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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok folks, here’s the deal. I need some advice on how to best switch things over to my new tank. I’ve been scaping for 9 years using the same high tech 29g tank running an Ehiem Ecco 2236 with 4” of Eco-complete. This is a heavily planted tank with a couple SAE’s, 15 Amano’s and about 18 tetras. Because I’ve only started this one tank, I’m at a bit of a loss here, huge blind spot in my skill set.

My killer wife bought me a new 50g rimless DAS tank (36x18x18). I love my wife. I’m switching over to aquasoil as well, but want to continue running my same filter. My concerns surround the utilization of my old filter to help cycle the new tank, while maintaining good health for critters and plants in the old tank for 30 day.

Let me tell you what I was proposing to do:
- Place old Eheim HOB liberty 200 on old tank and let it run for a week in combination with Ecco canister.
- Hardscape new 50g and add ADA aquasoil Amazonia, power sand and couple other ADA additives
- Fill 50g with water and follow suggested protocol:
- Perform a 95-100% water change in 24 hours.
- Perform another 95-100% water change 24 hours later.
- Perform a 50% water change 24 hours later.
- Add plenty of fast growing plants.
- Place Ecco-canister on new tank without cleaning filter to seed new tank. Leaving HOB on old 29g tank to maintain for 30 days while cycling new tank.
- Temporary use of an old 2x39 watt T5HO while maintaining current CF on old tank.
- Watch Ammonia levels and Nitrite levels on both tanks.
- Add SAE’s when finished cycling and then add in remaining fish over a couple weeks to be followed by shrimp.
- Move over several plants from old tank to new tank
- Do a partial clean of Canister filter after 45 days, possibly just the fine scrubber.

Well, that’s all I’ve got. My assumption about utilizing the HOB to maintain my 29g is based on threads I’ve read. Apparently, in an established heavily planted tank the filter is not necessary to maintain the cycle so much as it supports the mechanical movement of water. Therefore, the HOB should be sufficient to maintain things. Yes? No?

Do you think this will work? What should I change? Feel free to tear into my method.
 

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Sounds like a decent plan, only thing I could suggest that you may have to do is add ammonia while waiting for it to cycle. Just like any fishless cycle, you need to keep ammonia present or else you good bacteria will die.

Now aquasoil will definitely spike your ammonia, but it will eventually seep out. If you measure 0 ammonia, put enough in to get it to 1-2ppm and make sure it disappears in 24hrs.

Only other thing I can think of.... Others may have more(better?) info on the subject
 

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The soil will probably add enough ammonia to get well started on the cycle. Do enough water changes so the ammonia and nitrite stay under 5 ppm. 3-5 ppm is about right. Fastest growth without going over what they like. The bacteria you are growing does not like ammonia or nitrite over 5 ppm.
Watch out with the KH and pH. Some of these soils will remove the carbonates and this allows the pH to drop lower than the bacteria like. While you are cycling I would add potassium bicarbonate or baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to maintain the KH above 3 German degrees of hardness, and higher is just fine.
Toward the end of the cycle the soil slows down its production of ammonia and you may have to add ammonia if you are not quite ready to move things over.

You do not have to run the new filter on the old tank to seed it. Just take a bit of filter media from the old tank (not more than 25%) and add it to the new filter. The fishless cycle will do the rest.

Many plants do not like high ammonia. If you have a lot of trimmings from the old tank you might try starting with them. If they die of too much ammonia then you know to hold off until the end of the cycle to finish the 'scape.
Feel free to move things around, try different layouts while the tank is cycling.

When the cycle is pretty much done you will see whatever ammonia you may need to add goes away overnight, and nitrite does not show up, but the nitrate may be climbing a lot (depends on how many water changes you have had to do).
Do one more water change at the end to get rid of the high nitrates.
For this one you can make the GH, KH, TDS and pH match the current tank, then start adding fish.
Do not take too long to do this, the bacteria will start dying off to match the ammonia source (the fish).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The soil will probably add enough ammonia to get well started on the cycle. Do enough water changes so the ammonia and nitrite stay under 5 ppm. 3-5 ppm is about right. Fastest growth without going over what they like. The bacteria you are growing does not like ammonia or nitrite over 5 ppm.
Watch out with the KH and pH. Some of these soils will remove the carbonates and this allows the pH to drop lower than the bacteria like. While you are cycling I would add potassium bicarbonate or baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to maintain the KH above 3 German degrees of hardness, and higher is just fine.
Toward the end of the cycle the soil slows down its production of ammonia and you may have to add ammonia if you are not quite ready to move things over.

You do not have to run the new filter on the old tank to seed it. Just take a bit of filter media from the old tank (not more than 25%) and add it to the new filter. The fishless cycle will do the rest.

Many plants do not like high ammonia. If you have a lot of trimmings from the old tank you might try starting with them. If they die of too much ammonia then you know to hold off until the end of the cycle to finish the 'scape.
Feel free to move things around, try different layouts while the tank is cycling.

When the cycle is pretty much done you will see whatever ammonia you may need to add goes away overnight, and nitrite does not show up, but the nitrate may be climbing a lot (depends on how many water changes you have had to do).
Do one more water change at the end to get rid of the high nitrates.
For this one you can make the GH, KH, TDS and pH match the current tank, then start adding fish.
Do not take too long to do this, the bacteria will start dying off to match the ammonia source (the fish).

First off, Kudos for the information ! Where were you when I was in Chem class ?

Two questions

1. Although I haven't tested for some time due to the stability of my tank over the years, my KH is typically somewhere between 15 and 19 depending on the seasons. I live on a well, so things fluctuate a bit. with a KH this high am I likely to have enough buffering capacity to keep the Ph from crashing ?

2. The new tank will have to start off using the old used canister filter because it's hard lined into a cabinet. I was a bit confused by your response. Is it your belief that I am OK directly transferring the old canister filter from the old tank to the new uncycled tank without cleaning it first ? Thought this would seed the new tank fully. Or should I partially clean the old canister before transferring it to the new uncycled new tank, leaving approximately 25% of the used filter media intact ? Or did I miss your point on both accounts and I should do something else?
 
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