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FAQs about Moving Aquarium Systems 4

Related Articles: Moving and Transporting your Livestock and Tanks By Amy Janecek, Moving Aquariums

FAQs on Moving Marine Systems: Moving Aquariums 1, Moving Aquariums 2, Moving Aquariums 3, Moving Aquariums 4, Moving/Upgrading Aquariums 5,
FAQs on Moving Marine Systems by Category: Plans, Gear, Techniques,
Marine Substrate Moving/Replacing/Adding To, Marine Substrate Moving/Replacing/Adding To 2, Moving Live RockTank Storage... Success Stories, Troubles  &

FAQs on
Moving Marine Livestock: Moving Livestock, Moving Livestock 2,
FAQs on Moving Livestock by Category: Plans, Gear, Techniques... Success Stories, Troubles/Fixing,

Transfer a 55 to a 120 01-08-06 Hi, <Mark> I got a new 120 gal tank for Christmas and want to transfer my soft corals and mushrooms and fish from my 55.   <Great gift.> I am cycling the new tank with 95 lbs of new live rock and I have another 80 or so lbs from the 55.  I have a 4" sand bed in the new tank and have seeded this with some of the sand from the 55.  Should I transfer the rest of the sand from the old to the new after the tank has cycled or should I try to get most of it in there now?   <If you plan on using it, I would move most of it now.> I hate to waste all the sand in the 55.  I am running a 30 gal sump with EuroReef skimmer and a Mag 12 for a return to the 120 with 2 overflows. Mark <Good luck with the transfer and enjoy the new tank. Travis>

Re: Moving 20H Tank 3 Feet Over? 01/03/2006 Hi again, <Welcome back Susanne!> Wednesday, December 21, 2005, 10:49:08 AM, crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com wrote: I'll let you know how things went after the "operation" is over! <Do keep us posted. Try the Wet Web forum for pump input/reviews. May have some in the CA Magazine but I think it's on powerheads.> Best regards, Susanne                           <Happy holidays, hope all "moves" smoothly. - Josh> Just an update on the move: everything went just fine, with 75% of the water and all but the bottom rocks taken out. <Glad to hear it.> The 2 fish and pistol shrimp stayed in and all made the move without any problems. <Well done.> The house was a mess with buckets and bowls everywhere, but the move enabled me to syphon out gunk from places I hadn't been able to reach, and I took the opportunity to frag a few things while they were easily accessible. <Good old spring cleaning...uh..early;)> Fortunately I took pictures of the tank, since it's really hard to remember which rock fit where. :) <I always just made something up and convinced myself I liked it better.> Happy New Year to everyone! <And to you, thanks for the update. - Josh> Best regards, Susanne          

Help - Relocated 75 Gallon Tank, nitrogenous troubles  11/24/05 Hi - <Hello there> Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.  I just purchased ( Sunday night) a 75 gallon oceanic reef-ready tank through the classified ads.  It contained base rock, a purple tang and a clown fish.  When I arrived the person I bought it from appeared to have been in the process of breaking the tank down to sell it to a pet store so the trickle filter wasn't running.  I got it home (fish in a 5 gallon bucket) and set the tank up as quickly as possible, made 75 gallons of new salt water, <A shame a good deal of the old water wasn't salvaged, used> got the system going and acclimated the fish back into the tank.  They both survived, but last night I checked the ammonia level and discovered it was 5 (I forgot what the scale was, maybe ppm, but about the highest it registered). <Yeeikes!> I'm assuming that the wet/dry was turned off for longer than the original owner told me and the bacteria are dead. <A distinct possibility... though they could have undergone a physiological "check" with the massive water change as likely>   I dumped in a bottle of "Cycle" I had hoping that would help and will test again when I get home from work but I don't know how effective it is. <BioSpira is much better...> I've seen in the past ammonia locking products that supposedly detoxify the water, would these help? <Mmm, not really, no>   Any other suggestions? <Yes, do not feed till the water reads less than 1.0 ppm for both ammonia, nitrite. Bob Fenner> Thanks! Matt

Moving and Transporting a Marine Tank 10/27/05 Hi, <Hi there!> I have a 30 gallon aquarium FOWLR that I am thinking of upgrading to a 75 gallon reef. I may also convert the 30 gallon to a reef if I do not upgrade to 75 gallons. The thing is that I will be moving possibly in September of 2006 or around that time (building a new house but probably will not break ground till May 2006). My question is this... Is it wise to wait on upgrading for the year and just install the 75 gallon (or larger maybe if I did wait till 2006 since I will have pretty much unlimited space and weight capacity due to where it will be located in on the first floor of the house which is over cement) over at the new house? <Yes waiting would be wise and easier.> If I did upgrade now, how would/could I move the tank? I am thinking I would probably need like 12 X 5 gallon plastic bottles to transport the water, something to transport the live rock, the corals and fish would have to be bagged, etc - A real mess!. To me it sound impossible to do! There must be services to do this but is it risky and/or expensive to do? <You would only need to save about 50 to 75% of your water, for the rest you use new clean water as if you were doing a large water change. Whenever you do a large water change you want to be sure to match the pH, specific gravity and temp to that of the water in the tank.  The rock can be transported in buckets covered with towels that have been wet with tank water. The fish can be transported in buckets or bags depending on how far you will be driving. It is very doable, wet, messy and a lot of work but doable. I am sure there are aquarium maintenance companies that would do this but it probably costs about what it would cost to set up a tank and possibly more. They usually charge about $65.00 an hour where I live. If done correctly It should be no riskier than purchasing a fish and brining it home or buying a fish and having it shipped.> I am now thinking to wait till next year and live with the 30 gallon and prep/cycle the new tank before I move in at the new place. Am I making a big deal out of moving the tank or would I be foolish to even think of upgrading now? <Patience is a virtue . I think waiting would be the simplest and easiest on you and your fish.> Thanks again! Dave <Your most welcome, Leslie> 

Transporting marine aquarium!- 10/17/2005 Hello, <Hi Vignesh> I just purchased a fully set up 90g saltwater reef tank from another aquarist. Problem is, he lives on the other side of town. How would you recommend moving this behemoth? Right now, I'm planning to get those huge Wal-Mart bins and fill them up with the tank water until the water level is down to a couple inches in the tank itself. <I hope you plan to empty the tank completely before moving it.>  Will this help the 80lbs. of LR and live sand? <Yes. It's always more of a pain but I choose to move my rock submerged (when only short moves). I'm always uneasy on moving an established sand bed because churning it up always causes me bad situations. Perhaps just take some to seed a new one.> I will be moving the couple of damsels and clowns in Tupperware containers. They should be fine for a couple of hours.<I think you're right but be mindful of temp.>  The tank, hood, and stand will go in the back of my van, and the water bins will be in a trailer. < Personally I would try to place the water bins in the van as well for a more stable temp. (no wind chill).>  Upon arrival, the water will be added back to the tank and the fish will be reacclimatized. <You might consider setting up a temporary for the fish so they can be placed in a better environment while you set up the tank. These things always take longer than expected and this will also allow for slow temp. readjustment.>  Will this work? <Has for me in the past.>  Thanks for your help! <Welcome. More ideas for you here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm - Josh>

