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FAQs about Moving Aquarium Systems 2

Related Articles: Moving and Transporting your Livestock and Tanks By Amy Janecek, Moving Aquariums

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No touchy the live part, eh? Brad in Basalt's sick Montipora capricornis...

Moving my Fish Tank 4/11/04  Hi.  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  Last year I set up a twenty gallon fresh water tank in my office.  Recently, the owner of the building decided to install a skylight almost directly above the tank. Needless to say, algae is now out of control. I am constantly scrubbing the tank. I need to move it and I want to save the fish in the process. I guess of kind of have a sentimental attachment to them at this point (two silver dollars, two paradise gouramis and a pictus cat [yes, I know I have to eventually move them to a fifty or more gallon tank]). How can I do this? Can I save the water, the cycling bacteria, etc? Do I have to start anew and let the tank cycle all over again? Will I lose my precious fish?  <Not to worry, I've moved many a tank. All your beneficial bacteria lives on the surfaces of your tank & filter--glass, gravel, ornaments & filter material. Since I already do 50% weekly water changes on all my tanks, you only need to try & save 10 gallons, so 2 5gal buckets should do the trick. If you save a little less, that's ok. If your tank isn't used to such large water changes, bump them up for a while, so as not to shock your fish when you do this. Put the fish in one of the buckets of tank water. I suggest you cover them, so the fish don't jump. Drain the rest of the water & move your tank to a less sunny spot. After moving the tank, it's just a matter of pouring back as much of the water from the buckets in there without pouring in the fish. Leave the fish in enough water (still in the bucket) to cover their heads. Fill the tank (don't forget the dechlorinator) & add the fish. There you go! ~PP>. 

Really moving question Bob- <John> I've read through everything I can to properly educate myself (as much as possible) on how to move Freshwater Aquariums (we have a 90 gallon and a 30 gallon).  Here is my dilemma... we are actually moving across the entire country (Las Vegas to Maryland).  We aren't moving until June, but I'd like to begin preparing now on how to best handle this given the distance. <Good idea> So, my concern is that we will be driving over a 3 - 5 day period.  Does all the same information apply regarding bagging fish, oxygen, etc.?  Should we attempt to add more oxygen at the halfway point?  Any further instructions would be greatly appreciated. Thank, John <Better, best to ship your livestock ahead to someone, perhaps a store, fish-friend... who can/will house them till you're moved, settled in, set-up... But, can "go with"... best to use coolers or "fish boxes", double bagged... and include some "ammonia absorber" (can be just loosely bagged Zeolite) in the bags... and change part (like half) the water PER DAY... using a combination dechloraminator/ammonia detoxifier (e.g. Amquel) with the water changes... AND either tote your own oxygen tank, regulator and hose to re-fill... OR somehow plan ahead to meet up with willing fish stores along the way. Good luck and bon voyage. Bob Fenner>

Changing Tanks 5/21/03 Folks, Sorry to bother you with a longish question, but I'm nearer to buying my 5'x 2' x 2' than I expected (essential roofing repairs coming at about half the expected cost ... <wow, that'll help get the tank project going> I was expecting to be asking you this in November at the earliest.). I currently have a 39" x 15 x15, with four small fish, and assorted softs .... leather, bush etc. Some shrimps, hermits, snails, assorted bristle worms! and one glass anemone, which is due for the hot screwdriver treatment soon. <Hmmmm... Never heard of that one. What's wrong with a good old fashioned boiling water and/or Kalk injection?> I want to keep all the fish & coral for the new tank. There is also a lot of living rock. In order to lay a new lounge floor I need to move the current tank into the garage temporarily. The new tank will then go where the old one was, and the 'spare' tank will become a much needed QT. The new tank will have a sump, with a skimmer chamber, a coarse filter to be washed in tap water once a week, and a 'spare' section in between. Water to overflow into the skimmer chamber from the main tank. Finally I get to the questions! How would you see the sequence of setting up the new tank, which I intend to have about 60Kg of new living rock? Part fill with water, get correct SG etc, arrange new living rock, wait for it to cycle (no filter other than LR and skimmer, I could add an Eheim Professional Wet and Dry for a while, but wouldn't want it there for long except as a mechanical/chemical filter), <Hold it right there. If the new live rock is not cured, the tank will cycle itself out with a protein skimmer attached. If the rock is uncured, you will need to supply an ammonia source (fish, food, etc). There is no need for any other type of filter on the tank if you have a protein skimmer and live rock (besides the occasional use of a chemical filter).> put the cleaner crew in (plus shrimps?), put the corals in (all at the same time?), wait a while (how long?), put the fish in, add new corals and fish as required? <Fish first, if the rock is cured, and do add them slowly to avoid any ammonia/nitrite accumulation. Coral goes in at the end, preferably a month or so after the tank is well cycled. Hermits can go in anytime once the rock is cured, shrimp are much more sensitive so do be careful> Should I use water from the existing tank at any point. <Wouldn't hurt, but not essential> And the existing living rock ... if I don't put this in the main tank will some of it (20Kg in total)  do any good in the 'spare' part of the sump. I can light the sump with a double T5 unit if necessary. <Again, wouldn't hurt, you could use it as a refugium since you have extra lighting> I could put the LR back in the main tank but to be honest it's smothered with Caulerpa which I struggle to keep under control (despite nitrate and phosphate readings of zero) and I'd rather start again with new LR in the main tank. <Ah, making the sump into a refugium sounds even better. Get all that Caulerpa growing down below and you can say good-bye to lots of unwanted nutrients> However if your advice is the old LR goes in the main tank then I can always give the Caulerpa a good scrubbing, or even leave it as it is if it's a 'good thing' in your opinion. <I'd put the Caulerpa covered rock in the sump with the T5 and the new stuff in the main. It also wouldn't hurt to mix some of the old stuff in with the new, but try to get the Caulerpa off if you don't want to deal with it> Thanks once again for your help. <Enjoy the new tank! -Kevin>

