How to move fish from one tank to another?
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:23 PM   #1
Aqua Dave
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My 150 gal is finally up and running and I'm approaching the time to move the fish from my existing aquariums to it. I'm wondering what is the best method for doing this. There's a big difference between the new tank and the old tanks in that I'm running CO2 injection on the new tank. The Ph on the new tank is maintained at 7.0-7.1 while the old tanks are 8+. KH on the new tank is 4.5-5.0 while the old tanks are around 3.

Any ideas? I don't think catching the fish in the old tank and just dropping them in the new tank would be that good due to the difference in Ph, but maybe it wouldn't be that big a deal. The other option I thought of would be to put them in some sort of intermediate container with their old water and then slowly mix in the new water. I'm wondering how well this would actually work, though, since the water in the new tank is artificially held at the 7.0 Ph via CO2. It seems the CO2 would just outgass out of the intermediate container and the Ph would settle back to 8. I'd hate to lose some fish after I move them into their shiny new home and want a method with the least amount of stress.

One other option that just popped into my head would be to set my Ph controller at 8 and let the Ph get to 8 before moving the fish. That way the Ph would be much closer to the old tanks. After moving the fish I could then gradually lower the Ph back down. The CO2 would obviously be much lower, but I don't think the plants would suffer if it's just for a few days.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

David
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:32 PM   #2
lokobreed
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I have done this twice now, and this is my third time movin my fish into a new tank over a period of 4 years... The first time was because of a move and the second one was because I got a larger tank, and now the third is because I have gotten even a larger tank. Each time I have lost one fish because they jumped out but here is what I did and if you seal it properly like I just did last night you will, or should not lose any fish.

When moving my fish from an old tank to a new tank, I have a 30 gallon trach rubber bucket I put them in, about half way (depending on the size of your fish the size of the trach tub and wher you cut it sould alter) up the buket I cute a square out large enought for my heater to go in, I then also put aire tubing through there and use my old air pump and buy one of those 2.99 filters at you LFS and stick it to the bottom of the tank...

I then put a few gravel in there along with my rocks (or most of them) and then take the large plants I have and put them in there and take the smaller plants and put them in my 10 G wiht superb lighting (boosts the growing unbelievbaly)

I have never lost any fish doing this except for my stupidty for not closing up the side of the square I cut out for the filter cuase I cut it to big and my small tetras go swwoosh right through...

I have them in there now as my 55 Gallon is being stup now and I have had them in the trash bin for about 2 weeks now and most likely will be there in a couple weeks more because the place where I ordered the gravel from is delaying (but its ok the trash tub wokrs well)
And what I do is add little of new water every day since water evoporates from the trash bin quite quickly since there is no top....

Also MAKE SURE once you use it once to house fish CLEAN THE BIN GREATLY with BOILING water to kill anything in there before you use again....


I think this works well atleast for me

Thanks
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:56 PM   #3
Fat Guy
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I'm sorry, but I'm having trouble following.

You put your fish in a holding tub between the two tanks with a new filter and a heater and an airstone, add water from the new tank, a little bit each day for two weeks or more, than put them in the new tank?

Is that what you do? Sorry again, I just didn't follow that as clearly.
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Old 03-03-2004, 07:05 PM   #4
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I've done something similar to loko, but I was only moving the fish across the house so they weren't in their bin very long--I gave them an air pump to be nice.

The intermediate container idea is generally the way to go, but with that CO2 thing...if you're only going with a short time in the intermediate container (a couple hours?) maybe it'd work out.

I'm not sure about that CO2 issue though--can you turn it off for a few days and slowly get it going again? I think what I'd try to do is turn off the gas, drain the new tank so that it is only partway full and add as much of the old water as possible--with luck getting enough so that it's no more than half new tank water and still enough total water for the fish to live in. Move fish (who will be happy since you just removed their tank water), give them a day or so, fill tank the rest of the way, give them a day, turn on the gas....but I don't know how much that would mess up the tank you just got all set up, or how much water you have available form the old tanks--probably not enough to fill a big chunk of a 150g...

