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Old 01-22-2006, 04:56 PM   #1
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The big move

Hey all...

I'm looking for some info. on how to move a tank. I've read through everything here on moves, but they all seem to be fairly small.
My next move is most likely going to be long distance, as in 800-1000 miles or so. Has anyone ever had to make a move like this that includes an aquarium?

I have a 75G tank....75lbs of live rock. 4 fish(yellow tank, 2 clowns, and lawnmower blenny) Several corals. Was planning on getting rid of my substrate and adding new after the move, but keeping the water.

This almost seems impossible, but wanted to see if anyone has experience.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-22-2006, 08:44 PM   #2
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If you can hang on to that sand instead of replacing it with new, you'd be much better off. All that bacteria will be lost and the fish may not be able to go into the tank right away.

Save most of the water. You can have say your LFS if they can, help you pack the fish in large bags of plenty of water (preferrably from the tank), but plenty of oxygen as well (not catched air in the bag, but real oxygen). They should be bagged individually and boxed in styro boxes with lids. I suggest getting rid of the yellow tang. May not survive such a move especially if you don't save the sand. The top layer is the most important and should be transported wet and aerated.

Live rock needs to be kept wet but not neccessarily in water. Wrap the rocks individually in wet saturated newspaper and boxed in something that won't absorb the water away from the newspaper. Warehouse shipping, they use boxes coated with a waxy substance. Maybe a styro for that too. It can hold a little water (maybe 1/2 inch to an inch of). You can line it with a large plastic trash bag...there you go That'll work.

Corals should be bagged with oxygen if the move is going to take more than 24 hours to complete. In this case, it very well can take longer. But...they should not be allowed to touch air...so tall bags with lots of water where they can sit further down away from the air line of the bag.

Keep any and all bio aerated and wet. That's the biggie. That's the live rock and the live sand. The live rock is too big and too heavy to transport that way. You will loss some stuff on the rock but it will grow back. This is one reason why you should keep most of the sand...especially the top layers. The sand can go into rubber maid containers cheaply gotten from like Home Depot. Place the sand in it and fill enough with tank water to cover the sand and place an airstone in the water. There are battery operated pumps. If you can't fill bags with oxygen, the fish can be transported in this fashion. Trick is to not fill the container all the way (only half) and have as smooth of a ride as possible. The clowns are tough fish and can endure the move. The rock blenny is small enough to just chill during the move, but I still think the tang might be the one to have a hard time.

Once you are at your destination, make the tank your first priority to get up and running. Have stuff with you to deal with ammonia spikes to protect the fish. This is why I don't think the tang would make it. To acclimate the fish, you should get a bucket with some new water and just cut them out into it and then use a drip line for about two hours at the least. Corals can go right in after floating for temp acclimation about 20 minutes after the temp in the tank is stable. Shellfish should also be acclimated in the same manner as the fish. Best not to feed the fish 24 hours prior to being bagged. This will lessen ammonia build up in the bag water.

This isn't impossible, but that sand is too important to leave behind.

Good luck. It's a lot of work whether you are moving 1000 miles or just down the road.

We, as a people, know so much more about outer space than we do about our own oceans. This lack of knowledge can very well spell the dangers that lay in wait for us.

The oceans surely would swallow us before a rock comes down to smite the planet of it's life.
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Old 01-31-2006, 03:48 PM   #3
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Moved my 120 tank 1150 miles

This is my first post. I have been lurking for a few months now. Just completed a major move...From Boca Raton, Florida to Silver Spring, Maryland...1150 miles in all.

Many people "experts" told me it couldn't be done. It was more stressful for me than the fish!

The fish that made the trip and enjoying Maryland
Two Yellow Tangs
Clown Fish
Powder Blue Tang (large)
Hippo Tang
Purple Tang
Engineer Goby
Large Clam (don't know name of species)
Two Shrimp
Some snails

The only two fish that died
Angel (Fire Red)

I would say that in total, it took about 72 hours from the time I broke down the tank in Florida until the time that I had my new tank up and running in Maryland. (My 3 young daughters, beautiful wife and dog and Quaker Parrot also made the trip and are all good.)

I definitely learned a whole bunch. I would definitely not recommend this and I doubt I would ever attempt it again.

120 Gallon Tank
30 Gallon Sump
UV Light
Protein Skimmer
Two MH Lights
Hang-On cheap filter w/active carbon

Several things that I am sure contributed to success:
1. I brought at least half of my saltwater and shipped up an extra 60 gallons of new saltwater. (filtered seawater I used to buy in FL.)
2. Made sure to take all of the sand. Kept it aerated.
3. Kept live rock wet and aerated with several air stones.
4. Left behind actual empty tank. Had a new tank waiting. I was afraid seals would go. Tank was over 8 yrs old)
5. Had a small hang-on filter and heater running on the 96 gallon garbage pail that I had half filled. Transported fish and corals in pail.

Fortunately I had my 9 year old daughter, Ariella help me the whole drive up. Could not have done it without her.

If anyone is ever considering to make a long distance move, please contact me and I will be happy to try and talk you out of it. If however you are as stubborn as I am, then I will share with you everything I learned along the way!
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