Transfer of Tank Contents Hi guys, <Hi SVS, PF here today> Quick question. I'm going to be transferring most if not all of the contents of my present tank (55G) to an 85G tank. Since the tank is pretty well established with a lot of live rock (including about 25 lbs of live base rock currently in the sump) and live sand, is there going to be any kind of cycling period? <I wouldn't think so, as long as it's done as quickly as possible.> I would think that there would be almost no cycling. I will be adding more sand, maybe a little more rock. Any thoughts? <Just make it quick.> I have some mushroom anemones, long-tentacle anemone, and green star polyps all doing well. I have a cluster of button polyps which don't seem to want to open and I have a pagoda coral (given to me) which opens its polyps only once in a while. <Might be a lighting issue, might be current as well.> The water quality overall seems good although with this new system which has a Euro-Reef skimmer and ozonizer, I think things will improve. As far as livestock, I have two gorgeous regal blue tangs, a yellow tang, three shrimp, a few damsels, and a lemon peel angel, assorted snails, hermits crabs, worms, and a black serpent star. Thanks, Silicon Valley Steve <Your welcome Steve, good luck with the move, PF>

- Moving Follow-up - sorry, i didn't see a reply e-mail i should have checked the site. <No worries, glad we had it documented there...> Here is what I am thinking about doing.  I have given the puffer and eel to a good home so i am now only dealing with moving one tank.  I am going to purchase a new larger tank in las Vegas.  i am going to set up the new tank, new sump with new mud, new pump, new sand, all of the rock from my 58 gal (which is now in my 110 's sump keeping it alive) and about half of the rock from my 110.  I will be driving the rock out with me in buckets of water and setting it up within 48 hours so i expect very little die off. <I would expect some - without circulation and the temperature changes in the truck, there will be some...> I will let the new tank cycle for as long as i can, while the other tank is still up in Illinois. <I'd plan for at least two weeks.> the owner of my LFS will then go to my house, bag up my fish and corals with oxygen and package the rest of my live rock. my wife will then check them on a commercial flight with her to Vegas.  I will add the remaining live rock and then acclimate the fish and corals and add them to the new tank. <Do contact a LFS in Vegas who would be willing to hold your fish should you not get ready in time... or if you don't mind the extra shipping cost make sure the fish are put in large bags with extra water, you could float them for an extra day if necessary, preferably in the dark. Oh, and don't forget the heat packs for the flight - very cold in the cargo area of the aircraft.> they should only be in transit for a maximum of 8 hours.  does this sound like a workable solution? <Yeah, it does... although do over-plan for worst case scenarios here... will make you well prepared. Cheers, J -- >

