I need a plan. Upgrading to much larger tank. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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I need a plan. Upgrading to much larger tank.

I spent half an hour typing out all the details but hit the back button by mistake. So I'm going to try to keep this post simple this time.

I have 2 heavly planted 40 breeders chocked full of overgrown plants, 20 fish, tons of filtration etc...

My plan was to just put all the contents into my new 100 gal five foot long show tank, but then I remembered this new tank will need to cycle first right?

So now I'm thinking start with new substrate, "miracle grow organic potting mix" topped with pool filter sand. Transplant most of my crypts, decor, rocks and anubias covered driftwood etc... Slap on 2 established ac110's and a large established marineland canister filter and let it go for awhile before adding the fish.

Another problem is that in 2 weeks or so I'm leaving town for a month. My wife can "feed" the tank but isn't going to do water changes and tests etc..

So I guess my question is this a good plan or should I wait 6 weeks until I return?

Also will a dirted tank cycle from organic materals in the soil breaking down or will I need to toss in food and stuff to do it and how long should it take with all the plants and established filters adding their thing etc..

Thanks for reading
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 03:00 AM
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You could plop everything from the two 40s into the new 100 right away without needing to cycle it since there is already established biomedia and plenty of plants.

However I have no knowledge in dirted (or any commercial nutrient based substrates for that matter) substrate tanks. I think it depends on the substrate in question, i have heard some do release/create a lot of ammonia so that can possibly be problematic to the fish health in particular. Im not sure how long they can leach for aswell.

But if you find that it doesnt cause ammonia spikes then you should have no problems just do the transfer.

Things would actually be more stable in the 100 gallon due to the more water volume to dilute any harmful nitrogen, so less worry (but not by a whole lot) about water changes and overfeeding.
Some plants may melt/decay/rot from the transfer, but shouldnt really be a problem.

So find out about the soil in question and/or test a good amount of it in a container with water to see if any ammonia is produced.

But then again it might be better to play it safe and wait to do the transfer when you get back in case there is some hitch that happens when you are not home. It's more up to you which sounds like the better idea, but if it were up to me I would probably be on the safe side wait until I got back in case thing did happen to go unexpectedly wrong when I wasnt there. (Then again there is that dilution difference in terms of overfeeding and water changes!)
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 03:31 AM Thread Starter
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My 40 breeders are so established that they can go months without a water change if I let them but things were a little rocky at the start, been up for close to 2 years. Adding fresh soil might trigger a whole lot of issues. I'm going to try to keep it to a minimum.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 04:17 AM
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I'd wait till I got back to add fish. I'd add some ammonia first and check the level of it after one hr. Then I would check it after 24 hrs to see where it got to in that time.
This will tell you if the bio-filter is still working correctly. I'd also check for nitrates and ammonia at the very beginning after I got back. Start off by knowing what you have.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 04:21 AM
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Going to have to be a personal choice but for practical, I would say it would work fine on the first plan. Thinking of where much of the bacteria will be, you have two filters, plants and any décor you move over and all of that will have bacteria. So you keep the same pollution that works in 2 forty gallon (80?) and put that same pollution source into 100 gallons. Bacteria builds up quickly once it is well past the initial startup stage. That means more water diluting that pollution and quite a lot of the bacteria to deal with it.
I say it would work okay but bears some closer watching to make sure. Then as a fallback idea, have a plan to do water changes, add Prime or other to head off any spikes. Ammonia is bad but not something that can't be controlled IF it did show.
Other plans are for you to decide ?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by solchitlins View Post
So I guess my question is this a good plan or should I wait 6 weeks until I return?
You don't want to set up a new tank and then take off for a month. You will not be around to fix anything if something goes very wrong. Take your time and wait until you return.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 09:31 AM
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Yeah, both seem to have their ups and downs

more water volume = more dilution of pollutants = less dire need of water changes
set up now, chance things could go wrong while you are gone and lose everything/a lot.

x2 40G
less water volume = higher chance of it needing a water change (possibly before you return, but you mentioned you have let them go for longer without)
leave as is, but less water volume = less dilution so higher chance of polluting the tanks killing off fish if the tank sitter overfeeds

Take your pick.

With 2 weeks before you have to leave, I would think (If done right! kind of hard to mess things up, but that is possible) that is enough time to figure if the 100 Gallon route was set up and stable enough to trust leaving.
I've done similar with combining x5 20 gallon tanks into a 100 gallon all at once just fine and it was stable since day 1 of transfer, no mini-cycle or any spikes at all. Just transferred the fish (by no means a light bioload either) and only a handful of plants, brought over the filters and was smooth sailing.

Then again if you waited, you could do it when you get back (assuming everything survived during your vacation) and take your time doing so.

There are products that I have seen such as "ammonia pads" and zeolite chips that supposedly remove harmful traces of ammonia. I've never used them, but you might consider those as insurance haha.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 11:50 AM
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If you don't have a separate filter system for your new tank - then wait till you are back to set it up.

If you have a filter, then set it up now. Don't plant it. Don't have lights on. Just put in the substrate, any new hard scapes you would like to use, fill up and get the filter on. Measure out small doses of ammonia and make a schedule for them to be poured into the tank. Your cycle will be progressed upon in your absence.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-24-2015, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Each of my 40 gals has 2 ac110's, my QT tank has a huge diy hob filter and a smaller hob filter. Another smaller QT tank has a huge sponge filter and the new 100 gal came with the largest marineland canister filter. The previous owner had giant oscars so I didn't want to lose the bio filter so I temporarily hooked it to my QT tank that has a bunch of juvenile electric blue acaras in it that I trying to grow out and get a good pair :-)

So I have plenty of filtration for a bunch of tanks.

I'm going to my local fish auction today. Maybe I'll pick up a used tank and some plants. That way I'll have a back up in place if things go south?

Am I over thinking this?
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