Moving an Established Aquarium
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:18 AM   #1
redpenguin01
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Moving an Established Aquarium


Hey Guys,

I am planning on moving my planted established planted aquarium around tomorrow night due to too much strain being put on my current stand. I have a current stock of fish and plants that has been setup for about 5 months, so i was just looking for some helpful suggestions so i would cause the least amount of damage to my current stock. Also,I currently have a 20gallon long tank with about 30lbs of substrate in the tank.

I don't want to risk dropping, spilling, or compromising the structural integrity of the tank.. and I really don't want to start my nitrogen cycle all over again, So I think the only a couple of ways I can go about this.

Option #1: Remove all heavy rocks and driftwood, and drain 75-80% of the water. With this method, I am really weary about the safety of my fish and restarting my aquarium's biocycle. I don't know if it is necessary to remove the substrate or to even risk the weight. I also don't have an extra tank at this time to move my fish to.

Option #2: Buy a small 10 gallon tank to house my fish while I completely disassemble my tank. I think with this way, I can save about half of my total water, as well as reduce the amount of stress put on my fish in a temporary tank. With this method, I would also be able to switch the substrate out to something more suitable for plants. I could also re-scape the tank to something more pleasing to the eye. The only thing I don't know what to do about is with all of my plants. Should I put a substrate down in the new tank? And if so, what sort of substrate(s) should I use for either tank in order to accomplish this move to minimize stress and death?

Any suggestions at all.. ingenious alternative ideas, good substrates for plants, suggestions minimizing fish/plant stress.. I would love to hear them. BUT, it is dire that I move this tank immediately as I don't want to come home to a mess that I could have prevented. PLEASE HELP!
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:03 AM   #2
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This is what I'm worried about when it comes to my 40B. I'd like some insight on this as well.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:56 AM   #3
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Is the tank in the picture your 20L? I've moved my 30gal back and forth to college and back before. Are you just moving it around your place? What I did with my tank is took the plants out, with the exception of ground cover plants, caught all of the fish, bagged them, put them in a cooler for the car ride home, drained as much of the current water into 5 gallon buckets as I could, put lids on the buckets. I also put the biological media from my filter in one of the buckets to keep it wet and alive. I then took the take off the stand, put it in the back of the car, then put the stand in the car, drove 4 hrs home, then immediately began reassembling everything. If you're just moving it from one place to another within the same house/apt/whatever, I'd just empty water into buckets, remove the plants, you can float them in one of the buckets, catch the fish, you can keep them in one of the other buckets temporarily. I would hook up a filter to that bucket, just so water stays moving and clean. Then empty as much of the water out as you can, move the tank to the new location, and reassemble everything, add your water back, make sure temp and such is good, then add the fish back. Unless you have super sensitive fish, it shouldn't be a problem to move them. Like I said, I have moved my established tank a couple times 4hrs home and 4hrs back to school and have had no issues. Feel free to ask any specific questions you might have.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:00 AM   #4
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My 30 gallon has about 60lbs of substrate in it. When you move a tank with the substrate in it, you just need to be really careful not to impart any twisting forces on the seams. One suggestion I have seen is to put it on a flat board like a piece of plywood or something and then carry the plywood rather than the tank to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the seams. Just be careful when moving it and the tank itself should be fine.
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Old 04-27-2012, 08:40 AM   #5
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That's a lot more reassuring. Yeah, it's a 20gallon long tank. I am literally going to move it about 5-8 feet away onto a new stand. I am just more worried about the bottom crashing out or my water getting polluted enough to kill of my fish during the movement. I don't have any sort of board to put under the tank, but I might just have to swing by the hardware store later just in case.

Do you think I should try to get as much good water as I can first, then clean up all the bottom waste? I will definitely keep this thread updated with my success or failure. Its going to be a lot of work either way, but I hope everything works out just fine.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:21 AM   #6
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I'd try to make sure you have someone to help you lift the tank and move it. You may not really need a piece of plywood or anything if you're only moving it that far. I didn't use one to move my tank, it was just a suggestion I read elsewhere. I'd try to keep as much water as you could, but as long as you get over 50% it shouldn't be a problem. 75% would be good too. I change 50% of my water with every water change, so really, it would be no different than simply doing a water change. The bottom is not going to fall out of your tank. It supports all that weight when it's on the stand. It would be a good time to rescape, clean up, do whatever major changes you might make. Your fish are not going to have problems if you're only moving it that far. heck, I've kept some tetra in a 5 gallon bucket overnight before with no filter (not that I would do it again...). Since you're only moving it a short distance, it shouldn't be too difficult. It's never fun when I break down my tank to move it, but it's either that or leave it in my apt at school over the summer and pay someone to take care of it all summer, and lets face it, I don't trust anyone but myself with my tank.
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:49 PM   #7
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I moved my 55 gallon from columbus to canton oh and I just netted the fish out and put them in a large igloo cooler with as much water as it would hold, probably 10-15 gallons. Then I drained the tank drove 2 hours, setup the tank and filled halfway full with tap and 5 gallons from the cooler and then began drip acclimating them. At the end of the day I put them in the tank and brought the water level up 5 gallons a day until it was full. No issues with nitro cycle no stressed or dead fish. This was 2.5 years ago. Everyone is still alive.
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:02 PM   #8
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I would NOT try to move any tank full of substrate, they just are not designed for that kind of stress on the glued joints. It's one of those things that you can do/might get away with OR you can have a Epic fail.

I'd just gather up every container I can find, rip it all apart, move it & reshape while I'm at it. Run with the Big dogs or stay on the porch with the puppies approach.

If you have thought about different substrate, plants, filter etc. now is the time.

Block off a day and do it right.
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AUvet14 View Post
My 30 gallon has about 60lbs of substrate in it. When you move a tank with the substrate in it, you just need to be really careful not to impart any twisting forces on the seams. One suggestion I have seen is to put it on a flat board like a piece of plywood or something and then carry the plywood rather than the tank to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the seams. Just be careful when moving it and the tank itself should be fine.
x10

Do it this way all the time. You're only draining out the water and not disturbing plants and fishies. Move the tank to it's new position and refill.

* NOTE * this is only for small "managable" tanks. I've moved up to my 29g like this before.
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Old 04-28-2012, 06:24 PM   #10
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Yeah I got everything moved safely. No deaths or structural failures. I appreciate your responses. I'll throw up an updated shot when I get some time later today.
Cheers.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:37 PM   #11
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Alright, finally got some time to take some shots. I am not dead set on the scaping or positioning of the light at this point, just getting a feel for what works. I will tell you, it was a lot harder to scape 2 sides of an aquarium granted that it is now going to be viewed from both sides. Any suggestions are still welcome. I wouldn't even mind doing the far end as a psuedo-riparium sort of setup. I am also probably going to get some ground cover plants for the shorter end eventually.
Before Movement:

After Movement:


Thanks again for the help guys, I truly appreciate it.
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