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Moving From 30l Biorb To 90l Tank

Author Topic: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank  (Read 2648 times)

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Offline Andmf

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Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« on: July 05, 2016, 01:00:37 PM »
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Hi There,
Im new to the forum and have a couple of questions to ask after hovering and reading for a couple of weeks, I currently have a Biorb 30l but I am upgrading to a 90l tank with a new fluval U2 filter on it (Ive inherited the tank).  Due to lack of spaceI wont be able to keep the Biorb running while the tank cycles.  I wont be getting the tank for another 4 weeks so I thought if  got a sponge from the U2 and put it in the bottom of the Biorb in the ceramic media, would enough bacteria transfer(or breed) in that 4 weeks?  Once I have the tank and have it planted (java fern and Java moss) I aim to use the water from the Biorb topped up with de-chlorinated water and transfer my current fish.  At the moment I have 2 Mollys (Male), 2 Guppies (Male) and a spotted catfish.  I also intend to use the current ceramic media (initially) under the sand to help transfer bacteria, then just keep an eye on the water.  My local water is very soft 3.675 Clarke.

Analysis    Typical Value     UK/EU limit   Units
Hardness Level   Very Soft      
Hardness Clarke   3.675            Clarke
Aluminium   <6.77   200   g Al/l
Calcium   17.0      mg Ca/l
Residual chlorine - Total   0.62      mg/l
Residual chlorine - Free   0.55      mg/l
Coliform bacteria   0   0   number/100ml
Colour   <1.64   20   mg/l Pt/Co scale
Conductivity   142   2500   uS/cm at 20oC
Copper   <0.0049   2   mg Cu/l
E.coli   0   0   number/100ml
Iron   <11.5   200   g Fe/l
Lead   <0.328   10   g Pb/l
Magnesium   2.37      mg Mg/l
Manganese   <0.486   50   g Mn/l
Nitrate   5.95   50   mg NO3/l
Sodium   11.3   200   mg Na/l

^^ If you can make sense of that, it wont let me upload the picture.

Also I will be moving my bogwood, half dissolved shell and a few other stones to the new tank when I do the initial set-up.  Once the new tank is running I hope to add some of the sponge from the biorb into the new filter.  Hopefully this should help me to get then new tank cycled as soon as possible once the transfer has taken place.  I would be grateful for any comments if Im going wrong or suggestions please.
Regards
Andy

Offline Paddyc

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2016, 01:16:35 PM »
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Firstly, welcome to the forum  :cheers:

A few questions for you if you don't mind, it will help answer your questions.

Is the 90 litre a used tank ie has the filter been used with the tank and with fish?

What is the filtration system on the biorb 30 litre? Can the filter be moved into the 90 litre?

It would be preferable to use as much of the old filter media as possible in the new filter to give the bacteria colonies the best chance of sustaining the fish in the new tank. You can cut up old sponges and pack them into the space in the Fluval. Whatever new media you need to remove to achieve this can be kept and swapped in after a few months, keeping in mind not to replace any more than 1/3 of the media in the filter.

Are you certain there isn't anywhere you can move the biorb tank to while you cycle the new tank?

What water parameter testing kit are you using? Our recommended kit is the API freshwater master kit with the liquid bottles.

I'll stop there for now. We'll get you moved over, don't worry about that.  :cheers:

Offline ColinB

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2016, 01:27:31 PM »
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Hello Andy, and welcome to the forum.

You're doing exactly the right thing with your transfer of media ideas. Just check your Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels carefully for the first month after the tank move, and don't get any more fish until you're sure the filter is working properly.

Talking of fish, I'm afraid, mollies and guppies are hard water fish so it's best not to get any more of those. If you browse the Fish Profile section on this forum you'll see a Hardness range given and they are both m,h,vh while your water is vs. There're loads of fish suitable for your water, but very soft water comes with it's own set of problems. My water is equally soft.

