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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning to move from Austin to Minneapolis in a week or 2 and am wondering if it's possible to move my planted tank without uprooting the plants. I am thinking: take out the aquascape materials, wood, rocks and stuff, drain the tank of water, but leave the plants rooted in the moist substrate. I was thinking I'd add some bubble wrap or other material around the plants to keep them supported and minimize movement. And, driving really carefully with the tank in the SUV.

Has anyone tried this?

I am sure the fish and shrimp will be alright in a container with an air bubbler plugged into a converter, just not sure if I have to uproot the plants.
 

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Most glass tanks like aqueon are not really designed to handle being moved with a large amount of substrate - esp if it is a larger tank. Also there is a good chance that when tinkering with it if the substrate has anaerobic bacteria it will be exposed to oxygen which would pretty much ruin the substrate.
 

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This comes up quite a bit on the forum. Use the search function to see how people do it. It's way less complicated than anyone thinks. As someone who has done it a few times, I'm here to say it's also not as scary as anyone thinks.

Your critters will be fine in a bucket with an air pump. They'd honestly be fine without a pump. But since you have one, that's awesome. Just try to keep their temperature stable. Maybe wrap whatever container you're using in some insulated bubble wrap if you have it.

As for the tank? Drain it. Support any plants you don't want to damage. Support and secure any of your hardscape you're leaving in place. Use wadded up paper, bubble wrap, paper towels, paper towel tubes, wooden skewers, whatever you need that won't harm what's in your tank. Give it all a good mist and then seal it up with plastic wrap and tape it off.

If you can, bag up your filter media and fill it with your tank water. Keep that a decent temperature - just like your critters - and it'll likely be in good shape when you arrive. Even if it's been a couple days.

Don't worry about losing bacteria in your substrate. It'll be fine.

The longest I've taken is 5 days (I think) and everything has been fine. We're talking super-sensitive shrimp species and oddball sensitive fish. The worst that's ever happened is a slight ammonia spike with an old tank that lasted about 4 hours. Was easily fixed with Prime and a water change. That's one tank out of probably a hundred through the years.

If you can get some boards or a piece of plywood under the tank, that will make it easier to move and will allow for more support. Even if it's a small 10gal or something.

Don't overthink it. Just be more well-prepared and your tank will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Most glass tanks like aqueon are not really designed to handle being moved with a large amount of substrate - esp if it is a larger tank. Also there is a good chance that when tinkering with it if the substrate has anaerobic bacteria it will be exposed to oxygen which would pretty much ruin the substrate.
Thanks for taking the time to help me out! I have a 29 gallon that is a pretty crappy tank, like the worst kind you can get with the caulked sides and all. You think it might survive since it is not so big, if supported with a wooden platform and packing material inside? There is definitely some anaerobic bacteria in the sand layer under the high quality substrate. I also have a 7.5G that I'm not too worried about since I got that one after committing a bit more to the hobby and it's great quality and I knew more when I set it up.

Don't overthink it. Just be more well-prepared and your tank will be fine.
Thanks for sharing your experience! I'm a lot less worried now. Do you think my 29G very poor quality tank is at risk of cracking just because of the poor construction, or likely not if supported?
 

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Thanks for sharing your experience! I'm a lot less worried now. Do you think my 29G very poor quality tank is at risk of cracking just because of the poor construction, or likely not if supported?
No. Just be careful with it.

But if you can, get some wood to go on the bottom of the frame to make it easier to carry and move. They'll cut it for you at any big box hardware store. Worth the investment and peace of mind.
 

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I agree with somewhatshocked; I've moved several smaller aquariums (drained of water, but still planted and with wet substrate) and it really helps to have a piece of scrap wood that fits (or is slightly larger than the footprint) the aquarium.
 
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