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Upgrading to a bigger tank/Moving 1/17/12
Hi Crew, Jim again, sorry. I just got a 180 tank that is 6' long finally.
Now my Blonde Naso will be a lot happier. My question is I am moving all my life stock to a tank that has been sitting empty for a year and half. I want to make sure I don't lose any of my Children when I put them in the new tank. I plan on putting all my live rock from my old sump to the new one. Also all the Live Rock and sand from all tank to the new one. I hoping with saving most of water, rock and sand from my old tank. That there will be enough bacteria so I don't lose anybody. Could please send me link to where I can read about this so I don't loose any thing in the process?
<You're plan is sound but do read here and related articles/FAQs. 
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Upgrading to a bigger tank    1/21/12

Hi James,
 I was thinking of going bare bottom for a while. My sand is pretty much puttered out. It has a brown algae stain after a day or two. It like five years old. I know I can add new sand to get the old going, but thinking of not doing it for a while. I was thinking of trying the bare bottom look for a while.
<Easy to clean/siphon debris.>
I have no fish that burrow them self's <themselves> in sand. Do you think that will hurt my bacteria when I switch tank.
<Not if you have live rock.>
 My tank is very well stocked, and I don't want to remove none of them because I am a hoarder! lol I know the reason my sand did what it did is because I am overstocked, but I am upgrading with the 180 and shooting for something bigger in a year or two. I was also thinking of adding a wet/dry filter too. I have enjoyed talking to you James. I hope you do not look at me like I am fish abuser.
<No reason for alarm yet.>
 Knock on wood everything has been good. I have a blue face and he got hlle. So I started paying more attention to my water quality.
<And nutrition!>
He is almost healed except for a small spot on each side of his cheeks. I hoping it will heal, but hopefully time will tell. I try to do a 20% water change every week to keep good water quality and I do not over feed. I do love the look of the over crowded systems, and I will not let them out grow my system because I will go bigger. Well no bigger then 300. I buy all my fish small and let them grow up together. I was wondering if you recommend any type of set up for a large over crowded system, with out having to get rid of my babies?
<Large tank, good water flow, maintenance, etc.>
I am sure as much as you guys preach not to overcrowd a system there has to be a few of you doing the same too. Jim
<I enter my plea of guilty with my wife being an accessory to the crime. 
When I downsized to a 65 gallon I wanted to sell the Tomini Tang and False Lemon Peel but she wanted nothing to do with that.  I have 1500gph flow, clean the skimmer weekly and carbon dose.  Everything looks great, only algae is coralline. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Upgrading to a bigger tank 1/23/12

You're awesome! No really you are. So I got a guy trying to trade me a Precision Marine 250 Bullet 2 skimmer. Do you think that is efficient enough to run a 180 with a 70 gallon sump?
<Should be fine.>
 I think I am going to add some of my sand in the sump with the rock. My pH was low and I never checked it. Its from my water. That's why the Angel got hlle. He eats Angel formula, Mysis, and New life spectrum pellets.
<The NLS pellets is a great food, use it myself.>
 He looks like a crazed dog for the pellets. His eyes almost pop out of his head. lol  I will keep updated on the tank switch and will post video on you tube when I get the 180 pimpn. Thanks again,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Upgrading to a bigger tank 2/3/12

Ohhh the battle continues. So I decided to wait on getting my salt gravity back to 1.025. I am very happy I did because I got Ick in my tank now. My tusk was covered with it and my Scribbled Angel has a few spots this morning.
<Likely from too much stress/changes during the move.>
I drop my gravity to 1.008.
<More stress.>
I hoping it well help. Unfortunally with my experience with hypo-salinity its a hit and miss. Do you have any luck with it?
<I have never did this, I'm very selective on where I buy my livestock and have never had a need to do this.  When I upgrade/downgrade tanks, the process can last three or four days just to ensure a gradual change.  I do not transfer the livestock all at once but rather start with the more timid fish and place them in the new system first.  Once they appear comfortable/acclimated, I move another into the system, etc, etc.  I prefer to use a large Rubbermaid tub of around 70 gallons as the holding tank and place all of the original live rock in this tub.  With the dark walls of the tub, the fish are more at ease during this transition time and the rock provides denitrification.  I usually buy enough new live rock to create a safety zone for the first inhabitants in the new tank and slowly add the old rock as I transfer the other fishes.  I've used this method several times in my long hobby career and never had any problems.  Being impatient usually leads to trouble.  My last recent move took one week to complete.>
My Long Nose Hawkfish and Flame Angel has been stressing pretty bad since the switch. I think tomorrow I am going to catch them and put them in my quarantine tank if they do not get any better.
<Would be best and at this stage and I would not do hypersalinity and create more stress, but to treat the fish if they do not appear to be recovering.>
I am really starting to regret the upgrade.
<Understandable and should not happen if done properly.>
I feel like I <I'm> spending more time working on my tank then anything else.  After I emailed you the last time I read about Dr Tim's magic cycle stuff.
<It's not magic.>
I ordered four bottles and put them in my tank yesterday. Ammonia is 0, Nitrate is 10ppm, ( Not to worried about that right now) Nitrite 0 and ph is 7.69. I can not get it in the 8.2 range I don't know why.
<Likely from too many acidic nutrients stirred up during the move.  I would not worry too much about your present pH, is not life threatening.>
I have been adding buffer in like crazy.
<What was the dKH, did it indicate a need for this?>
I bought a new pH probe and recalibrated it yesterday. My API test kit says its 8.3, but Neptune says its 7.69. Not to sure who to believe.
<I'd believe the probe.  Color comparator test kits are ball park figures, not that accurate.  Did you do a high and low calibration with the new probe?>
 lol I hope all is well!
<Is OK on this end.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Upgrading to a bigger tank 2/3/12

