Tank Upgrade Question

ajmidget

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Hi all,

Planning on upgrading my current 160L tank to a 500 or 600L neptunian cube tank (still undecided on which size lol).

What's the best route to take for this? I'm wanting to transfer all the coral and fish I've currently got into the new tank, but given the large increase in water volume I imagine adding around 400L of new saltwater would cause a cycle to start. Is it best to just fill the new tank with rock, sand, and water, let it cycle fresh, then transfer the fish and coral? Or could I use the water from my current tank to help?
I'd likely be bringing some of the sand and rock from the old tank to the new one as well. The rock would go into the sump for a few weeks and then be removed entirely, as I'd like to make a new aquascape and don't see how my current rock could be used with that.

Appreciate any advice or tips you folks could give.

Thanks
 

codycolina707

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Hi all,

Planning on upgrading my current 160L tank to a 500 or 600L neptunian cube tank (still undecided on which size lol).

What's the best route to take for this? I'm wanting to transfer all the coral and fish I've currently got into the new tank, but given the large increase in water volume I imagine adding around 400L of new saltwater would cause a cycle to start. Is it best to just fill the new tank with rock, sand, and water, let it cycle fresh, then transfer the fish and coral? Or could I use the water from my current tank to help?
I'd likely be bringing some of the sand and rock from the old tank to the new one as well. The rock would go into the sump for a few weeks and then be removed entirely, as I'd like to make a new aquascape and don't see how my current rock could be used with that.

Appreciate any advice or tips you folks could give.

Thanks
Most of your bacteria is on the rocks and substrate only issue might have is if you reuse old sand that is really dirty
 

Crustaceon

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No matter what, I think you’re going to get some sort of “mini cycle” but I don’t think it’ll be a big deal as long as you transfer as much rock and sand over to the new tank as quickly as possible. I’ve found temperature to be the real killer here once the sand and rock get too cold between transfers. I’ve been able to avoid issues when I couldn’t do the swap within an hour by setting up a few brute cans with heaters and circulation pumps just to keep temps in the cans at a normal temp. You’ll want to rinse that old sand in a few gallons of old saltwater you’ll be tossing out while you’re at it though, because it’ll be full of nasty stuff.
 

Jonify

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I'd likely be bringing some of the sand and rock from the old tank to the new one as well. The rock would go into the sump for a few weeks and then be removed entirely, as I'd like to make a new aquascape and don't see how my current rock could be used with that.

Appreciate any advice or tips you folks could give.

Thanks
There are a few ways to do this, but one thing to keep in mind is that more water volume won't necessarily start a new cycle--the bulk of your nitrifying bacteria live in your rock and sand, not in your water. So if you were planning on moving all rocks and sand to the new tank, you could also immediately add your fish and coral. Water parameters may be off for a few weeks, but it will settle back in quickly. If your sand is old or seldom vacuumed, this is a different story, as you'll likely need to deal with a nutrient spike. If you're not planning on bringing your rock, you could still move immediately over, but that would stress your animals for several days, so I'd recommend cycling that new tank separately instead and only moving your animals into the new tank once it's fully cycled.
 

K7BMG

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Your basically doing a rip clean.
With a 100% water change.

Just dont kill off the beneficial bacteria in the old rock and sand by using ro/do or tap water.
Your bio load is currently sufficient to handle things in the original tank and should carry on in the new tank.

I agree here the sand is the issue and it could have pockets of bad stuff that could be released.

I would set up the new tank. Fill with freshly made salt water match paramiters transfer livestock.

Shake rattlel and roll your existing rock in the old tank water and transfer to new tank.

Then do the same with the sand.
I would start now though and stir up small sections of the sand bed and syphon as much detritus out as possible. Save the water do not discard it.
When you do the transfer clean the sand in the old tank.
Then with the old water syphon off the top the clear old water to do a rinse and put in new tank.

Thats how I would do it.
But something tells me you want the new tank in the same spot so this may vary the ability to do it like this.
 
