Upgrading your aquarium to a larger tank can be a great idea. It is much easier to maintain bigger tanks and also can keep more fishes. You can transfer the fishes and the gravel however it is better to leave the water behind.
Water may not be the source of bacterial colonies. Certain beneficial bacteria will usually colonize the filter, gravel bed and various other tank’s hard surfaces e.g. rocks and decorations.
Following are few steps for successful transfer of fish from a smaller tank to a larger new tank.
- Prepare your Old Tank
Vacuum lightly all the gravel present in old tank to remove large particles. By using pH meter test the water and also measure temperature to match with the new tank.
If recently any fish death took place in the older tank, filter replaced or any new fish has been added then wait for few weeks before you move the fish for stabilizing the old tank.
- Set up your new tank
You will need new heater and filter for new larger tank as old will not be good enough. Fill 3/4th of the tank with water. Let the new heater run at least for 24 hours.
The older filter and heater need not be used now but you can keep them as a backup for future.
- Test the water
Check the pH as well as temperature of water of new tank after at least 24 hours and make a comparison with the old tank. If there is change in condition then don’t transfer the fishes. Out of these two parameters, pH is very critical. If the parameters are matching closely only then you must transfer.
- Moving the gravel
Use any clean cup for transferring the gravel to your new tank. Preferably use any plastic disposable drinking cups so that you may throw away after its use. Next you must move rocks and other decorations.
In case, you like to use same old filter in your new tank, then ensure that it was running prior to moving fish.
- Moving fish
If the temperature and pH is exactly matching then start transferring fish without really bagging them. Otherwise, you will need to bag all fish for acclimating them almost in the same way while bringing new fish from Fish Tank Focus or a pet shop.
Use any disposable plastic cup or a net for transferring. Make sure that fish does not jump out and keep on swimming in the water. It is little tricky to transfer fish so you must have good practice in handling them.
- Moving the filter
The filter which was installed in old tank must be having beneficial bacterial colonies within the filter media. Run both new and old filter for few weeks, so that you can introduce plenty of beneficial bacteria in your new tank.
- After the move
You still need to go through certain startup cycle, however transferring the gravel can speed up your process. You must treat your new tank like you had started out just now that means you must test the water for ammonia and nitrites until they are zero.