Re: Cross country fish move? Dear All, <Good morning, Ronni here with you this AM.> I'm in a bit of a pickle, and am hoping you can help! Here's the story: I have a five gallon tank with two adult platies and some java moss. In two weeks, I'll be flying to California for 4 months. I'm in Florida now. A friend is caring for the tank while I'm gone. While the tank has held two fish since I started it, one died a month ago.  I went to the LFS and bought a new adult. I made sure to get a female as the other adult is also female and I didn't want to deal with fry. Guess what? Within 48 hours of bringing the new female home, I had fry in the tank! Right now (11 days after birth) there are 9 fry. <LOL! This isn't surprising. Often a female will be pregnant when purchased. And don't be surprised if she has even more babies before she's done. Most livebearers can have several batches of fry even if there's no longer a male present.> The LFS won't take them back, because "we don't have a free tank, so they'll just get eaten". Obviously I can't leave 9 fry and two adults in a 5 gallon tank for 4 months. I have a well established 30 gallon tank in CA, with one adult platy and lots of java moss. Any suggestions on the best/safest way to transport 9 fry on a cross-country flight? <Keep checking with your LFS to see if they have a tank open up. If not, you should be able to safely take them with you. Double bag them in clear plastic bags and keep them in your carry-on bag, preferably wrapped in a sweater or some kind of insulation. When you go thru security, remove the bag from your carry-on and ask them to not run it thru the x-ray machine because it's live fish. This is going to be the touchiest part, after 9-11 the airports have become very touchy about allowing even a bag/bottle of liquid past without knowing for sure that it's not harmful. Seeing the live fish in there should assure them of it but just in case it would be best to have someone there with you who can take them back home in case they won't let you take them. Once you get them past security you can re-wrap them in the insulation and they should be fine for the rest of the flight. The other option is to ship them if you have someone who can ship them to you once you leave or someone who can receive them the day you get there. To do this, again double bag them and pack them in a box surrounded by lots of newspaper or better yet, Styrofoam lining. Ship them overnight to your new location. I would recommend packing and shipping them yourself so they arrive on the same day as you. Then have someone just float the bag in your aquarium (lights off) until you get there to acclimate them.> Thanks for any advice, the fry and I appreciate it! -Shannon <You're welcome and good luck!>

The big move Hey from Sydney, <Hey back from Lincoln, NE. Wish I were in Sydney and you had a feather, we'd both be tickled <G> > I'm about a month through my semester abroad in Oz, before I return to my 75 gal. tank in Roanoke, VA in August. ok, here goes. #1. We bought a PC light bank with 4 bulbs, with everything built in- there's no names on the light hood, so when one of my ballasts gave out-trust me, it was a ballast- i can't find a brand to reorder- any ideas as to a general plan to get it back? even without the 1 light that's out, my lighting is in good shape- just annoying <I would use any ballast that drives the same number of and wattage of lights.> #2. In august, hopefully I will be changing this 75 gal. tank to a 125 gal. The problem is the 125 has to go in the same place as the 75- its like a bad math problem...anyway, since i will be dealing with a massive amount of new water-50 gallons at first- and then adding a 30 gallon sump/fuge system- I'm trying to plan this all out. With a well est. tank of 18 months, is it ok to introduce the fish to such a large addition of new water- granted, if its salinity, temp and pH ok? I will obviously use as much of the old 75 gal. as possible- <Your new tank will go through a nitrogen cycle, possibly very short, so I would recommend that you wait for that cycle to finish before adding any livestock> #3. the old tank has 1.5-2 inches crushed coral. the new tank is basically a giant overhaul to streamline- I'm thinking of a DSB. So, home depot sand, of at least 4 inches- but in reading most of the DSB/substrate faq's, it said a heavy layer of something to keep the sand from blowing all over should be used. what should i use for this: these are my guesses. a) put 1 inch cc on the bottom with 3 inches sand on top? b) put 4 inches sand with a barely covering cc layer just to hold it down?       c) just do all sand and get rid of the cc altogether? actually i was thinking the est. bio-load in it would be helpful in the new fuge or sump) <If you adjust the water flow and place live rock carefully, you can get around the sand storms. I would not mix substrates. Using the crushed coral in the refuge/sump is OK as long as you keep it clean. Tends to be a gunk trap>      at least this hobby keeps changing...to justify asking, I've been researching this for about 8 months, I've had time since my school is waiting for me to come back from Oz to drop anymore $ on the tank. Ok, thanks- Mike <My pleasure, enjoy Sydney. Don>