Sandbed On The Move?  9/28/05 Hey Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Apologize for the question but not seeing my problem directly. <No need to apologize!> Currently have a 75g mainly FOWLR (couple of mushrooms and a few polyps) with ~65 lbs LR and a 4-5" DSB. I'm sold on the DSB idea; tank has been up for 3 years and since initial cycle, nitrate and nitrites at zero. <Good to hear!> Moving across town in a few days to a new house where I'll be setting up a 145g display on the main floor along with a 75g sump and 33g refugium in the basement. Problem is the new tank and sump still haven't been delivered and realistically if I had them now, probably wouldn't be plumbed for a couple of weeks. <I see.> Concern is maintaining the DSB. Was thinking, taking the 75g down, saving top 1" layer of sand, moving everything across town in tubs. Once there, fill the 75g back up with SW that's currently at the new place aging (power heads and heater) and the LR. The sand I saved, I would place in the 33g with a HOB filter and power head to keep for seeding the DSB on the new system. The move is going to be complicated enough as is, so wondering if it's worth the effort in trying the keep the sand or just toss it? <I'd hate to totally waste the established sand bed, but there might be some die off of the infauna and bacterial populations within the sandbed once it's disturbed and moved. Expect some possible "re-cycling" to occur. It's certainly worth a shot, if you are up for the effort, IMO.> A some what related question, if I were just to have ?" sand in the display and setup a remote DSB in the sump and/or refugium what would be the minimum surface area for maintaining NNR? <Hard to say, actually. I'd tend to use the "depth" as a gauge for denitrification capacity. I wouldn't run less than a 3"-4" sandbed in the sump if denitrification is what you are attempting to achieve.> Finally, thanks for the site; it's amazing the amount of info. In addition to the reading online, I've probably a stack of FAQ's printed 18" high (all two pages per sheet, most double sided). Great reading when on the road or when someone else is on the computer and I need a WWM fix. Mark Edmonton, AB <A great idea...You CAN take it with you! Good luck on the move! Regards, Scott F.> Moving  9/19.5/05 Hey guys, Most of the trouble I've had with my tank has happened while I was out of town. Last year I returned to find that my flame angel and my sixline wrasse were both dead because the power had gone out and this wasn't discovered right away. I just returned from a trip to find my Kole tang (who I've had for 4 years) in awful shape, and it will probably die in the next couple of hours from what looks like starvation or perhaps an internal parasite. I caught on that he wasn't eating properly a couple of weeks ago and reintroduced dried algae into his diet (I have Gracilaria and Caulerpa growing in my tank) and he improved, but while I was gone he took a turn for the worse. I didn't replace the angel or wrasse because I knew I would be moving cross-country a couple of years down the road. Now that time is closer (~3-10 months), and I'm torn. The Kole is/was far and away my favorite fish, and now I am loosely thinking of replacing it. My question is: would you restock if you knew you would be permanently taking down a tank in ~6 months? Presently I am of the opinion that it would be unfair to fish life to restock and return them to the LFS later, and I'm also thinking of taking the tank down early. I still have a gold-striped maroon clown, a clown goby, and a blue devil damsel. Inverts are a cleaner shrimp, E. quadricolor, Ricordea polyp, and a couple of feather dusters. I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts. Thanks a lot, John >>>Hey John, No contest, pack it in and wait until you have a long term stable home before you commit to more livestock. Jim<<<

Moving Wet/Dry Filter  9/2/05 Hi, <Kia ora, Good health!> I will be moving my fish only tank to a new location in Nov. It has a wet/dry filter with a protein skimmer. The tank will be  down for approx. 4 hours. I know the beneficial bacteria in the filter has  a short lifespan (I believe they start dying within 2 hours of  stopping the water circulation) <Mmm, slow down... but if they're kept moist, some air exposure... no problems> and would like to know the best way to try and  preserve the bio balls during the move to help prevent any problems with the  tank recycling at the new location. <Cover the filter itself with a moist towel... freshwater or marine... drain the water out of the filter itself...> I've moved the aquarium before when I only had a Fluval filter  and didn't have any problems with recycling, maybe because it  is a closed filter. I just would like your advise to be on  the safe side. Hopefully this move will be just as easy. Thanks,     Rich Aylward <I hope so too. Bob Fenner>

Moving a Tank 8/18/05 I have a 90 gallon tank (fish only) I would like to move to another room in my house.  My plan was to drain 90% of the water into some plastic bins, put the fish in one of these bins and move the tank, then refill from the plastic bins.  Is this a good plan? <Yes, sounds like a fine plan.> Any suggestions to make sure this goes smoothly? <My only suggestion would be to place the fish in either the largest bucket or if the buckets are small, different buckets. If they are going to be there for any length of time the addition of a heater and a small pump to circulate the water and provide some oxygenation would be helpful.> If the type of fish matters, I have a Huma Huma, Tomato Clown, Yellow Tang, and a Copperband Butterfly. Thanks! <You're most welcome, Leslie>
Moving a Marine Tank part 2 8/3/05
Thanks for the prompt response! One more follow on question, you said: <All sounds good here too, except for the sand.  I would strongly suggest new sand for the new tank.  Moving established sand beds often results in serious problems, even with rinsing.  There is simply too much organic material (living and dead) in every nook and cranny in the sand.  It is however, a good idea to transfer a few cups from the top inch or so to help seed the new bed with worms and other critters.> Which is fine, but can I let the old sand dry out so that everything dies off, give it a really good clean, and put it back in the tank at a later stage? Or is it done for? Thanks <<I would not suggest doing this.  Microscopically, the sand is very porous.  There is no reasonable way to get all of the organics out of it, especially if it is allowed to dry.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Tank problem / best course of action 8/1/05 Dear WWM Crew, First, great site and great book!  You are responsible for many  great fishkeepers!  Now, a problem: I am moving on Oct 1st and in an attempt to do the right thing and save some money I have been planning my next tank - a 92g FOWLR corner. <Very nice!> In a 46g bf I have cured 100 lbs of rock in anticipation of the new tank.  After 2 months of curing and checking I added 2 fish: niger trigger and lunare wrasse (both small and young ~3inches).  This morning a plastic Tupperware container fell into the tank and came to rest on a Rio 600 which soon enough burnt it. <Ouch, sorry about that I can certainly relate. I had a Rio melt down once and it was a horrible mess.> I was able to rescue the fish and transfer them to my 55g reef with a newly bought divider in place.  I have cleaned out the 46 and can restart if need be. My question is, for the next 2 months I cannot have them in the 55g divided into halves (reorg.ed reef on one side and Fish only on the other).  I do not want to setup my 92g and then tear down again.  Are there any options I have?  I have 3 thoughts: 1) get a smaller tank (will a 20l hold them ok for a bit with good water changes? 2) return to LFS for hold  or credit 3) setup the 92 or the 46 again. Thoughts? < I think that 20L for 2 months is a bit tight. I would prefer to see you re set up the 46 again to hold them until your 92 is ready. HTH, Leslie>