Everybody is doing a lot better today. Nobody has no spots and everybody is eating again.
I am going keep the salinity where it is for now. I think maybe 30 to 45 days as long as I see no spots. The move was hard on the fish and myself.
<Not an easy or enjoyable task for sure.>
Its something I am never going to do that for at least a year, maybe two again. I will keep you updated. Thanks again, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re Upgrading to a bigger tank 2/19/12, chatathon

My tank is doing great!!! I raised my salinity almost back 1.025. It is at 1.021 now. I have been raising the salinity slowly over a two week period. The ick has gone away. I have been keeping my water quality supreme!
<Does go a long way in prevention.>
I bought a Emperor Aquatics 40 watt UV. It burned the ick out with in a day. I am pretty sure it would burn Aids out if it was in the tank.
<Keep in mind that UV only kills whatever passes through the chamber.>
lol Everybody is doing good and stress free so far. I will make a video and send it to you soon when I get all my fish in my tank.
I have a few fish in my 55 quarantine and had some questions for you. I have a Scribbled Female Angel. I have had her for about a month now, and I have still have not found what she wants eat yet. She nipples <nibbles> here and there, but has not ate like Angel. The same goes for my Emperor. I got him Wednesday and he is in the same tank.
<Is this in the 55 gallon?  I'm hoping not, and your 180 will be/is too small for these fishes.>
They both get along great and they swim together. He is what I think is most people's dream Emperor. He is about 8" and has streamers. I have soaked Mysis, spectrum pellets, krill, angel formula, brine shrimp, in garlic and Selcon. Still have had nothing. I have done the same with green algae. All the water parameters are good. I was thinking of going to the store and buying some fresh shrimp and scallops and trying that. any Ideas?
<If these angels are in the 55 QT, it is likely the reason for their poor appetite, stress.  If all appears well, I'd move these fishes to the 180.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Upgrading to a bigger tank 2/20/12

Yes they are both in the 55.  I moved the Emperor to the 180 last night. I will move the scribbled tomorrow night.  I do realize in long term this tank is way too small, but it will get them through for a couple of years.
<Mmm, still pretty tight quarters for a 8" Emperor.  May also have some territorial issues with the Scribbled Angelfish.>
I will be shooting for something in the 300 gallon range later.
<That's more like it.>
 I just don't want to think about it anytime soon after this last time. Remember what I was saying before I do keep my tank over stocked? I never liked the look of a tank where there are two or three fish and it has the empty look. As long as everybody stays stress free I am happy with the over stocked look.
<Problem here is that overstocking can affect stress free results.>
 I will not be adding no more fish. Maybe a wrasse or two, Lyretail Hogfish and blue spotted Jawfish.
<In the future 300 I assume.>
I am officially done after that. I have put a block on live aquaria's diver den so I don't get updates of what is in. I am truly a fishholic and I think I need help! lol  Do you ever get up North Idaho? If you do we should hook up. Have some drinks and talk fish.
<I'm in Michigan so the chances of hooking up aren't good but thanks for the offer.  I like the "have some drinks" part.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Upgrading to a bigger tank 2/21/12

<Hello Jim>
I just wanted to tell You, Bob, and the Crew. That you guys are awesome!!! Its really nice be able to email you guys and get a response back. lol I don't think there a better site with so much info on the whole web. I will keep updated on my tank.
Sounds good and thank you for the kind words.  James (Salty Dog)>

Moving a 375 gallon tank -- 09/14/09
Hi Bob and the rest of the Crew,
<Howzit Wil?>
I have a BIG problem, I have to move to a new home the last Sunday of this month, my tank is a 375 FOWLR (250pounds of rock)
<Oomph! I hope you have strong friends>
my question is: could I prepare the whole volume of new water or should i transport the existing water to the new location?
<I'd only move the bit of it necessary to move your livestock>
I think the last option is harder and I probably spend more money buying big containers than buying salt buckets, what is in your opinion the wisest option, is the new water going to stress my fish a lot?
<Mix most of it new at the new location... As early as you can>
Thanks a lot for your help!
Wilberth from Mexico City
<Welcome. BobF in sunny San Diego, Ca>
Re: Moving a 375 gallon tank -- 09/14/09

Bob thanks a lot for your fast answer, I get the keys tomorrow morning so I guess I should start the move to mix the water ASAP
<I would!>
I forgot to say that all the fish are going to stay in a 250 gallons PVC/liner pool with the filters connected.
I'll write you back in about 3 weeks to tell you how the moving was...
<Please do. B>
Best regards
Moving a 375 gallon tank - 10/05/2009

Hi Bob I hope you're doing fine, as I said I write you to tell everything went fine with my 375 gallon tank
moving, it was really hard to make the move but the fishes are now again in their home.
<Ah, bueno>
thanks a lot for your advice and I hope not to move again in a LOOOONG time.
<I'll bet! Tienes razon!>
Saludos desde Mexico y un gran abrazo.
P.S thanks for accept my Facebook invitation
<Be chatting mi amigo. BobF>