Transportation from Japan to Texas??? Hi WWM, I've been searching through the FAQs sections and found a lot of useful information about transporting fish; however, I'm not really sure if it applies to me or not, as I will have to transport them overseas. Currently I am living in Japan, but in two years I will be moving back to Texas.  Right now I have a 200 gallon aquarium I would like to take with me, but I don't know which method would be best.  If I carry the fish with me when I fly back, the overall trip from door to door would be about 24 hours.  This is a long time to be in a bag. <Still, not an unusual length of time for aquatic transport>   Also, what about my live rock and all of its inhabitants? <Can be even more easily shipped... as it was to you... in sealed boxes, Styrofoam liners, just damp> That would be a little too much carry on baggage.  Do you know of any companies that specialize in international transport of these things? <Better to use either a store you're familiar with, or a wholesaler in the area (if there is one) or even another "advanced aquarist friend to hold on to your livestock, LR and ship it to you in about a weeks time of your arrival> Please let me know if you have any information on how to accomplish this feat...so far I'm not coming up with too many good ideas.  Thanks in advance for your help...and the excellent website. John <A pleasure. Bob Fenner>

'Merging' existing tank with new tank Hello All, <Hi Paul, you got Don tonight> Once again, thanks for the great information.  It can never be said enough! Quick recap on my stats, existing 75G System II tank, which is not very good by the way.  It was great before I new much about what made a good set up, but now I see can how limited it is.  Poor flow the way they have/recommend it set up, EXTREMELY difficult to work on anything in the back filter area, not really the greatest design, but that is a diff. story!  It has a coarse substrate which is about 2 inches or so, ( I know, not to good, I have to clean it a lot) with about 60lbs. of live rock.  The new 90G tank will have a DSB of 4 to 5 inches of oolitic aragonite with around 90lbs. of live rock.  I plan to get new live rock to supplement and in some cases replace some of my old rock.  I am going to order the new Walt Smith rock from FFExpress.  My question is this:  Should I place the new rock into the new tank with some of the old rock and let it cycle in the new tank ( no fish, nothing except rock and sand ), or should I place the new rock in a separate tank/container to cycle and have the added benefit of getting rid of some unwanted hitchhikers.  Another option, could I just move all the old rock and livestock and some water  directly over to the new tank instead.  The new tank will have a much better skimmer ( Aqua C ) than the old.  Then I could put the new live rock into the old tank and let it cycle out.  The remaining bio balls could help out a bit there. By the way, I had removed at least half of the bio balls from my system II filter, and even though my substrate is around 2 inches or so, I don't have any detectable nitrates ( with my test kit ).  I don't imagine the coarse substrate is helping with the nitrates here, but they stay low.  I am sure the water changes every few weeks helps out here.  So if I assume that my existing live rock is carrying most of the load of filtering the water, I would imagine I could just move it all over.  It wouldn't take too long for the DSB to become live.   What do you feel would be the best choice. <I would cycle (4-6 weeks most likely) the new tank with the new rock. You hint that you have livestock in the old tank? I would leave the old rock there to help biofilter this tank until the move. Then bring the old rock/livestock over. Use the better looking old rock with the new and use the old not so good looking as 'base rock' to build on. And yes, the new DSB will become live in no time> Many thanks and enjoy your weekend. <Thanks, and back at ya> Paul

Fish Bags - 2/13/03 Hello again, I am trying to find somewhere that I can buy bags from so I can ship my corals in.  I did a search on Google and found polyethylene bags (the pics of the bags on their sites look exactly the same as the bags you find at fish stores) at a few sites and called to ask if they were the ones that people use to ship fish and other critters in but was told that they probably wouldn't be good for that.  The guy said they would probably leak and didn't sound like he worked there long.  Can you tell me where I can find quantities of bags that are made for shipping fish/corals.  What thickness in mils. do you recommend and how big of a bag?  I figured the polyethylene bags and the bags at the fish stores were one in the same. I am sending a link so hopefully you can tell me if these are the ones I need or not.  I, as usual, will appreciate any help you can offer.  You guys rock, Jeff <these bags are too thin and will leak, Jeff. Freshwater fishes often get bagged (or double-bagged) in 3mil plastics. Marines and spiny creatures go in 4 mil bags. 10x22" is a common size for this purpose. Double-bagging is recommended for most. Close with rubber bands, never twist ties. And never more than 1/3 water unless it is an air-sensitive species. Anthony>

Moving a reef system I am moving from Chicago to South Carolina. I am trying to come up with a system that can run on a pump (Rio 2500 ) and a heater to keep things alive on the 18-20 hour drive. I drew the following and wanted your opinion. I am currently attempting to build it in the middle of my living room. the system utilizes .75" pvc from the Rio to the live rock area with a spray bar and then 1.5" gravity feed return to the fish and coral area. the system will ride in the back of my Dodge Durango and will be powered by an 400W inverter hooked to the car's electrical system.  I think it should work but thought I would ask you guys and see what your thought is. I have attached the drawing for you to view <Neat design... and lots of thought in this plan... but I would either pack your stuff up including the livestock like the industry does and just haul it in Styrofoam boxes... or leave it with a friend or friendly LFS and have them ship the live components (you can haul the live rock in sturdy plastic cans) when you get your system set-up and going at your new digs. Some further input on moving here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm and the linked FAQs files (in blue, at top) beyond. Bob Fenner>