Are your fish fragile? Intermediate container is probably the most practical route.
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Old 03-03-2004, 07:30 PM   #5
Aqua Dave
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I don't know about the "fragility" factor of my fish. I've got a couple large (couple years old) angel fish, a couple schools of 5-6 tetras, some cories, and some SAEs. I would think the tetras would be the most frail, but am not really sure.

I don't think I want to put any of the old water into the new tank as each of my current tanks (I have 3 currently) has it's own issues. Plus I could only get 20-30 gallons of old water max, which isn't a whole lot in a 150.

I have a Ph controller so my thought was to set it around 8.1 or so before I move the fish and let it settle at that Ph, move the fish, and then drop it .2 or so each day back down to 7.0. How does KH affect fish? Will a 2 deg difference be a big deal? I haven't started dosing nutrients heavily in the new tank yet, so there's not a big difference in nitrate or other things between tanks.

I could do the garbage can thing for an hour or two and mix water from the new tank in with the old water. Then take the fish out of the garbage can and put them in the new tank.

David
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Old 03-03-2004, 07:45 PM   #6
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I don't believe KH should be a problem...pH and temp difference would.

I think your idea to match the pH as closely as possible and once transferred let the pH change gradually will work and is the way to go.

Charles
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Old 03-03-2004, 07:47 PM   #7
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That's probably the best thing to do. Treat them like they're fresh from the pet store and cross your fingers. Use the fish you like least as a test subject: scoop it up in a pitcher, top it off with new water, wait 30 min, throw him in and see how he does.

Even if the transition period has to be shorter, it might be better to do one or 2 at a time in smaller containers--less stress for you and the fish. It would also be easier to watch the fish in small transitional containers and see if they have trouble adapting to the water change.
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Old 03-04-2004, 01:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Guy
I'm sorry, but I'm having trouble following.

You put your fish in a holding tub between the two tanks with a new filter and a heater and an airstone, add water from the new tank, a little bit each day for two weeks or more, than put them in the new tank?

Is that what you do? Sorry again, I just didn't follow that as clearly.
Petty much, but the heater is from the old tanks since there is no fish in there, and the filter is one of the small ones for 2.99 to 5.99 and that produces air bubles as well...

then about 3 times a week I add new water, not neccesarily from the new tank but just new water since old water evorpaorates quickly from the bing, and that is fine...
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Old 03-04-2004, 09:25 AM   #9
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Why don't you just turn down the CO2 injection first. Let the pH get closed to the old tank's. Then, move your fish and adjust the injection slowly after. I think plants are more forgiving than fish. This way you don't have to set up another tank or bucket.
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Old 03-15-2004, 06:22 PM   #10
Aqua Dave
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I moved most of my fish this weekend. I still have 6 tetras in my small 10 gal to move, but I don't anticipate any problems.

I shut off the CO2 and just let the Ph settle at its natural level around 8.2-3. I then did a 25% water change in the tanks from which I was moving fish, but I used water from the new tank instead of tap water as the replacement water. This got the parameters in all the tanks fairly close though not exactly the same. I then just scooped fish out of the old aquariums and put them directly into the new one. No intermediate bucket. I decided that this was a less stressful way of moving them.

So far so good. All the fish are alive and appear to be doing well. The cories and SAEs appeared to take the move the hardest and had very rapid breathing, but they have calmed down and are now skimming leaves and the substrate. My angelfish seemed to hardly notice they had been moved and were just happy to be in a bigger aquarium. I was concerned they would fight, but after some initial aggression they now seem to be buddies.

Don't know if this method would always work, but it seemed to work good in my case. If you were really paranoid or your aquariums were very different in parameters you could probably do water changes from the new tank into the old for a week or so to equal them.

David
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