I'll be interested to see how this goes, Greg. Our oak floors are going to need refinishing eventually, and I'm dreading having to move our 125 gallon tank in the living room, although I may take the opportunity to build a better looking stand than I have now (who am I kidding? I've never built anything more complicated than a cinderblock bookshelf - make that "have someone build"). How do you plan to move yours?
Since you asked, here is the plan.
I'll start by removing the plants. I'll have a cooler filled with tank water, and will wrap each species in wet paper towels to keep them separated. Next the driftwood and rocks will go into another cooler.
I'm going to pump tank water into a spare 70 gallon that I have. If I didn't have the spare tank, I would pump the water into a bunch of 5 gallon buckets or even a plastic trash can. As I'm pumping the water out, I will be catching the fish and moving them over. Important: Cover whatever you are using to hold the fish in. Just caught fish in a container are very likely to jump. Trust me, I've picked some up off the floor bare hand a few times.
Once the fish are all caught (once again, easy to say....much trickier to do), I'll start removing the black diamond substrate. I've got lots of 5 gallon buckets, and will fill them as quickly as possible.
Next I'll remove the canopy and filters. Then it's go time. Move the tank and stand, and dump the substrate back in. Then I'll start pumping the water from the 70 back into the 120G. At the same time, I'll be pumping in fresh water as well, and netting the fish and moving them over.
Once the tank is full, I'll do a couple of water changes. As you can imagine, lots of gunk will be swirling around. Then I'll start the filters and let them run for a couple of hours. Once everything settles a bit and clears up, it's time to put the driftwood, rocks, and plants back in.
You need to monitor the water pretty closely for a short time. It's not unusual to see a small ammonia spike, so be ready for more water changes. Probably less than a week at worst.
Let me say this. I have done this before, so I am pretty confident it will all work out fine. However, I'd be lying if I didn't say that even with the best plans, there are always a few moments of panic when moving a large tank. It's to be expected, but somehow it all works out in the end.
And by the way, I built that stand I'm using now. It can be done, but does take some commitment and forethought, but very doable nonetheless.
Good luck, I can't imagine moving my 75 gallon let alone one as big as yours.
It's funny, one of my kids accidently slid a Pokemon card under my stand. He was in tears because it was one of his favorite cards. I tried to get it out but was unsuccessful.
He asked me why we can't just move the tank, and I laughed and said you'll get your card if we ever decide to move out.
He's only 7 so he doesn't understand how heavy the tank is.
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That's a funny story. Sorry for your son's pain, but I fully understand.
Believe me, I have been thinking this whole thing through very carefully. Making sure all the wiring, power, cables, etc. are exactly in the right place. Once this thing is moved, it's not going anywhere again until I move.