Moving a Marine Tank 8/1/05 Hello! I'm going to be moving from Lincoln, NE to Chicago, IL in a month and a half. (About an 8 hour drive.)  I'm concerned about moving my 75g saltwater aquarium.  The contents are as follows: 80lbs Fiji LR, 4" substrate 1 Tomato Clown 1 Yellow Tailed Damsel 1 Royal Gramma 1 Eheim 2026 filter I also have a spare 37g aquarium and a spare Eheim 2026 at my disposal.  I'd like to only make one trip.  I really like my fish, and I'm afraid of their fate should I give them back to the pet store.  So, my question is, is this move possible?  What can I do to minimize risks? <This is a very doable move.  The best way to minimize risk is to plan well.  Have plenty of bags, boxes, containers and clean towels, and all of the parts you will need to reassemble the system at the new house.  In my experience, moving sand beds is a bad idea.  I would salvage a few cups of sand from the top inch or so of the bed to use to "seed" the new bed after the move and discard the rest.  I know this is expensive, but sand beds have a lot of living and dead organic material in them that is inevitably released when it is disturbed.  No amount of rinsing can overcome this.> Are there any "portable aquariums" I can buy to make their trip better?  What do you think of those, say, Coleman thermoelectric heater/cooler things to help stabilize the water temperature? <These heater/cooler units will not be powerful enough to do much good.  I would suggest getting lots of plastic bags and a couple of Styrofoam boxes from a local store.  Each fish should be packed in it's own bag with about 1/3 water and 2/3 air.  Pack the bags into the boxes and tape heat packs to the inside of the box lids if it is cold that day.> How do I keep the water I transport in buckets at a respectable temperature so I can get the fish back in it ASAP?  <This is tougher to do, but you could pack bags of water in Styro boxes or fill picnic coolers with water.  Having a couple of extra heaters for setting back up will help also.> I have lots of plant growth on my LR; is it best to transport those in buckets of water? <Definitely.  It will help prevent die-off on the rock and provide more space for moving water.> What do you think about the idea of filling my 37g with water from the 75g's water changes and using it to set up a quick temporary aquarium with only water and some live rock?  (no substrate.)  That way I wouldn't have to wait for the water to un-cloud itself.... <I think you are on to a great idea.  I would not necessarily fill it with water from water changes, but rather fill it with water you take on the move.  It will give you a quick place to put the fish while you arrange the bigger tank and there will be less water to heat.  Just be sure to circulate/aerate the water well!> Can you suggest any products I can buy to help make sure I do this correctly?  Thanks as always! - Chad  <There are no products necessary except for bags, heat packs and Styro boxes.  This move will be short enough that you shouldn't have any problems.  I do suggest that you drain (but don't clean) the power filter.  This will provide the bacteria with plenty of oxygen (which would be quickly depleted from stagnant water) so that the filter will be biologically active upon arrival.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Another Moving a Marine Tank 8/1/05 Hi, I've read your tips on moving a tank but I just wanted to make sure I'm not going muck up my tank. I've currently got a 30 gallon without a sump that has corals and fish and has been going very well. The new tank is an Aqua One tank with a built in filter and I've had holes drilled and plumbing done so there is a sump to put the protein skimmer and penguin BioWheel filter that is in my current tank. Apart from the BioWheel and the protein skimmer, I have no other water treatment or filters in the 30 gallon except for whatever effect the live rock and sand is having. The new tank will be set up next to the old tank. <This all sounds good!> I have stored water from the 30 gallon when I did water changes and kept it aerated and filtered and I now have enough to fill the new tank. My plan is to fill the new tank half way with this old water, top it up with water directly from the 30 gallon, put all the filtration from the 30 gallon into the sump of the new tank, and move everything in at the same time (with the fish probably stopping off in a holding tank filled with water from the main tank for 30 minutes or so). I'm planning to add a little more fresh sand to the new tank before cleaning the old sand as best as I can and putting it on top, followed by rocks, corals, and then the fish.  <All sounds good here too, except for the sand.  I would strongly suggest new sand for the new tank.  Moving established sand beds often results in serious problems, even with rinsing.  There is simply too much organic material (living and dead) in every nook and cranny in the sand.  It is however, a good idea to transfer a few cups from the top inch or so to help seed the new bed with worms and other critters.> Since I'm moving all the filtration I currently have, and keeping the water chemistry as constant as I can by using water from the old tank, I think I should be ok - do you agree or is there anything else I can do to improve my method?  <I agree, but I would suggest that you test the salinity, pH, Calcium and Alkalinity of both the stored water and the display tank water.  Salinity, temperature and pH should match very closely.  Calcium and alkalinity don't have to match as closely, but be sure that they aren't depleted from the stored water.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Relocating the tank 7/23/05 I've read all the talk concerning moves but most pertained to moving  from one house to another or upgrading from a smaller tank to a larger tank.  My problem is that I am redecorating the living room and need to move my 75 gallon with fish, crabs, snails, sea cucumber, and live rock to another area of the same room.  How is the best way to accomplish this?       Thank you,     T <... as if it were going to be moved anywhere. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Ammonia Issues / Moving Tanks - 07/06/05 First off with the specifics: 45 gallon tank 40lbs. of Aragamax Sand 50 lbs. of live rock BakPak 2 skimmer/filter Bio Wheel 200 filter (added recently) 3 power heads for water movement Heater Dual compact fluorescent lamps <<Okey Dokey>> The tank has been set up and running for 7 months, but recently I have had a massive spike in my ammonia levels and the inhabitants are dying off. <<Uh oh>> We recently moved the tank from it's prior space (like 50 feet across the room). <<Hmmm...>> Before the move, all the water properties were fine, but now it's like the tank has started defending itself and killing everything inside.  First some snails, then a starfish, then a few crabs, a couple of fish, and now all that is left are 2 snails, 3 crabs, and a damsel. <<Did you remove/replace the rock and substrate when you moved the tank?>> I have read many of the postings, but not sure what I should do at this point.  So far I have tried: removing all the dead creatures, routine 25% water changes, adding stress zyme, adding a second filter (bio wheel 200), bacteria cultures, raising the temperature in the tank.  I am trying to use as little chemical additives to let the tank right itself naturally.  I have tried everything short of removing all the substrate and starting over. Nitrate is 0 Nitrite is 0 pH is 8.4 Ammonia is 2.0ppm Alkalinity is 300 Where should I go from here?  What should I try to get this tank back on it's feet? <<I think your tank is cycling.  If you pulled the substrate to move the tank and then put it back in the tank you are experiencing a huge bacterial die-off which is spiking your ammonia.  Your best option is to remove the livestock and let the tank go through/complete its cycle again.>> Thanks so much for your input Jay <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Moving a marine system  07/02/05 Bob, <<Hi Lisa, tonight you get Ted>> I've read your article about relocating tanks.  I have a few questions.  Here is my plan:  Buy a pre-existing tank at the new site...upgrading from a 46 and 30 to a 75 or 125.  I am going to search for a previously owned, already established tank and set it up way ahead of time (in the event it has problems). << Good idea on the upgrade. Allow enough time for the new or moved system to become (re)established.>> Here is where I have questions....it is an 11 - 12 hour trip.  I could move my fish in our RV in an empty 30g long with their established filter and tank water. Would this be better than bagging them separately without filtration?  Or is it too much of a move for them....should I look into finding  a new home for them here? <<If you like your collection of fish, etc., there is no reason you can't successfully transfer them. Fish, corals and invertebrates are shipped in bags from wholesalers to your LFS where shipping can take 24-36 hours (or more). Place your tank inhabitants in large individual bags. Double or triple the bags and tie off with rubber bands. About 1/3 of the bag volume should be water from your existing tank (not new water) and the rest air. Place the bags in Styrofoam boxes to insulate and keep the temperature stable.>> Tank inhabitants are: 46 GALLON: 2 percula clowns 1 black line blenny 1 bi-color blenny 1 molly miller blenny 1 yellow clown goby 1 pygmy cherub angel 2 cleaner shrimp many Asterina stars - hundreds hermits and a few snails 50 pounds live rock 30 GALLON: 1 convict goby (quite the digger!)(already 3 inches) 1 flame goby 1 cleaner shrimp 30 pounds live rock <<Remember to slowly acclimate the shrimp to the new water. For the LR, dampen newspaper in tank water. Wrap the LR in the damp newspaper and place the into a Styrofoam box with a little tank water.>> Thanks! Lisa <<You're welcome and good luck - Ted>>

Tank move, ?s and plan check Greetings Bob & Crew! <Ray> Once again, thank you so much for the wonderful site.  My reef tank would be nowhere as successful as it is without your guidance over the years.  Sorry this question is a long one, but I have a lot to go over. <Okay> Anyway, I will be moving from my 2nd story apartment to my girlfriends house in a month or so (exact weekend still in the air).  It is about 3 miles away.  I've read up on your moving article and through the FAQs on moving.  Lots of good ideas and has helped me out greatly. <Ah, good> Now, moving my pair of onyx clowns (still in their QT tank so no problems there) and my grow-out/breeder setup (a 20-gal long with a 50-gal LR grow out fuge/sump) are not problems. Moving my 55 gal reef is.  I have several fish (2 Percs, yellowtail damsel, Firefish goby, yellow tang, coral beauty, neon goby), inverts (4 types of snails, 2 fire shrimp, skunk cleaner, 2 brittle stars, a few hermits), several corals, and my prized RBTA which has maintained residence in the front-center of the tank.   In the past 2 years, I have only lost one fish to disease (while in QT), one jumper, and one fish sucked into a pump intake.  Had one peppermint shrimp killed by an arrow crab (he was evicted after that).  Never lost a coral.  I would like to keep my record clean and not loose anything with the move. Equipment:  Remora skimmer, Whisper 60 HOT filter, dual 175W MH pendants, CPR AquaFuge HOT, submersible titanium heater, 3 powerheads. Got about 75 pounds of LR and 2-3 inches of live sand.   Now, I am thinking of upsizing my tank to a 75 while moving.  Will be adding a sump/fuge in the future. <Oh, much easier, better to do this now... enroute to the move> Finally, here is my plan.  Have the 75 on its stand ready to receive inhabitants.  Unfortunately can't afford equipment for a 2nd complete setup.   Tank takedown: *I will siphon off as much water as possible from system and transfer in water jugs (7 gallon).    *All equipment will be moved into Rubbermaid (prevents water from getting everywhere).  Except lighting of course.  That will be moved and set up the day prior. <Would move same day> *Move the corals with their LR in small Rubbermaids with tank water.   *move remainder of LR to Rubbermaid with water. *Aquafuge will be moved about 1/2 filled with water keeping miracle mud intact. <Drain this unit most of the way... easily broken otherwise> *Catch fish and inverts as I can and transfer them to small Rubbermaids with tank water.  Figure it will be easier with most of the rocks gone. *drain tank to sand line.  Then move the tank with live sand to new house.   Setup: *Transfer live sand to new tank from old one placed next to tank temporarily.  I will also be adding new sand to tank as will not have enough to cover increased size. <No problem> *fill about 1/3 with new water and add some new base rock. <Use old water first... top off with new> *Get heater in tank. *move in live rock. *Fill to 3/4 with water from old tank. *Get filtration going.  Will temporarily have second Whisper filter running for extra mechanical filtration. *Acclimate corals and move them into tank with their respective rocks. *Fill tank with water from old tank and newly mixed/aged water if necessary. *Get skimmer running.  Get AquaFuge running.  Place powerheads. *Acclimate fish and move into tank. *Have inverts acclimating (by drip method) and place into tank.  Acclimate anemone same as inverts.   *Watch everything closely for signs of trouble.  Remember to blink and breathe. *If everything survives, drink beer while staring at the tank for remainder of evening. <Very important> I figure the whole move will take about 6 hours. <I'd plan on ten, twelve> I will of course have enough extra water mixed and aged for two 10-gallon water changes the next few days and will be keeping a close eye on water parameters. My biggest problem/concern (besides killing anything) is about my anemone.  It has resided with its base attached to the underside of a rock since day one.  On further inspection, its foot is attached to both the rock above the gap AND the rock below it.  Both rocks are fairly big in size.  Here is a drawing of how the rocks are perched with the anemone attachment in red: <<Didn't come through>> <No biggee... work the foot loose from all but the main rock... carefully... with your thumb, finger nails... Bob Fenner>