Re: Moving WWM Crew,       How exactly would one go about moving a 75 gallon stocked aquarium from one apartment to another (only about 5 min away from each other)? <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm and the linked FAQs (at top, in blue) re such moves. Best to make a checklist of needed tools and materials... and be ready with pizza and beer for ready moving help. Bob Fenner>

Moving tank/lighting/cleanup crew Hi Guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight!> Love the site.  I had three questions.  I'm currently running a small Berlin system in a 50 gal. Uniquarium (~35 gal tank, 15 gal sump), 30 lbs live rock,  in sump skimmer, sea gel for carbon, 96W SmartLight.  All I have for tank members are I small yellow tang, 1 Lysmata cleaner shrimp, 1 peppermint shrimp, 5 LH blue legs, 3 scarlet hermits, and 5 Turbos.  Fish load will increase once in place.  The tank has been running for 6 months now. <So far, so good. Remember, the tang will need lots of space as he grows...> I'm going to move the tank upstairs to its permanent location.  What is the best way to do this? I was planning on using new Rubbermaid trash cans to move the bulk of the water, and transport the LR in 5 gal buckets.  The live stock would be temporarily housed in a small tank.  I plan on doing this in a couple of hours ( I hope that's realistic!).  Any advice would be helpful.   <Well, you're following the same course of action that I would. Allow plenty of time; no sense in rushing this process.> After the tank is in place, I plan on adding 2" of washed aragonite. <I'd go for a deeper sand bed, say, 3 to 5 inches, if using fine sand (which you should use!). You'll notice a big difference in the form of lower nitrate> Do I need to keep everything out until the dust settles, and will this harm any of the hard corals polyps, and small Fanworms on the LR?  Hints would be great. <I'd wait a day or so until the "dust settles" a bit, then add the corals. Probably no harm in adding them sooner, but I'd take the conservative approach> I'm still having problems with diatom outbreaks.  I was planning on upgrading my cleaners to GARF's 30 gal cleanup crew, but any other hints?  I perform 10 - 20% water changes every two weeks with water made up with R.O.  pH is 8.3, and nitrates are <15 ppm. <Well, I think that the nitrate will diminish with the deep sand bed. Your water change schedule is quite good. I tend to favor smaller (like 5%) water changes, performed twice a week. Make sure that you have a protein skimmer removing at least a cup of dark, yucky skimmate a couple of times a week. I'd also employ some chemical filtration, such as activated carbon and PolyFilter, and replace them regularly>   Would I be able to use the sump in the back as a refugium?  Do you know anyone who has done this, and if so how? <Well, not a refugium in the true sense, but you can certainly throw on a light over the top, '86 the bioballs, and put a small plastic container (like a livebearer "breeding trap") in the middle compartment, in which you could place some macroalgae (which should be harvested regularly, such as Chaetomorpha. This can be used as a source of nutrient export. Also, you could throw some live mysids into the Chaetomorpha, and you'll get some of the benefits of a refugium... Don't forget, you could use a protein skimmer in the first compartment...not a big one...but you can find one that will hang on the back, like an Aqua C Remora Pro, or a CPR Bak Pak...> Finally,  Do you know of anyone who runs a combination of PC and VHO? <I have not seen this combination together, personally> I want to increase the wattage for reef inhabitants, but MH would probably heat the tank up too much , and I don't know if another 96W PC would be the way to go. <I like PC's, and use them a lot. I think that you can go with MH if you properly ventilate and fan the hood> I was thinking about adding two 95W VHOs, which I hope would allow me to keep just about anything barring any SPS or Clams.  Any suggestions would be great. <If you could get three or four total 96 watt PC's, you'd really be in good shape there!> Thanks again for your help, Chris in St. Louis <Chris, I think that you're on the right track. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

