View Full Version : Question - large tank movement

12/09/2016, 07:07 PM
Note 1: Mods - if this needs to be moved to general let me know and I can close, re-open.

Question to the large reef tank forum. How do you manage moving the tank from store to final resting place and stops in-between. For example if you had a custom tank shipped, how did you uncrate and place on stand for water test outside or in garage? Or anything else to examine the tank, then leak test, etc?

I have a tank being shipped which should arrive here within a week give or take weather delays. Oddly enough I've not really figured out how I'm going to manage this process. Tank is a bit over 240 gallons 54" wide, 30" tall, and 30" deep. I've been looking through the forum here and the general consensus seems to be brute force, quality suction cup handles, and friends. Figured I'd ask to see about the possibility of maybe renting a hydraulic cart lift with quality wheels to muscle onto that, then wheel into house, then slide off.

Obviously I'm a bad project manager ;) I should have had this part covered :(

12/09/2016, 07:52 PM
If possible, get it to the final destination without any stops. Test fill in place, unless something known is wrong.

I almost went glass, would have had to hire movers... Rent or buy good quality suction cups. Should be ok with 4 people. May need more, strong friends?

12/09/2016, 09:55 PM
I went the strong friends route. I actually had to do it twice. Once to get the tank in my garage, and once to move it into place in the basement. I didn't do a full water test until tonight (~10 months after I first received the tank).

- Ivan

tom obrecht
12/10/2016, 11:05 AM
With that size tank I'd get 4 suction cups and 4 guys. Should be no issue. Water test in place as said above.

12/10/2016, 01:28 PM
Mobile/roll-able hydraulic engine lift works good.

12/10/2016, 04:34 PM
I would go with the hydraulic cart and 4-6 friends. 4 should be able to carry it if they are strong, but if you have a couple extra you can hand off easier if you have a tight fit through a doorway or something.

That is something else I would check, at 30" you're going to be pretty tight fitting through a lot of doorways.

12/10/2016, 05:58 PM
That is something else I would check, at 30" you're going to be pretty tight fitting through a lot of doorways.

+1... probably need to remove doors and door jambs

12/11/2016, 08:52 AM
Thank you everyone for the input, really appreciate it. Especially about the door(s). Area it is going has French double doors so that shouldn't be an issue. Pathway into the house is another story so "if" the jambs have to be removed plan B would be to go through the sliding doors via back yard (which has other logistics due to weather). I am going to measure today the best path into the house just to make sure.

I called a local glass shop and let them know what I was moving and they will rent me a couple of their suction cups. Also I warned the guys in the family last night that I'd need some help :) I'm still going to look at a few dolly / hydraulic options just in case for movement.

The initial phase of just uncrating and getting it on the stand for checks and plumbing is job one and this help. So thank you. I'll start measuring today and find the optimal pathing. I think I can manage through the front door because the original depth was 36" but it wouldn't fit and I think 30 was fine. I bet I didn't factor in the suction cup handles though :(

Thank you again all.

12/11/2016, 01:23 PM
If you take some PVC pipe and do a makeup of the tank size then you can make sure there are no problems.

Remember you will need people to the sides and some doorways wont let you do that nicely. The weight is an issue. You cant exactly have someone slide under the thank to leapfrog to help the next person. (Well I dont want, friend under glass, at least.)

12/11/2016, 01:38 PM
True - I measured front door which is 36" wide. So if I remove door it can make it. Need to work out people/equipment for safety first. If not then slider in back is it. Funny (not really I guess) how some things are over looked when purchasing a large tank :( Minor goof on my part but can recover without house modification at least.

01/02/2017, 11:17 PM
I've moved many 220 to 500 gallon tanks over the year and a tank this size doesn't weigh as much as you think. 4 people will easily be able to handle it with strong backs. I moved 300g+ tanks with hydraulic lifts, which are amazingly easy to use, but not needed for a tank this size. Don't stress out, clear a path, think it through, and you'll be fine. I'd also suggest not using suction cups. You don't need them and they fail if you don't know what you're doing.

