View Full Version : Moving With an Aquarium Prep

10/16/2015, 09:21 PM
Hey all,

Air Force here, currently at NAS Pensacola. I'm not sure when or where to, but I expect to PCS within the next couple of months. So, I'm putting together a plan on how I will move my tank and livestock possibly cross country. Much of what I have already planned is based off of this video series (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUliEq-UY14) and various threads I've found on this website.

Tank is a 29G Coralife Biocube
I have about a 3 inch sand bed (more like crushed substrate).
No fancy equipment, stock pump and lights.

1 Maroon Clown
1 Azure Damsel
1 6-line wrasse
2 yellow clown gobies
1 red gorgonian coral
6 zoanthid colonies
1 striped green mushroom
1 blue sympodium colony
I may be getting a torch coral frag and a trumpet coral frag if my buddy and I can swap before he moves. I know this isn't the greatest idea; however, I figure livestock is fragged and shipped for a few days from online vendors all the time, so why not?
various hermit crabs and snails, a peppermint shrimp (maybe), and an emerald crab

I have a little Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe to move all of this in :)

I would like to get brute trashcans, but they wouldn't fit in my car. So, I plan to have three different ice chests (maybe a rubbermade tote). I want to use one for my fish, one for my refugium and corals/inverts, and one for my live rock. I plan to have one piece of live rock for my fish and one for my refugium to help with ammonia spikes. I also plan on using the tank water to transport the fish since I don't want to shock them with much different parameters.

I plan to have airstones for all of these chests (I'm not sure if I need one for the liverock/sand ice chest - odds are some coral will be attached to that live rock, so I'm thinking yes). Unfortunately, I will be moving cross country so I'm not sure how heating will work. I know it won't exactly hurt them to get down to the temperature my car is when I'm driving, and I plan to take them into hotels when I stop at night (if they're animal friendly).

I already plan on not feeding for at least two days before my trip. My main concern is what if my hermit crabs get hungry and decide to feast on my snails? I already own prime so I will have that on standby for ammonia spikes. I plan to keep both a 5 gal of saltwater and a 5 gal of RO/DI for mini-water changes. I will also have batteries on standby just in case.

I've read that people suggest to rinse the sand. I'm curious if I need to since I try to siphon it every two weeks. Any suggestions?

Is there anything major that I have missed? I'm open to suggestions :thumbsup:

Bogue Chitto
10/17/2015, 12:59 PM
If you are afraid of the water getting too warm on the trip, take some ice in plastic bags or frozen bottles to help keep water cool. Also you may throw a couple sinking pellets in for the crabs. I think you have a good plan...

10/17/2015, 05:51 PM
I'll be moving in the middle of winter or end of fall so I'm not too worried about the heat.

I didn't think about the pellets, thanks!

Bogue Chitto
10/17/2015, 07:24 PM
You're welcome. If you need heat just get some hot water in a bottle and float it.

11/07/2015, 01:16 PM
Updated news:

I'm actually getting an honorable discharge so I'll be moving back home. I'm looking at a three-day drive. I spoke with my parents and they said they would be willing to watch my tank when I'm looking for a job (hopefully I'll be able to get an AF Guard job) and a new place to live.

I'm leaning towards keeping the livestock. I looked at coolers today and should be able to fit/transport everything just fine. My main concern is if the AF will actually ship myself back home, from what I understand they will.

12/21/2015, 10:08 PM
Last leg going home tomorrow. I plan to post pictures for visual learners who are curious.

So far my fish are fine, no worries here.

12/22/2015, 01:13 AM
Let us know how the trip ended hope everything makes it

01/30/2016, 12:38 PM
The move was a success! I lost a few hermit crabs I think. But in general, everything made it. I stopped to rest two nights, so I'm glad I could make it that for. I didn't have any issues with temperature as the furthest north I went was Abilene, TX and the weather was pretty comfortable the whole way.

For those who may attempt to read this thread for help on how to move a tank, here is how I did it, hopefully it helps. I've attempted to attach photos but apparently I can't view the photos from my old phone on my computer (through the phone). I'll try to work on that.

Anyways, my equipment was a 50 qt. Coleman cooler (a rolling one), a 12 qt igloo cooler, and a 1 gallon coleman beverage cooler. I used two Marina battery-powered air bubblers. I had to use my drip-line tubing as the tubes provided are about 1 foot long.

From what I can tell, most people move their substrate separately from their fish. I didn't, and I didn't have any major issues. I put in three pieces of live rock in the 50 qt, put in the fish, then put in the substrate afterwards. I didn't feed my fish for a day and a half before hand to help keep down ammonia levels. When I set up my tank I didn't realize rinsing your substrate is a thing, so when I transferred it it was filthy. To compensate, I scooped it up with my fishnet, and let the filthy water filter into a bait bucket. The water in the cooler was still dirty, but not as bad, it settled after a few hours. I just used my tank water to transfer the fish (I did a water change before hand). I used an air pump with an 8 ft' tube and an airstone with this cooler. I ran the tube through a torch coral skeleton for weight, then I jammed it between two pieces of LR so it would stay in the water.

I used the 12qt for my hermit crabs and snails. I had a piece of liverock in there and some liverock rubble. My main issue with this is the snails would sometimes climb up to the dry part of the rock and just stay there... so I took my squirter and squirted water on them every time I stopped for gas, and when I rested for the night. I occasionally gave the hermit crabs some pellets so they wouldn't eat my snails.

I used the beverage cooler for my refugium. I cut down the ball of chaeto and placed my gorgonian coral in there so it wouldn't fall over or have any rocks fall on it. I lined the coral with LR rubble so it wouldn't move around. I had no issues with this.

I had 15 gallons of fresh saltwater ready to set back up. With my previous tank water, I only had to use 10. My corals didn't get an acclimation period due to them being attached to the LR, but I have all softies aside from my gorgonian, so I wasn't worried. My fish and CUC were acclimated accordingly.

Looking back, I made a few mistakes due to impatience; however, it didn't cause me any major problems. Given pretty much all of my snails are still living, I'd say it was a good tank move.