Moving aquariums Gang, a few questions about moving tanks for which I've been unable to find specific answers. <Okay> We are starting a move from an apartment to a house 40 miles from home in about two weeks. My end goal is to have 2 of my current 3 tanks set up in the new house. Currently, the two that I'll end up using in the new home are my 125 with DSB and my most prized fish and a 36 with DSB, lots of corals and 3 fish. My 3rd tank, which is nearly empty except for some frags and a DSB about 6" deep, will be used as a temporary holding tank during the move. I also have a 40 gallon tank in storage. So my plan is first to make up new SW at the new house, then to move the almost-empty 29 gallon and the 40 gallon to the new house, then set each up with a few inches of sand. (I'd like to save out some of the sand to add to the 125.) About 5 days later, I will tear down the 125 and 36, placing all the live stock in 5 gallon buckets, which I have plenty of. Then I'll move the tanks and set them up in the new house. I'm planning to put the fish and other livestock in the 40 and 29 gallon tanks with a few pieces of LR for use as hiding places. So, my questions: How long do you estimate I'll need to let the 125 and 36 run before moving the livestock back into them? <A few hours likely... simple tests for ammonia, nitrite will suffice here> The fish that I'm most concerned about moving (because of their sizes, replacement cost and my affection for them) are an adult Magnificent Rabbitfish, an adult Blueface Angel and a pair of Bluethroat Triggers. The Triggers are fairly young and so are probably not their full potential size. Both are males that "colored up" a few months ago. The males get along well together, but I've asked my LFS to try to find a female to swap for one of the males before the move. All will go in the 125. <Do keep these "in the dark" with aeration, or better, triple bagged in Styrofoam fish boxes or equivalent with oxygen> What is the best way to catch these large, very precious fish that will cause them the least amount of stress? <Drain the water down, remove the rock, lift (not by hand, the Rabbitfish is venomous, has sharp fin spines, the triggers are tremendously powerful biters), with a plastic scooping container of size (e.g. Tupperware)> What is the best way to transport them?  <With oxygen, flat-bottomed fish bags of 3,4 mil thickness trebled, individually banded... in fish boxes. You can likely borrow, lease, buy all this at a LFS> Will these 4 large fish do OK in the 40 gallon tank for a few days or would it be less stressful to go ahead and move them to the 125 as soon as the water clears up? <The latter if possible> Somewhere on your site, it's mentioned that DSBs should be moved in large wedges, I suppose to retain the stacking order. Though an aquarist friend is going to help, I really dread moving all that heavy, wet sand. What's more, during that process I need to catch a pesky Formosa wrasse to take to the LFS. Last time I moved it, it was tiny, yet still managed to hide until I removed him with the last few tablespoons of sand. Now it is large and can tunnel amazingly fast. Can you recommend the easiest way to move all the sand while not injuring the wrasse? <Best to seek it out while siphoning and/or scooping the sand, drive it from the sand with a dowel, net it and move it in a small, inch or so, depth of sand in its own bag...> How important is it to retain the original layering of the sand? <Not important or practical> What kind of containers would be best for the sand? <Large, flat, insulated... if there is a great deal of interstitial material I would rinse a bunch of this out... the lost life will soon regenerate> And finally, recently I've noticed a lot of vague, negative comments about DSBs on the reef forums. Can you add any insights as to current thinking on DSBs? <Same arguments as there always were... properly maintained beds are "worth the risk"... keep stirring, occasionally vacuuming, periodically replacing parts with new calcareous material... and all will generally be fine> I'd like to continue using them, mainly because they make it easier for my short arms to reach the bottom of the tank. <A good reason>  As excited as we are about finally buying a house, I really dread this part of the moving process and would appreciate any tips that will make it easier and safer for the fish. (And did I mention that money is very tight right now so extra expenses need to be avoided?)  Thanks, Suzanne <Plan carefully (make lists of tools and materials, steps to completion), get plenty of help, rest... and you'll be fine. Bob Fenner> 

Movin' and Shakin' Good evening Oh Wise Fishy Folks. <Wha's ampennin'?> I ran across a deal I couldn't pass up. This weekend I am getting a 200 GAL with 75 Sump with all accessories and some livestock. It is approx 2 hrs away and after reading all the articles and FAQs re moving tanks, I wanted to run my plan by you with a couple of questions if you have a minute. <Okay> Keep in mind it is COLD here... I won't be able to set up the main tank for 4 - 6 weeks (gonna rip up the carpet and put Pergo flooring down and reinforce the joists in the basement) so here's the plan: 1: Save 75 GAL original water 2: Place fish and inverts in double/triple bags from LFS and store in Styrofoam coolers 3: Place top 2" sand from DSB in heavy duty insulated coolers with water covering it <... I'd likely rinse this... at least on returning it to a system... very likely a whole bunch of die-off in the scooping, siphoning, moving... and trouble on re-placing> 4: Place LR with LPS attached in smaller coolers with LS and water covering it inside vehicle 5: Dump all the rest of the sand in containers and clean it with FRESH WATER when I get home and re-store in containers for up to 6 weeks 6: Tear down and load everything left Drive 2 hrs home then: 1: Set up 75 gallon sump with original water 2: Fire up heaters and AquaC Ev180 (can you say Overskim?) 3: Once temp gets close, float bags with the following: Yellow Tang Purple Pseudochromis 2 Conchs 2 Mated Percula Clowns LTA 3 Starfish 4: Place LS and LR once temp stabilizes 5: Place fish 4 - 6 weeks later: Set up main tank and move everything over. Quick question here: Planning on putting the 75 GAL sump in the basement. There's one catch though. My wood working shop is in the basement. Will paint/stain fumes be detrimental to this plan? <Yes...> Was thinking about "sealing" the sump closet with plastic sheeting behind the plywood. Think this will be safe? <Much better> Will definitely turn off skimmer while staining/painting. <Good... maybe even throw a plastic sheet, polyethylene over the tank/s during the "high fume" times> Sorry for the long email but thought it would be better to bother you once for this instead of every step of the way. <No worries> As always, you folks are THE BEST and I wouldn't make a move without your input. I am a firm believer in getting 2, 3 or maybe 4 or 5 opinions before doing something involving living creatures. Thank you for your time. Tom (the Tool Man) <Your plan sounds well-thought out, work-able. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Movin' and Shakin'
Hello Mr. Fenner. Once again I am in awe (as in Awwww shucks! HA!) of your knowledge and willingness to bring this wonderful site to us. OK, enough groveling for now... <Sheesh!> One last question about one of your suggestions. Before returning the live sand that I skimmed from the top of the DSB, you suggest rinsing it. How would I go about this without losing/killing more of the "pods"/bacteria? <A bunch will be lost. Am sure you understand the rationale for my suggestion... personally, to encourage you/others to be careful... re the "amount" of gunk present... that it not trigger a troublesome recycling event... with careful observation... maybe the substrate is "clean" "enough"... to not rinse... but in general, I would do so... in a bucket, in five, ten pound quantities... with marine/system water, decanted... to rinse out much of the detritus> Obviously I can't use cold FW from the garden hose, but would putting it in a bucket and adding salt water and stirring and draining it suffice? <Correct... some of the precious system water will have to be used> Also, (yeah, I know...have GOT to be reaching my limit soon with the questions ;-)) A friend suggested keeping the live sand in long flat containers open topped with small heater, and airstone/power head and leave the 75 gal bare bottomed until I get the 200 set up and ready. Maybe place 1 conch in each container. That way it would be less stressful on the fish and not as big a mess. Sounds like a good plan to me. What do you think? <A worthy suggestion> Thank you for your time. Tom (The Tool Man) <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

