Jump to content
jrdd

How to manage up-sizing my tank?

Recommended Posts

jrdd

Hi everyone!

I have been running 20 gallon AIO for a few years and recently acquired a drilled 25 gallon cube that is plumbed to a 23 gallon sump. I am trying to decide how to move into the new tank, and whether I should do so now.
 

I figure I have a volume of 13 gallons of actual saltwater in my AIO. This means moving all of my water over would constitute a ~73% water change, right?


Could such a move crash my tank? What should I be wary of when moving? If possible, should I get the tank operating in parallel with *some* of my live rock and only a water change worth of old salt water and extend out my migration while I have time, would that put both tanks at risk of cycling?

 

also, I am moving in four months so I am wondering if it is a good time to make such a drastic change. If I do move to the new tank now, should I consider omitting my old sand for now and opt for bare bottom? I have a Tanaka wrasse and a couple of peppermint shrimp, so nobody requires sand. My live rock is many years old, some of it is perhaps 6+ years.

 

and input would

be appreciated! Very long time lurker, first time poster.

Share this post


Link to post
Clown79

Take a look at my lagoon journal. I documented step by step what i did to switch tanks.

 

Ihave never had a tank crash, cycle, or losses with this method and i have transfered, moved, upgraded many tanks.

 

If you are moving in 4 mnths, i would upgrade then.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
jrdd
6 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

Take a look at my lagoon journal. I documented step by step what i did to switch tanks.

 

Ihave never had a tank crash, cycle, or losses with this method and i have transfered, moved, upgraded many tanks.

 

If you are moving in 4 mnths, i would upgrade then.

Thanks, I will give it a read through!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Critteraholic

+1 @Clown79  Loved Clown's step by step tank switch!  With pictures!  And I second making the switch on the move.  Just one stress episode to deal with (that includes you too 🙂 ). 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
blasterman

This is why I keep bare bottom tanks and corals mounted to ceramic dishes and small rocks.

 

I can forklift my ecology to a new tank with little stability issues. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
jrdd
1 hour ago, blasterman said:

This is why I keep bare bottom tanks and corals mounted to ceramic dishes and small rocks.

 

I can forklift my ecology to a new tank with little stability issues. 

I have actually been considering this. I have a secondhand novo concept panorama tanks  with an awkward footprint, meaning my sandbed is really only a square foot.... whereas I have a substantial amount of live rock, probably more than necessary for my volume. I'm considering laying an aragonite floor and just placing my live rock atop it, or otherwise putting the live rock right on bottom. 

Just wondering whether that'll make matters worse.

Share this post


Link to post
East1

IMO the biggest issue with moving a tank is sandbed stability - even if you use a fresh aragonite sandbed and existing rock with a cup to seed the sandbed, there are some chemical processes that need to bottom out for stability - including po4 adsorbtion to the aragonite, which in itself gives a substrate for diatoms > hair algae > cyanobacteria due to the po4 local concentration. 

 

This then causes algal blooms that can outcomplete corals for nutrients, especially po4, which is a huge risk factor because po4 starvation will cause STN/RTN in acropora and I expect similar stresses in other corals. 

 

To that end, I'd recommend cycling the new tank with existing tank water and establishing a biological base in the sand bed if you're keeping it before moving corals. If you had no sand and just liverock, then moving to a new tank is far simpler because most of the processes don't change at all from an ecological / chemical point of view 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
DevilDuck

@Clown79 Thanks for the step by step tank move in your journal! Getting ready for a larger tank move myself, and it was very helpful.

 

1 hour ago, East1 said:

IMO the biggest issue with moving a tank is sandbed stability - even if you use a fresh aragonite sandbed and existing rock with a cup to seed the sandbed, there are some chemical processes that need to bottom out for stability - including po4 adsorbtion to the aragonite, which in itself gives a substrate for diatoms > hair algae > cyanobacteria due to the po4 local concentration. 

 

This then causes algal blooms that can outcomplete corals for nutrients, especially po4, which is a huge risk factor because po4 starvation will cause STN/RTN in acropora and I expect similar stresses in other corals. 

 

To that end, I'd recommend cycling the new tank with existing tank water and establishing a biological base in the sand bed if you're keeping it before moving corals. If you had no sand and just liverock, then moving to a new tank is far simpler because most of the processes don't change at all from an ecological / chemical point of view 

@East1 Will it help to test and dose po4 during cycling to counter the absorption from the new sandbed?

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
East1

I've not done much experimentation in this vein, but with my most recent tank I started with 99% synthetic ceramic rock, and fresh sand ( a mix of aragonite and some cheap crushed coral). In the beginning I did dose some PO4 but didn't test as in this stage I expect it wouldn't show on a test kit. I kept dosing alongside some nitrate in a 3:1 ratio till I saw signs of algae growth and then stopped. My thesis was that at this point there was adequate adsorbed phosphate on the Caco3 structure of the sand and synthetic rock that the system was saturated.