EDIT: PaddyC just pipped me, and has said a lot more and better of what I've just said, but I'll leave it as is.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2016, 01:35:23 PM »
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Welcome, Andy. :wave:

Paddy and Colin have covered most/all of the issues. Take a look at my "signature" and anyone else's who mention that they have very soft water (Paddy's another) and you might get some inspiration on choices of fish from what we keep.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2016, 01:40:17 PM »
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Hello Andy and welcome to the forum.  :wave:

Offline Sue

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2016, 03:46:52 PM »
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The problem is the nature of the biorb filter. It is basically an undergravel filter; those ceramic stones on the bottom of the tank are the biomedium. The box contains a small sponge which is used mainly to trap debris and a carbon/zeolite mixture, neither of which make good homes for bacteria. However, cutting up the sponge and putting it into the U2 in place of the poly-carbon pads would help, though it wouldn't transfer enough bacteria for the fish you currently have.
Putting the stones under the sand of the new tank will just starve the bacteria. Water doesn't circulate through sand very well so the ammonia made by the fish won't reach any stones under the gravel. It would be better to put them on top.

Putting the media from the new tank into the biorb won't transfer much in the way of bacteria. You have enough for the fish you have already and they won't transfer to the new media in any great numbers.


What you could do is run the whole new filter, not just one sponge, in a bucket somewhere and do a fishless cycle in that. Moving the sponge from the biorb as I mentioned above would help kick tart the cycle so it wouldn't take as long as without. You would need a heater though or the cycle would take ages at room temperature.
Better than a bucket would be something that holds 30 litres, the same as the biorb. 3 ppm ammonia in something holding 30 litres water is twice the amount of ammonia that would give 3 ppm in a 15 litre bucket. For example this with an old towel or something to keep dust getting in.
Surely you have a corner that could accommodate a large bucket?

Offline Sue

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2016, 03:59:01 PM »
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Livebearers and your soft water have already been mentioned.
Fish websites use one of two hardness units - german degrees (also called dH) and ppm CaCo3, which is usually called just ppm.

Your 3.675 deg Clarke convert to 2.9 deg German and 52.5 ppm. Use these figures on sites like Seriously Fish and FishBase

Offline Andmf

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2016, 06:17:48 PM »
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Hi all,
Thanks for the quick responses.  The new tank and filter have never been cycled so are in effect new.  With regards to the ceramic media, would putting it in a plastic mesh bag next to the filter intake help?  The 2 mollys were born in the biorb just before mum died in a bad nitrite spike when I was setting up.  The catfish "whiskers" as my daughters have named him is I truly believe indestructable as long as he's in water.  As he is now a year old and has been with us since setup.  I do a 20l water change every week and everything is groovy with them.  I just want a bigger tank....
I use prime on every water change and that seems to keep everyone happy.  I wondered why the shell was slowly disappearing must be the water wantong the goodies from it.  Testing kit, I have been using strips but intend to get the master kit before new tank day. 
Regards
Andy

Offline Sue

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2016, 07:21:47 PM »
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The bacteria we want to grow live on every surface in the tank - the glass, the substrate, the decor on the heater etc. They grow best where there is a good flow of water - inside the filter is the best place for this.
I suggest you move everything you can. Even if the decor is not part of your long term plans for the new tank, in the short term they will help as there will be some bacteria on the decor.
The U2 filter has 2 sponges, 2 poly-carbon pads and a box of ceramic media. I think the ceramic biorb rocks are too big to fit inside this box. But the sponge from the box in the biorb can be 'persuaded' to replace the poly-carbon pads with the aid of a pair of scissors.
If you could get any of the smaller stones inside the U2 that would be a great help. How hard are they, can they be broken into smaller pieces? If the answer is yes, I would smash up as many as would fit inside the box in the middle of the U2 then do as you suggest with the rest in a mesh bag. After a couple of months start removing the stones in the bag a few at a time, then replace the broken  stones bit by bit with the proper U2 ceramic medium.

A master test kit is definitely a good idea. Feed the fish lightly for a few days before the swap, nothing on the day itself, and lightly for a few days afterwards. Test for both ammonia and nitrite until you have a week of them both zero. If you do find either or both drifting above zero, water changes are the best way to keep them down. If you have a low pH to match your soft water that will help keep the ammonia in the  less toxic ammonium form, but nitrite will be more toxic.

I know it will be hard to resist but if you could manage to wait a couple of months before getting more fish you will do yourself and the current fish a big favour.



What kind of catfish is whiskers? if you don't know, a photo could help with an ID.