Moving a 120 Gallon Mixed Reef 1/12/2008 Hey guys, <Adam> I have a broad question about moving a 120 gallon reef that I may be purchasing. I currently have a 55 gallon reef tank with a couple of leathers, and LPS corals. A friend recently decided to sell his 120 gallon mixed reef tank (Mostly SPS and Zoos, as well as various fish). His tank has been up and stable for several years. Although it has been moved once, everything survived the move. I am having a hard time passing up the deal because I have wanted to upgrade the size of my tank as well as the lighting and I would be getting the full deal here for MUCH MUCH less than what he put into it. I have a few questions regarding moving the tank though. He has a DSB in the system now, how should this be handled in a movement such as this? Should we discard all the sand and opt for new? <If all can be moved "expediently", I would opt to leave it in place... Even if for practical reasons (mainly weight, everyone's backs) it needs to be removed... I would gingerly replace all and see how it resorts itself...> My thought on this was that I would be effectively getting rid of a lot of the biological filtration? But is it safe/wise to keep the existing sand after it being disturbed? <Might be... on both counts> Secondly regarding the combining of the two tanks. I have about 50-65 lbs of live rock in my 55 gallon that has been up and running for almost a year. It is all covered in different shades of coralline algae and I would like to add my rock into the larger tank. (there is approx. 120 lbs of live rock in his system.) I don't think this would pose a problem but I wanted a second opinion. <Should be no problem mixing> The last question I have is regarding the live stock. I have a small/medium yellow tang, as well as a few gobies, a lawnmower blenny, a cleaner shrimp, a pistol shrimp and a myriad of clean up crew animals. The 120 gallon houses a black cap Basslet, a cleaner shrimp, a bi-color dotty, scissor tail goby, purple tang, and a flame angel. Are there any issue with this combination? <Maybe a bit of initial "jousting" twixt the tangs, but all should mix here> I know the two tangs could possibly be an issue and I am prepared to watch and make adjustments as necessary but will the rest of the fish coexist? What would the best method of introduction be? <Maybe to "float" the Purple Tang in a plastic colander in the 55, place the rest of the "new" fishes in there as well... while the 120 is settling in for a few days...> We have our own ideas but I'd like a professional... or more experienced opinion on the this move/combining. Any extra insight would be much appreciated. Adam <This is about it... for how (little) awake I am presently. BobF in Houston>

Re: Moving a 120 Gallon Mixed Reef    01/13/2008 Bob, <Adam> Part of this movement problem that I failed to mention is that the 120 Gallon will be going in the spot that the 55 gal is. <Ahh!> (I guess In my excitement I left out some of the details) The plan was to wake up EARLY one morning and begin to break down the 55 gallon. The 55 gallon sump would serve as a holding tank, (with a heater, a Bio-wheel filter and a few power heads) as well as a 29 gallon tank that I normally use for mixing fresh salt water, these would be used to hold my livestock while we break down the 120 gallon and move it to my house. The 120 gallon tank is approximately 15 min from me, so breakdown and set up will be the most time critical. I will have back up salt water ready if needed during the move, in the form of 5 gallon buckets and such. So if possible should I try and keep the live stock out of the 120 gallon tank for a few days? <Mmm, not if this isn't practical...> My concern here is with some of the coral such as the Acros and Montis, if I place the corals and such in the 55 gallon I would be over crowding and with out an ability to hook a skimmer up couldn't this prove to be disastrous over the course of a few days? <Better to just be careful re moving all back into the 120> Should I place the corals into the 29gallon, without any other form of live stock and try to hook up a PC retrofit I have to provide light? <I would not> My other concern is under reduced lighting for several days would the corals go into photo shock upon re-introduction into the 120 under MH? Lastly while the tank is settling for a few days should I leave the lights off? <Too likely and no> If the idea at hand ends up not being feasible how detrimental could it be to reintroduce the live stock before settling? <The use of a mechanical filter, perhaps a borrowed/rented "Diatom" is encouraged> I pulled this off when I moved my 55 gallon twice before, but I did not have sensitive corals/fish such as the Acros and the angel. <These too are resilient when in good health> Another fish I failed to mention but I think may pose a problem is that he has a long nosed Hawkfish? In your book it states that they can be "great" hermit killers? <Mmm... really? Forcipiger? Am not so sure...> Should I exclude him from the new setup and let a friend or LFS have him? The current owner says he hasn't had a problem, but I know that fish can change attitude. <I don't think you will have a problem here> Last question because I know that this is probably getting long, but I am trying to plan as much as possible before execution. The 120 will be housed up stairs in my house for approx. 1 - 2 years, while I slowly refinish the basement. Once the Basement is finished it will house a 300 gallon marine tank and I plan to move the 120 gallon reef downstairs where they will both be in optimum placement. (I'm building a fish room into the basement, so that during water changes, maintenance etc. I do not have a looming shadow over my back also known as a wife, criticizing my every move and waiting for a drop of water to fall on her carpet. *chuckles*) Pending we can't move the DSB without disturbance, would it be better advised for me to replace the DSB with a 1-2 inch layer of sand/live sand to cut down on replacement cost before the final move downstairs? <Mmm... might be a good idea... if nothing else... you could re-add this 'old' substrate over time... cleaning/storing it in advance> (Once downstairs I will definitely want to go back to a DSB, I like the possible benefits and the aesthetics of it.) Will the 1 - 2" sand bed be enough for my gobies, brittle stars, Pistol shrimp, clams, snails, ect. to use in their endeavors? <Likely so> Thanks for all your input, Adam P.S. I'm about 1/2 through your book, and despite all the other books I've read, and the countless hours I spend on your site each week I am still learning new things. It's definitely a different approach than other books I've read, and much needed for people new to the hobby. Thanks again. <Much good help there, here... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Moving a 120 Gallon Mixed Reef  2/23/08 Bob, <Adam> I just wanted to extend a thank you to you for your advice on the tank move. Despite my greatest efforts I did lose a quite a bit of two Montipora colonies, I trimmed back quite a bit and it seems to be doing good. I have three fish that have went AWOL on me, and I am not sure if they are still alive or not. (A Canary Fang Blenny, A pink and blue spotted goby that was paired with a pistol shrimp. The shrimp is still in the tank, I have not seen him but I have heard him clicking away a few times at night. <A good sign> Also a scissor tail goby that I have not seen since before the move.) Everything is doing ok, my alkalinity is still a little low, about 2meq/L (~100ppm?) and my calcium is at about 300ppm. I am trying to get my refugium up an running so that my PH will stabilize (between 8 and 8.1), but I have read many mixed opinions on mixing substrate. My plan for it was to breed pods as well as provide some natural food for my tangs and the angel (Along with the nitrate reduction done by the algae.) Maybe some green Ulva and some red Gracilaria. <Good choices> I have a 12lb bucket of Walt Smith's Fiji Mud that I wanted to mix with about 2 inches of Special Grade Sea Floor, for a total of about 4 inches of substrate. I have read in the forums and found some people saying it wasn't a bad idea but also found a question you had answered saying NOT to do this? Yay or Nay? <I say Yea> Thanks for all your advice again. Adam I included a few pictures of the tank that I took a few hours ago. <Very nice. Be patient re those missing gobies (and keep the top covered), and the settling in of your water chemistry... Bob Fenner>