 

From this point I got some hair algae that turned into a huge bloom, followed by dieoff and replacement by cyano which also bloomed very strongly and slowed subsequently. During the hair algae stage I noted that the corals were fine and the tank processed nutrient as normal, however during the cyano stage the acros showed heavy phosphate starvation signs - poor PE and a thinning to their flesh. Dosing PO4 combined with Zeo FlatwormStop and Coral Booster reversed this within minutes. FWS and CB are vectors that the corals seem to take up very well and also bind to other elements somehow, as I've used them as a vector for trace elements too. Based on this quick recovery I theorised that the hair algae used what it could, before being out-competed by the cyano able to uptake directly from the adsorbed PO4 on the rock and sand which were locking up PO4 from the corals. 

 

since dosing nitrate and phosphate daily (I'd estimate 0.02-0.05ppm PO4 a day, and about 2-5ppm Nitrate daily) the cyano has eased off and I've seen an increase in coralline growth and also coral growth in the past 2-4 weeks. =

 

I got a bit convoluted but I think it's important to know the full opicture here - you're essentially trying to fill any phosphate reservoirs, to establish cyano and effectively determine the low point of PO4 in the tank, at this point you can add PO4 and it'll be consumed within biological processes fuelled by carbon and skimmed out or consumed by corals. 

 

Mathematically I guess you're derivating the lowpoint of phosphate as a usable element in whatever form it can sequester in the reservoirs of a tank, with the sand being a big component. Going through this process navigates through the most dangerous phas of biostability that would affect sensitive corals and allows you to then create a proper mode of phosphate cycling and removal via biology as opposed to via PO4 removers.

 

I would further theorise that's why you see some people with rock that grows awful algae in certain spots, and why some people will have high phosphates for extended periods - you can't just remove it from the water because the water is simply a buffer zone between the biological reservoirs of Po4 and the physical chemical reservoirs of Po4, and balancing this is important for long term stability. 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
DevilDuck

Sorry to thread jack @jrdd. I'm hoping this information is useful for you too. If not let me know and I can start a new thread.

 

I have a new tank on order and I'm planning on moving from a 13.5 gallon tank to a system with 90 gallons (60 gallons display/30 gallon sump). 

This is my plan of attack based some reading @Clown79 journal and some reef2reef posts.

 

1. Assemble, level, and plumb tank

2. Add new dead rock and aquascape leaving room for live rock in my existing system

3. Fill with RODI water (this will be my leak test)

4. Mix salt water in tank to match current tank temp and salinity - I have to do this since the LFS uses a different brand of salt than I generally use (Kent vs Fritz)

5. Move all remaining rocks and most of biomedia, move all livestock and coral. 

 

Mix of rock will be 50/50 old live and new dead rock. I'll keep my old tank filled and running in case I need to fall back.

 

Is this possible and safe or will I need to do a ground up cycle of the new tank as the jump in volume is quite large.

 

@seabass @mcarroll Interested in your thoughts as well.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
East1
8 minutes ago, DevilDuck said:

Sorry to thread jack @jrdd. I'm hoping this information is useful for you too. If not let me know and I can start a new thread.

 

I have a new tank on order and I'm planning on moving from a 13.5 gallon tank to a system with 90 gallons (60 gallons display/30 gallon sump). 

This is my plan of attack based some reading on here and reef2reef:

 

1. Assemble, level, and plumb tank

2. Add new dead rock and aquascape leaving room for live rock in my existing system

3. Fill with RODI water (this will be my leak test)

4. Mix salt water in tank to match current tank temp and salinity - I have to do this since the LFS uses a different brand of salt than I generally use (Kent vs Fritz)

5. Move all remaining rocks and most of biomedia, move all livestock and coral. 

 

Mix of rock will be 50/50 old live and new dead rock. I'll keep my old tank filled and running in case I need to fall back.

 

Is this possible and safe or will I need to do a ground up cycle of the new tank as the jump in volume is quite large.

 

 

To me this seems possible and safe, the only thing to be aware of is the new rock - is it old rock from an existing reef, dead liverock  or synthetic or ceramic rock? if it's the first two you'd likely get some kinda cycle though livestock could be fine, in the case of the synthetic you'll be fine. I'm assuming no sand, in which case I'd note the above though the likeliehood of having issues from adding fresh sand to a tank with old rock is probably quite low, because the biological processes would be tied to your existing rock in the most part and the extra phosphate sink would at worst cause small algal blooms

Share this post


Link to post
Murphych
10 minutes ago, DevilDuck said:

Sorry to thread jack @jrdd. I'm hoping this information is useful for you too. If not let me know and I can start a new thread.

 

I have a new tank on order and I'm planning on moving from a 13.5 gallon tank to a system with 90 gallons (60 gallons display/30 gallon sump). 

