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Old 08-18-2006, 11:36 AM   #1
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Moving a tank without cycling

I have a 55 gallon tank with 6 large Africans that I recently moved without cycling the tank before putting the fish in. On the same day, I took the fish out, broke the tank down, moved it, set it back up, and put the fish in. Though I would have liked to have done things differently (holding tank until the main tank set up and reestablished itself), circumstances I won't get into for the sake of brevity did not allow it. What I will let you know is that a month and a half later, all the fish are doing fine. In fact, I never observed a serious spike in any water parameters, saw no signs of stress in the fish. I thought I would share my experience and what I thought I did right for anyone who may be moving soon.

1. I remembered the adage that it is big changes in water quality that affect fish, and that it is better to leave a fish that has been used to dirty water in dirty water that suddenly put it in clean water. Therefore, I wanted to make sure my fish had become used to very clean water practically straight from the tap (w dechlor, of course), so during the week before the move, I did a 40% water change every day.

2. For transporting the fish, I went to the LFS and begged a big, heavy bag for each fish. Then, after bagging the fish (no O2 so I had to quickly grab it at the top and capture as much air as possible) I put them in a wine box (with dividers) I begged from the local liquor store, so each one had its own little space, couldn't see the other fish, and was in the dark.

3. When I emptied the aquarium, I kept the gravel just slightly submerged in the old water.

4. I swear by canister filters, and I have mine set up with two valves on both the incoming and outgoing hose. So I unplugged the filter, flipped all the valves, and moved the filter, water and all.

5. As soon as I physically set up the tank, I put the fish bags in it and then started filling it, and let them float for an additional 15 minutes once the tank was full.

6. By then, they had been in those bags 2+ hours, so I opened each bag and netted the fish out immediately, rather than the usual trickle method, based on recommendations I had gotten from companies that regularly ship live tropical fish.

7. Lights off, a blanket over the tank until the next morning, and didn't turn the lights on until the next afternoon.

I was pretty pleased to be able to move 6 very large, valuable cichlids that I had raised from little things, and move them very quickly without all the precautions I would have liked to take, with temps in the mid 90s, and not lose a single fish. I think it was partly luck, but I believe the measures I took above did a lot to minimize the stress (for the fish or me - I feel sorry for guys who have to move reef tanks quickly).
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Old 08-18-2006, 12:01 PM   #2
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You planned your move very carefully, to wit:

Quote:
3. When I emptied the aquarium, I kept the gravel just slightly submerged in the old water.
Quote:
4. I swear by canister filters, and I have mine set up with two valves on both the incoming and outgoing hose. So I unplugged the filter, flipped all the valves, and moved the filter, water and all.
The above were part and parcel of why you were successful "without" cycling. You saved probably all of your beneficial bacteria by doing this.

Glad to hear the move was successful. Happy and healthy fish is the name of the game.
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