moving established tank..how should I move it - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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moving established tank..how should I move it

I have to move my 90 gal tank, cabinet and canopy because I have to put in new carpet. I have an idea about removing water and storing it in big rubbermaid containers and then move the tank then refill the tank (and fish) when complete. I'm concerned about refilling the tank and how to with the water in the rubbermaid containers or should I fill it bucket by bucket. I do have a small pond pump I can use.
Any suggestions????
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 01:40 PM
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Never done it but here is my logic.

Remove 40% of water into a 50gal trash can (cleaned) then place fish in trashcan with bubbler/heater/filter etc...

fill the remaining water into whatever other large container you would like with your plants, remove large rocks and driftwoods to keep weight down.

if possible remove substrate into rubbermaid container and keep some water on it to try to keep the bacterias from going dormant

then move tank and stand and wait for carpet to be redone, then move it back

replace gravel, use pond pump in container without fish, empty that container into tank, return plants rocks/driftwood, transfer heater to tank and add water as if doing a water change maybe 20%, then refil as much water as needed from fish trash can and move fish/filter back to tank

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 01:45 PM
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I've never had to move an established tank anywhere near that large, but I have shuffled my 10-20 gallon tanks around a few times.

The rubbermaid container idea is good. I use 1 gallon milk or juice jugs, but 90 of them is going to be somewhat impractical. Do remember weight though. Even a small 10 gallon rubbermaid container would hold 100 pounds of water. In addition to being difficult to move there's a very real chance that that much weight will cause it to split open.

As for refilling, there's always the plate method. Place a plate on the gravel and pour the water onto that. It should prevent the disturbance from being too bad. You're going to have to move the water back into the tank with a bucket, as even if you could lift the large rubbermaid container trying to pour that much at once would destroy any tankscaping. Edit: I like mrchach's idea to use the 50 gallon trash buckets. When you said rubbermaid containers I was thinking the square storage ones. Trash cans are a bit sturdier, and their handles are much sturdier. Some even come with wheels!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 02:38 PM
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Moving a tank with anything heavy in it is always risky. The weight can cause stresses on the tank that can weaken seems. You may not know until one day....

Ive moved an 84g tank once and emptying it seems the best, safest way. It's not a bad thing in that it's an opportunity to fix a couple of things that you didn't like, clean some dirty equipment, etc... Re-assembling the tank isn't so bad since your already have all the kit, know where you want it, tubes are already measured and cut and you have a working bio filter.

Unless there is something unique about the conditioning of your water, you don't need to save a lot of it. 50% is plenty, much less should still be fine. Depends on how different your water is from your tap water. If not very different, don't worry about how much you save. Instead, just refill with water at a temp close to your target temp to ease reacclimation.

The process is straight forward. Fill containers with some water, remove plants, trim roots and lay into a container. If you were having critter challenges, take the time to dip them, to clean algae and snails. Put hardscape that you remove on a tarp somewhere.

After much of the water is gone, catch the fish. Put them in your containers, add an airstone if the move will be spread out over a day,or two. Not necessary, but if you have the parts, put them to use.

If you remove substrate, the move will be easier and safer, but this may not be necessary. Also, depending on where your moving the tank to and from, consider putting some large sliders that you can get at the home store under your cabinet and slide rather than lift and carry.

Re-assemble is straight-forward too...substrate, equipment, hardscape, plants, water, filter on for a bit, replace fish. Remember the water that they've been in may not be water that you want to reuse depending on the time spent.

For adding water, I use a spaghetti strainer, over a plate if you have the room to set a plate. Takes the force out of the stream. Of course, you can't pour the water from your buckets,complete with fish into the strainer. If you don't want to net the fish out of the buckets, save this step for last when you have a lot of water in the tank, pour slowly and carefully and watch your level. You may want to empty much of the water before the pour with your pump if you gonthis route. I wouldn't try pouring water into the sink, or outside to lower the level, fish tend to sneak out. If you dodecide to do that, plug the sink first! I speak from experience.

Good luck. It isn't that hard, just time consuming. It is an opportunity to change or clean. If you are going tonget through the whole process in a day, fauna should all be fine. To reduCe stress, keep buckets away from activity, cold, and bright light.

Have fun. It will be fine and you'll feel good about the extras you accomplish....like after completing a spring cleaning.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 02:42 PM
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the only safe way to move a tank is empty. you should try to remove as much of everything as possible. rubbermade barrels look nice and sturdy but once they are full of water start to distort a lot, and dont look very safe. so i wouldnt try to fill one. if your main concern is your cycle, the bacteria colonies grow on the surfaces of everything in your tank and filter, and not so much your water column. so dont be afraid to use fresh water when refilling the tank, you dont need to save all of the old water. however, i would still drip acclimate the fish just to be sure that the water parameters arent too far off. i would suggest 5 gallon buckets from home depot or lowes. they are cheap and have a ton of uses.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 02:51 PM
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if you can ignore the lewdness of these guys. Here is how someone moved a 180gal reef tank. http://www.livingreefs.com/180-gallo...rc-t10165.html

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all! I looked at my rubbermaid containers and you're right they are too flimsy. I will go get a large garbage can and I already have 5 home depot buckets. I really don't want to take out the substrate so I'm not going to. I will save only half the water at most. Tap water here in NJ is good with just conditioner added. I'm going to make a dolly so that I can move it around while the carpet is being installed and the old is being removed. Really moving the tank twice.
I have used the top of the Home Depot bucket to refill in the past and works excellent.
I will need some muscle to help out with this venture. I'll try to take pics during the move to document.
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