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ajmidget

ajmidget

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There are a few ways to do this, but one thing to keep in mind is that more water volume won't necessarily start a new cycle--the bulk of your nitrifying bacteria live in your rock and sand, not in your water. So if you were planning on moving all rocks and sand to the new tank, you could also immediately add your fish and coral. Water parameters may be off for a few weeks, but it will settle back in quickly. If your sand is old or seldom vacuumed, this is a different story, as you'll likely need to deal with a nutrient spike. If you're not planning on bringing your rock, you could still move immediately over, but that would stress your animals for several days, so I'd recommend cycling that new tank separately instead and only moving your animals into the new tank once it's fully cycled.
I haven't really touched the sand in a long time, probably a year now. However given that it's got that much detritus in it I'm starting to think just chucking it might be the better option, and instead starting with fresh sand. Regarding the rock that I'd be moving to the new tank, would removing it from the new tank after a few weeks be safe, after it's helped to seed the new rock?
 
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ajmidget

ajmidget

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Your basically doing a rip clean.
With a 100% water change.

Just dont kill off the beneficial bacteria in the old rock and sand by using ro/do or tap water.
Your bio load is currently sufficient to handle things in the original tank and should carry on in the new tank.

I agree here the sand is the issue and it could have pockets of bad stuff that could be released.

I would set up the new tank. Fill with freshly made salt water match paramiters transfer livestock.

Shake rattlel and roll your existing rock in the old tank water and transfer to new tank.

Then do the same with the sand.
I would start now though and stir up small sections of the sand bed and syphon as much detritus out as possible. Save the water do not discard it.
When you do the transfer clean the sand in the old tank.
Then with the old water syphon off the top the clear old water to do a rinse and put in new tank.

Thats how I would do it.
But something tells me you want the new tank in the same spot so this may vary the ability to do it like this.
Any benefits to just throwing out most of the sand, and only keeping a small amount to help with seeding the new tank? And luckily the new tank is going in a different room, so I have plenty of freedom to keep the current one up and running as long as needed.
 
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ajmidget

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No matter what, I think you’re going to get some sort of “mini cycle” but I don’t think it’ll be a big deal as long as you transfer as much rock and sand over to the new tank as quickly as possible. I’ve found temperature to be the real killer here once the sand and rock get too cold between transfers. I’ve been able to avoid issues when I couldn’t do the swap within an hour by setting up a few brute cans with heaters and circulation pumps just to keep temps in the cans at a normal temp. You’ll want to rinse that old sand in a few gallons of old saltwater you’ll be tossing out while you’re at it though, because it’ll be full of nasty stuff.
Ah yep heat loss isn't something I'd thought of to be fair - would it be best to transfer all of the water from my current tank or just some?
 

K7BMG

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The sand is the questionable thing here especially if you say it has not been disturbed in a year.

Your bioload is ballanced with the existing sand.
To chuck it, the load will be off balance and need to rebuild.
Its that simple.

The rock unless you have stuff you do not want to transfer, like Aiptasia should move to the new tank.
Theres nothing better than healthy well established live rock.

I guess in this case I would not use the sand from the old tank.
I would not chuck it as it can be cleaned and reused.

I would just set up the new tank, when the water matches parameters transfer your rock and livestock, use a bacteria booster or just add more beneficial bacteria to the tank and be done.
Keep testing for ammonia and do water changes when necessary.
If your livestock is healthy it will pull through.
 

Crustaceon

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Ah yep heat loss isn't something I'd thought of to be fair - would it be best to transfer all of the water from my current tank or just some?
You’ll want to transfer as much as you can especially considering you’ll be adding new saltwater to make up for the increase in tank size.
 

Jonify

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Any benefits to just throwing out most of the sand, and only keeping a small amount to help with seeding the new tank? And luckily the new tank is going in a different room, so I have plenty of freedom to keep the current one up and running as long as needed.
Honestly, it could go either way--we really don't know what you're going to kick up when you transfer the sand. Safest bet would be not to transfer the sand to your new tank. Like @K7BMG mentioned, you'll be fine with just the rock and a little bacteria booster. You also asked if you could pull out the rock down the road--yes, you can, but that may also cause another mini cycle. In both of these cases, just keep an eye on ammonia and you should be good to go.
 

