I just moved from Whitney, Texas to Mesa, Arizona. Decided to transport my established reef. Here is the way it was accomplished. Emptied the tank except for about two inches of water. Left the substrate. Put the rock in two tubs covered in seawater. They went in the Penske truck. Three five gallon buckets with lids. They went into my Jeep. Sea Anemone and a Maroon Clown in one. Other fish (six) in another bucket. Soft corals and starfish in the third bucket. Each bucket lid had a hole drilled for a air stone. Three small air pumps running off a small inverter. We took the three buckets into the motel at night. Arrived to late to set up the tank the first day of arrival. Checked on the "salty gang" and they were all doing well. Water was a bit cold. Next day made new water and added the old water to the tank. Adjusted the water in the newly set up tank to equal the temperature of the water in the buckets. To my delight all the livestock made the trip. Lost one soft coral probably due to cold water. One change I did notice. I started with one Sea Anemone (I thought) and now have three. Two are side by side. The third one is moving around looking (I assume) for a new home.
I only paid $350 for this setup. So I hated to sell it. I did add a CPR protein skimmer/refurium to it and use DI
water. Made a huge difference. My dear wife (California Girl) will only drink bottled water. The RO
unit paid for itself in six months just making drinking water. Now our two Border Collies get "special water" too.
1026 miles from Texas to Arizona. So it can be done. My friend that helped me move asked. Why would you go to the expense and trouble to move the tank. Two reasons. Established reef tanks are expensive and take time to set up. Bill do you have any idea how much saltwater fish cost and soft corals? If I can move them with calculated risk why not? Plus my wife insisted we keep the "salty gang" together.
Just for info.