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Old 08-04-2003, 01:40 AM   #1
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Moving an established tank

Hello, and thanks for such a great site!
I'm going to be the proud recipient of an established (several year old) Salt Water setup (200 gals). My understanding is that it contains live coral and several fish (not sure of the species or exact numbers yet). It will be moved from Northern Virginia to Philadelphia, a 3 hour trip, and I'd like to give the current residents the best chances of surviving this move. Can anyone give me some tips or rules when it comes to this type of situation? I've had fresh water tanks before, so I have some aquarium experience, but no salt water experience (I plan on combing this site and others, as well as books, before starting!!). My question involves not only moving the living elements - ie should I not remove all of the water and start over (would I be upsetting an ionic balance that would take a long time to reestablish)?

Also, 1 other question - water source for the replacement water. Philly tap water sucks (ie quickly kills even fresh water fish). I have access to de-ionized and double-deionized water (although it would be fairly tough to move 200 gallons of it). Should I try to treat the tap water (and therefore be able to quickly refill the tank) or use DI water (which would be a very slow process)?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-04-2003, 05:07 AM   #2
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I'm just getting back into marine tanks after a 10 years absence, but I've moved my share of FO marine tanks back in the day.

Here's how I'd do it:

1. Get three of your friends and a full sized pickup truck. That tank is at least a four man job.

2. Get 200 gallons of big strong plastic trash cans, with lids. You'll want to take as much water as possible, and all of the substrate, rock, etc.

3. Leave the trash cans in the back of the truck, out of the sun, and fill a couple of them halfway with water. Start putting the live rock in until there's no more rock in the tank. Top off the cans with water and put a powerhead close to the top in each one until you're ready to leave.

4. Fill another can full up with water and put the fish in it. Run a powerhead in it.

5. Fill another two cans halfway and put the substrate in. Top it off with water and pop another powerhead in.

6. Pump the rest of the water from the tank into the remaining garbage cans.

7. If the sump has bioballs, keep pouring a little water over them during the whole moving process. When they're ready to go into the truck, I'd cover the entire sump with a white garbage bag. Leave the water in the bottom and leave the end of the trash bag a little open so it can breath.

8. The garbage cans will then need bunched together in the truck and tide off tightly with rope. Don't ask me how I know this Put the tank and stand in. Then punch several holes in the garbage can lids and put them on. The several holes in top and the sloshing around of the water on the highway should keep enough oxygen in the water. You're now ready to roll.

9. Once you get home, you'll need a bunch a buckets or better yet another empty garbage can to get everything inside.

10. Once everything is back in the tank, feed very lightly maybe every other day and run your ammo/trite/trate/etc tests. You will have probably killed off a portion of the bacteria filtration and fish/inverts/corals are VERY sensitive to even a slight jump in biological toxins, and slight changes in all other water parameters. This is why you want to take all of the water. Unlike freshwater, the ocean stays constant in any given area for millions of years, and the critters in that area won't tolerate even slight changes.

Everyone else in the know please chime in. This is how we moved our FO and FOWLR tanks way back in the day of CC and wet/drys. 8) I don't ever recall any casualties.
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Old 08-04-2003, 05:10 AM   #3
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Lol thats a pretty good run through man Sounds like a pretty good plan lol.
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Old 08-04-2003, 06:18 AM   #4
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I did forget one thing.... Putting powerheads back in the cans with livestock upon arriving home. I also thought maybe sticking a heater in the can with fish to bring the temp back up would be a good idea, but it's not. I transported some rock and water a couple of weeks ago and the temp dropped from 79 to 76 in 2 hours of driving on a sunny, 80 degree day. I had the top off so that probably contributed. Upon further thinking, the rest of the cans will be the same temp as the fish can, so no need to put a heater in the can with fish them. They'll only have to acclimate to temp once this way, not twice.
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