Aquarium that moves with me - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Aquarium that moves with me

I work all over the country and recently decided to forgo the standard on site home in favor of full time RVing in the travel trailer I work in. It really makes sense for me since I normally spend 9 months out of the year away from home. Why deal with a mortgage and upkeep when I'm never there? I haven't had an aquarium for a while because of not being home. I'd like to change that and get one set up again, but I don't know how to do that when my home travels down the road about every other month, sometimes across the continent.


Obviously, traveling with it 100% full of water is not an option. Even with half the water drained, there would be a ton of sloshing around. I was thinking about making a removable lid that has baffles hanging down to reduce sloshing and spilling, but I don't know... Does anyone have any experience with moving aquariums around a lot? I'd love some suggestions about how to make something like this work.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 04:13 AM
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Considering that a modern planted tank is a complete ecosystem, and that moving it, even if your very careful, will disturb everything I don't think a really good movable aquarium is possible to do. I may be wrong and maybe someone else has some ideas that might work.

If you tear the tank down to move it, that's a lot of additional work you'll have every time you move. However, you have so many other considerations when moving that adding an aquarium to the mix is just not something you want to do.

I hate to discourage anyone, but I think your rather stuck here, and you will need to live with out an aquarium.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 07:09 AM
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The only solution I can think of (in my rather limited experience) is to do what I did in college when I had to move from dorm to home to dorm for breaks and whatnot and that would be having a barebottom style tank, or with a very minimum sand substrate (talking less than an inch deep) with floating plants/epiphytes, a betta and a heater. Granted moving frequently would be stressful and it's not an ideal situation, but it /can/ work. This would include doing weekly, likely twice weekly depending on tank size, water changes and not dealing with a filter at all (simpler that way). When you move, drain the tank, put the plants in screw top tupperware, put the fish in a screwtop and off you go. Bear in mind that the experience I have of doing this, the fish and I only had about 150-300 miles to drive either way so it wasn't too major an event and I could have him back in the tank set up with the heater (usually) in less than 5 hours. Not sure I could recommend it on a permanent basis...
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 09:43 AM
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What size tank are you thinking about, how often are you moving, and how long are the moves? Would the moves occur during extreme heat or cold spells?


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 03:10 PM
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Sounds like a good challenge

I have a few ideas that pop into mind

1. The first is to get some egg crate such as

Glue it in layers to the bottom of the tank and fill the pockets with gravel, you could also build up a single layer on pvc feet like in vivarium false bottoms show here

Cover the top layer in a fine enough mesh to hold the gravel in but allow the plants to grow out of it. mesh would work for either really and the second option would allow more flow in the substrate below the egg crate.

2. The second option I see is to create a moss aquarium by taking a load of moss and locking it between two sheets of mesh to create a false floor of moss. Once it is established you could get some plants to grow happily in it as a substrate. You would also probably want to cover the back and the sides in moss too.


I would insulate as much of the aquarium as possible and keep a dc air pump on hand for emergencies. Modifying fluval spec or flex to operate from an air lift tube would be easy enough. I have heated small aquariums in temperatures as low as 0C as long as you minimise air flow around the aquarium.

For the lid You could modify the tank to have a "Euro frame"all the way round and glue sponges around the lip and attach moss which would help decrease splashes along with a well fitted lid held on by bungee cords or magnets.

I think it could be a nice set up as long as you monitor your power budget and secure everything well. Acrylic would hold up better than glass but may scratch more.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 03:18 PM
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I honestly think your best option is a terrarium instead of an aquarium.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
I hate to discourage anyone, but I think your rather stuck here, and you will need to live with out an aquarium.

I completely understand not wanting to discourage anyone. And I understand being stuck. I've been stuck here for a long time. I hate it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Keating1 View Post
What size tank are you thinking about, how often are you moving, and how long are the moves? Would the moves occur during extreme heat or cold spells?

A 55ish gallon set up would be awesome, but I feel as though that's a bit extreme for my very unusual circumstances. A 20 gallon is more likely at this point, assuming I can figure out a way to do it. As far as moving goes, they normally happen about every 6 to 8 weeks and average about 750 miles, but with the occasional long haul of around 1500 miles. I haven't had to go farther than that yet. When it's cold, I head back down south to avoid hard freezes. When it's hottest work is slowest so moving is normally avoided during June, July, and August. September always has a move date though. I can't say how much of a temperature swing a 20 or more gallon reservoir of water would get though. It does get hot inside the RV during travel days.



That's kinda why I'm thinking plants rather than the inverts I really want. Moving like that is a death sentence for inverts. The stress alone would wipe them out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hulgarth View Post
I have a few ideas that pop into mind
Those are some interesting suggestions. I will definitely be keeping them in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
I honestly think your best option is a terrarium instead of an aquarium.

I am considering that option as a back up plan. It would help add some nature and a bit of life to my otherwise very manufactured feeling home. There's just something about a tank full of water that I like. I've never really liked dogs or cats, but I have a soft spot for our aquatic friends.



I appreciate everybody's input. I didn't expect this to be an easy problem to solve.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 12:50 AM
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I would think something tall, half-filled, would help in case things...bounce around a bit. I like the idea of baffling. Maybe if you had the baffling halfway up and grew terrestrial plants on top of it with roots extending down like some of the things I've seen on here. They could be in separate containers. You could anchor driftwood in place for the fish to hide around in and between the plant roots and driftwood, you could have a nice biotope-ish setup for some hardy fish that probably wouldn't slosh much. The baffles would need to be secured, but removable for cleaning. I'd opt for a bare bottom tank, or very minimal substrate that wouldn't cloud the water, for easier maintenance. I like my Flourite very much. I clean about half the bag at a time with a water jet hose in a bucket and it always comes out clear and never clouds the water. Everything, including the filter, would have to be secured. I'd opt for a canister filter secured in a cabinet or something. Maybe some hardy coldwater fish like white cloud mountain minnows so you can forgo a heater.

It's an interesting thought project and I don't think it's an unreasonable one. I think as long as you temper your expectations and don't go too crazy, you could have something reasonably attractive and stable.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 02:23 AM
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I had the idea to move your plants into pots (even just terracotta with substrate, no need for rockwool, etc) a couple weeks before the move and on moving day pack them tight so they don't move around too much into the bottom of a 5 gal bucket full to the brim of water with a lid snapped on. Would be fine for plants, but you'd likely need a few extra buckets of water for refilling your tank once you reach the new place (since the new water would be different chemistry) or just plan on remineralizing RO for the consistency that would provide. Then you could refill and place the plants back in the tank and not have to mess with planting them immediately, since you're likely to have plenty of other things to do to get yourself settled the first few days.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 02:26 AM
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I feel the sloshing would be too stressful for any fish you could have, but plants and maybe some snails might be fine? Since snails never seem to be bothered in the plastic bag on the way home from the store.... They just go about on the plastic like it's any other tank.

I like the idea of plant pots or partitions like suggested above... Could also do something more permanent perhaps and silicone some lava rock or driftwood directly to the glass, then anubias, moss, and java ferns attached to those. Or perhaps you could do it like those 3D backgrounds made from rocks and foam so it's all glued into place, which may even allow for you to make pockets to hold substrate for rooted plants.

Last edited by germanblueramlover; 01-13-2019 at 02:28 AM. Reason: added more
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