Best way to move established heavily planted tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Best way to move established heavily planted tank?

I'm moving in a month just across town and need to move my tank, still a newbie and not sure what to do. Tank is established with both flora and fauna and don't want to disturb much. I have mostly stems but do have hc that I'm trying to get to spread. Don't really want to do a complete tear down if it can be avoided. Just really got it into a good place but my building got sold and jacked the rent so I really want to make it as seemless as possible if I can. Any help/ experience would be greatly appreciated.

Thx
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 05:34 AM
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How far is "across town"? And how big are your tanks? I just moved my 40g & 10g. For the 10g just took all the water & fish out and left the plants, substrate, wood, & everything else in it while just keeping the water in 5g buckets. For my 40 gallon I couldve done the same thing but I had to take everything out to get the fish. Main thing is to keep your substrate from drying out and losing all the bacteria. Depending on how far your going you can probably just leave the non stem plants in the tank
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 05:53 AM
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I moved my 20L across town (~8 miles) about a year ago. I drained the water into two 5 gallon buckets with lids to save and transported them, and drained the rest. Left about an inch of water in the tank. Took out the fish and put them in one of the buckets. Left the shrimp and plants in the tank and placed wet newspaper on top to keep the exposed plants from drying out. Placed the tank on top of a piece of plywood so the weight of the substrate would not put too much pressure on the glass while being transported.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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It's literally a 5 minute drive. Tank is a 33 gal mr aqua. So between tear down and set up I'm thinking 4 hours tops. It will be the last think I move. Im just really trying to avoid another cycle if at all possible.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 07:13 AM
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If its 5 minutes just keep as much water as you can carry or think your tank will support. If you can try and get water ready at the place you are moving to like you would for a water change. Keep filters substrate plants & decorations and you should be set. Just monitor ammonia/nitrite for the first few weeks just incase
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 07:02 PM
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There's no need to carry water over from the old place to the new place as long as the water parameters are the same. Since the two locations are so close, odds are they both have the same water supply. Test the water to be sure. You will carry over water for the fish which is all you'll need.

Drain the tank as much as you can. Seal it with saran wrap to maintain a high humidity level which will keep the bacteria and plants alive. Don't keep any water in the tank as that only adds weight without adding any value. You want moisture (humidity), not water.

When I moved my tanks, I used a plastic tub to move my fish. Add a bubbler if the water needs to be oxygenated. Cover the tub with something dark since darkness helps calm fish. Watch out for splashing during transport even if the tub has a lid.

When you get to your new place, just set up the tank and add the fish. If the water parameters are different, you can use the water from the tub to mix with the water in the tank while also drip acclimating the fish so adjust them to the new water. Introduce the fish into the tank the same way you normally do when you buy new fish from the LFS.

Then perform daily tests on your water parameters for a week or two. If you notice your tank is going through a mini-cycle, take appropriate measures (including water changes, using Prime to bind ammonia and/or nitrites, adding fast growing plants, and/or adding Tetra SafeStart to increase bacteria if desired). Odds are you won't have any problems though.