Successfully Moved my Reef Tank Contents 1400 mi.    5/24/06 Hello again, <Hi there> Amazingly enough I have reason to celebrate and thought I would share how I successfully moved the live rock and livestock of my 75 and 58 gallon reef tanks into a 120 gallon tank 2 weeks ago. <Please do> Sadly I did lose my very large (6-8") bubble coral and 2 Firefish that hid in the rocks, but incredibly that's all. The live sand went putrid as expected, but that was OK. It will be easier to run the tank bare bottom with the LR and keep the sand bed in the refugium until we get a house out here. No use having a sand bed in the tank right now as it will have to be torn down and moved again once we get a house out here. Anyway, I finally found a new job back out West (  Utah ) where I belong after working and living in   Saint Louis ,  MO   for the last 4 years. I'm from   Colorado  , so I'm right next door now. Anyway I moved into a temporary apartment here in   Ogden ,  UT   the first week of April and started my new job. Four weeks ago my wife called me at work to say that the 58 gallon tank was overflowing and was half empty. <Yikes> I had to fly back home to   Missouri   to fix it and remembered to put a big chunk of Chaeto in a Ziploc and bring it back with me. It was clear after the mishap that my wife couldn't keep my tanks going so I decided to move the contents out here where my new job is until our house sells and we can buy a new home.   When I got back to   Ogden  , I bought a new 120 gallon AGA reef ready tank that I had my eye on and mixed up 150 gallons of saltwater to get ready for the move. I plumbed the tank so it would be ready for the drains to the sump and return pumps. The under tank sump is used for circulation and is the home of my EV-180 skimmer.    I built an external 40 gallon refugium from an EBay kit and added some live rock rubble, 80 lbs. of seeded oolitic sand and the large chunks of Chaeto I brought with me from my tanks back home. I put a small heater and a small air pump in the refugium to get it going during the weeks prior to the move. I added a pinch of fish food into the refugium now and then to keep things going.   I flew to   Saint Louis   to get the tank contents ready. I packed all of my fish and corals into Kordon Breathable Bags and suspended them from the sides of Styrofoam fish shipping boxes (Big Thanks to Beldt's Aquarium in Hazelwood, MO!) <What a great old store> with bamboo barbeque skewers to enable good gas exchange though the surface of the bags. <Interesting> (My wife's idea!) I tossed in some heat packs and left the Styrofoam tops off and only folded in the cardboard tops so as to have some air circulation and not suffocate the animals. I packed my 200+ lbs. of live rock in the same types of Styrofoam boxes and then covered the rock with wet cloth dish towels as they breathe better than newspaper and don't have the inks and chemicals that newspaper does either. I had about 2 inches of water in the bottom of the rock boxes and made sure that the towels were in the water to wick up the moisture and stay wet. I only folded the cardboard over the rock as well so that it could breathe. I tossed some heat packs enclosed in Ziploc bags into the rock boxes as well.   I rented a minivan to drive to   Utah   and that night I loaded everything into the back of the van and left the van in the garage. I left the back door of the van open and ran a couple of space heaters aimed at the boxes in the van to keep the boxes warm until morning. The first night we stayed at my Mom's house in Colorado to drop off my dogs until the house sells in Missouri as it makes showing the house difficult for realtors when the dogs are there. I brought the fish and corals into the house and once again aimed a space heater at the boxes in the van to keep the rocks warm.       The next day we got to   Ogden   and the rock was still wet and still smelled healthy. The only bad things that happened were that the 2 Firefish that hid in the rocks died and luckily fell out of the rock. Also the bag containing the bubble coral was cloudy and smelled really bad so unfortunately I had to toss it. The 200 lbs of live sand smelled like a sewer and found itself next to the trash dumpster. It's been 2 weeks now and I haven't detected any ammonia and everything looks just like it did before I moved it. So far my Flame Angel, Copperband Butterfly, all of my corals and clams are doing fine. I am really amazed at how well it went. Just goes to show with good planning you can successfully move a reef a long distance.    Bryan    <Thank you for sharing! Bob Fenner>

