Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Before you start on the tank itself, prepare enough new water to fill the new tank at least once. Maybe more. Have on hand a bacterial supplement if you want. Something with Nitrospira species of bacteria.
1) Turn off, unplug, remove equipment. These can be moved over to the new tank.
2) Remove anything else that will not cloud the water. Hardscape stuff can go in the new tank, or a bucket.
3) Catch the shrimp and any other livestock and put them in a bucket of the cleanest tank water. Cover it.
4) Start digging up the plants. This is where the substrate will get messy. Put the plants in a shallow tray, covered with water, or mist them. Something so you can see which plants are which. Or a bucket will work. With shrimp, they may cling to the plants, so putting the plants in something with sides deep enough so the shrimp cannot jump out is probably a good idea.
5) Deep vacuum the substrate. Take this opportunity to remove a lot of the fine debris that would cloud the tank.
6) Move the substrate to the new tank, setting up hills and valleys, set up the hardscape. If you think there is still too much mulm in the substrate then do a partial fill (maybe 25%) and slosh the substrate around to clean it, then drain the tank. Stick the siphon down deep in a corner below the substrate so 99% of the water is removed. Then arrange the 'scape.
7) Plant, misting the plants.
8) Put a plate or plastic bag over the substrate and fill the tank slowly, allowing the water to seep over the edges of the plate and into the substrate. Do not use the water from the livestock bucket. Fish (don't know about shrimp) can add stress hormones and ammonia to the water.
9) Turn on the equipment, make sure it is working. Add the Nitrospira, if you choose to use it.
10) Add livestock.