A word about your canister filters... don't leave them stagnant for too long. If you get delayed in getting the filters up and running, open them up and put the media in oxygenated aquarium water to keep the bacteria healthy. The bacteria needs oxygen to survive just like the fish.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 10:52 PM
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Structurally aquariums are not meant to be carried while they have things in them.
If you can slide a piece of plywood (Probably 1/2" thick would be about right for your tank) under the tank to stabilize it and carry it by holding the plywood that will help.
Absolutely drain all possible water from it, and if there are any large rocks remove them.
Package the fish separately: Aggressive or predators separate from each other, Loaches separate. 5 gallon buckets are fine for this sort of move, but if you want to bag the fish that is OK, too. Maintain the temperature. Probably the best place is on the back seat of the car. Far enough from the air conditioner that the fish will not get chilled.
Avoid using the water the fish were in to refill the tank. Loaches seem to slough off excess slime coat when stressed, and this can kill other species. Most fish produce excess ammonia and may produce stress hormones. You do not want any of that in your new set up.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 02:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Structurally aquariums are not meant to be carried while they have things in them.
If you can slide a piece of plywood (Probably 1/2" thick would be about right for your tank) under the tank to stabilize it and carry it by holding the plywood that will help.
Absolutely drain all possible water from it, and if there are any large rocks remove them.
Package the fish separately: Aggressive or predators separate from each other, Loaches separate. 5 gallon buckets are fine for this sort of move, but if you want to bag the fish that is OK, too. Maintain the temperature. Probably the best place is on the back seat of the car. Far enough from the air conditioner that the fish will not get chilled.
Avoid using the water the fish were in to refill the tank. Loaches seem to slough off excess slime coat when stressed, and this can kill other species. Most fish produce excess ammonia and may produce stress hormones. You do not want any of that in your new set up.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2012, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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So after much delay the time has come and am seeking some last minute advice if possible. I've got 5-5gal buckets and enough ro/di water set to fill the tank completely. Not sure if I should bag the fish or just put the in the buckets, I have 2 female apisto's, 1 male and some candlelight tetras. I'll track down a piece of plywood for transport. Anyone know where I can track down a sheet of styrofoam to help the rank level. Currently it slopes a lil back to front?

Thanks for the help gang!!!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2012, 10:23 PM
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I was looking back at my notes when I moved my tanks and ran across something I had done that I had forgotten about.

I moved several planted tanks at once, including my 75g which was heavily planted and heavily stocked with fish and inverts at the time.

I started by listing all the fish and inverts in each of my tanks. Then I listed what I was going to use to transport them to the new location. This gave me a shopping list of what to get so I would have exactly what I needed.

Then I went to my new location and set up as many temporary tanks as I could. If you can only set up tubs, then that's good enough. The main thing was to have them up and running at the new location in advance so I didn't have fish sitting in buckets in case something went wrong. It also saved me time on the big day which was a godsend since I was so busy moving so much at once.

Using my list, I then decided where I'd put each group of fish once they got to the new location. Since I could not possibly set up all the tanks at once, I could organize it so the fish from tanks that I would set up last would go into the temporary tanks I had set up. So only the fish from the tanks I was setting up first remained in their buckets from the move.

It is best to do a really good trim of the plants before moving so they're ready to be planted when you get the tank set back up. Anything you can do in advance is helpful. As I trimmed the plants, I packaged them as if I was shipping them. Label the baggies to make things faster when setting it all back up. In fact, it won't hurt to make a sketch of your design layout so you can literally plant by number without having to think. It'll go faster that way.

Once the plants are ready to go, I started packaging my equipment. Label everything if you have multiple tanks. The more organized you are, the faster and easier it is to put it back together later. Take pictures of your old setup that you can refer to when setting it back up. You'll be surprised at the number of things you figured out when you first set it all up that you forgot about. Simple things like which plug you had everything plugged into can help make things go really fast.

Finally, drain the water and catch the fish. Package the substrate. Then move.

By organizing everything ahead of time, I knew exactly what had to go where when I got it all to the new place. I knew which fish went to which room and which tank (temporary or otherwise). I knew which plant went where. It was all automatic.

Then it was just a matter of getting the tanks in place, adding substrate and hardscape, adding water, and hooking up the filters. At that point, I could add the fish. Then I could take a little longer getting the CO2 and other equipment set up and planting the plants.

If you don't have a lot of tanks to move, you may not need to be quite so organized, but maybe some of the ideas would still work for you. The main thing is to think it all out before you actually do it so you'll know what order you'll do everything when breaking it all down and then when setting it all back up again.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2012, 02:46 AM
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I would never suggest moving fish in buckets. It may work out but then that is not planning for sudden things to happen. Anybody who goes through life thinking accidents don't happen is really setting himself up for the big fall. Fish are bagged and put in boxes for a reason. They are more likely to survive even for several days if they are treated much the same as shipping. Picture how it comes out if they are in buckets and a car pulls out in front of you. I use large plastic trash bags for the big guys and shipping bags for the small ones and put them in cardboard boxes. They survive even when people helping me drop the box.
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