Moving and combining tanks in one day = mission impossible?  4/29/06 Greetings and thank you for your valuable service and advice.   Whenever I have a question, or anyone in my aqua club has a question, I go to your site for answers.  Thank you for all that you do!  I wish I had more time (hours) to read all the FAQs on this topic, but it appears my situation may have a unique combination of variables and I don't want to screw this up, so I am going to the experts to make sure I do this right.  Hope you don't mind . . . <Likely not> I currently have a 55g reef with about 60+ lbs liverock and 2-3 inches crushed shell/coral substrate (I now know after reading some of your site that this substrate is not a good thing). <Mmm, well, not as good as others in the majority of applications... but more so in others still...> Tank has been set up for 6 years but neglected by previous owner who sold it to me on eBay.  I have nursed it somewhat back to health (didn't realize the substrate was such a big problem).  It is running a skimmer and HOB CPR refugium.  No other sumps/filters applied.  It has PC lighting, not enough to do high light SPS corals, etc, just enough to grow a few softies, etc.  Current livestock:  mated pair false Percs, royal Gramma (owns the tank), juvenile coral beauty, 2 yellow goby clowns, 4 green Chromis, large peppermint shrimp, 3 emerald crabs, large serpent sea star (fancy banded) and a large and varied assortment of dutiful hermits and snails. I just purchased a non-drilled, non-bulk headed, 90g SW reef system that has been running for about 3.5 years (despite its previous owner, apparently).  It has a deep sand bed (2-6 inches, not even), 90+ lbs liverock, flame Hawkfish, two clowns (not same species, I know, again, big no-no), possibly a coral banded shrimp (may have been dinner to Hawkfish), sand sifting starfish of some sort, two tangs (yellow and maybe sailfin), very large anemone (he didn't know what kind), 3-4 damsels (will be donating those to a new home somewhere), 2 "furry" crabs one black one grey (?).  He is running two sumps/mechanical filters and no skimmer.  He has a UV sterilizer and several hundred watts of PC lighting plus moonlight.  he was not running a heater or any other powerheads (the glass looks rather green . . .).   When combining tanks, I will ditch the crushed shell/coral substrate in favor of the live sand.  I will also ditch the two sumps and UV sterilizer in favor of skimmer and large CPR HOB refugium.  Are these good ideas?  Or would you keep one or both sumps? <I would keep at least one of these... better both, and make one or... into refugiums...>   I hate the idea of sumps and the possibility of power outages leading to soggy carpets. .. I also will likely sell the other two clowns and Hawkfish and damsels to fellow marine aqua club members assuming the clowns will not get along well (not a big assumption I think). <Well worth investigating more here... much reduced maintenance and increased vitality from the sumps' use...> "Plan A" is to move the entire 90g setup and livestock, sand, rock and all in one day, set it up in the new home 30 miles down the road and once the sand settles, put livestock back in with livestock and rock from 55g, all in one day.   "Plan B" would be to move the 90g tank, set up in new home (with skimmer and fuge) and put livestock in the 55g reef temporarily.  I am worried that stirring up all that sand will result in a huge die off and nitrate/nitrite spikes.  Will this happen?  The livestock will undoubtedly be cramped for those few days while the 90g settles.  Aside from the clownfish issues and Hawkfish v. shrimp issues (serious issues), will the livestock be compatible enough to tolerate each other for a couple days in the 55g? <Should be fine here> I have no other tank space in which to temporarily house inhabitants. Which would be better, Plan A or Plan B? <Plan B... A is too hectic, likely to have/cause problems> And do you have any suggestions/modifications to make this move better?   <Posted... on WWM> I do have experience moving my current 55g across town as well and all went well with that one (except for nearly dropping the tank on the way up the stairs, but we don't like to talk about that). <Yeeikes> Thanks in advance for any and all advice and sorry for the long novel! <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Moving and combining tanks in one day = mission impossible?  - 5/5/2006
Greetings again and thank you for the timely and valued advice you gave in response to my prior communication.  I am happy to report the move went well.  Nothing broken and most livestock (except one serpent star) made it through ok.  I did move all livestock into the established 55g temporarily until the 90g is "back to normal."  The 90g I purchased also housed a BTA with a foot about 4 inches in diameter (quite large for my 55g).  It acclimated well, or so I thought, to the new environment and was eating well for a couple days.  I fed it salt water-thawed pieces of Formula 1 and Formula 2 and a small bit of Prime Reef.  It devoured all readily.  Then, about 4 days later, it expelled a large number of tiny green balls from its mouth (probably sounds familiar). <Yes> I researched the website and saw a couple recordings of this type of event already somewhat addressed.   One was dealing with a Sebae anemone and Mr. Fenner appeared very perplexed and could not provide an explanation.  However, I did see another post wherein the hobbyist was told this was a normal reaction to feeding an anemone food of a size too large to digest.  Thus, I am seeking clarification.  I would like to believe the latter explanation, that I accidentally fed the anemone something too large and this yielded the aforementioned green ball event (which subsequently caused great cloudiness in my water, but which now is clear again, all livestock seeming to appear otherwise normal at this point).   <Is reasonable... not to worry> The anemone had shriveled considerably and showed a large gaping mouth.  After the event, the anemone is puffed up to "normal" size again and looks quite healthy.  I haven't checked water parameters since the event, so I can't say whether any nitrogen-based element levels are up, etc.  In the prior Sebae post, Mr. Fenner asked about macroalgae, so I will add that I do run a refugium with three types of macroalgae, one being the dreaded Caulerpa (which I plan to eliminate shortly now that I have other kinds). As for the 90g - nitrites are spiking at the moment.  So I am going to give it a few more days (weeks?) <Only time can/will tell> until all is well before transferring livestock.  As for the aforementioned "sumps" - they turned out to actually be Fluval canister filters . . . I understand these can be nutrient traps and should be avoided or at least not relied on too much (?) <Yes> I do plan to add an HOB filter carrying charcoal and crushed coral and removable (rinsable) sponge as well as an additional, roughly 30g, refugium to the 90g once it is all set up, per your suggestions. Thanks again for all your help.  It is very appreciated.  I remind my fellow reefers whenever possible (whenever questions arise on our bboard) of this immense resource.  Please do keep up the wonderful work. <Will endeavor to do so. Bob Fenner>

