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Upgrading Tank.


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My Wife and I are new to the fish game and are in the process of upgrading our fish from a smaller tank to a 4ft tank. We stock African Cichlids and want to know do we need to bag our fish and climatise them to the new tank and release as we would if the fish were new? Also any tips on making the transfer smoother/seamless would be great. Thanks.

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:raisehand: Hi JodeandBen

welcome to ACE hope you enjoy it here

what size is the small tank and will you be running

the 4ft tanks filter on it to to seed the bacteria

before getting the 4 ft tank running

what filter will be used on the 4ft tank

Have you already set up the 4ft and got it running

Just need some details to help us guide you along


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Nice timing with this topic as i'm going to be doing similar as soon as my new tank arrives. I'll run through what my plan is, slight variation on whats been said so any comments on if I'm doing anything majorly wrong will be appreciated.

Current tank is standard 3 footer, ph 7, gh/kh fairly low with no additives to raise it. Filtration is 2 x 14 cm diameter sponge filters (size approx), also have a small internal eheim with all filters being mature (8 months for the sponge, 1 year for the eheim). New tank is a 4 x 2 x 2.

New tank will be all new heater, substrate, decor with the 2 sponge filters being transfered and a new 1000lh canister added.

All the usual setup will be done with the new tank, plan on running the new hearer 24 hours at least to check it works. Parameters of the new tank will match the old one. Once I'm happy everything is right I will be transferring the sponge filters then straight transfer of the fish out of the old into the new. I cant use any of the water as not all the fish are going to be moved.

I cant see any problems with this method as the parameters will be the same or very close to what they are used to so dont expect any shock , filtration from the mature sponges will up and running with bacteria and after 6 to 10 weeks will be removed leaving the canister. I'm in no rush to remove the sponge filters so they can stay longer if necessary but will have to be taken out eventually to save on running costs.

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Hi Prisicara. Only thing I would add is that you could use 10% to 25% of water from the old tank and then top up old tank as though it was a water change.

What I did as well is I overloaded the filter on the old tank with matrix well in advance. When I was ready for the fish I put the excess in the new tanks filter. So far the method is working as I am getting nitrates. I am also using Nitrivec.

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Thanks everyone,

The tank has been set up with a External filter and 300w Heater, the temp and ph are sitting at the same levels as our existing tank and all seems good to go. when setting up the new tank we have let it run for about 2 weeks and when filled it used some water from the existing tank to transfer the good bacteria.

We were planning on doing a small water change taking a few buckets out of the new tank and using water again from the old tank. the old tank is a 2.5ft by 1.5ft tank.

Your advice and tips have helped us greatly.

Thanks, Jodie.

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can you add some old filter media from the established filter to the new one ?

as just adding old tank water won't get the bacteria culture to the level required

and this will help

did you use a bacteria starter in the new tank when you started it running ?

have you checked nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels


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external filter on the old tank big? a canister/hang on. then its 100% fine. you can add a 2nd new filter for the new setup too.

your old tank is enough water for you to do a straight swap... about 121L (2ft x 1.5ft x 1.ft) + filter from your old tank -- use on new setup

the old filter can be taken off the new set up in a couple months... once the 2nd filter grows enough good stuff in it.

so now you can do this (pasted/edited from my post above)

put fish in half filled bucket, put an air stone in it, so the fish can breathe... cover the top with lid or towel so they dont jump

set up new tank --- use all your water from the old tank, pour it straight into the new tank... it should be half filled at least

make sure your heater/old filter/2nd new filter is fully under the water. turn on and make sure all working well

water should be close to 26' degrees. unless you took ages to do evrything.. if so then add 1 or 2 bucket of warmer water with water ager.... pour slowly into the tank. dont pour directly on glass.

add all fish into the new tank.. and the remaining water in the bucket too. set up the airstone/pump if you need it.

come back in a hour... depends how your fish are settling. then add new water til the tank is filled...26-28 degrees

all your ph etc etc will be fine. since nothing is change besides the new water - which is a "water change"

Edited by antz
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Thanks heaps everyone!

We have successfully upgraded our tank with no loss of fish! :thumbup:

We also picked up a nice pair of Cobalts and introduced them to the tank with no worries.

Your Wealth of Knowledge was invaluable! Thanks Again.

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