View Full Version : How to move a reef tank?

12/06/2012, 05:42 PM
Hi All,
I'm going to be moving soon and i have a 40 gallon mixed reef that i have to move as well:(. It's been running about 1 1/2 years. Its a pretty basic setup with a HOB filter and HOB Skimmer. No sump. When i take all of the water and rock out of the tank do i use the sand or buy new sand when setting the tank back up? Do i use the water or use new water? Does all the work that I have done over the past 1 1/2 years have to start all over? Any advise or suggestions is much appreciated.

12/06/2012, 05:50 PM
Keep the water for sure. Just make sure its back up to temp before putting everything back in the tank and acclimatize using the floating bag method before putting your livestock back in.

With regards to the sand, it all depends on how long the move it going to take to be honest. You could use the same sand as long as you don't disturb it too much. Just leave it in the tank with a small bit of water covering it if possible. Then again it would only cost you about $20 for new live sand. Be prepared with extra freshly made salt water for water changes just in case,you will more than likely experience some mini cycles once you set back up again but all that good bacteria should still be on the rock and in the water.

12/06/2012, 06:02 PM
I moved last year & upgraded/ moved as well. While it can be a small setback, it shouldn't be catastrophic if you plan it right. Both times I went heavy in the Rubbermaid tubs, holding fish, rock, coral as seperately as possible. I premixed as much new salt water as I could before hand and kept what I didn't have room to store. As much new water as possible is ideal as a lot of crap gets into the water, especially with the sand & rock. My moves took 4-6 hours start to finish.

-removed all external equipment
-drained X amount of water & tossed it.
-drained water into coral tub, placed corals into tub that weren't on rocks
-drained water into rock tubs, placed rocks in carefully seating those with coral
-drained water into fish tub, placed fish in fish tub
-being a 30 Gal at the time, it could be easily lifted with sand so sand stayed in.
-drain remaining water. Leaving about 1/4" on top of the sand

After transport, basically the reverse. One thing I did was due to the dirty water after the sand shifting, I scooped the sand out of a corner of the tank, used that low spot to siphon dirty water out while "rinsing" with some fresh salt water.

-Add new salt water
-place rock & corals
-top off with old water
-add fish
-add external equipment
-mix new salt water for large water change @ 24, 48 & 72 hours.
-discard remaining old water.

Use heaters & powerheads in buckets as necessary.