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Old 09-07-2010, 12:57 PM   #1
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Moving a 150G FOWLR

In the near future (next couple of months, maybe) I could find myself moving my 150G setup. It's about a two hour drive, and I wanted to run everything by the people on here and see if I should adjust my planning for any of this. My goal is to get this and my 20G FW planted setup moved in one day, though that may be ambitious. I've moved small FW before and I feel like I can handle that.

Livestock: I'm thinking of using 5-gallon buckets with lids, and holes drilled in the lids for air. The buckets would have roughly 3 gallons of tank water in them, and would have to be strapped tightly to the side of the moving truck to prevent them from falling over. I'm guessing the hermit crabs would have to be included in their own bucket.

I'll probably need 8 or so buckets, and I don't have that many on hand. I'm guessing I'd need to go to the hardware store and ask for buckets that haven't had nasty chemicals in them before?

Live rock: I think this is the biggest challenge, because I have 250 lbs of it, and I'm using it as the biological filtration for the tank. I'll probably have to keep it underwater since I don't want the beneficial bacteria to die off. I'm thinking something flat to prevent it from tipping over, but I don't want it to spill either, so the edges would have to be high. I originally thought of a kiddie pool or something like that. Any suggestions here? I can use tank water to keep the rock wet. I also have pure ammonia left over from my fishless cycle if that's necessary to keep the bacteria alive, but I don't know if it will be.

Live sand: I have 75 pounds of Aragonite sand in the bottom of the tank. I was thinking of leaving the sand in the tank with just enough water to cover it, with maybe an inch extra, and transporting the tank like that. That seems OK, but I worry that stirring up the sand bed like this (which will inevitably happen) could cause problems. I don't know if a way to avoid that, though, and I'm not sure how to mitigate that if it will cause a problem.

Water: I'll have to have 150 gallons of pre-mixed SW waiting at the destination house, which means lots of garbage cans filled with water. Yay!

I'm open to any suggestions for improvements on this, or to anything I've missed. I don't want to put any of my fish in danger in this move. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:54 PM   #2
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My only problem is that I would use new sand. By the time you move it around it`s going to be pretty rough. There`s alot of trash in that sand. The LR I would move in coolers.
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Old 09-07-2010, 02:29 PM   #3
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Coolers for the LR... that certainly would make me feel better about transporting it. I hope that doesn't become prohibitively expensive, though... maybe I can see how much they are and/or if I can borrow some from family.

...so putting in brand new sand would have less of a negative effect than stirring up the old sand? I'm guessing this is because of die-off; but I assume that it would be feasible to hang on to the old sand, clean it, and use it for something else (or sell it)?
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Old 09-07-2010, 03:53 PM   #4
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I would make a trip to your local home depot. They have new 5 gal buckets for under $4 each with matching lid. Never used before. Just clean them out with fresh water (no soap).

They also have 28+ gallon totes that have lids. You could get bigger and nicer ones, but each tote is less than $10. Wouldn't try the kiddy pool. They're stable if water is in them... but I'm sure the sloshing around would make a side cave in. You could also get a bunch of styrofoam coolers from any grocery store for cheap... all of those have lids too. Don't worry about filling up the entire tote with water to 100% cover the rocks. If it's only two hours you could fill them halfway and the sloshing will cover the rocks as well. People put wet new towels or newspaper over their rock to keep them moist.

I do use the same sand if/when I do a move. Would be expensive to replace 75 pounds of it... but if you can afford it, why not. Just don't move the tank with that much weight still in it. The weight may shift to one side causing the tank to break if you're not careful. Take the sand out and store it if you're transplanting, or chuck it if you're replacing.
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:25 PM   #5
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All right. Coolers for the LR and the sand.

I wanted to clarify something: if I chose to keep the same sand, I wanted to make sure nothing bad would happen by moving it and potentially stirring it up in the process. Would it be in my best interest to thoroughly rinse the sand off or something like that before I put it in?

If it's not too much of a hassle I'd like to prevent buying all new sand if possible. If there's going to be any danger to my system then I don't want to chance it, but maybe there are things I can do (like waiting to add the sand until last and adding it slowly?) to prevent complications? I've just heard a couple of different things and I wanted to make sure. Thanks,
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:29 AM   #6
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Well, I made the move this last weekend. I wrote an entry about it on my fish log (link in my signature) and there are a few loose ends/reflections I thought I'd share.

First, my biggest mistake is with the water I had pre-mixed. I had forgotten that I had the thermostat set at 60 degrees and I was storing the water near the edge of the house, so it was probably 55 degrees or so (maybe even colder) when I got there. OOPS! I didn't bother to put a heater in the water, which I should have done. The result was that the fish had to spend the night in their buckets because it was warmer there.

I worry that the live rock may have gotten down to as cold as 50 degrees during the course of the move. I'm hoping that doesn't cause a tank crash, since that was my source of biological filtration. Does anybody know how long the beneficial bacteria can survive at those kind of temperatures?

One reason to be optimistic about that, though; I had a little green clown goby that managed to stow away inside a rock, and he actually survived the move! I was sure that I'd lost him, but he appears to be doing just fine. I'd like to think that if he can survive the same conditions that the rocks did, then the bacteria in the rocks should be fine.

I ended up buying new sand.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:56 PM   #7
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Opps I am a little bit late did not read all the threads to see that you already made the move.....
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How about the RubberMaid or Sterlite Tutes that you can get at Walmart those have pretty tall sides plus lids for moving the LR in?? At least that is what I would use.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:56 PM   #8
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I thought about it but I think I ended up going with the coolers because they would be more stable when they're filled up with water, and they have lids that seal tightly. Maybe what you're talking about fits that description as well?
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:00 PM   #9
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I think they are stable and they do have lids...
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:25 AM   #10
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i read your blog about your move ( I am going to be moving 120g ) I believe I read that you bought new sand. Why? I am currently researching about this same issue. THE SAND!!!! I have heard that it can release some bad gases if disturbed to much. I am thinking to just keep a couple of cupfuls to re seed the new sand. Did you have any cycle? It sounds like you did a complete water change ( except for the water in the buckets with the fish ) Why did you choose to do this? I have read to keep as much of the tank water as possible. Anything you can give me heads up on will be great. I don't have to transport my tank anywhere. I am having new tile put in and have to move the tank Thanks
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