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Help with how to set up new tank and transfer from old?

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

Hi, I am setting up my new 54 gal corner tank and moving stuff from 35 gal hex.

I added 30 gallons of water w /ideal 1.023 salinity.

Added new crushed coral/sand and few pounds from original.


I have some new rocks and some old rocks from the original tank.


I am thinking of taking the rocks out of my old tank and scoop up as much sand as possible to transfer into a new tank.


Then next day after it settles - Is it wise for me to move all rocks in and let it cycle?


I was told that when I add rocks (including my existing), I should throw a fish in a new tank to produce waste so the bacteria doesn't die - the one in sand and on rocks???

I have 2 cardinals - can I sacrifice one?


Then I assume I would take another 10 gallons from my existing tank and top off the new tank?


But not sure when I would move my existing fish - few days or few weeks after?

Obviously I would be checking parameters.  I have clown, 2 red eye cardinals, royal gramma, some blue wrasse and tiny yellow puffer (from walmart).


I read and re-read the postings on forums as well as internet instructions.

But it always talks about really big tanks OR those that are suitable for corals and sophisticated fish.  I am doing fish only tank.




Within 1.5 years I went from a little bowl my friend gave me to a 54 gallon saltwater - I think I am obsessed - LOL

post #2 of 44

So you have the 54 setup with 30 gallons of newly mixed water, and sand correct? How much sand? It is not advisable to move the sand from the old tank to the new tank unless you plan to thoroughly rinse it first as there will be a lot of nastiness in it.


I suggest taking the rocks out of you old tank and putting them into the new tank, hopefully the water is at the correct salinity and the temperature is close to the same as the existing tank. Take one cup of the old sand taken from as close to the top layer as you can and add it to the new tank. Move over your critters. Top off the new tank with water from the old tank. Start monitoring the water of the new tank for ammonia. You should not get any or a very small spike is any. Get some Amquel or any other product that locks up ammonia. Have some new saltwater mixed and ready to go in case you need to do a water change in a hurry.

post #3 of 44
Thread Starter 

Hi, that is correct - new 30 gallons in new tank and 40 lbs of new coral/sand.

Salinity is at 1.023 at both and temp is already there as well.

I'll move my rocks then and some rinsed sand from old tank - too much to throw away :-)

Thank you!

post #4 of 44

make sure to take a cup of not rinsed sand from the old tank again from the top layer of sand. This will help to see the new sand with some bacteria and perhaps even some fauna from the old tank. Also once the old tank is empty maybe scrape some coralline from the back wall and throw it in the new tank to help seed some of the new rocks.

post #5 of 44
Thread Starter 

thank you Spanko.  advises as always very very helpful

that's exactly what I got from my research and I did throw in some sand yesterday.

also, since i have a fish only tank and i vacuum gravel pretty often, i can prob take more sand from my old tank than most people do and throw in for starting the process.


so you're saying that now i can throw some more sand, put all rocks and just wait and check water parameters?


btw, i have 10 gallons mixed already ready to go - do you think it's a good idea right NOW to take 10 gallons from old tank, transfer to new and then add that NEW mixture to the old tank for the time being?

post #6 of 44

I am saying;

Take a cup of old sand from the old tank not rinsed from the top layer and put it into the new tank.

Take rock work and put it into the new tank.

Take fish and critters and put into a bucket with as much and as clear old tank water as you can get out.

Take as much old sand as you need to use in new tank and rinse well then add to new tank.

Put in fish and critters and as much of the old tank water as you need to fill the new tank up.

Start pumps lights filters etc. on new tank.

Save the 10 gallons of new water you have ready in case you need to do an emergency water change.

post #7 of 44


Edited by oceandude - 12/14/11 at 11:52am
post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 


I just read it twice and have it printed

Thank you

post #9 of 44
Spanko's method is exactly how I've transferred things from one tank to another.
post #10 of 44

Yup, agree. My post is the same procedure for the most part...and probably a bit long and boring, albeit effective for many years and many more tanks. ;)

post #11 of 44
Thread Starter 

Thank you ALL!!!!   Greatly appreciate it!


Thanks to Spanko for many great advises here and other things

post #12 of 44
Thread Starter 

Btw, when can I actually throw one of my fishes in there?  I have two red eye cardinals so I can sacrifice one.


Rocks from old tank are there, some sand too, moved media from old filter to new - last Friday.

Sat threw in some crabs who are alive and well.


How long do I wait to start the process with one fish?

post #13 of 44

Honestly, I've done it in less than 24 hours time from beginning to end. It's all about what you are comfortable with, how you acclimate and what your water parameters are reading.

post #14 of 44
Thread Starter 

So I followed your advise and introduced my red eye cardinal - used the same acclimation as I would do with any new fish from outside of my home.


Two days and he's swimming around alive and kicking.   Eating his shrimp, etc.


My parameters all checked out fine but when do you think I should drop another fish in there - this weekend?

post #15 of 44


Edited by oceandude - 12/14/11 at 11:31am
post #16 of 44
Thread Starter 

I don't doubt at all

but I have to work with what I have - holidays, two kids, and wife who thinks i am obsessed brickwall.gif


so i am looking for easiest solutions, yet, this is not something i want to f up - that's why i ask for your advises


so i will add another fish and wait up

thank you

post #17 of 44

Most excellent, caution and patience is always the best. ;)

post #18 of 44
Thread Starter 

So I moved 3 of my fishes within past week (one just yesterday)

Parameters are these:

Ph - 8

Ammonia, Nitrite - 0

Nitrate - 5.0ppm


WHEN can I move another one?

post #19 of 44

As long as your parameters stay good, you can add another one. Keep an eye on the parameters though.

post #20 of 44
Thread Starter 

Absolutely!  It usually spike within few days, right?

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