New tank move Good morning, crew. <Hello Chris> Much closer to having something alive in my tank, so it is time for follow up with you guys: The contents of my existing 60-gal reef are soon to be moved into the new 150-gal tank. The old tank does not have any substrate on the bottom (it is 12 years old now, so it never did), but is full of live rock and inverts. I intend to create a DSB, 5-6" in the new tank, and to add a sizable amount of live rock in order to fill 'er up. All new rock will be delivered soon and hardware is in place and working (!!). My question regards the time-line for adding sand, old rock, new rock and critters. Your comments, please, on my scheme:  1. Add new rock to new tank and allow to cure.  2. Remove new rock from new tank in order to lay DSB on new tank bottom (intend to use Home Depot sand and allow rock to seed it. Will a modest portion of live sand speed up the seeding process by an appreciable rate, or provide any other valuable function that may justify the cost?). 3. Immediately replace new rock on top of new sand. 4. Move rock from old tank into new.  5. Move critters into their new home and turn on lights. As always, your counsel is invaluable. Thank you.  <I would add the sand first. You must be careful buying sand from Home Depot. Most of this type sand contains silica which is something that just adds to the growth of nuisance algae. Then add the old rock. This should help seed the sand. If it was me, I would put a layer of "live" on top anyway. I would cure the live rock in a different container. You will get a lot of die off and it will just create a mess on your sand bed. Don't use any lighting over the uncured rock during the curing process. With the nutrients galore present, the lighting will just spark the growth of nuisance algae. You can move the critters into the new tank and then add the cured rock once the process is done, the choice is yours, but I would wait until all the rock is added before adding the critters since it's very possible to crush a shrimp or something in the process. Good luck. James (Salty Dog)>

Tank Switcheroo Good Evening Fishy Gurus, < Hi there, Blundell here tonight. > I have a dilemma for which I would greatly appreciate some insight. I currently have a newly setup 125. I have 20 pounds of liverock in there now, with another 90 on the way to cycle it. No animals, obviously. The first inhabitants of the tank are to be a pair of clownfish that currently live in my 20. The 20 has another 30 pounds of live rock and some sand/snails/crabs, which I want to move into the 125 as well. Long-term, the plan is to use the 20 as QT.  The 20 has been setup for 6 months and also has a massive hammer coral (the sucker is as big as a football), a few Ricordea polyps, some Discosoma Shrooms, and a frogspawn that's healthy, but envious of hammer daddy. < With you so far. > Okay. Question #1: My plan was to move the rock from the 20 into the 125 in stages, while the 125 is cycling. < Sounds like the rock in the 20 is so small, that I'd just throw it in the new tank well after the new tank has all the other rock in it. > My thought was that removing the rock will somewhat affect the water quality in the 20, but water changes there will be simple to do to correct any increase in ammonia.  Does this make sense and seem reasonable?  I'd move the corals and inverts into the 125 last, once the 125 is done cycling. < It makes sense, but I'd cycle the 125 with all the new rock.  Then transfer over the rock from the 20. > Question #2: Here's the dilemma.  Since I got the clowns 2 months ago, they've had intermittently a few 'spots' on them. A few white dots that look like pimples, but they last for at least a week and then they're gone.   At first I thought it was ich (I've dealt with ich before) and I was prepared to yank them into a 10 and deal with it by hypo.  The source I got them from was clean (they had no ich there) and since they were to be the only fish, they didn't get quarantined by me. Yes, I am kicking myself and, yes, I know better.  Thing is, there never got to be more than 2-3 spots on each fish.  Never even a handful.  Everything else was fine.  < In that case, I wouldn't worry about it. > They're eating, growing, not flashing, not breathing heavy, nada.  The temp is run at 82 and I figured I'd see a real outbreak pretty soon if I wasn't imagining things.  Never happened.  So, I soak their food in garlic and I haven't removed them for treatment.  Because, I guess, I'm wondering if I'm hallucinating.  My concern is that if I put them in the 125 I'm putting whatever it is on them in there, too.  So, do I take the rock and sand out of the 20 and put the clowns in hypo for a few weeks before moving them into the 125? < Many people would say yes.  I think I would just chance it and not treat them. > I'm prepared to do this, I just don't want to overreact. The 20 has (as mentioned above) about 30 pounds of live rock.  An inch of sand. I'm running a CPR BakPak skimmer.  Water changes are every week to the tune of 15% or so, but sometimes it's every 10 days.  Twice weekly additions of calcium and buffer with makeup water.  The parameters are 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite and very low Nitrate. One last piece of advice, if I may.  I've been talked down from getting a Venustus Angel for the 125. Yeah, I know they're darn dodgy, but I really wanted one.  This opens me up to a whole different stocking plan. (Taking out the delicate angel means more fun fish, I guess).  Our current thinking is below.  We're looking for lots of smaller fish, as opposed to a few monsters. 2 Ocellaris Clowns 2 Banggai Cardinals 1 Centropyge Multispinis 1 Meiacanthus nigrolineatus 1 Purple Firefish (or a pair if I can find one) 1 Halichoeres iridis 1 Neon Goby 1 Blackcap Gramma < All look fine to me.  Over time that is.  I'd start with the two clowns (obviously, since you already have them).  Then I would go with a tank raised pair of Banggai's. > Am I maxed out yet? Any suggestions? < My suggestion is to not plan any further.  Wait and see how it goes and see what new interests you have. > Any of the above that won't get along?  The tank will also be home to some more Euphyllia  and Mushrooms, the usual round of cleaner snails and crabs, but no difficult/delicate corals or inverts.  The focus is on inhabitants that have a better likelihood of surviving for me to enjoy. < We appreciate hobbyists with your foresight and goals. > Thanks so much for all you folks do! Angela <  Blundell  > Moving tank Stupid planning on my account...I measured the distance between the tank and wall and it is only 3.75 inches, not enough for either of the refugiums. I am going to have to move it out 2 inches. Should I drain as much as possible and leave like 10 gallons in for the fish and coral and just slide the stand.<That will work, just be careful.> The stand I made, and it is a 2x4 frame and the back corner support are like 3 2x4s screwed together. Me and my dad and brother would slide it from this or lift it like 1/4 inch off the ground to move it. What you think? <Yes.  Happy moving.  James (Salty Dog)>

Moving and Refugium 2/15/05 I am setting up a 20g refugium for my 55g FOWLR. I am going to be moving in about 2 months. Can I use the refugium to house my anemone and my clown fish while I set my 55 back up? <a good idea likely to keep the anemone fairly well isolate> Should I use the same substrate or would this be a good time to convert from crushed coral to sand? <either is fine if well cared for and with enough water flow> If so should I go with a deep sand bed, what sand do you recommend? <do a DSB if you need nitrate control> I guess I should add I have 60lbs of live rock. The tank has been up for 3years. And 1 more question then I will leave you alone.  What substrate should I use in the refugium? <coarse if you want amphipods... fine/muddy if you want copepods... with Chaetomorpha algae if you want Mysid growth> It will have a plenum. Thank you so much for taking your time to answer. Andy <best of luck and life. Anthony>