Re: Moving 20H Tank 3 Feet Over? 01/03/2006 Hi again, <Welcome back Susanne!> Wednesday, December 21, 2005, 10:49:08 AM, crew@mail.wetwebmedia.com wrote: I'll let you know how things went after the "operation" is over! <Do keep us posted. Try the Wet Web forum for pump input/reviews. May have some in the CA Magazine but I think it's on powerheads.> Best regards, Susanne                           <Happy holidays, hope all "moves" smoothly. - Josh> Just an update on the move: everything went just fine, with 75% of the water and all but the bottom rocks taken out. <Glad to hear it.> The 2 fish and pistol shrimp stayed in and all made the move without any problems. <Well done.> The house was a mess with buckets and bowls everywhere, but the move enabled me to syphon out gunk from places I hadn't been able to reach, and I took the opportunity to frag a few things while they were easily accessible. <Good old spring cleaning...uh..early;)> Fortunately I took pictures of the tank, since it's really hard to remember which rock fit where. :) <I always just made something up and convinced myself I liked it better.> Happy New Year to everyone! <And to you, thanks for the update. - Josh> Best regards, Susanne          

Moving Hello, This past weekend I moved my 90 gallon tank to a new apartment across town, and thanks to all the advice posted here, it was mostly successful.  I say mostly, because I had planned to do it all in one day to minimize troubles/recycling, but the movers did not show up on Saturday afternoon like they were scheduled to,<oh> and I was not able to move the tank myself on Saturday.<ok>  We were able to get movers on Sunday morning, and so they moved the tank then.<good to hear>  I am describing all of this because I am worried about the tank needing to recycle and a possible subsequent ammonia spike. <agreed> I moved almost all of the water, although added about 20 gal. new water, moved about 200 lbs. of my deep sand bed, covered with water in the Rubbermaid's, and moved my 80 lbs of live rock, also covered with water. <sounds good> The fish I put in a 30 gal rectangular Rubbermaid's, w/ 2 pieces of live rock, an air stone, powerhead, and heater during the whole ordeal. <good> I broke down the tank starting at 10am on Saturday and was able to restart the pumps and add fish in the new place at 8pm Sunday. Last night I checked the ammonia, and it looked like there was some present, btwn about 0.2-0.3. Also, I know that there was a decent amount of algae that died off in the tank by being out of the water for a day.<could be the problem>  The fish (one 4.5" Naso tang, one yellow tang, 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 neon goby, 2 cleaner shrimp, various hermits and snails) were all living and swimming this morning , although they are clearly spooked.  I have a EuroReef (CS8-2? can handle a much bigger tank than my 90) skimmer going.  Also, I took out the original bioballs in my sump about 5 months ago, with good results, so they are not a factor here in bio filtration. How bad will the ammonia get?  Will the sand and rock and water all need to recycle?<Well sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't ...I would check water parameters daily> What should I do in the meantime? <Do small water changes... to dilute the ammonia/ and keep checking the water> What level of ammonia is lethal for a short amount of time? <any ammonia in aquariums can be deadly so its best to keep checking the water... and do small frequent water changes to dilute it> Many thanks for all of your advice, especially for posting it in one place on the web! <your welcome, IanB> Thank You, Laura

A note of thanks, and a question Hi all--- I managed to successfully move my 55 gallon saltwater aquarium yesterday (just from one room to another), and your help made things a lot easier. Having things planned out in advance, having tubs ready for fish and everything ready to go when needed was a big plus, and I owe two guys a great deal of thanks for your advice. <I am sincerely glad to hear it went so well for you.> Now, my question...I replaced the UG filter and crushed coral with live sand, and added about 45 pounds of live rock to the 25 pounds I already had (I used about 40-50 pounds of live sand, about 1" thick throughout). <All sounds good.> I did some water tests last night and there was a bit of ammonia (NH4) present which is gone today. However, for the first time since cycling over a year ago there is nitrite present (~0.5ppm). I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that there is a bit of LR or LS that wasn't totally cured, even though the sniff test was unremarkable when putting it in <A good guess.> or, and hopefully this is the case, that by changing all the substrate that the bacteria in the canister filter need some time to catch up and become re-established (with the bacteria in the sand) and re-cycle. <You changed all your media in the canister filter, too? If so, probably not the best thing to do at the same time.> Should I: 1. Leave things as they are and continue monitoring nitrite levels (and not feed at all)? I have increased the aeration in the tank already. <Sounds like a good plan.> 2. Add some Cycle to speed things along <Not really that useful, IME/O.> 3. Do a 20% water change now, or wait a few days when hopefully the nitrite will be lower and the nitrate up a bit. <I would wait and watch (both test kit results and fish behavior) at this point.> My hope is that this is all temporary and will return to normal soon, but I don't want to jeopardize my livestock by letting things persist. Once again, I thank you for all your help. All good wishes, Daryl Klopp <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

