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ryansweet

Tank upgrade

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Looking for information, advice, and opinions.

I've been in the salt water hobby for 21yrs this year and enjoyed (mostly) every minute of it. Started when I was 19yo and only taken a little over a year off when I moved back from Florida to Indiana after some schoolin'. This will be the first time that I've upgraded a tank, and kept any livestock from the old. My plan is to keep the 75gal up and running while I get the 120gal ready for the exchange. I'm getting rid of some live rock due to some unwanted palys that rode in on a frag years ago and started to take over. I'm moving the remaining rock, all fish, and wanted coral/inverts to the new 120 once it's ready. I'm getting all new sand (using none from the 75), some new dry rock to replace what I'm not moving over, and add some for the extra space. Biggest fear (and excitement, really) is, what will I find in my sand after 9yrs of a running reef??

For those of you who have done a tank upgrade/transfer like this, what are things that you would do different/same/NOT do at all/etc? Also, I've been looking at rock scapes online and trying to decide which way to go, so if you have any pics of your design (before and after stocking), or suggestions on that, I'd be grateful. 

 

Thanks!!

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I kept my old sand from my 90 when I upgraded to the 180. 90 was up for 3 years, not 9 though. Curious as to why you would want to get rid of the sand and uses all new? 

I found my upgrade process easy. I had both tanks running for some time. Put everything together added all my dry rock and sand with what was coming over from the 90 inmind. Left space for those pieces to be put in later. First thing that came over was the live rock pieces I liked and didn’t have coral on them. As well as as much as sand I could pick up with a fish net.

One thing I was not prepared for when I did this was the displacement of the water when I removed that much mass from the aquarium. Had to shut the return off, pump all the water from the sump into the display, and run only powerheads till I made and mixed enough water. So don’t do this. Have some water ready. 

Once diatoms showed their face all the inverts went in. Plus more I bought. 1week later all the corals and their rocks from the 90. ( I was ready for the displacement here.) lol 1week after corals came the peaceful fish with new stock list in mind for order of introducing other fish to limit aggression.

i slowly moved fish over and sold the rock I didn’t want to keep. Once most of the stuff  was sold. I took the tank down. 

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That sounds pretty close to my plan. I do have 2 55gal barrels that I'm going to have salt water in (and 3 - 15gal that I'll have fresh in), so that I semi-prepared for. 

I don't want to keep my sand; 1) It's 9yrs old and I'm afraid of what has gathered as I don't keep any sand sifting inverts aside from a few nassarius. 2) I overdosed calcium and alk at one point and have an appx 6in area where the sand has fused together. It's never caused issues in this tank (been that way for at least 6 of the 9 years), but don't want to take any chances. 3) I sort of just want to have all new sand to play with. Lol

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Ryan

You can never do enough planning!  I look back and see how different the final variation was compared to what I sketched out originally. I did use the Dr Tim method of rapid cycle which worked very well. I also used all new sand and the rock work was either all new and cured or some pieces out of old tank nuked and put in to new tank.  

I still have that Brut for you and if you need to borrow anything else let me know

 

 

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Just my 2 cents here. You have a deep sand bed? About the only thing to worry about then  is a sulfide pocket right? In that case I’m on your side on error on the side of caution. Considering you’ll still have inhabitants.  If not all I see is a bunch of detritus clouds coming out. You could suck it out, rinse it out, and dry it out put it back in as clean dry sand. Use the $$$ for new fish and corals later. But... playing with new stuff always exciting! Lol  That sand is very old, I mean it was sitting in the ocean for a bit before it was sucked up and packaged. 😉 

  • Haha 1

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When I have upgraded tank's I ran them both at the same time and did water transfers a few times between the two.  I think if you take your time and move a little at a time you'll be just fine.  As far as moving the sand, personally I would not.  I would try to disturb the sand as little as possible.  But i never use sand in the first place : )  Just reminds me of a septic tank in your aquarium.

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@tanknovice, I'll def get that Brut from you. If you can bring it to the swap I'll grab it then, if not I can swing by and grab it. I can't count how many different renderings of rock work I've sketched or looked up online. It's exciting to plan, but probably the biggest headache I've had for a long time (I don't live a hard life...lol). Don't have a clue what else I'll need...yet. 

@Gonzo620, I thought about doing a rinse, but with leaving the old tank up with live stuff in it until the new tank is ready, I don't think it'd be a good idea to disturb it and take the chance and things going bad. Maybe I'll just buy a ton of sps and some parrotfish, they'll make all the sand for me!

@Luke33, glad to see you still around. No tank but still keeps in touch. He's a trooper! I sort of think the same way about sand in a closed system, but I just can't get into the look of a bb tank. I tried one when I lived in Florida and ended up adding sand after 5 months of running it. I'm having some issues (in thought anyway) because I'm going to use the same skimmer and lights on the new tank. I don't think it'll be an issue since there won't be any coral, or much livestock in the new tank until I'm ready to transfer over, but I'm wondering about cycling with no lights and how diatoms will react to a low nutrient, low-no light environment. 

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The only time I upgraded tanks was... a little over 16 years ago and I didn't have corals as I was just a fowlr. The move was from a 55 to my current 125.  I did transfer all my sand but did "vacuum" it fairly well. I transferred the LR a portion one day at a time and then added some more. I only took one week to let the new tank settle but as I mentioned only a fowlr. I did not lose any fish and the cycle was minimal. I did not use Tim's at that time.

In your case, (assuming your bed is not deep... 1-2 inches) I can see taking more time but aside from cleaning the sand without destroying the bacteria. I would definitely would use Tim's and like you are doing plan, and be patient. Good Luck, I hope it all goes well!

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