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Old 05-07-2007, 03:03 PM   #1
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Moving my SW reef tank

Hello all. Long time lurker here, first time poster. I've learned a ton from the forums here over the course of the past year - thank you all.

I've been in the aquarium hobby for quite some time - on and off for 20+ years. Mostly FW, but a little over a year ago my wife and I decided to put a small (29) reef tank in our bedroom. This was not my first SW reef tank, as I also had one in college.

Well, we've recently decided to build a house, so we're moving in about 5 months. I'm used to moving my FW tanks (120 frontosa tank is the big one), but I've not moved a SW tank, plus I think my situation will be unique because of my livestock and my desire to keep all current equipment.

We will be moving the tank, stand, lights, filters, livestock - everything from one house to the other (approximately 30 minute drive away, so no great distance). We will not be purchasing a new tank to move the critters in to - remember, we just bought a house, we're broke. Everything I've read on the internet regarding moving a SW tank seems to assume that I'll be moving from one tank to another tank - we will be using the same hardware at the new house.

I think I know the basics from having moved countless FW tanks - have plenty of pre-mixed SW ready at the new house, plenty of RO/DI water ready there as well, I'll be moving as much of the aquarium water from the tank to the new house, I'll bag the corals and fish, will monitor levels after the move....but have some specific concerns that I'm hoping some of you can help with.

I have a yellow headed jawfish that is one of my concerns. I'm not sure how to remove him from the tank for moving without completely destroying his burrow, and possibly injuring him - is this even possible? Do I simply go in with a finger, dig him out of his burrow and then make him dig it out again when we set the tank up at the new house? I'm not a fan of this, mostly because his residence is currently EXACTLY where we want it to be - it is perfect, and also because I'm concerned with caving his burrow in on him. The tank was set up with a jawfish in mind from the very beginning, and he ended up right where we hoped he would. I'm concerned that if we force him to dig a burrow again after the move, he'll decide to do so someplace we don't want him to. Anybody have any ideas, short of destroying the burrow? He's pretty shy - I'll not just happen to catch him out of his burrow. I am pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but I'm hoping.

Also, is there a concern with the sand bed? I have argonite, not CC, and in places it is fairly deep (for the jawfish). I will not be able to remove all of the water from the tank to move it, obviously a minimal amount will remain, so is there a potential problem with "sloshing" during the move disrupting my sand bed, causing all the nasties to be moved about? The tank is only a little over 1 year old, if that matters. I'd rather not replace the sandbed, if possible.

I'm sure I'll have further questions about this as I think through it more and more. The good news is that I have 5 months to prepare.
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Old 05-07-2007, 04:06 PM   #2
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I know when I moved mine I just changed the sand. Sand is cheap and the supposed live sand IMO is not live anymore. What I did was buy the dry sand and put it in the tank and seeded it with some real live sand from my LFS tank. The old sand in the original tank was just too nasty to reuse.
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Old 05-07-2007, 04:14 PM   #3
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I would recommend changing all the sand, especially if it's going to be disturbed. Many nutrients accumulate in sand over time. As you said, those "nasties" (nutrients like PO4, etc. and anoxic areas that may release toxic gases) released are going to cause an even larger cycle than the move itself is.(Just about anytime you disturb a tank like that you see a small cycle) Using the old sand would be like washing the car w/ dirty water Buy regular sand, and as Melosu said bacteria will quickly make it live again. You could also seed it w/ a pound or two of the old sand or if you have LR the life will migrate into the sand again. HTH
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Old 05-07-2007, 04:19 PM   #4
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BTW glad you decided to post and welcome to AA.com.
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Old 05-07-2007, 05:50 PM   #5
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Where are my manners. Welcome to AA
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:20 AM   #6
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Re: Moving my SW reef tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by climberreefer
I have a yellow headed jawfish that is one of my concerns. I'm not sure how to remove him from the tank for moving without completely destroying his burrow, and possibly injuring him - is this even possible? Do I simply go in with a finger, dig him out of his burrow and then make him dig it out again when we set the tank up at the new house? I'm not a fan of this, mostly because his residence is currently EXACTLY where we want it to be - it is perfect, and also because I'm concerned with caving his burrow in on him. The tank was set up with a jawfish in mind from the very beginning, and he ended up right where we hoped he would. I'm concerned that if we force him to dig a burrow again after the move, he'll decide to do so someplace we don't want him to. Anybody have any ideas, short of destroying the burrow? He's pretty shy - I'll not just happen to catch him out of his burrow. I am pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but I'm hoping.
.
I cannot see you being able to move the tank without destroying the burrow. It simply will have to re-dig...if your using the same tank and rock arrangement there is a good chance that it will find that same spot and re-dig...you could help promote that by starting the hole yourself after the sand settles.
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Old 05-08-2007, 12:35 PM   #7
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Thanks to everyone for the welcomes, and opinions. I figured I should replace the sand bed, it's cheap and the safest thing to do. I hoped I could get away without replacing it, but that's probably not the case. Just FYI, I did not purchase "live sand" to start the tank, I simply seeded it with some sand from my LFS (owned by a good friend that will be helping me move the tank). I would not purchase live sand to replace the sand bed with either, I will just seed it with some of my existing sand. The sand bed is actually in great shape, I have quite a few nassarius (spelling?) snails that do a great job of turning it over for me.

The jawfish will just have to re-dig his burrow. I'm thinking you are right, he'll probably dig in the same spot, as when we set the tank up we tried to pick a spot for him that we thought he'd like, as well as a spot we'd like. When I originally placed him in the tank from the QT, I had the burrow started for him already and he went right to work on it.
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by climberreefer
The jawfish will just have to re-dig his burrow.
That`s what he was created to do.
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