallons, I'm not sure how those fish have survived in a 4 gallon tank, some would argue that nothing, not even one fish should be kept in anything less than a 10gal. To put it into perspective, you can't even keep a school of 6 Tetra in a 4g, just 6 Tetra need a tank no less than 10 gallons.

    I wouldn't worry about the substrate, or decor, you could scrub them all and it would have no effect. The majority of your BB resides in your filter media, as long as you don't change THAT you should be golden.

    I just recently upgraded from a 29g to a 75g, what I did was fill the tank up with fresh water, but allowed enough room to also be able to transfer my old tank water as well, took half of the water out of my 29g to make it easier to catch the fish and placed that water in the 75g tank, transferred my fish, then the rest of the gravel and did my aquascape, then I filled the rest of my tank up with fresh (dechlorinated) water. All I did then was place my old filter in the tank and it was good to go, I've had no problems. As long as you have an established filter, that's all you need to worry about. You don't have to squeeze anything into the new tank as long as you'll be running the same filter. Putting an established filter into a new tank instantly cycles it.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013