Offline Andmf

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2016, 07:30:04 PM »
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Hi there, whiskers is a spotted hoplo, its because of him I want a bigger tank, I have no intention of getting more fish for a least 6 months after setup, the 2 mollys follow whiskers around when he is digging up food very funny to watch, he does all the work and they do all the food

Offline Sue

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2016, 07:38:52 PM »
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I see why you want a bigger tank! And a standard shaped rectangular tank will have more swimming room than a spherical tank.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2016, 09:55:04 PM »
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Sounds so cute. A picture of Whiskers and the mollys would be great.  ;D

Offline Andmf

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2016, 02:13:19 PM »
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Hi All, just an update on where I'm at at the moment with the upgrade, before getting the new tank, I got the filter foams from the U2 and put them in the Biorb under some of the gravel for 3 weeks, they were pretty filthy when I got them out so they got rinsed in some of the Biorb water removed after a water change.

When I got the tank (last week) I set it up how I want it and removed basically everything from the Biorb.  I managed to half fill the bio section of the filter with the biorb stones so I have a half/half mix in there at the moment, let the tank run for 48 hours with the plants and decorations in it.

I have now moved the fish and put the remaining Biorb stones in a mesh bag at the back of the tank behind some plants and the filter.  I have been testing the water daily and am getting 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite and what looks to be a slight increase in Nitrate, so I think that by moving all the media accross may have done the trick.  The fish have now been in the tank for 5 days and I have never seen them so animated, I dont think they have been still since the change.  I initially thought some of the smaller ones may have struggled in the filter current after being in the Biorb but they seem fine.  And even more amazingly whiskers has found a new niche in life - digging up plants!!  Here is a link to some shared photo's (I couldnt get them to upload) https://goo.gl/photos/CWSrk3UGSjL6Dwp36
Please excuse the quality, I'll try and get some less blurry ones later.

Offline Sue

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2016, 04:25:31 PM »
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That is good news  :) And the increasing nitrate shows the bacteria are doing their job.



You have a choice if you want more fish. Either leave the biorb media there till you have got all the fish you want, then remove it bit by bit; or remove it bit by bit now, then get more fish. The first means having the mesh bag in the tank for longer, the second means waiting longer for fish  :)

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2016, 05:21:44 PM »
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Fantastic news about the tank.  :cheers:
Great pictures. Whiskers is adorable.  ;D

Offline Andmf

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2016, 08:00:14 PM »
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Oh! Forgot to mention, as it turns out, one of my 'male' mollys (Sunny) is a girl and as she and Lilly have matured, Lilly has benn swinging his schlong in sunnys direction, so more fish may be due soon, I may have to get another female because he is now mithering her something rotten even though she is now twice his size and they were born on the same day.

Offline Sue

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2016, 08:23:40 PM »
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That's the trouble with male livebearers, one track minds  ;D This is the reason it is always advised to have 1 male to 2 or more females.

All livebearer males look like females until puberty. Something to watch for when your fish have babies.

Offline Andmf

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2016, 02:51:39 PM »
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Hi all, update on the tank.
I've had a bit of a nightmare, all my original fish have now died. It looked like swim bladder, one by one.  I have 6 neon tetras left now, all parameters are low but I do have a black algae problem.  FOrtunately I have had no deaths for the last 8 weeks so things are looking up.  I am looking to put in an external filter in the next month or so, so that may help.  In a bid to get rid of the black stuff I have been using seachem exel which does seem to be doing its job and the plants are coming along great so thats good.  SO all in all, bit of a mare but the future is looking brighter and greener.  Hopefully after christmas I'll start increaing numbers (slowly),
Regards
Andy

Offline Sue

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2016, 05:07:03 PM »
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I'm sorry to hear about your fish  :(
It's curious that neon tetras have survived as they are usually such delicate fish.

When you set up the external, put as much of the established media into it as you can. Leave out some new media to make room. Afterwards, monitor your ammonia and nitrite until you are sure they are OK. The new filter should have settled in by the time you get more fish.

If you intend removing the old media at some point, I would wait till after you've restocked the tank fully, then remove a bit of old and replace with the media that was supposed to go in the filter, one small bit a month. Or just leave the old media in there.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Moving from 30l Biorb to 90l Tank
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2016, 06:11:39 PM »
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So sorry to hear about your fish loss.
I appear to be going through something similar with my tiger barb tank and know how frustrating and upsetting it can be.
I hope evrything goes well for you and your fish from now on, and good luck for whenevr you decide to look at re-stocking your tank.

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