License to krill

Moving contents of one tank to larger tank

IOnceWasLegend

Supporting Member
So I have a sand-bottom tank with live rock. A few questions I were to upgrade my 20 gallon to a 40-50 gallon tank:

1. Would I be able to move the sand bed from the old tank to the new tank (it's ~1.5" deep), or would that be a bad idea?
2. Would I need to cycle the new tank with my existing live rock? Or would it be better to cycle it 'from scratch' with new live rock and then move everything over?
 

max_nano

Supporting Member
I went from a nuvo 10 to a RSR 170 (34 gal) I’m still a newb but I’ll share what I did, which was successful

1. I set the new tank up with rocks I had cycling in a bucket for a few weeks. I ended up getting new sand and I believe others would recommend that as well. If your first tank was pest free you could probably take a cup of the old sand to seed the new sand, but consider this an opportunity to dip and start pest free, or at least attempt to be pest free.

2. I moved the existing rocks over, but like I said I also added some rocks because there obviously wasn’t enough from the 10 gal for the bigger DT. Moving rocks over probably brings any existing pest over so if pest eradication is a goal in this transfer you probably want to start with fresh rock and follow the right procedures to dry and cure the old rock before using it again in a tank.
I’m sure others with more experience will answer but that’s what worked for me!
 

IOnceWasLegend

Supporting Member
I went from a nuvo 10 to a RSR 170 (34 gal) I’m still a newb but I’ll share what I did, which was successful

1. I set the new tank up with rocks I had cycling in a bucket for a few weeks. I ended up getting new sand and I believe others would recommend that as well. If your first tank was pest free you could probably take a cup of the old sand to seed the new sand, but consider this an opportunity to dip and start pest free, or at least attempt to be pest free.

2. I moved the existing rocks over, but like I said I also added some rocks because there obviously wasn’t enough from the 10 gal for the bigger DT. Moving rocks over probably brings any existing pest over so if pest eradication is a goal in this transfer you probably want to start with fresh rock and follow the right procedures to dry and cure the old rock before using it again in a tank.
I’m sure others with more experience will answer but that’s what worked for me!
Huh; I didn't even think about the fact you could cycle rocks in a bucket. Do you just toss a piece of your live rock into a bucket with saltwater, "dead" rock, mix, and leave it alone for a bit? I'm not too worried about pest transfer with the sand transfer; my main concern would be whether releasing pockets of hydrogen sulfide is a possibility with a shallow sand bed.
 

rygh

Webmaster
Staff member
Sand:
+1 on just getting new sand.
But you can use old sand.
Save a bit for seeding new tank.
For the rest, extract to a bucket, wash it clean with a hose, then rinse at the end with RODI to eliminate residual chloring from tap water.

Rock:
+1 on needing more rock and pre-curing it.
Just move current over unless you have a pest problem.
But rinse it a lot in a bucket of salt water to remove years of detritus.

Note that with some seeded sand and your old live rock, you will probably not have a new tank cycle.
 

max_nano

Supporting Member
Huh; I didn't even think about the fact you could cycle rocks in a bucket. Do you just toss a piece of your live rock into a bucket with saltwater, "dead" rock, mix, and leave it alone for a bit? I'm not too worried about pest transfer with the sand transfer; my main concern would be whether releasing pockets of hydrogen sulfide is a possibility with a shallow sand bed.
I’ve done it for two tanks now. First time was a bucket with a small AC powerhead and a heater, I added dry rock and api bacteria and left it running for a few weeks before getting it into the new tank. Just give it some food while feeding your current tank to provide a source of ammonia.
The most recent time I did it in a $10 10 gal from petco With the same powerhead and heater then I added Dr. Tims and some vibrant as an experiment then fed it. It is way too early (lights have only been on a few days) for me to come to conclusions on the vibrant but I’ve seen 0 algae so far, but I had it and wanted to use it for something
 

svreef

Supporting Member
You can also put a sponge in your existing tank for a few weeks and let it pick up bacteria - then use to populate the new tanks or the rocks you’re cycling.
 

