Chicken and egg order puzzle! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Chicken and egg order puzzle!

Soooo...after reading so much here I have come to the conclusion that I have set my 250 ltr tank up completely wrong and I want to start again. Problem is ofc, I already have fish in it. And plants ofc, but nothing at all special that can't be replaced. I have another tank set up that I can transfer some of the fish to but not the live bearer females as I don't want to start that whole cycle again! I also have a spare 5g nano that has nothing in it atm, not even water that I could use on a very short term basis for the females though it would be rather crowded so I'd like to get it all done quickly.

But...if I break down the big tank, do I need to let it cycle again? Or can I reuse the water? Do I set the nano up and move the fish first? But to do that I probably should use some of the water from the big tank? Or do I have to let that cycle completely as well? I feel like it's all like one of those puzzles where you have to slide one bit across in order to move another piece but I have no idea where to start. Any advice would be much appreciate!!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 07:29 PM
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Common problem but it can be worked around. First I sense that you give the water too much credit for the cycle. Most feel that it is nice to not shock the fish when changing suddenly from one water to another but it has little to do with the bacteria cycle. Most of the bacteria will be found clinging to items. The filter media is made with lots of surface for them and many will be there. They will also be on the walls, decor and plants. Little will be floating free in the water so keeping water is more a matter of not shocking the fish with major temperature or other changes.

Many find it handy to use a large plastic storage container, trash can or such to house the fish for the short term. If you have a filter with bacteria built up, moving it to the temporary container is good. Helps the fish and helps the bacteria as well. Cut back or avoid feeding for a few days will also cut the load. Do the change as quickly as practical but you can often take a week with no harm. Once the tank is rearranged and you can get the water pretty clear, move the fish back. Keeping some of the water is okay but even changing out 75% is not a big problem.

Don't clean the walls, filter or other items as there will be some bacteria there which is better left alone while the change is made.

Last edited by PlantedRich; 07-06-2012 at 07:30 PM. Reason: add
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 09:26 PM
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I agree with PlantedRich. Save as much of the bacteria by not wiping down the walls of the tank, the decor and keepin your filter running with the tank water that you drained. This will work just fine. There will be enough bacteria alive and kicking to not disrupt your bio filter. Just be sure to keep your media wet and running and you will be good for a number of days.

Best advice, don't break anything down until you have everything for the rescape and ready to do it.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 10:14 PM
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What exactly do you want to change?
The filter?
The substrate?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-06-2012, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by InannaMoon View Post
Soooo...after reading so much here I have come to the conclusion that I have set my 250 ltr tank up completely wrong and I want to start again.
Let's start from the beginning. What do you believe you have set up wrong? It may be possible to correct it without a full tank break down.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the help, guys! This is really appreciated!

Bruce and Complexity, I want to change the substrate and the hard scape of the tank for a start. I have used playsand as I really love the look but am finding that it's just not working for me. It is constantly looking too dirty. I'd like to go for something far more plant friendly as well.

As for the structure, my tank is quite tall, so I want to try and build it up more at the back. Because of the depth, I am worried my lights aren't adequate (4 30w tubes). Many of my plants are putting out roots halfway up and are just, well, not looking at all healthy. I have a manual CO2 delivery system and am watching to make sure there is always gas in the tube to be absorbed but still plants are dying off.

When I set the tank up, I (mistakenly ) believed I would be more interested in the fish, but as I get more interested here, I have other ideas for the tank and my focus is more on the plants and finding ways to keep them healthy. I will probably review my filter set up after I get the hard scape and substrate back together. I've been reassured by my LFS that it's adequate for the tank I have (I love that I have an honest manager who doesn't always try and sell me stuff! <3 ) but it just seems there isn't enough...I don't know, life(?) in the water? Not enough sparkle? Does this make sense? Something doesn't seem right even though my tests for ammonia, nitrate and nitrites are all fine. The area I live in has ridiculously high pH water (usually about 8.2 from the tap!) so I use RO water for most of my water changes now.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-07-2012, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Btw, Complexity, I love your tanks! What substrate are you using? The one I saw said "black sand" but what kind of sand? Just want to be sure!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by InannaMoon View Post
Btw, Complexity, I love your tanks! What substrate are you using? The one I saw said "black sand" but what kind of sand? Just want to be sure!
Thanks!

I'm using Eco Complete. It's black in color, but not sand.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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Ah, ok. I'll see what I can get over here in the UK. I'm sure there is something similar.

So, to sum up...

1. Remove fish to safe place, either other active tank or new small tank using old water and filter media to keep the good bacteria.

2. Break tank down and re-scape.

But how long should I let the tank cycle again when I put it back together? I'm guessing I'll have to do almost a full water change. It will be replaced with probably a 50-50 mix of tap water and RO water. I'd do all RO but not really practical trying to lug that much back from the LFS.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 10:28 AM
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Whenever I rescape I just dump half my tank water in a storage bin with my fish and stick the filter on the side. Still running and whatnot. Same with the heater.
I mess with my tank.. If I need to take something out I stick it in the tub of fish and water.
After I'm done messing I fill the tank up with water from the bin. Add fish. Pour in the rest of the water.
After that I turn on the filter and slowly add in water little by little for the rest of the day. Or however long it takes. Normally a few hours.

If your filter is cycled there really isnt any reason the tank should re-cycle.


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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 12:12 PM
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You don't have to recycle the tank again. If you left the fish in the inadequate container with a filter the fish would be likely exposed to more pollutants than in the larger tank anyway, right? I tend to feed lightly when I do major work in the tank for a week or so to keep down metabolites. Check the water for ammonia and nitrites and do water changes if there is a problem. After removing fish, plants and water from the tank, stirring up the substrate and doing a huge rescape I didn't see any issues. Changing the substrate is likely to be more of an issue but you will have the well established filter and plants going back in the tank.

Don't worry about storing water. Water carries very few of the nitrogen cycle bacteria. Just be sure it is the same constitution as the fish are used to. If you use half tap and half RO then the final fill should be that. If you aren't big on water changes then step up the routine now as you finalize your plans so the 90% new water won't be as big a shock to the fish. My tank gets about 50% changed once or twice a week at the moment so the fish were fine moving to the tank with 100% new water. If you don't do large regular water changes then the water in a long established tank will be very different from the water introduced during water changes and a huge water change could be a problem.

If you do decide you prefer to reuse tank water then save it in just about any large enough container. A clean trash can is strong enough to hold water, especially round ones. I regularly re purpose one of the food bins in the garage for a temporary tank and if I needed to save water the old heavy duty plastic trash cans in the garden could be scrubbed out.


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