I recently lost all the fish in my 37 gallon tank and it lay dormant for a couple of months. Then, after being tired of seeing all that equipment sit unused, I spent some money and rebuilt the aquascape entirely, using sand instead of small gravel. And by adding a large piece of real driftwood, smooth stones, and large sandstone pieces as structures instead of a fake coral “hotel” for the fish, there has been a new sense of quality. Lastly, I added new plants to keep everything fresh and add some color.
For about a month I only had a black and a white snail keeping everything clean while I tried to figure out my strategy of buying fish. After a little toil, I decided to buy a brand new 10 gallon tank as a “staging” area for all new fish. Here’s the logic: Five to seven fish at a time will be put into the 10g, and I will gradually adapt the 10g over three weeks’ time to the same pH, ammonia, and nitrate levels as the 37g. Then, once the 10g has leveled out and is stable (and is fully cycled), I will transfer the fish from the 10g to the 37g. Making changes to the smaller tank is much easier and faster in acclimating the fish to my environment. It also adds the additional bonus of being a quarantine tank incase the new inhabitants have any illness.
So, about four and a half weeks ago I bought the new 10g with all the bells and whistles, and got it running, water balanced, etc. One week later, I bought five Neon Tetras, the first of the new fish destined for the 37g. After a couple of days, I lost one of the Neons to Ich. This past Sunday, three weeks after putting them in the 10g, I transferred the remaining four Neons into the 37g and they have been very happy in their new home. And today, I bought seven more Neons and put them in the 10g. In three weeks, if everything goes well, they’ll make it into the big tank too, joining their brothers.