To move the tank or not.......... Hello WWM. Please excuse the length of this post. <not a problem> You're site has been the single most helpful resource in setting up my marine tank. I have a 55 gallon reef (no fish). This is my first reef tank. I originally expected to have inverts (crabs, shrimp, stars) and some live rock at first. Then I added some mushrooms....and then some Zoanthids.....sigh....now I have about 8 different soft and LPS corals. Anyway, I was planning to move the reef to a 90 gallon, but I am too scared to upset the balance in the tank. <Be brave> It started as kind of a "test" tank to see if I could keep the easy stuff....The tank is in the corner, under another tank (FW), so there is no room for extensive equipment. That's why I was going to move it, so I could put in a sump, Halides, etc. <well sounds like the test is working so now it is time to upgrade.> Quick specs; -55 gallon 36Lx16Hx18W -105 watts NO fluorescent, two actinic, two daylight -Tetratec filter (500) -Zoomed rotating powerhead 190 gph -12" Sanders protein skimmer -35 lbs premium Fiji live rock   -Mirrored hood (made myself to boost light) -Kept at 75 degrees -Water change 10-20 % per month with treated tapwater -Specific Gravity 1.026 -Add various supplements on a regular basis Now, I know your shaking your head in horror....but everything is going well. Tank's been going almost a year, and I have only lost a Mithrax crab and two feather dusters. The Zoanthids, Blastomussa merleti, Ricordea mushrooms and Star polyps have all reproduced. Even that Purple Finger gorgonian I bought is still alive after several months. Non-coral inhabitants are 1 Tube anemone, 1 Sally Lightfoot crab, 1 Anemone crab, 10 Astrea snails, 1 small Blue Tuxedo urchin (hitchhiker), 1 small Reef urchin, 1 Antipodes Elephant snail (hitchhiker) and 1 Serpent Star. Anyway, I think I'll just leave the tank the way it is. <I say go for the bigger tank, get the second tank set up and running, cycled, then start moving the old tank inhabitants over.  Easy peasy, well sort of. -Gage> Simon Luffman

Big Time! (Moving To A Larger Tank) Hello. I have a 75 gallon reef tank now with 110 lbs live rock, 3 inch base of live sand, 3 soft corals, 1 Naso tang, 1 dwarf yellow angel, 3 damsels, 2 tomato clowns, plus a coral reef clean up crew and 1 feather duster. <Glad you're considering an upgrade! That Naso Tang can get HUGE> Protein skimmer is a Berlin (up to 250 gallons). Sump is 20 gallon tank.  My question: I just bought a 125 gallon tank and stand. What is the best way for me to transfer everything in my 75 gallon tank  to my 125? <I'd set up the 125 with all of the new live sand and rocks, and the majority of the rock and sand from the existing tank. Monitor the break in of the larger tank...When ammonia and nitrite return to undetectable levels, you can start transferring your fishes and the remainder of the live rock and sand over from the 75.> I realize I will need to buy more live sand, and about 50 #of live rock.  My 75 gallon tank has been up for a little over 6 months; I have had no problems at all . Also, I use a 5 stage RO/DI unit  for the water. <Great! Quality source water is a terrific starting point for maintaining good water quality!> Can you please give me any suggestions on the best way to transfer my live stock? Thanks, Mark <well, Mark- as outlined above, I'd just take it slow, monitor the new tank carefully, and enjoy watching your fishes and inverts in their new, larger quarters! Keep up the same sound husbandry practices that you did in the 75, and I'm sure that you'll continue to enjoy success! Good luck, and have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Moving Fishes ahead of yourself <How many hours, days do you think there might be between returning the fishes to a system? If you're attached to them, I would contact a store you trust at your final destination, and strike a deal to ship them there for temporary holding.> Hmm that's a GREAT idea and probably the best solution. I think traveling with the fish would probably be difficult (it would be 2 days - 1 night - probably). Upon arrival getting the biological filter back up to safe specs with unknown water quality would probably be risky to the fish. Thanks yet again for your excellent and helpful advice. -Mark <You're welcome. Bon voyage. Bob Fenner>

Moving A Reef Hi <Hi there- Scott F. with you today> I've just bought a currently running salt water aquarium and I'm new to the hobby. Can I possibly get some advice on how to correctly move tear it down set it up again. It's 135 gal with about 100lbs or live rock and 4inch sand bed and 3 fish.  This guy is not using a skimmer. <I hope that you will!> I want to want to set up an ecosystem with this tank.  How long can I leave the live rock and the fish in a water bucket with a powerhead running while I setup the filtrating system before they die on me. Thank you <I think if you change the water regularly in the buckets, and don't over-stuff them, so that everything stays submerged, the rock can last for quite awhile (possibly even weeks) without too much trouble. Keep the water heated during this process, too. Expect that you tank will, of course, still have to cycle-but things should be just fine if you're patient. Good luck!>

