Almost ready to switch to new tank, anything I should know? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Almost ready to switch to new tank, anything I should know?

So I finally am ordering my 120g tank this weekend. I got the sump, all the plumbing material ready to go, most of my hardscape stuff is ready, just refilled my 20lb CO2 tank, and got a pump on order for the sump.

I am going to buy 9-10 additional bags of Eco Complete, and I plan on adding the other bags that are in the tank right now, into the new one. The Eco Complete in my 40 gallon tank is relatively new (replaced last year), and there's 80lbs worth.

I plan on saving all of my water, and obviously the fish are all going in buckets for the move. I found a home for my neons and black skirts, and the Zebras, Rainbow Shark, and my CAE, in desperate need of a larger tank, are coming to the new tank. Is it wise to save all the water from the 40 gallon? Including all the mulm? Since the last time I posted, it has become stable as a rock. Haven't lost any new fish, and the plants grow so fast now, I throw away a bucket-full every other week. Can't even remember the last time I saw any algae in it. I do plan on putting the filter floss in the sump to help seed the tank and the gravel should help, but is it worth saving the last 5 gallons of water?

I do 60-75% water changes weekly, so the fish are used to it, but my tap water is very steady as far as pH, kH, and gH are concerned, and ever since the swap from the old gravel to the new Eco, I haven't had swings due to old tank syndrome so my tap is identical to the tank...

I don't have the room to have both tanks set up at once, but I know its going to take at least 1-2 days to set up the tank and the plumbing once it arrives. Should I keep the fish in the buckets? I have a few 20 gallon coolers, would these be better? I do plan on using air bubblers, especially to keep the filter media alive in one of the buckets, but I wasn't sure whether it would be wise to use a cooler or seperate the fish into different buckets. The Rainbow Shark is full grown, my CAE is nearing the 10" mark, and I have 16 zebras right now.

Any other tips for moving to the new tank? Any advice? I've never had to set up a tank with fish waiting on me.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 09:28 AM
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1 Save the top portion of the substrate of your old tank to sprinkle over the substrate of your new tank. This was the aerobic area with all the beneficial bacteria. Eco-complete being otherwise inert substrate it does not matter how old it was.

2 Try to use your old filter to circulate the water you will be keeping your fishes in. If you temporarily move the fishes into buckets - empty your old tank and relocate it on floor somewhere - then you use the old tank for housing the fishes with the old filter still running. That way you will not need to hurry to set-up your new tank and your filter too will remain cycled.

Best of luck.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 09:29 AM
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10 bags of Eco is a lot of cash. If you really like Eco, go for it! But if you're up for changing up the substrate, there are cheaper ways to go. Just a thought.

Keeping the water can't hurt. The filter media and plants should buffer any potential ammonia spike, and any substrate and water will help. If you do keep the substrate, layer the old stuff on top of the new stuff.

Only other tip is that while you have an empty tank, take the opportunity to make the hardscape and plant setup as perfect as you can. Spend the extra time to get it right - it might be the only time you ever have a completely dry tank to work with. Sure, you can change things around later, but this is a unique opportunity.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 10:10 AM
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I'm a wild card on this to be sure so take it/w a grain of caution.
I'd remove 75" of the water and all of everything else after you move anything you
are going to "save" like fish plants hardscape. Then WHILE stirring the sub/w a wooden spoon to keep from scratching the old tank, I'd siphon gravel and all into a storage container to be spread on top of the new sub. Stir it by the edge where you are siphoning from. Actually just loosen.
But if you don't want to just use Safe Start once it's set up you should save that top 1/2" of the sub to top the new sub/w like suggested before.
Doing what I suggested will transfer your mulm for you since the Eco is inert.
Product disclaimer: My esoteric/semi-Walstad tanks don't get the mulm removed but are less than 25% stocked.

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Last edited by Raymond S.; 10-28-2015 at 10:24 AM. Reason: Product disclaimer:
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 02:16 PM
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I would definitely consider setting up the old tank as a bare bottom tank while you set up the new one. You can place it on the floor for the time being and even just float your plants.

Why do people save the water from the old tank? I've never really understood that in the freshwater community. Just curious. I see no value in saving the water at all. I would place all of your existing media in the sump though.