Lowell Lemon

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Your sand contains many beneficial communities and I have set up and broken down lots of tanks for myself and customers over the years and never experienced a mini cycle. In the past we often stared new customer tanks with sand or gravel from established tanks and this is a standard way to establish new tanks. You could gravel vacuum the sand and dump the detritus before transfer if you wish to avoid some pockets of material. I have never encountered sulphur smells from a healthy tank or sand bed. A tank that is producing sulfur is dead or dying.

You should have no problem with a tank transfer from smaller to larger as long as you are not adding more biomass to the tank during the transfer like additional fish or inverts.
 

SPR1968

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Is it still worth moving the rock over or no?
ATM Colony will fully cycle the new system instantly (following the instructions) but if you want to move the rock as well then fine. Provided its good clean rock and not full of tied up phosphate etc
 
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Victor_C3

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I’m probably the only guy going to say this, but what I’d do is simply connect both systems so they share the same sump or water somehow, run them like this for a day or so and move everything to you new display at your leisure.

That’s essentially what I did with my system. I had 200 pounds of live rock cycling in 125 gallons of water in my sump for roughly three months. I even had fish and a CUC living in there, getting things established as much as I could while I waited for my display tank to be built and delivered.

When my 115 gallon display arrived, I added my sand, filled it with water, added salt and got the salinity and temperature to match. I connected the display to the sump and let the water between both tanks mix overnight. In the morning, I simply pulled whatever pieces of rock I wanted out of my sump and plopped them into my display, caught my fish, set up a few shrimp and crab traps, and moved livestock over to the display as I managed to catch them.

The lights in my display are significantly brighter than those of my sump, so I got a bit of an algae bloom, but after adding 4x turbo snails, I’m slowly getting that under control over the last 10 days or so.

Other than that, there have been no surprises.
 
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ajmidget

ajmidget

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Your sand contains many beneficial communities and I have set up and broken down lots of tanks for myself and customers over the years and never experienced a mini cycle. In the past we often stared new customer tanks with sand or gravel from established tanks and this is a standard way to establish new tanks. You could gravel vacuum the sand and dump the detritus before transfer if you wish to avoid some pockets of material. I have never encountered sulphur smells from a healthy tank or sand bed. A tank that is producing sulfur is dead or dying.

You should have no problem with a tank transfer from smaller to larger as long as you are not adding more biomass to the tank during the transfer like additional fish or inverts.
Yep I think I’ll do that, start gravel vacuuming the sand now and continue over the next few weeks.
 
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ajmidget

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ATM Colony will fully cycle the new system instantly (following the instructions) but if you want to move the rock as well then fine. Provided its good clean rock and not full of tied up phosphate etc
Would I encounter the usual algae stages (GHA, cyano, etc) by doing it this way or with moving my existing rock would that somehow prevent those from happening?
 
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ajmidget

ajmidget

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I’m probably the only guy going to say this, but what I’d do is simply connect both systems so they share the same sump or water somehow, run them like this for a day or so and move everything to you new display at your leisure.

That’s essentially what I did with my system. I had 200 pounds of live rock cycling in 125 gallons of water in my sump for roughly three months. I even had fish and a CUC living in there, getting things established as much as I could while I waited for my display tank to be built and delivered.

When my 115 gallon display arrived, I added my sand, filled it with water, added salt and got the salinity and temperature to match. I connected the display to the sump and let the water between both tanks mix overnight. In the morning, I simply pulled whatever pieces of rock I wanted out of my sump and plopped them into my display, caught my fish, set up a few shrimp and crab traps, and moved livestock over to the display as I managed to catch them.

The lights in my display are significantly brighter than those of my sump, so I got a bit of an algae bloom, but after adding 4x turbo snails, I’m slowly getting that under control over the last 10 days or so.

Other than that, there have been no surprises.
That’s actually a really good idea. Unfortunately not practical in my case as the current tank is in my room. Catching fish is always a pain lol.
 

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