01/03/2017, 04:40 AM
I am approaching this same issue currently. I chose to pay extra and have the manufacturer deliver the tank and place it in final position on stand. This solution is not available to most due to lack of proximity to the manufacturer, but since I am local I figured they would be the best people for the job. Even using them, I Am still a bit apprehensive at how they are going to get a 1000 lb tank across my grass and down the slope (10 ft of elevation) into my back yard to access the walkout. Should be interesting. I will take photos.


C Dog
01/06/2017, 08:53 AM
A tank that small can be easily moved with or with out suction cups with a few people

01/06/2017, 12:20 PM
Thanks again all for the input and advise. I think one of the interesting comments was about the suction cups and knowing (or not) what you are doing. That rang a bell and honestly, never used them before. I did call a glass company and they would rent me a proper / quality set which I'll do for stand by just in case. But the general consensus appears to be bodies to safely handle the movement and weight.

So that is the plan anyway. Talked about it over the holidays and enough family members said no problem. We'll test the waters unpacking and getting it on the stand in the garage for a leak test. That should sort us out regarding handling it and moving. Then work out the logistics getting it into the house with the least number of turns and safest footing.

Again, thank you all. Tank arrived and is in the garage so getting somewhat close at least to a leak check. So all the comments are appreciated and helped.

01/06/2017, 12:45 PM
I just uncrated and moved my 420 gallon with .75" thick glass up 2 flights of stairs.

Suction cups while helpful will be tight with doorways and well...the problem with carrying something heavy is finger fatigue.

With this size and weight I would suggest getting a shoulder dolly set, they're like 30-40 bucks and it comes with 2 harnesses and a 5" thick strap. One guy on each side and the others will help with stability with just their hands.

This way no finger fatigue, if it's tight no struggling to get two guys on each side through a doorway, just have them sneak around and help keep it stable.

My 700lb tank had to be carried step by step up the first flight with 2 sets of shoulder dollys (4 guys using harnesses) and my friend and I doing squats up each step. When we got to the landing between the flights, I then crafted a sled for the tank to ride on, lowered it down with the sled onto the stairs and had 6 guys with lifting straps pulling at the top, and myself with 2 guys pushing at the bottom.

It took 9 guys to lift it into place.

You should have no issues with your size if you use the shoulder dollys, they're awesome.

01/06/2017, 12:46 PM
Oh I forgot to add...worst case scenario, if you end up not using the dollys, return them, if you do, you'll use them for appliances and furniture for the rest of your life.

Totally worth having.

01/06/2017, 09:12 PM
If this is 3/4" glass you can expect it to weigh about 600 pounds empty. I wouldn't move it without suction cups, personally. Yes they are a PITA in doorways.

I paid men to install mine, and 5 pretty big guys with a hydraulic pump cart, suction cups, and the ability to remove and reframe the door that was way too narrow took an entire morning to get it into the house. It is unlikely to exit the house in one piece...

I couldn't find any movers who'd actually warrant against damaging the tank. Still, I preferred to pay people to move it as my experience with getting friends to help me move pinball machines is that it's an easy way to use up all your friends :-) and pins are a lot lighter, at only about 200 pounds each.

01/06/2017, 09:45 PM
Use one of these if possible

http://i1298.photobucket.com/albums/ag56/Easttuth/_DSC0945_zpsys4zcjkx.jpg (http://s1298.photobucket.com/user/Easttuth/media/_DSC0945_zpsys4zcjkx.jpg.html)

01/07/2017, 12:24 PM
Easy, round up a bunch of good friends and fellow geeks and it gets done.Of course suction cups help.

01/07/2017, 12:25 PM
I have some pics at the beginning of my build thread."The after disaster 650 gallon build"

01/07/2017, 12:59 PM
it's very expensive to hire a rigging company, but if worth it if you don't want to lift a finger.. I did it with my tank and stand.

if you have any steps in the house, make sure you prepare a lot of 2x4 wood. sometimes you need to stack some height to move the tank across

I had a rigging company with 2 guys, hydrolic lifts and 2x4s. lifted my 560gal along with steel stand attached.