- Switching Tank Recommendations - Hello crew hope you all are well or at least recovering  <Am recovering.> Well I have been given an offer I cannot refuse, but I need your great advice on what I should do.  <Ok.> A family friend and a long time saltwater keeper has recently offered his amazing 55 gallon setup to me for 75 dollars (NOT a misprint).  This means I get: UV sterilizer wet/dry and sump with pump overhead lights 2x48" 1 overflow box and all tubing is plumbed as hard PVC over 50 pounds of LR with thick encrusted red coralline algae and various sponges etc as well as red encrusting algae on the sides and back.  3 inch deep ( 1mm sized pieces) crushed coral bed 3 fish 1 12" Volitans lion fish which is going to my local LFS due to its size. 1 7" miniatus grouper (spelling is off but can't find it exactly, it's a red and blue grouper with spots in various shades of reds blues blacks, etc) which is being sold for 60 dollars 1 5-6" hippo tang with some erosions on the head due to diet problems but will be q/t'ed and healed then sent to LFS as well <That does sound like a good deal, and good on you as well to turn these fish in... they're much too large for this tank.> What is the best way to transfer such large and mean fish to the LFS (the lion and the grouper)?  I was going to use a 5 gallon bucket with a seal-able lid for the 30 min drive as per the LFS's instructions, but is that enough for oxygen for such large fish?  <The bucket is best... good to use about half brand new water mixed with tank water. Also pick up a battery powered pump to provide a source of air in the water... without they'll arrive at the LFS in distress.>  Is there a better way?  <Not really... you could use a cooler, similar container but you'd still have a problem with keeping them oxygenated.> Also I already own a 55 gallon tank with a refugium but as it's only been set up for several months (maybe 5 max) I wanted to switch tanks to the one I'm buying as it has been stable and running for 5 years (pH 8.3 salinity around 1.022 no ammonia, no nitrites, and 40-60ppm nitrates due to the overcrowding and the wet dry filter with the bio balls ).  He does weekly water changes and is very diligent about water quality feedings etc so that the tank has never crashed. Is this a good idea to switch to the more mature tank?  <Sure... more space too... might want to ditch the wet/dry though if your plans are moving in the reef direction.>  My personal tank is also stable at ph 8.3 salinity 1.025, no ammonia no nitrites and around 15ppm nitrates) Should I keep the water that's left after the fish are moved to the LFS and put it back in the mature tank to ensure the inverts and critters in the tank don't have shock from the abrupt salinity changes?  <While at the store, just get some bags and float and acclimate them like you'd just purchase them. Otherwise, I'd use as much existing water as I could.> I'd really love to have the healthier tank since its been doing so well and has so much good algae growth etc.  What is the best way to transfer tanks and the LR and fish in my present tank? I was thinking trashcans that haven't been used for anything but what concerns if any does this present?  <None that I can think of if it's a brand new trash can. I give them a rinse, towel dry and use.>  I don't want to harm my porcupine puffer or my GSP in the move nor my soft pulsing xenia.  <Just take your time.>  I figured the unused trashcans would be ok as the plastic is inert but what are your opinions.  <Have done this many times, no worries.> All advice from as many of the WWM crew would be great.  I know you cannot post all their responses but maybe if they have the time to simply email me back on their take as well.  <We don't really have a good way of doing this... you would find though that everyone would agree on the use of new, plastic trashcans.>  I've always thought that the more opinions I get the better chance I get things right the first time.  <Best way to get multiple opinions like this from WWM is to read through the FAQs... everyone's thoughts are posted there.> Thank you all for all of your help in the past and for any advice you offer here as well.  Justin <Cheers, J -- >

Merger Madness (Mingling Livestock From Two Tanks) - An Offer for more WWM Help Once again before I start let me praise you. Your site is amazing!  <Well, my sight is not that good...but the WWM SITE is great! (Sorry- couldn't resist! Scott F. here today!> Anything I can do to help out the site? <We are always looking for dedicated hobbyists to help others along the way. Do contact Bob...> Anyway on to my question or questions.....Following previous advice I am upgrading from a 55 gallon to a 125 gallon. I found a whale of a deal (bad fish humor) and ended up purchasing an entire fish only system with 180lbs of live rock. The system has been established for 10 months. My tank is the beginnings of a reef with about 5 corals (couple of Leathers, Frogspawn, a Meat Coral, and a Pagoda). I also have a Kole tang, 2 Clown fish and a Foxface. Since my original intent was to simply purchase a new tank and slowly upgrade I am now slightly unprepared for how to handle the move. The tank I purchased is about 3 hours away so... 1. Can I mix my existing water from the new tank with the water from my tank? <I, personally, am a bit leery of this kind of practice. As a dedicated quarantine nut, I'd recommend full quarantine for all of the new specimens and probably would dump the water from the new tank. There's just too much potential risk, in my paranoid opinion.> Since the new system currently is fish only and I have no guarantee as far as what type of water has been used or chemicals what should I test for before transferring my corals to the new tank? <Well, that's all the more reason to avoid mixing water from the new tank> 2.How much existing water would I need to bypass cycling the new tank? <I'm really not aware of any set formula for this. Better to utilize filter media, sand or rock from a known established healthy tank and cycle as you would a brand new system. There is really no point in rushing things.> Either a mix of my water/new tank water or just get as much of the new tank water as humanly possible. Any advice on transporting water? <I'd enlist the help of some really strong people, have a supply of large plastic containers, and plenty of Tylenol!> 3. The tank comes with both a Magnum 350 filter and a ProClear sump/skimmer box with bio balls. I know from the site that for a reef bio balls are not necessarily beneficial. Could I replace the bio balls with live rock? <Well, in a FOWLR tank, it's not as big a deal, IMO. Regular water changes, skimming and use of activated carbon can help reduce nitrate accumulations. Sure, you could use live rock, but it's not mandatory for success.> I have 90 lbs in my current tank so with 270 lbs I appear to have plenty to go around. Are medium size pieces ok for this or should I break them up? <All depends on your aquascape approach. I've found in the long run that medium to large size pieces are easier to work with!> I also plan to add a refugium to the sump setup. From reading CMA this seems like the recommended filtration system (not by brand but by type of setup). <Refugia are very beneficial for almost any type of system> 4. How sensitive will the live rock be temperature wise for the 3 hour trip? I live in Illinois so it is cold this time of year! <Well, you really want to do your best to keep it at a reasonable temperature for the journey. The rock and microfauna are surprisingly tough (just think of how they do on the journey from the reef to your LFS), so don't be overly obsessive. But Styrofoam boxes insulated with towels in your heated car should work.> Any advice would be greatly appreciated. And once again I can't thank you enough! <It's our pleasure to assist you! Best of luck on your "merger"! Regards, Scott F.>
Merger Madness (Pt. 2)
Thanks for the response. I wanted to clarify a few things. <Sure...> I decided not to merge the water of the two tanks per your advice and moved my 55 gallon out of the way last night. All went surprisingly well.....assuming everyone survives the stress. <Keep your fingers crossed! I think you made the wise choice!> The tank I am buying is currently a FOWLR but I want to eventually move my reef into this tank and sell my 55 gallon setup. I am in no hurry to do this but I just wanted to clarify that for a reef is removing the bio balls and replacing those with live rock better or is it really not a big deal either way?  <In my opinion, for a reef system, you would be better served removing plastic biomedia, as they excel at removing ammonia and nitrite, but tend to accumulate nitrate- something that you really don't want to do in a reef tank. I'd let the live rock and sand do the job in a reef system. I would not be as concerned in a fish only or FOWLR system.> Also as far as the size of the live rock goes....if I do replace the bio balls what size live rock should I use in its place? <Your call...Just use an amount that seems sufficient to do the job.> As far as transporting the water.....is it feasible to buy large garbage cans line them with garbage bags, only fill them partially and then tie off the garbage bags? My fear is that I will load all this water up and it will just slosh out on the drive. <Well, it will slosh quite a bit, regardless of technique. I'd just get some large trash cans or thick plastic containers with snap-on lids and place plenty of towels around. You'll get some sloshing-trust me!> Once again thanks for your help! <My pleasure! Continued success! Regards, Scott F.>

