Transferring contents to a smaller tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Transferring contents to a smaller tank

Hello all. I am going to be moving the contents of my 29 gallon planted tank down to a 15 gallon tank this evening. Everything will be moved, substrate, fish, shrimp and plants. Extra plant mass will be going to my buddy who just started his first tank recently and is eagerly awaiting some trimmings.

I'm sure a lot of people have done this before. My tank has been running for nearly 3 years without being taken down once, so I can't say that I have. Expectation is that there will be an incredible amount of mulm and organics in the substrate complicating matters.

Here is my plan so far, let me know if I'm missing something that will make this easier.

Fish bucket: using original tank water and holding all animal life
Plant bucket: original tank water and all plants
Extra buckets: for holding original water and doing water changes

Step 1:
Remove all plants to plant bucket (its a jungle, I won't be catching any fish until this is done). Fill with tank water.

Step 2:
Drain water as much as possible to make it easier to catch inhabitants, remove them to their own bucket.

Step 3:
Transfer over substrate to new tank, add a little water and begin aquascaping.

Step 4:
Fill tank, add back the inhabitants, great success!


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 05:10 PM
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Sounds like a pretty good plan. You could also consider just using fresh water to refill the new tank, as it is possible that all that disturbance of the plants etc. may foul the tank water up to a degree. You could then just drip acclimate the fish back into the new tank water. This may be a bit overboard, but I think clean water is worth it! Either way, it sounds like you are on the right track. Good luck and keep us updated!

Mike


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, my assumption is that nearly three years of accumulated mulm will make for quite a storm when I move this thing over. I'm shooting for using 50% original tank water and then 50% fresh tap water so that I can minimize any sort of shock to the fish and not have to do much in the way of acclimation. I'm going to stuff the filter with floss to mechanically filter out what I can, and then probably do another water change later in the week when everything has settled down.

I will post photos, mistakes and results here so everyone can learn from my blundering. Oh and one more item to add to the list: lots and lots of old towels.


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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Well, here we go!

Here is the last photo of my 29 gallon tank, nearly 3 years in operation:



I was in the Dominican for 8 days and let everything grow out so I'd have plenty of plant material for the new tank, and to give some extra to my buddy who just got started a few weeks ago. The carpet in the front had actually started pulling itself out of the substrate because it was so thick.



Three buckets: one for plants, one for fish, and one for water and substrate moving:



Removed all the plants first and placed them in a bucket full of tank water:



Some refined liquid encouragement was called for at this point:



Draining the water down made it easier to capture all the remaining inhabitants. It was interesting and gratifying to discover that I still have all seven Amano shrimp. I had never seen them all in the tank at one point before, and knowing that there wasn't any casualties was interesting to discover.



Once everything was out, I removed the 29 gallon tank from the top of the stand. I then added in the substrate and introduced the plants I was intending to keep, primarily the Rotala, green gecko and the foreground mat. I then put the filter and heater back into operation. Once the water had warmed back up to 78F and the detritus had cleared, roughly an hour or so, I started to introduce the fish and inverts back to the tank. I started with the hardy platys, and observed them for 20 minutes to make sure things were going ok. At this point I was a bit scared about the progress, because my Ottos were looking very pale in the bucket. I decided to go ahead and put everyone back into the tank as soon as possible.



The Ottos were really yellow from stress when they entered the tank. This was the biggest issue for me in the entire process, as I have had them since I first setup the 29 gallon and they are probably my favorite specimen in the tank. Fortunately within half an hour they had resumed their normal brown coloration and they as well as the rest of the fish seemed to be adjusting to their new home.



Right now I'm using the 30" 130 watt CF fixture from the 29, sitting on the top of the stand. I have a 65 watt fixture coming on Tuesday which will become the primary light for this tank. I will be using the 130 watt fixture to cycle live rock in my reef tank for a month, and then probably sell it here if possible. It has two brand new 10k bulbs if anyone is interested.



The water is starting to clear up. Once the foreground takes root I will trim it back to get a level surface and start to focus on the aquascape. I'm looking to create a solid sloped hedge of Rotala in the background.

So far so good! Hopefully everyone will still be alive in the morning.


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