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Calling All Fish Owners!! Advice for Upgrading a Tank

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by MikeyFingers, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. I have a few fish that until now have been living in a 20 gallon tank. They're getting too big and I'm about to add a few fish to the family, so I just got a 55 gallon tank to accommodate everybody.

    I was just wondering if there's any special precautions I should take when transferring the fish into their new home. We just filled the new tank up with water, and we're gonna let it sit and run the filter for a day or two to make sure it's the right temperature and it's clean and everything. But aside from that, is there anything I should know? Any specific way to transfer them from one tank to the other? This is the first time I've done this and I'm going to be EXTREMELY pissed if I put my fish in a new tank and they all die :rollno:

    I've heard, from a friend, that I should put the fish in a bag of their old water, then keep them in that bag, floating in the new tank, so the temperature adjusts slowly. Then cut the bag off while they're underwater in the new tank. It kinda makes sense to me, but I know nothing about this and for all I know it's completely unnecessary.
    Any advice?

    Unrelated John Patitucci awesomeness for your viewing pleasure:
  2. Add a little no-shock to the tank before; do what your friend suggested but cut a large slit in the bag, and let the fish find their own way out of the bag.
  3. No-shock? What is that? My brother is out picking up some kind of chemical treatment thing, I don't know what it is yet but I assume the folks at the pet store are going to give him the right stuff. Is this what you mean?
  4. It's almost a weak liquid anesthetic...have you noticed that store staff adds a liquid something to the water when you buy a new fish? That stuff, and if you can't find it, don't worry too much. It's not vital, but it can help the transition sometimes.
  5. Bett


    Jan 27, 2008
    I'd mix some of the old water with that in the new tank, and if not that, then add some of the old filter media to the new filter at the least (assuming you bought a new filter for the new tank). You want the filter to have enough filter bacteria, though the larger your tank is, the slower any major temperature or chemical changes will be, so you might be able to get by without the proper bacteria at first. Still, old filter media is a fast and easy way to introduce the proper bacteria to the new filter. I've had a 50 gallon tank for 7-8 years now, but I've never really done any tank transfers besides with fish I've bought. They've generally been fine by just putting them in the tank after the temperature equalized, but since you're dealing with fish you have an attachment to, I'd take a few more precautions. Stress coat is a good product too, though I haven't used it much in my 50 gallon tank (a normal sized bottle of it will run out fast if you got a big tank).
    If you don't have any yet, I'd recommend live plants for your new tank. Plastic plants are a pet peeve of mine, so unless you have a fish that eats all your plants, I'd go with live ones. The tank I care for at school had only plastic plants when I was hired, so I added some live ones from my tank, but the two silver dollars would eat the java ferns every week. They died over the summer while someone else was in charge, so now the plants I put in are actually surviving. I still keep the old plastic ones in there as well though since I only brought in java ferns (it looks good with a mix of plant types, and the real plants help with water quality). There's plants out there you can get that would be mostly fish proof if the fish are a problem, so I'd suggest trying to get at least a few. Good luck!
  6. Cool, thanks for the tips guys. Keep it coming.

  7. +1 on the old tank water idea (maybe 10-15%) and the live plants...if you do get plants, you may want to put them in early and run the system for a day or so before moving the fish over.

    What fish do you have, btw?
  8. Kipaste


    Jun 27, 2006
    Helsinki, Finland
    Also, unless you're planning on completely changing the type of sand/gravel you use, take advantage of the old one. If you don't have plenty of Corydoras catfish species or other bottom dwellers like loaches gravel is fine and easy to keep clean, but if you have plenty of species with sensitive whiskers, it's a good idea to use fine sand.

    Any how, depending on the sand type used, the bottom usually contains more beneficial bacteria than most common inside filters thus often being the most important biological filter in smaller tanks. So siphon all detritus to get the sand as clean as possible. Then put a new layer of washed sand on the bottom of the new tank and spread the old sand on top of that layer. Don't put the old sand on bottom as aerobic bacteria is what you're trying to preserve. If you see bubbles rising out of the old sand when you're siphoning or digging the sand, then use just the top inch of the sand as in the new tank as killing anaerobic bacteria with oxygen would just make the new tank even less stable. This doesn't happen if you have properly maintained your tank in the past though.

    You can also use live bacterial starters to give the larger tank a bit of a kick start, but since the actual bio load isn't growing, I think you should be fine without. If you wan't to be sure everything is fine, get a nitrite (NO2) test and test the water every day for nitrite. Nitrite is way more harmful than the end product of nitrogen cycle called nitrate so if you there is anything past 0.2 mg/l, do a 50% water change immediately. And if you don't mind a little investment, get some fast growing plants and a good water conditioner/ prophylact. I recommend easy life fluid filter medium. Also, go easy on the food for the first couple of weeks.

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