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ibryson
07/07/2017, 07:13 PM
Hey everyone, just looking for some advice. I will be moving in about 3 weeks and will be bringing my 40 gallon salt water tank with me. Has anyone moved an aquarium before and if so, what's the best method? My tank does not have a sump so I'm thinking I can just siphon the water to about 10% into a large trash bin and put the fish in a bucket. Is there a better option? I will only be moving about 10 minutes away.

thegrun
07/07/2017, 07:52 PM
I would not reuse the sand, it will contain a lot of trapped detritus that if released could start a new cycle, killing off all your livestock. Start fresh with dry sand. Be sure to wash the sand well before using it. To wash the sand place 5 pounds or so at a time in a 5 gallon bucket. Use a garden hose at full flow to agitate the sand. The finer grains of sand will overflow the top of the bucket, leaving the larger grains behind. Continue to agitate the water until it runs clear. I would not use "live" sand as it can contain more dead than live organisms and has the potential to start a new cycle (and cost more to purchase since you are paying for water). Try to reuse as much clean water from the old system as possible to lessen the shock of new water chemistry on your livestock. Once the water from the old tank starts to get murky from stirred up detritus, don't reuse that water. Have plenty of new premade and preheated saltwater on hand to make up for the lost water. I would plan on pre-making 50% of your display tank's volume and have it ready for use. 5 gallon buckets with lids are your best friend for a tank move. Anything larger becomes very heavy to move, although for longer moves ice chests work well at maintaining water temperatures. You can use bubble wrap to help keep your rock with corals attached from being smashed against the sides of the buckets during transport. Start by filling three buckets 1/3 with water from the tank and then add the rock from the system to one of the buckets. Continue filling buckets first with water, then rock until you have removed all the rock. Save a couple of half full buckets of clean water from the tank for the fish. Once all the rock has been removed, the fish should be easy to catch. Some fish will burrow into the sand to hide so if you come up short on your fish count you may need to sift through the sand to find the missing fish. Once you have everything back at your home and the tank in place, first set up your rock. Try to minimize the amount of time the rock is out of the water. If aquascaping the rock takes you awhile, pour some of the saltwater from the old set-up on the rock to keep it wet. Once the rock is set fill the tank with all the old water and whatever new water is necessary. You can just dump the fish directly from the buckets into the new tank to prevent injuring the fish or adding stress to the fish by netting them. Then start circulating the water, get the heaters running and the rest of the equipment. Tank moves take much longer than one would first suspect. Plan on a very long day. Best of luck and keep us posted with your results!

ibryson
07/07/2017, 08:35 PM
Thank you for your detailed reply!! Looks like I'll be heading to lowes to get some more buckets lol. I'll do my best to do this the right way!

kmbyrnes
07/08/2017, 06:28 AM
Agreed. New sand is a must.
And have a bottle of Prime around Just In Case.

ADAMMP
07/08/2017, 09:24 AM
Hi I'm moving my tank tomorrow thought I had everything ready to go but this post has been very informative. Thank you. What if you rinse the old sand very well can you reuse it? If you put it in a bucket and rinsed it well? Also I'm going to use about 55 gallons out of 125 of the tank water that I have how long can I leave that in the plastic barrel?

Ztous
07/08/2017, 11:38 AM
It's up to you just know that old sand is inherently more unclean. You can leave the water in a bucket for a while as long as it has a power head moving it so it doesn't go stagnant.

psyrob
07/08/2017, 06:50 PM
Giving my experience with this: I moved my 60gallon reef tank about 10 minutes away. Left it for the very last thing to move that day. I put the fish in a bucket and all the live rock with corals attached into their own 5 gallon buckets. I put all the live rock into a 55 gallon brute container and all the rest of the water. All that was left was the sand and about half inch of water. I raced it over to the new house and put all the rock, corals and fish in with all the old water. I did not change the sand. After a day, all the detritus settled and I reworked the rock. I did a 10 gallon water change that week and did not lose anything. No nitrate spike or algae bloom. Maybe I got lucky, but that is my experience.

thegrun
07/09/2017, 11:59 AM
Hi I'm moving my tank tomorrow thought I had everything ready to go but this post has been very informative. Thank you. What if you rinse the old sand very well can you reuse it? If you put it in a bucket and rinsed it well? Also I'm going to use about 55 gallons out of 125 of the tank water that I have how long can I leave that in the plastic barrel?

You can reuse the old sand if you want to assuming your old tank didn't have an issue with elevated phosphates since reusing that sand would cause higher phosphates in the new tank as the old sand leaches phosphates back into the water. Reusing the old sand does require some time consuming labor to clean it well and you need to clean it with saltwater since cleaning with freshwater will kill off any microorganisms in the sand and that could cause a new cycle. Cleaning the sand is also time consuming on a day that is usually going to take a long time just with simply moving the tank. Using dry sand allows you to clean the sand a day or two before the big move, freeing up more time for the tank move itself. Since your old water is going to have organics in it, if at all possible adding a battery operated air stone is best for water movement and keeping the water oxygenated. I would limit the tie without water movement in the barrel to two hours maximum. With water movement it can sit in the container indefinitely assuming you keep the water temperature between 72 and 84.

ADAMMP
07/09/2017, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the info. Cleaned the sand this morning, drained the water into a 55 gallon drum and drained the rest into a tote. Moved the tank and put sand and water back in. Had to add more water. My live rock and corals are in a 75 gallon tank that I had set up two months ago just for this purpose. So I'm going to leave the tank that I set up today a couple weeks before I move my corals and fish. I will move some live rock from the tote tomorrow to the tank I moved today. Does that seem like a decent plan? Thanks for the info again.