Moving to a larger tank This email is directed to Bob Fenner if possible.  Bob, you have helped me a lot over the years.  Thank you for what you do. <You're welcome> I have a 60 gallon tank that was a reef tank for over 5 years until I got a larger one for the living room. I now use the 60 for a fish/invert tank. It is very health with rich Macro Algaes, Coralline algae and health live rock. The tank has an African Starfish, A Royal Gramma and a 3-4 inch Asfur angel I rescued from a not so good LFS (I know my tank is way to small for this fish long-term but it would have died in this store for sure). The tank has a skimmer and is overall very healthy. My question is I plan on getting a much larger tank (120 or so). <Needs to be more than twice this for the Asfur...> I have moved reef tanks successfully before. Do you think I could transport the current rock into a larger tank that would better house my fish. I would like to add much more Lace rock to the new tank but only reuse my live rock to minimize any surge that could take place. I would also add more sand (like Aragalive) to the new tank. <Yes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrshippingfaqs.htm> I realize I would need to give the new tank time before adding any new fish. Just wanted some ideas/thoughts on doing this. Thanks for the help. <Bob Fenner>

Schmoose, Used Gear, Moving Livestock (marine maintenance) Bob I have read through quite a bit of your columns this weekend.  I really appreciate the time you have spent assisting myself and others. <Thank you for the acknowledgement> One thing I happened to notice while I was reading through you advice columns, and this is not meant to sound petty nor pious, but you use the term "irregardless."  there is no such word, the word is regardless, or with disregard. actually, the word is listed in the dictionary but it is deemed nonstandard. (read too many people have been using this word incorrectly for so long we had to put it in the dictionary) :) <Thank you for this... of all things I have coursework in reference librarianship (more paper to insulate the walls...)... and collect dictionaries... of both descriptive and proscriptive philosophies... and regardless (yay!) should know better. Again, thank you. Bob F> Our little secret. Thanks again for all your help. Sincerely, Mike p.s. I would be remiss if I did not take the time to fire off a question (or two....) concerning the hobby.  I currently have a 29 gallon salt tank with one fish (grey snapper - I think) I received this used from an individual leaving town.  I like the tinkering, and I have decided to attempt to pick up something a little bigger.  65-90 gallon range.  I don't have an unlimited budget (who does) so I am canvassing the local classifieds. <Good idea... used is not a bad way to go> Recently , I came across a 75 gal. all-glass, reef ready tank, stand, covers, top, with fish, critters, and some live rock. 1. assuming the equipment is in fair shape, what would you say is a fair price for such equipment and life. <Mmm, a hundred or two dollars is likely about right. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/usedmargear.htm> 2.  How do I go about transferring all of the life inside safely to its new home, which is 1.5 hours away.  life consists of 50 lbs. Fiji rock, a few snails, hermit crabs, a flame fish?, yellow tang, common clown, and three damsels. <And here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm and the attendant links. Bob Fenner>

Changing tanks <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> I am thinking of getting a bigger tank. I have a 40 gal. and would like to move to a 75 gal. I have live sand, live rocks, and fish. If I fill-up the new tank with 1/2 clean water and then add some rock and sand, and a few days later or the same day add the old tank water and fish ( the new tank might have to be in the same place as the old one), will the tank have to go through the a cycle like it was new? <<There are a small handful of "ifs" but typically a move from one tank to another can be done without re-cycling. I would move your fish to a Rubbermaid bin or a couple of buckets, and them move all the live sand, live rock, and system water to the new tank. You can add more live sand and rock, but the old system water will be one of the most crucial parts. Allow the tank to clear up and the temperature to stabilize, and then add the fish. Shouldn't be too much trouble.>> Will that be too hard on fish that aren't super hardy? <<Well, the move will certainly be stressful, but given places to hide, etc. all should be fine.>> I certainly don't want any fish to die. <<I understand.>> Thanks, Cheryl <<Cheers, J -- >>

New Tank Hi Bob!! <<Bob's in Dallas for MACNA this weekend>> Just a note of good news!! I had to change my aquarium tank, because the support strap that's in the center top on the old one had snapped in half!! <<Youch! You're lucky it didn't burst...>> I laid out my plan on how I wanted to switch to the new one, and followed that method, and it worked perfectly!! <<Way to go!>> I even put in some fresh gravel at the bottom. I didn't lose a single animal!! The new one looks so much better, too. Have a great weekend!!! <<He's having a great weekend surrounded by other fishy friends (including most of the usual WWM crew!) and he'll be glad to hear of your success. Cheers, Lorenzo>> Pat Marren