I will say that I removed my sump from under my stand and cleaned it this past weekend. My fish were fine with an air stone and a power head for half a day and my media did fine in some plastic totes while I cleaned out the sump. People ship fish and that takes a couple days some times. I think you can safely house your fish in the old tank on the floor with minimal filtration for a few days while you set up the new tank.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 02:21 PM
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I did ecco in my 120. If I had it to do all over again I would not do ecco! the cost was about 250bucks! money better spent elsewhere imo

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 02:24 PM
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Assuming you are using your tap water unaltered with just a simple water treatment like prime you have no reason to transfer any water at all. I don't think there is any benefit.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 03:14 PM
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I switch out 150 gallon for 120 gallon all in about 8 hours with a little help. Having a couple extra garage cans for water and a big rubber container to put driftwood and plants made it pretty easy. I have a room just for my tanks with floor drain so the mess was contained. I was lucky because my wet/dry was running the whole time thru another tank. I would try and switch it all out at one time and not over couple days. Use your old filters but your going to be add a lot new water so you won't have much of an problem.

I kept my fish in another tank with just air stones for 8 hours. I have read you don't need a filter if you change about 80% of your water a day so you could put them in buckets with no problems for one day and do water change if gets much longer than that.

I would get my sump and plumbing ready for the big day. You should be able to have this ready with only small adjustment the day of the move.

Best of luck. It's going to look good when you get it done.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Well I have all the plumbing put together, just will need to seal it in the tank, but I want to have the time to set up the aquascape exactly how I want it. As far as Eco, I love the stuff, and I get a pretty good discount from my LFS (V.I.P. member, aka I spend too much money there), so it really won't be too bad. Will be under $200 for all the Eco Complete I could ever need. Plus my neons and black skirts will be getting traded in for a few more zebras, and I have store credit from the 30+ pool comets I gave them (they were sold as pets not food due to the coloration on them), for my future apisto that I so dearly want.

I never thought to set the tank on the ground. I do have dogs and cats however. If this tank wasn't so heavy I'd get everything set up in the garage, then move it. Our 120 acrylic tank (SW) weighed less then the stand even. We did it just me and my bf, was a dream moving it. But I can't afford a NEW acrylic tank, so glass it is. So that is the main reason this has to happen at once. We are going to ask the guys at the fish store if they'd be willing to give us a hand, and if not the people who moved our pool table will be helping, granted once its in the basement, we can slide it on the carpet, but it'd be easier to just get the tank where it needs to be right away.

I do use unfiltered tap water, just some dechlorinator, but I figure if I keep some, I can transfer some mulm, and also, as lazy as it sounds, that's 8 less buckets I have to hall up and down the stairs (split level house, sink in the basement basement bypasses the water softener).

Also, we are thinking of going the cooler method, and our HOB (tested it today), will sit over the edge of the cooler and run. It's a 50 quart cooler. So while not gigantic, I can throw most of the fish in there, primarily my big guys, and a handful of danios and the others can go in the 10 gallon tank I have running, I'm thinking?

Last but not least, the spot where the tank is going (where the old tank is), is the slightest bit (like a mm over 4 feet), unlevel. Will insulating foam be enough? Or should I shim the stand. It is going on a foundation concrete slab against a wall btw.

Bump: Only other thing I haven't gotten yet are lights, as I'm waiting for the canopy, and will be mounting them along with cutting heat vents in the top of it. (It's your standard Marineland oak canopy). I have 2 mounted T5HOs in one of those old AGA light hoods, and two spares sitting in the basement which will work for now.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 08:27 PM
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Shim between the stand and the floor for sure.

I would scrape some mulm into the new tank, good idea.

If you have a good quality plastic storage bin with wide radius corners it will hold up as a temporary tank and be larger than the ice chest although that does sound like a good plan. Drop some plants on top for fish shelter and cover carefully so you don't get jumpers.

Get a hose to do water changes. As well as saving your back you will drip less all over the house! If the spigot you need to use is that far away put a valve on it and have a trusted confederate helping as well.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 09:06 PM
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+1 for the hose. No more buckets!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Well I did try the hose thing, but for the most part I don't mind buckets too much. I prefer them for emptying the tank in particular. Slower process, and the fish are so used to me cleaning the tank I have to use one hand to shoe them away from the siphon, so I don't think ill ever not use buckets for emptying the tank, sucked up one too many fishies.

Only other thing I have is a 500 gallon tub for the koi pond, which is obviously, way too ridiculous LOL. The rest of our good containers were filled up and moved to storage so I have room in the lower basement area to eventually set the 40 long back up (I adore that tank's dimensions).
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