But first, the starting point will be selecting the best complete aquarium system which will be suited for your new project. Whether it is a marine tank or a freshwater aquarium setup obviously you would want something much bigger now with higher capacity compared to your old aquarium. There are quite a number of selections to go around like Juwel which I think the 450 model will definitely make an awesome show tank display and become the envy of your friends. And then you also have the Oceanic Biocube if you are planning on upgrading from a freshwater to a marine aquarium. Apart from that, what I’ve heard also is that the Marineland and Tetra starter systems will be fine, offering a hassle-free, easy to set up kits plus accessories, so basically the choice is yours to make as you are presented with so many options. The best way to go about is heading to the aquarium store and have a first hand view and look on the items before deciding which one you like best that will suit the type of fish that you will be migrating to your bigger home aquarium.
After everything is ready, do not rush into things and immediately transfer your pets. Remember, you would want your new tank to be fully cycled so that your fish will not be exposed and subjected to the stress of moving to a different place. Normally as I’ve mentioned earlier, this should be an easy process because in order to accelerate the cycling step, just take some of the gravel from your old tank together with all the plants and then put it in your new setup. Depending on temperature and other tank conditions, normally it will take about a week or less, thus make sure that you periodically check for nitrite and nitrate levels to confirm on the actual reading. Another option you can also consider is that if you decided to leave everything intact in your old system, you can also take the filter media such as your sponge pad from the old unit and put it in to your new aquarium filter. As far as I know, this is the best method because most of the bacteria actually reside in the filter compartment and thus your aquarium will be up and running in no time. For marine aquariums, the whole process will take slightly longer because you have to ensure that the water condition is already okay before you proceed to move the live sands. Leave this for at least a day before you work on the live rocks and corals while extreme care has to be applied without damaging any of those. Again retest your water quality before you go on to the next step of actually moving your pets.
Catching your fish can be quite tricky especially if you have not done this before taking them out from their home. For some people, they actually don’t have the nerve to really get it done as they scared this will hurt their pets. One thing to always remember is that in order reduce the stress level, try to siphon at least a quarter of the water from your old tank to the new one. Don’t worry about the water being dirty because that is what your fish want it to be anyway as the aged water contains some fluids and slime from their own body. Other aspect that you might want to watch out for is the size. Maybe when you first bought your pets couple of years ago, they were just a small tiny fry but now you are dealing with much larger fish size and sometimes that alone will give you the chill and left you wondering whether you are doing the right thing. Another fact that you will need to acknowledge is that certain fish species will find it easier adjusting to the different water condition and living environment without giving much problem but there are some which will take slightly longer time period. Hardy fish like platy, cichlids and to certain extent goldfish will not have much problem as they can quickly forget about what is happening around. There are some species like the discus and arowana which can be more sensitive so it might take a while to get everything back to normal. After you have completed the move, continue to monitor their behavior and find out whether they have adjusted to the tank environment. Chances are most likely there won’t be much problem after all if you plan your tasks carefully.
Based on my own experience when buying a totally new aquarium set, best option is to get a whole complete system that comes in a single package. A few reputable suppliers like Juwel, Marineland, JBJ and Oceanic have their own range of products and pre-assembled setups like lighting, aquarium filter which all come together specially made to complement their fish tanks. In short, this will take away all the hassles of figuring out what type of accessories and items to match the other and whether everything will fit in. The same principle can also be applied if you are setting up an ideal fish system for whole family.