- Tank Move and Cycling - Hi Guys- Unfortunately, I had to move my tank to a new location in the house due to poor initial planning on my part.  <Happens.>  Since I was breaking down the tank anyway, I thought that it would be a good time to get the tank drilled and add the Oceansmotion 4-way that I've always wanted, but it added quite a bit of time to the move, i.e. 5 days instead of probably 1. My question is whether it is typical to have a new Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate cycle after the move?  <It's not atypical - really depends on how much original water you were able to use... how much of the biological life was lost during the move, etc.>  The tank has been up for 2 days and my parameters were: Day 1: (24 hours after move) NO2: 0.025 NO3: 1.00 NH3: 0.3-0.6 (in-between colors on test kit). The kit is a bit dodgy, i.e. Hagen, and bought a JBL for future tests.  Added Seachem Prime (max amount) to try and detoxify the nitrite as suggested by LFS Day 2: NO2: 0.1 NO3: 2.00 NH3: 0.25-0.5 Did 20% water change. Waiting to see what the parameters are today!  I sent in a previous question prior to the move about keeping the live rock wet during the process. You suggested to keep wet at all times and if left for even a period of an hour out of water, the decaying process will have begun.  <True.>  Up until the aquascape phase, I did continually keep the rock submerged with a heater, circulation pump, and light. However during the aquascape, it took, a bit longer than planned due to gluing, tying, etc... rock together for quite amazing formations, i.e. over 24hrs in the end!!! My LFS, who graciously helped me with the move and redesign, said that leaving the rock exposed is not such an issue as you guys had suggested since our live rock here in NZ isn't quite the same as in the US.  <Huh... don't why it would be "different" in that way - it may hail from a different place, with slightly different life forms, but the basic functions of it would be the same.>  That is, all our rock comes in to the country and must remain dry for 3 weeks. Therefore, we basically always start out with dead rock, cure it and then dump it in our tanks. However, the rock that I was using had been in my tank for well over a year and exposed to rock that comes in with corals, etc... and thus, was quite live in terms of bacteria, little critters, etc... I think that this time of the rock being dry substantially added to the spike that I am experiencing now, but my LFS says that this is totally normal in every move (which I think is probably due to the fact that they are not strict about keeping rock wet as much as possible).  <I agree with you, not your LFS.>  Not only that, but they said that it is most likely going to be worse in my case since we used about 30KG less rock with the new aquascape and had to completely rinse the sand due to the long timeframe of the move.  <Huh... well, you should expect an ammonia spike, but expect it will resolve itself quickly - within a week or two.> I have had to move the tank on two other occasions (in which I made sure to keep everything wet) and had no new cycle. Another difference from the previous moves to this one is that I was able to use much more water from the previous tank, i.e. approximately 75% instead of only 20% as in this case.  <Patience... this will all work out in the end. Try to hold off on the water changes for a little while so the cycle can complete.> Thanks for your help, Steve <Cheers, J -- >
- Tank Move and Cycling, Follow-up -
Thanks J. <My pleasure.> I know it all will be fine in the end, and patience is certainly a virtue in this hobby. However, I just wanted to know how much of a factor leaving the rock out of the water played on this outcome since this was the real bone of contention during the move.  <Well... that and rinsing all your sand, which most certainly HAD been live before that. But... in the case of your live rock... the fact that it was dry and dead once doesn't mean that once it is live, that leaving it out in the air will somehow make it different from other live rock. Your assertion that the rock being dry for even an hour is going to losing some of the life living in it is a correct one.>  Being a LFS owner, I am sure that he will give this advice to others and if it was in fact a major contributing factor, then I want to let him know to take better precautions with the rock, sand, etc... in the future.  <You can tell him if you want, and for the record I do think he is mistaken in his opinion, but... it's been my experience that many folks don't take well to having their long fought for opinions second guessed by "some guy on the Internet." If he gives this advice to your friends, straighten them out directly - even show them our emails. But as for trying to straighten this guy out... well, it's your call. I've been spending the last month trying to help a friend/store owner realize that Kick-Ich is worthless and will lose him customers... people just get things set in their heads and won't let go.> Thanks again for everything. Your (as well as the whole crew's) advice has been invaluable in my progression in this hobby. Cheers, Steve <Cheers, J -- >

Tank move, lighting choices and closed loops 2/3/05 First off, I'm amazed at the info I've learned from streaming through all these pages. Thank you ahead of time again. <Glad you have benefited!> I am moving to Florida and must break my 180g down. Possibly several months before I will be able to restart. Unfortunately will not be able to save LR but can reseed it.  <If you can't save the live rock, please sell it or give it away. Once it dries, I would not suggest trying to re-use it. It will be full of organic matter from all of the bacteria and tiny critters that died upon drying.> Current FOWLR, next set-up to be reef (some SPS, Mostly LPS, 1 xenia, 1 clam). Tank is 72x24x24. After the sandbed, the water column will be 20". Currently, I am looking at the Coralife Aqualight Pro HQI 3x150W DE HQI, 4x96 Actinic. Obviously, I will replace MH lamps w/Aqualine bulbs. Will this offer enough light if specimens placed at appropriate heights? Any good or bad remarks\reviews for this product? Or should I purchase another manufacturer? <My experience with Coralife lighting products is mixed. If you are going to replace the lamps with Aqualine lamps anyway, why not look at AquaMedic fixtures? They have a better reputation for quality and the lamps you want will be included in the (admittedly much higher) price. AquaMedic produces fixtures with PC's or T-5's.> I plan on adding large refugium and closed-loop water flow to hit around 20x turnover, but having some problems with schematics currently, any thoughts? I want to plan ahead.  <Sounds good, but I am not sure what to suggest without a little more to go on. From the cuff... Be sure that the inlets to your closed loop diffuse the suction effectively (no sucking up fishies!) and use as few T's and elbows as possible.> Any thoughts on placing my skimmer AquaC EV240 outside my sump (changing water levels in sump tend to really play havoc-awesome skimmer though)?  <You could place it outside of the sump, or simply elevate it so that the outlet will always be higher than the water level in the sump.> You have always been so helpful. I print out a ream of FAQ and just read and read, then reverse paper and print on other side-another 2 inch stack of FAQ. Wife thinks I'm crazy. Thanks <Glad to help! All of our spouses think we're crazy! Best Regards. AdamC.>