This is my plan of attack based some reading on here and reef2reef:

 

1. Assemble, level, and plumb tank

2. Add new dead rock and aquascape leaving room for live rock in my existing system

3. Fill with RODI water (this will be my leak test)

4. Mix salt water in tank to match current tank temp and salinity - I have to do this since the LFS uses a different brand of salt than I generally use (Kent vs Fritz)

5. Move all remaining rocks and most of biomedia, move all livestock and coral. 

 

Mix of rock will be 50/50 old live and new dead rock. I'll keep my old tank filled and running in case I need to fall back.

 

Is this possible and safe or will I need to do a ground up cycle of the new tank as the jump in volume is quite large.

 

I did that. Pretty much dumped the nano into the 90g. Was absolutely fine with no cycle. See my build thread for the detail.. I did take my GHA with me which was the only downfall...

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
DevilDuck
6 minutes ago, East1 said:

 

To me this seems possible and safe, the only thing to be aware of is the new rock - is it old rock from an existing reef, dead liverock  or synthetic or ceramic rock? if it's the first two you'd likely get some kinda cycle though livestock could be fine, in the case of the synthetic you'll be fine. I'm assuming no sand, in which case I'd note the above though the likeliehood of having issues from adding fresh sand to a tank with old rock is probably quite low, because the biological processes would be tied to your existing rock in the most part and the extra phosphate sink would at worst cause small algal blooms

The new tank will have all new sand, new rock is synthetic Caribsea Life Rock and a couple of pieces of flat Marco base rock.

 

7 minutes ago, Murphych said:

I did that. Pretty much dumped the nano into the 90g. Was absolutely fine with no cycle. See my build thread for the detail.. I did take my GHA with me which was the only downfall...

 

Thanks  I'll read through your journal! GHA is so common I don't think it will be possible not to get it into your tank eventually.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
seabass
43 minutes ago, DevilDuck said:

Add new dead rock and aquascape leaving room for live rock in my existing system

The Life Rock should be fine, but I still like to build up the biofilter on the dry rock separately, before introducing the live rock.  You can do this in the new tank if you wish, or in some other container:

  • dose ammonium chloride to bring ammonia up to 2 ppm
  • let it fall to 0.25 ppm
  • repeat the above until the rock can process 2 ppm of ammonia down to 0.25 ppm within 24 hours

Then change out enough water to bring nitrate into your target range, and finally transfer over your existing live rock and other livestock.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Clown79
1 hour ago, DevilDuck said:

Sorry to thread jack @jrdd. I'm hoping this information is useful for you too. If not let me know and I can start a new thread.

 

I have a new tank on order and I'm planning on moving from a 13.5 gallon tank to a system with 90 gallons (60 gallons display/30 gallon sump). 

This is my plan of attack based some reading @Clown79 journal and some reef2reef posts.

 

1. Assemble, level, and plumb tank

2. Add new dead rock and aquascape leaving room for live rock in my existing system

3. Fill with RODI water (this will be my leak test)

4. Mix salt water in tank to match current tank temp and salinity - I have to do this since the LFS uses a different brand of salt than I generally use (Kent vs Fritz)

5. Move all remaining rocks and most of biomedia, move all livestock and coral. 

 

Mix of rock will be 50/50 old live and new dead rock. I'll keep my old tank filled and running in case I need to fall back.

 

Is this possible and safe or will I need to do a ground up cycle of the new tank as the jump in volume is quite large.

 

@seabass @mcarroll Interested in your thoughts as well.

 

 You will obviously be adding a lot more rock since its a bigger tank.

 

I have used liferock with no issues because it has bacteria in it. But i wouldn't increase bioload to the tank beyond whats already in the 13.5g for a bit because your liverock can sustain that.

 

 

but to be safest, its best to add the rock to a bucket of sw with heater and water movement to test it out for a week or so.

 

I highly recommend the seachem ammonia badge, its just easier and then you can add it to the new tank for precaution.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
jrdd
5 hours ago, DevilDuck said:

Sorry to thread jack @jrdd. I'm hoping this information is useful for you too. If not let me know and I can start a new thread.

Not at all, this is a great conversation and I'm grateful everyone is so helpful!

 

I'm in a similar boat. I'm going to have to assemble the tank just to clean it, so I may as have it cycling some material, just unsure whether it'll be aragonite tiles or sand...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
mcarroll
On 5/6/2021 at 4:26 PM, DevilDuck said:

Interested in your thoughts as well.

Good plan!

 

As long as the new rock and sand have some "alone time" in the new tank before the transfer, where you can take a few days to monitor (e.g. for nutrient spikes) and react as needed, it should be no problem.

 

Having an ammonia issue *should be* unlikely since the rock is new, clean rock and the sand is bagged-live (eg has some ammonia processing capacity).  Even less likely since your live rock will have excess processing capacity AND the ability to ramp up quickly.

 

Of course once everything is in the new tank, I'd wait at least a month or so for everything to settle in before making any new changes.  👍

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

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

Guest
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.

  • Recommended Discussions

×
×
  • Create New...