The big tank swap Hi guys, Since I've pestered you so much on my swap of a crack 210G, I thought I'd give you an update on the swap. Today was the big day. The new tank is a beauty (thanks, Skip at Tricon). Went to three main cut outs instead of two with 1" corner rounds. Nice and sturdy looking on top. It was a long, grueling day with the help of my tank maintenance buddy but aside from two mishaps, things went smoothly. I went with an island arrangement inspired by Bob's book. I have a freestanding island for my anemones and two other islands with a few good bridges between them. You may or may not remember my comments about my shy asfur and tang. The new arrangement has worked wonders for their temperament in just the first day. The tang used to dart from cave to cave and the asfur rarely came out at all. Now, the tang does loops around the islands and the asfur glides from island to island. The other fish seem to enjoy the arrangement as well. Additionally, it provides lots of places to display my corals (a second pair of blue VHOs helps too) and the whole effect is quite nice. I highly recommend this sort of arrangements. Pleasing to the eye and the fish love it. <This reminds me of something I was told a long time ago. The more good hiding spots you have for your fish, the less they will hide. Sounds contradictory, but it is true. If your fish can get to several good hiding spots in a moments notice, because there are plenty to go around, they will stay out in the open more.> One mishap involved the death of two of my prize fish, a flame angel and a fisher's angel. I think the O2 got low in my holding tank due to my powerhead malfunctioning although the other fish seem fine. Might also have been stung by some BTAs in the close confines (it was a 20G). Both were dead without a mark on them. Very disappointed; they were old friends. So far, everyone else seems fine and unstressed but time will tell of course. <Truly a shame.> The other mishap involved a heater. All day long, my buddy kept asking me if I'd turned off the various heaters as we moved stuff around. And sure enough I remembered. But I guess the shock of my dead angels made me momentarily careless and I left the heater for the 20G holding tank "on" on a stool. My wife smelled smoke and we started hunting all over for it. Fortunately, we found it before a fire started but there was some serious char. <Even worse is when you leave them on and then try to fill the tank back up with water. They explode sending shards of glass raining into the tank.> On the bright side (or at least very odd side), while we had the doors to the house wide open a humming bird flew in. After 3 hours in the house, I was able to catch him this evening with one of my large fish nets. Very weird. With this same net I caught a damsel yesterday in my seahorse tank I have been trying to catch with nets and traps without luck for 6 months. I need to have this net bronzed. <Other than the two Centropyges, it seems to have been your lucky day.> Anyway, thanks for all the good advice along the way. When my tank settles down, I'll bug you about some fish selection choices but no point in worrying about that just yet. Marc <Talk to you soon. -Steven Pro>

Successful Aquarium Move Follow-up Hello, <greetings, Bill... you made it <smile>> I've been writing and conversing with Anthony about my recent quick move. During the 18 hour drive, I'm pleased to say nothing died! <you planned and executed well...kudos> Even my large scopas tang and ribbon eel lived the trip.. I've got some interesting information though.. During the drive, the livestock was in the car, but the rock wouldn't fit, so it was in the bed of a friend's truck, along with 60g of system water (had to add about 7g when I got here.. it wasn't enough for the 58+sump) The temp during about 8 hours of this trip was below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and it took about 24 hours total before the water was heated to an acceptable level and the fish were added back to the tank.. I triple bagged all fish, closed them w/ the room air, and added no additives to the bags. I placed all livestock in a Styrofoam container and packed it tight, filling in any gaps with bags of water (to keep the temp even in there) <very good thinking> I used no heat/cooling packs since I could keep the car nice and warm.. The rock however was frozen when I got to my new home. What's interesting is when i put it in the freezing water (it was already frozen , what could it hurt?) A few snails I must have missed started to crawl about the tank. I must say, I was shocked that they survived such arctic temperatures.  < a very pleasant surprise... and while these animals would surely never see such conditions in the wild, many of the tidal species weather similarly dynamic extremes of heat and salinity when the tide is out and/or it rains in shallow pools. Resilient creatures!> My thermom didn't say the temp, but there were ice chunks in a few of the cans I used to store water in.. Also.. there are bits of shredded newspaper all about my tank from covering the rock.. it was damp so it is mixed about the bottom and I've had to clean off my sponge prefilter for the overflow hourly since.. <hehe...trials and tribulations> Will the paper hurt at all? I used the NY times as it's printed w/ non toxic ink (I've used this for my parrot's cage for the same reason.) <unlikely harm... you were going to need to apply heavy carbon/chemical filtration and water changes for the first weeks after the move with or without the newspaper "contamination" anyway> The fish seem happy, alert. The only thing I fear will die is my Platygyra (sp) coral. It has come detached from its skeleton on about 40% of the coral. <indeed a bad sign...quite stressed> Any ideas what I can do to help this? <assuming physical parameters are similar to what had kept it healthy before the move (similar light and water motion)... focus on water quality and do not manipulate the animal. Perhaps apply a small daily iodine dose rather than the sum total amount weekly (antiseptic and RedOx boosting).It seems likely that it may lose significant tissue if it survives. Bt a good job overall on the move!> Thanks so much to Anthony and the rest of the team for the moving advice, it was great to have responses to about 10 emails in an hour, it made the move so much easier. Bill Hammond

Re: more help please (moving a system) i just thought i would drop u a line. i moved the tank on Saturday and everything went well thankfully everything survived and all is well in the tank the regal tang looks better now than what he looked like in the guys tank he is almost fully blue again he went white at his house and had been like that for a few months. i would like to say thanks to u for all your help. <You're welcome> the trickle filter was fine and the nitrate, nitrite and ammonia are registering 0 so the filter was fine, i moved everything and got it all set up in less than 6 hours which was hard work for a 100+ imp. gallon tank so i think that helped keep everything down to a minimum.  <Wow, that's quick. You must have been quite organized> i am very grateful for your help i don't think i could have done it without u so cheers. also i feel that keeping a lot of the original water helped i kept about 3/4 of it. u can pass this message on if u please as am sure it will help others who have to move their tanks. <Thank you, will do so. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> cheers again Alex