New marine tank, move, help Hi, wanted to say thanks for all your help in the past, I guess it led to this point, a larger tank! <Ah, good> I've got a 40 gallon tank that's been running for about 2 years, and it's been fairly successful, most of the time.  Nothing is perfect, but I have the following:  a lot of xenia, mushrooms, huge colt coral, plate coral, anchor coral.  I also have 2 fish in there, a scooter dragonet and a blue tang (don't yell at me!)  Actually the tang was a baby in a qt tank that must have been in a piece of live rock I put in the 40, he was just there one day, don't ask.  I knew he needed a big tank when I got him, but I know little tangs are temperamental, and I wanted to make sure he adjusted properly.  The 40 is as follows:  40 AGA, SeaClone skimmer, SEIO high flow on a timer, 2 powersweeps, and a magnum canister I run the first week of the month after water changes with carbon.  I never paid any attention to most water parameters, except nitrates, which stay undetectable, I use RO/DI water, and all I add is iodine- I think the water changes keep the calcium up- good coralline growth, 150 watt HQI @ 10k and 2 65 watt actinics- not much light, but ok for a 40, I put a fan behind the tank. <So far, so good> I buy a new setup and I wanted to go with something big, and at the same time, manageable.  I like low iron glass, so went with a 180 low iron glass aquarium with 2 corner overflows. <Wowzah! Some upgrade now!>   The SeaClone was ok on a small tank, but I figured I would try the Berlin method, which was close to what I was already doing, and a SeaClone is not a large skimmer.  I went with LifeReef on the skimmer and sump, it made them match up and fit in the cabinet better- plus the LifeReef sump had a lot more features that I am interested in.  So I get 2 little giant pumps, 850's, one for the skimmer, one for the return- again, it makes the 'machine' compact and on one side of the cabinet.  I knew that with a larger water volume I may not want to top off all the time, so I plumbed the RO/DI to two floats in the sump- if the states of the switches are not the same, the water won't come out- added fail safe.  I wanted to try some SPS corals so went with 2 400 watt 10k Mogul halides, for a higher light color, I added 2 32 watt actinics to each halide, didn't look good so I added 2 140 watt VHO actinics, kinda kept the yellow out.  With the notion of keeping SPS corals, I wanted to know if this was adequate on a 6 foot tank that is 24" deep.  I should probably add one more 400, but I was thinking of trying a 250 HQI, any suggestions on that, or should I just try this first? <I would go with what you have currently for now>   I bought a Korallin calc reactor, but it's not hooked up- I figure I might need it once I get some SPS frags in there, don't know, time will tell. <Do rig up ASAP... worthwhile for maintaining overall water quality for all life, maintenance>   So if I make a reef gorge, with 2 high points in the tank I think I can get enough light on the Acropora I've been thinking about, is this reasonable? <If these are placed high in the water column> I was upset that I spent 150 bucks each on two pumps that don't have power switches, and I needed a way to control the co2 on the calc reactor when that gets going, so I bought an AquaLogic controller, 2 pH probes and 2 ORPs, and a temp probe.  I sprung for a chiller, 1/3 horsepower, at this point why not- I also incorporated a large fan in the canopy which gives me a 3 degree pull down, should help with PG&E. <Hee!> Ok, So I want to move this 40 into the 180.  I need a lot more sand, but I got about 80 lbs of liverock in the 40 that is really nice, the rock, not the tank.  If I don't increase the bioload, will I get away with this move?  How long should I leave the big tank running before I start adding life- I usually wait 3 months for snails, 6 for fish, and 12 for coral? <Likely a month to six weeks will do here... with moving some of your established rock, substrate to stir cycling on... hook up all... including skimmer and calcium reactor...> I still need about 220 lbs of aragonite sand, and I'll add the live sand from the 40.  I'm not planning on adding any more fish, and I have more than enough fleshiest, so all we're talking is SPS, probably by this time next year- I know I'll get a decent sized bloom if I just dump everything in the new tank, and I hate trying to equalize the water after a nutrient dump, so, what is a reasonable time frame for this move, i.e. all at once, little at a time?  All at once and I can equalize the water one time, and be done, but put all your eggs in one basket and everybody gets scrambled right? <Mmm, maybe... I'd move a few "test" animals for a week or so... then the rest if all seems fine> Or do it over time, but equalizing water parameters would require plumbing the 40 to the 180, which I should probably do anyway huh? <Not necessarily... I would move all the water from the old/small tank when moving the bulk of the animals...> Sorry this is so long, just those few questions:  Enough light?  How fast for the move?  Without increasing bioload, will I be ok with 80 lbs of rock for right now? <Yes> I only ask because I've had problems with bad rock, and I DO NOT want to cure rock in my display-  I like to buy a couple really big pieces and cure them in a vat that I use- easier to clean and monitor it.  Also, the current on the new tank needs to be increased, I was thinking 2 620 High Flow SEIO pumps?  Should I add 4 and cycle them on and off?   <More would be better, cycling better better than not> If I add a light, should it be the new 250 HQI, or stick with the 400s? <Mmm, if it were me I'd go with the 250's, but many others here would encourage the 400's... there are some advantages of higher wattage in this size/depth system... but also some dangers...> Should I hook up calc reactor now, and prevent ph swings at night with it? <Yes> So many questions- this was a large investment, and I hope to do everything as close to right as possible.  Also, my ORP is reading 330 or so during the day- this sucks huh?  Too much stuff in that little tank I guess, <Yes> ozone is too dangerous I think, <Not very dangerous> I'll deal with it.  Also, I've kept a crocea clam high on a piece of rock in my 40 for some time, should I move him to the substrate in the new tank with the added light? <I would... though this species can be located on/in limestone rock> Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated, thank you.  A gentleman named Mike White helped me a great deal with this, he's a friend of Alf Nilsen, <Ah... Alf (and Sven Fossa) are friends... we have the same publisher in Germany (BSV)> and has designed some really nice tanks- and I'm thinking eventually of recreating the reef gorge aquarium (on a smaller scale) featured in Nilsen's book "Reef Secrets"  Thanks and have a great weekend! Thanks, Aaron <Thank you my friend. Do keep good notes... of your choices, the reasons for them as you progress here. Perhaps a few photos... Bob Fenner> New Tank Hi, I was wondering if you could help me ,I've just purchased a new tank way bigger than my current one,  I knew I would do this so I bought a big enough filter and I've had it running on the old tank for about 1month and a half. I also have an under-gravel filter on the old tank as well as an oversized protein skimmer and U.V. filter, my livestock is 2 percula clowns 1 hovercraft cowfish and 1 crimson knobby starfish. At the moment I have a little live rock maybe 2kg but I'm going to get more. I need the new tank to go where the old one is and was wondering if you had any tips like should what to move first how much what should I transfer from the old tank to the new tank what order the livestock should be moved in.  Thanks in advance  Andy Gynane >>>Hello Andy, My advice is to just set a day aside and do it. Make sure you have some buckets or other containers set aside to hold your livestock and some of your old water while you make the transition. You may need to purchase a small heater or two as well. Get the new sand in the tank, the rock, and the filters running. Use as much of your old water as you can manage, and get all the water up to temp as quickly as possible. Take time to drip acclimate the star to the new tank, as they are very sensitive to rapid changes in their surroundings.  You're not going to run an under-gravel on the new tank are you?  Jim<<<

Sand and Live Rock Question <Hello Tage> Dear Friends, I have a question that apparently has not been addressed in your FAQ section(s). I am currently in the process of upgrading my 120 gallon marine tank (FOWLR with 5" DSB) to a 250 gallon setup. This necessitates transferring about 165 lbs LR and about 175 lbs sand to the new tank. Both the sand and the LR has been in my existing tank for quite a while and definitely needs cleaning to remove sediment, debris and what have you. Both the rock and the sand are heavily populated with little, and not so little, critters. This is my question. As I move each from the old tank to the new one I propose to lightly surface clean the LR very BRIEFLY under (same temperature) FRESH water, then immediately transfer it to a saltwater holding tank; then later place it in the new display tank. Likewise with the sand. Naturally I expect some die off in the process, however, the flora and fauna should recover quite soon as I will not be transferring any fish for at least two months. Also, I will be placing additional new (previously well cured) LR and sand into the new setup. What's your thinking about my cleaning process in fresh water? <I don't think it would be a problem.  I've done it before.  James (Salty Dog)> As always, thanks so much for your advise and guidance. It's appreciated more than you can imagine! <You're more than welcome.> Cheers, Tage Blytmann

Moving on up... Hi, I am upgrading my tank from a 55 gallon reef ready to a 120 gallon reef ready.  I am worried of my livestock dying during the upgrade.  Will adding 65 gallons of new water to my already established 55 gallons of water be too much of a shock to my system, my wet/dry's bio system and the livestock????  any suggestions????? >>>Hey Jeff, I can't speak for EVERY organism out there, but most things should come through just fine. Just make sure the temp and pH of the new water falls in line with your old water as best you can. Good luck! Jim<<<

Tank Transfer If I have a 55gal tank (SALT) and I want to transfer it to a bigger 90gal tank. 55gal is established (cycled) so when I add water, bio balls and fish etc: will the tank recycle when adding half the amount of water to the new tank? <It will start a cycle in the new tank but that will take some time.  What you want to do is add this very slowly and carefully.> What would be the safe amount that you can change, and the norm and what can I get away with? <I think you'd be okay to move half from the old tank to the new but you'll be dealing with changes in both tanks.  The old tank will have to rebuild the bacteria and the new tank will be establishing bacteria. If you do this more slowly, say a little bit at a time then the old tank will stay stable and the new tank will gradually cycle. Good luck, MacL> Thank you Jason Halpern

Upgrading Tanks....moving fish and corals 12/22/04 I currently have two tanks, a 55 and a 20. The 55 is a coral reef tank and its inhabitants include: 2 sunrise Dottyback, 2 orchid Dottybacks, sixline wrasse, 1 Banggai, and a cherub angel. Every fish in this tank co-exists perfectly, but the problem is that the corals have begun to outgrow the tank. In my 20 gallon- I have one pair of Banggai, one flame Hawkfish, and a orchid Dottyback. I am planning to replace the 55 with either a 72 bowfront, or a 90 rectangular ( I need to use metal halides.) Which do you think is a wiser choice? <It is always a good idea to go with more water volume.> Would the new adaptation for the corals and fish be too much, but I'm only replacing either 17 gallons or 35 gallons of new salt water. <Nope, I don't think so.> Would there be a chance that none of the fish will make it out alive? <Well, there are no guarantees in life, but I can't imagine why the fish would not survive the move into the new tank. They are all fairly hearty species. Make sure your new tank is completely cycled and that you have the temp, specific gravity and pH adjusted to the same parameters as the old tank. Also, if this plan does work, should I place all the fish in the 20 gallon into the 72 or 90 along with the other fish? < Adding the single Orchid Dottyback into the tank with the 2 established Dottyback pairs is not a good idea, but the others should be fine.> Thanks!
<Your most welcome!>

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