Coral reefer

BOD
Staff member
If you have no pests or anything on your rocks then just move them straight over. I’d usually start with new live sand, you can move it, but it’s a dirty affair
 

Rostato

Supporting Member
I just upgraded (and still am) from a reefer 250 to a reefer 450.

I would throw away your old sand. It’s not worth the hassle of cleaning. You “could” use a bit of your old sand to “seed” but I’ve never seen any “proof“ that that’s needed. Too many quotes...

DO NOT, I repeat; DO NOT re use your sand without completely cleaning it and letting it completely dry out on a clean surface outside.

I also highly recommend going bare bottom, but thats up to you.

Get the new tank all up and running with RO water and check for leaks. Once your satisfied with zero leaks, you can add salt, a power head and a heater. Then you have a completely full tank with pre-mixed and heated saltwater.

Keep your old tank running the whole time.

Ensure the temp, Salinity, alk, and ph in the new tank are as close to the old tank as possible. This is why you always use a salt with the parameters you want to keep in your tank.

Now remove enough newly mixed and heated saltwater from the new tank to allow all your old stuff (rocks, fish, coral, equipment etc. and at least half (I recommend 75%) of the water from your old tank to transfer over. This is going to be your water change water in two days ;)

Add your sand and let the tank settle...eww I hate sand.

Once the sand is settled It’s time to start moving. First add like 50% of the water from your old tank to the new and then move all your rocks coral and fish to the new tank. (Quickly). Don’t worry too much about the aquascape yet, just get things moved.

Add your equipment and then finish filling the tank from your old tanks water (do not pull out yucky looking water. Try your best not to disturb the sandbed (have I mentioned I hate sand)

Now, here is the most important part. At this point do not add anything new. No new rocks, no new fish, nothing! Wait! Be patient! Your fish and coral will be a bit “off” but to them it was just a big water change. Even though you just upgraded and have more water volume does not mean you need any more bio filtration because your bio load is the same. As long as you did a good job getting the new salt similar to yours you’ll be good. You will lose a bit of biofiltration from the old sand but it should be fine.

After two days, do another big water change (30-40% ish from your leftover water. (New tank, not old). Continue with 20% water changes every week for a month, the. Go back to your regular schedule.

Your tank will be a bit unstable for months as things find a new equilibrium. So go slow.

What I have been doing is adding a few more lbs of rock every month to cycle in the tank. If you go slow enough you won’t get an ugly faze. Use this time to scape the tank in your mind and think about how you want things to look when your done.

My transfer is about 3-4 months old now and since I’ve taken it slow and slowly moved and added things it’s gone well, but it could go horribly if your not careful. I just added a few more rocks, and I plan to add more in a month. Go slow!

I’m sure I forgot something, but that’s how I’ve been doing it
 

ashburn2k

Supporting Member
I’m playing the devil’s advocate, I reused my old rock and old sand when i moved my 187g from one house to another house in a day.

First put rock in and dump the sand in while it’s filled with old water, now while water is dirty, take out 50% and replace with new SW. make sure you have circulation pump on high, this is rather important for me, and once water clears, put back your livestock when the temperature is stabilized.

My total water volume is close to 300g so maybe that plays part where it’s more forgiving when you have more water volume.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

ofzakaria

Supporting Member
So I have a sand-bottom tank with live rock. A few questions I were to upgrade my 20 gallon to a 40-50 gallon tank:

1. Would I be able to move the sand bed from the old tank to the new tank (it's ~1.5" deep), or would that be a bad idea?
2. Would I need to cycle the new tank with my existing live rock? Or would it be better to cycle it 'from scratch' with new live rock and then move everything over?
If you do that my advice is to rinse the old sand well in RODI. Rinse couple times till u see water clear out, then re use the sand. Otherwise you are looking at a spik of nutrients..depending on how old the sand ofcourse
 
Top