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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-18-2015, 04:19 AM Thread Starter
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Ready to swap tanks

I plan on moving from a 40 to a 75 gallon tank and relocating the current tank's contents. The tank is a very low tech setup with pea gravel that can be seen in "Your Tanks". The tank has been in continuous operation for about 20 years with intermittent gravel vacuuming and water changes.

This is an opportunity to take a very different direction. I want to minimize shock to the plants during the transplant, and I fear that moving the gravel will necessitate losing a lot of the silt in it that the plants need. I've read a number of approaches, and it sounds like all of them do not permit the usual gravel vacuum cleaning methods. I'm OK with that, but it's been a habit of some decades to get the vacuum column out and extract the silt from open areas around plants from time to time.

I plan on having a fairly heavily planted tank, and am considering CO2 also, having bought a 48" buildmyled multi-channel LED strip and controller to give me lighting options. I'm open to any suggestions or approach on substrate, as my experience is rooted (pun intended) on what people did 20 years ago. I really have not kept abreast of new trends, technologies and techniques. I'd greatly appreciate any thoughts from the forum. Thank you very much.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-18-2015, 04:32 AM
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I've kept tanks for 30+ years myself but my oldest tank setup is from 1999. I've found that with substrates it's pretty much not changed much. I used gravel or dirt for years. I've only been without a tank for 9 months or so when we sold out house and we were waiting for this one to be built.
Lighting and fertz have changed a lot. But plants have been growing since the beginning of time. When I upgrade (OK I never really upgrade I just add more tanks and move stuff around) I make sure I don't wash any of the gravel. I transfer to the next tank and do a partial fill. I trim back the roots if they're large to stimulate new feeder roots. BTW I even do that with terrestrial plants. If I am transferring from a dirt to another dirt I just use new stuff.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-18-2015, 04:33 AM
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Most plants feed through their leaves not their roots, the exceptions being swords and crypts (that I know of). For those plants that are root feeders replanting them and putting a root tab in will address this issue, of course many crypts will still go through transplant shock and loose their leaves none the less.

What you should be more concerned with IMHO is the reduction to the bacterial colony that is going to take place when you move it (the substrate) to the new tank. Don't clean any hard-scape and don't clean the filter and you should be able to cycle the tank with little to no trouble at all.

I recently (last week) reset my 40b, I went from a gravel substrate to a dirt STS cap setup. The rocks, driftwood, and filter went into the new setup uncleaned. I have yet to see any ammonia spike or any other sign of "recycling" of the tanks bio-filter.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-18-2015, 12:05 PM
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+1 to what Father said. I just went from a 30g to a 75g myself, so quite similar. I skipped moving the substrate though. I replanted, filled the new tank, dosed prime and let it run, then moved the fish and the filter media from the tank to the new filter.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-18-2015, 05:15 PM
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+1 on just replacing the substrate. If you really like the substrate you're using, scoop it all out and reuse it by all means, but tank changes are an awesome opportunity to start fresh with something different and I'm always a big fan of taking advantage of that. Those lights you picked are fantastic. I'd definitely say go with pressurized co2 this time around if you haven't used it in the past.

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