Jump to content

Safe to switch tanks?


Recommended Posts

Today I noticed that my tank, which is only 3 months old, is leaking a bit.. about 1 drop per min. I have no other tanks running but I do have an empty one. 

Would be it save to transfer everything without any issue? I have about 2 inches of ADA Amazonia substrate, 15 or so CRS, and driftwoods with moss and buce. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sucks, sorry to hear! I've never done this before so I'm sure others can provide more insight, but answers to some of these questions might help:

1) how many gallons? Is it small enough to be able to swap with the new tank in place?

2) what is your filter setup? I imagine the moving of substrate will impact your beneficial bacteria to some extent so depending on your filter it may be worth building up more bacteria on some other surface for a brief time.

3) is the leak getting worse? Where is it located? Do you see physical damage like crack, etc?

4) any idea how this happened? If it's due to not using a tank mat, might want to make sure to take preventative measures for the next tank.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Given its only been 3 months, it's probably safe to say that mixing up the substrate completely shouldn't be too bad. But you likely will need a temp home for the CRS and maybe moss while the substrate dust settles down. Depending on your filter, maybe as little as a few hours or a few days to observe water params for sudden spikes. I would also try and keep as much of the same water you can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Running tank is Just a regular 5 gallon from petsmart and empty one is a ADA mini S so I don't think it'll be too hard switching. Filtration is Eheim 2213 with one of those sponge intake cover. Tank is leaking on a seam right at about the middle of the tank. I don't think the leak is getting worst... For now atleast. No physical damage observed and no idea what started the leak. 


Will my shrimps be fine in a bucket for a day or two just in case I get a small spike in ammonia? I have leftover seachem stability and prodibio vials to help out with Params. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say it's not the best idea. I lost 90% of a colony of neos doing this with a 10g with and inert substrate, so the Amazonia may cause issues as far as ammonia spiking. And ultimately, I believe an ammonia spike was the cause of my shrimps' downfall. Most people would say this is because you need to cycle the new tank, but the soil/wood/filter will carry over enough bacteria, especially if you keep identical water params by using the existing tank's water. I didn't know as much about them back then, but after transferring tanks a few times now, I see that controlling ammonia level is the key. If NH3 gets higher than the portion of biofilter you've managed to transfer can handle, you'll have issues... With that being said, if you must do it, my suggestions would be as follows:

1. Remove plants and hardscape if you want easier access to shrimp, or do this after step 2. Your call.

2. Remove the shrimp and place them in an alternate container with tank water and perhaps some plants and additional aeration (a separate line/airstone from the one used in the main tank so they can stay aerated for the duration).

3. Empty most of the tank water, if not all, into a bucket(s) to fill new tank later.

4. Carefully transfer the substrate to the new tank keeping in mind the lower layers will be somewhat soft. It may be a good idea to remove the top layer into a separate container and transfer the bottom half to the new tank, then place the collected top layer above. This may take a while, so keep it wet.

5. Add at least a little water at this point. By now the substrate's probably getting dry; You don't want your substrate to be in air for too long or the beneficial aquatic microorganisms may be destroyed along with their bio filtration and release ammonia when placed in the water. Also it's easier for planting imho.

6. Replace hardscape and plants.

7. Top up new tank with old tank water.

8. Reattach filtration as well as aeration and other equipment. If you have a double sponge filter, you might want to wring one sponge out into the water. This will distribute the beneficial bacteria throughout the tank and into the soil. Similarly, don't let the sponges dry out.

9. Go watch a movie or something and LET YOUR TANK SETTLE FOR LIKE AT LEAST A FEW HOURS (OR A DAY) WITH FILTRATION. This is something I severely miscalculated my first time, probably what made the ammonia jump so high. We know shrimp are able to stay in a bag beings moved around for a few days, so just keep them the right temp and aerated and they'll be fine sitting in a cup. During the winter or overnight I will float them to maintain heat.

10. Test your water. If there is no ammonia/nitrite and little nitrate (under 5ppm), check pH, KH, GH, and TDS.

11. If there's any ammonia, add some ammonia remover. This isn't a bad idea at this point anyway, but it can be misleading if you add it earlier, as some products (prime) are active for a day or two and can skew test results.

12. Do a water change. Even if there's no ammonia, I found its good practice to "measure twice, cut once" in life, and especially in this hobby. The bigger the better- if you can manage to keep the params stable. Just remember, slow and steady.

Now comes the moment (hours) of truth...

13. Temp and DRIP ACCLIMATE your shrimp slowly. It might sound kinda silly, but depending on how much time your shrimp spent in the holding container or how much you stirred up junk in the transfer, your water params could be severely different, and not just those you can or usually measure. This can cause osmotic shock, another factor I attribute to my shrimp not doing well my first time. And don't rush it because the water is the same; who can really be sure what's at the bottom of your substrate?

14. Release shrimp and pray to the shrimp gods.

Anyway, this is my ultra-cautious-but-hasty-shrimp-PTSD-induced method. I hope it helps.

Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Just a little side note. I just moved 5 tanks using this method to a new house about 3 miles away last Wednesday. No deaths as of yet!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...