Tank Move Hi Bob! As an update, I moved my 115 gallon system on Sunday. I had 5 other people helping--while I was draining water and moving LR and livestock, my helpers were having a cookout on the deck and having a brew or two and coming in to help when needed. No casualties at this point (either my helpers or my livestock). <Good to have help, fun in planned process> I did a full range of water tests last night, as expected, I am getting a small cycle. Ammonia was around 0.2 and nitrite <0.2. Since both of these levels are very low simultaneously, this would suggest to me that I'm not going to have a significant spike, and that the post-moving cycle is almost complete. (I would be much more concerned if I had ammonia at 0.5 and no nitrite. . .) Does this seem like a reasonable interpretation of these readings? <Yes> Nitrate are still testing zero. I've ordered Salifert test kits for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, as I've never had the nitrates test above zero with my current kit. Since I've got some Cyano bloom right now, that leads me to believe that there must be some nitrates in there, and the Aquarium Systems "FasTest" I'm using isn't giving me true results. <Likely... and various BGA are able to very quickly assimilate nutrient> For the move, I put system water and as much LR as I could fit into 36 gallon Rubbermaid tubs, with heaters and powerheads. Fish livestock went into these tubs. I put the corals in 5 gallon buckets with system water. I didn't have heaters or powerheads for these buckets, but believe it or not, the bubble and moon corals extended fully in the buckets, and the red brain coral was inflated as big as I'd ever seen it. The only specimen that seems to be still "recovering" is the toadstool leather. However, that coral is my tried and true "water tester," being the first to show any signs of stress in response to any deterioration in water quality. It was looking much better this morning, so that leads me to believe that the ammonia and nitrite are quickly being consumed. The purple tang turned lavender during the process, almost a pastel purple. About an hour after he went back into the tank, he regained his full coloration. It's amazing how fish can change color so rapidly in response to stress. A good lesson here. <Indeed> Thought I'd give you a brief update on how things were going. I'm certain now I NEVER want to be in the service business! :) (Although I'm sure it would be a lot less stressful to move someone else's livestock and tank as opposed to your own. . . ) <Still stressful> One other question. I've read several more negative accounts regarding the Rio2100 pumps this week. I purchased the Turboflotor1000 skimmer for the new system, and it came with a Rio 2100. I'd really like to replace that Rio with a Mag 7 and use the Rio just for water changes and mixing salt mix, but the MO outfit that I bought the TF1000 from said that the needle wheel impeller that comes with the skimmer will only fit the Rio pumps. Is that so?  <Yes... but there are other pumps, w/ and w/o needle-like impellers that will work> Do you know of a pump that I can use in place of the Rio that the needle wheel impeller will fit? (I posted this to the NG and haven't gotten any responses. . .) <Keep looking... as there are others... including the Mag line and Eheim that folks use...> One other note for you. When I read a message from a "newbie" on the NG who is just getting started and has lots of very broad questions, I've been directing them to your website. And you'll be pleased to know that I have had many replies to those posts from very experienced aquarists to the effect of "Amen to that one." Just thought you'd like to know that your work is respected and appreciated at all levels within the hobby! <Yes, thank you> Hope you're having a good week! James A. Deets <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Marine Tank Disaster! Hello Robert! I've corresponded with you in the past regarding my 55 gallon marine tank. I am very new to the Marine Aquarium Hobby, and after receiving and acting upon your previous advice, my tank was healthy as could be, that is, until, the BIG DISASTER! Please bear with me, as it may be a bit lengthy, but I think that it's a pretty good story. I think it is also pretty inspiring for the new marine aquarist, such as myself. At the end, I'll be looking for anything I could've done differently, if this ever happens again. 11:30pm, the night before I was to leave for the Canary Islands, my husband was playing with our dog, and accidentally threw her bone through the side of our 55 gallon tank.  <Wow, that's some toss! Maybe sign him up for tryouts with the Major League? Fifty fives are generally made of 3/8 or 1/2" plate glass.> Baseball sized hole, about 5 inches from the bottom - you can guess how fast the water emptied out!  <Very quickly, or for Mac/Apple types, "very quick"> Once the water drained below the hole, it was seeping out slowly through cracks, and I had to decide what to do. I had 1 blue damsel, 3 fire fish, and 1 red pencil anemone in my tank, and all were still inside. Against all advice, I had not yet set up a nursing tank, but I had a spare 30 gallon sitting in my workshop.  <Ahh, very fortuitous> I had my husband pull out the fish and put them in a large plastic bowl filled with water remaining in the tank. I cleaned the 30 gallon as best as I could (it once housed Oscars), salvaged all of the rock, decor from the 55 gallon and loaded it into the 30 gallon, salvaged about 5 gallons of water from it, and a small amount of substrate that was "glass free". I then filled the rest of the 30 gallon tank with distilled water and well water, added Tap Water Conditioner, BioZyme, StressCoat, Stresszyme, pH 8.2, salt to Specific Gravity of 1.023, and dropped in my Fluval Filter. I added my heater and brought the temperature up to 78, the released the fish. The next day, I fed them and left for vacation. The surprise if it is, after 9 days of my not being there, ALL OF THE FISH LIVED! My biggest problem at this point is that the water got cloudy from feeding pyramids which I had put in (never again will I use them, I've bought an automatic feeder). <Very good...> So, I've now purchased a new 55 gallon tank, am in the process of setting it up, and am about to move my fish out of their temporary housing. Though all worked out well for me, I'm pretty sure that it was 99% luck that caused it. Other than keeping a nursing tank (which my 30 gallon will now become), what should I have done differently?  <Shades of Deuce Bigelow (one of my fave films natch)... Nothing comes to mind...> Thankfully, the Fluval filters are, essentially, portable biological filters, so that helped, but I'm sure that I missed a few things on this. Any advice you could give would be wonderful. Both you and your publications have been a great source of assistance to me during my introduction to marine aquarium keeping. Thanks again! Deborah H. Colella <Thank you for your relating this debacle and triumph... Obviously, your livestock were in good shape and your system well maintained before the "bone toss" incident (another Anne Rice title?), and all's well that ends well. You may quote me. Bob Fenner, who will post your amazing tale on the www.WetWebMedia.com site for others edification>

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