Moving ramifications Good Morning Whomever is answering. About two weeks ago I moved (just across town, might have been broken down for a total of 6hrs including re-assembly) my established nano reef (18 gal) with various soft corals, bi color blenny, unidentified sifting goby, huge cleaner shrimp, mushrooms galore...) Everything looked ok after the move, somewhat less polyp extension for a few days then all seemed well. Tested water.....ph8.2 amm-0 nitri-0 nitra-0 ph-0 everything fine. then this Monday my star polyps looked not so good with little polyp ext. and the next day I came home for lunch to find my cleaner shrimp had succumb to something...the goby was fine but the blenny appeared to be respirating very hard...the high respiration continued for a few days until last night she died (she has laid eggs previously) tested water again still nothing detectable).  I can't figure out what is going on ....It appears by testing I am not in the middle of a new cycle or anything ...any input would be great LFS is retarded. <do you have a sea cucumber, Mandarinfish or some other critter with known toxic flesh... perhaps a DOA hidden in the rockwork has poisoned the tank>

Moving Hi Bob and crew: I have been an avid reader of your book and website for some time. I would first like to thank you for both of them as they have helped me immensely. I have had just about every nightmarish thing happen to me in 5 years of keeping marine fish. Your advice has minimized them now to almost nothing. <I am glad to hear it.> I have a 55 gallon bowfront with approximately 150 lbs of live rock, 10 corals, 30 inverts (cleaners), 2 tomato clowns, a sick Clown trigger (now lives in 10 gallon 2.0 PPM coppered quarantine tank), 1 yellow tang, 1 Undulated Trigger, and a cleaner shrimp. <I am frankly surprised your Triggers are not fighting and eating all your inverts.> The system uses a wet/dry with prefilter and sump, UV sterilizer (40 watt...ya I know overkill), <With UV's there is only two ways to run them effectively, overpowered or completely useless.> 3 powerheads for water movement, a heater (that never turns on) and a Bak-Pak2 protein skimmer. Lighting includes 175 MH and 2 blue power compact 7100k. Other than my sickly (ick) trigger, everybody is happy and healthy. We live in Sunny California and are moving to Chicago (decided it was time for the kids to learn about cold, wind and snow). Is it practical to move my system to Chicago or fool hearty (insane)? <You could definitely take some of it with you; equipment, live sand, and live rock. It maybe hard to take the livestock though. It sounds like a long drive to me.> I really really like my tank. If it can be practical. I sure could use advice on how to make it happen without killing off 5 years of learning from my mistakes. <Do take a look here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/movingtkho.htm > Thanks for your advice! Don <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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>

Moving Hi guys! Apologies in advance for the length of this one.... We're moving in about a month. And we have nine active tanks to move! (The depth of my insanity becomes apparent....) <You said it, not me.> We have three tanks that are not being used for anything at the moment. One is a 25g, one is a 20g, and one is a 15g. I also hope to have three of the 5.5g tanks available for this. The plan is to set these up on the kitchen counters with mature filters (Penguins for the large ones, and sponge filters for the 5.5gs) and transfer the fish into those tanks while the furniture is being moved and the other tanks are being set up. The big fish, including the three 4-5" purple-spotted gudgeons and two 4" rainbows, will go into the 25g. The mollies and gobies will go into the 20g and 15g. The puffers will go into a 5.5g (or into the other 10g if I can sell off the fish from that tank). My husband's fish will go into another 5.5g (the two female Bettas and one male molly and one Pleco). So far, so good? <Sounds ok> The new place is only about five miles away from the current place, so I'm not worried about transit time. Now, I also have two 10g nanos set up...well, one's the "show" tank and one's the "refugium" tank. I'd like to combine these into the 30g tank and set up a 5.5g tank as the refugium. (A 5.5g tank is the biggest tank I can use in the available space, unless I have one custom-built.) Thing is, the 30g tank is the planted tank with the black algae problem. I'm thinking about moving the substrate and plants into the 20long I have before we move. Then when the 30g is in place, move the sand, rock, and critters from the two 10g nanos into the 30g. I have probably 15 lbs of rock, and enough live sand to go 5-6" deep in a 10g tank. If my calculations are correct, that would be a little more than 2" of sand if I put it all in the 30g. If I use a 5.5g tank for a refugium, how much of the sand should I put in the 30g and how much in the 5.5g? <I would recommend 4" in each.> I'll keep the 5.5g separate until we're done moving stuff. Then I'll set up the plumbing between the refugium and the main tank. What kind of flow rate should I have for the main tank to refugium loop? <It depends on what you are growing, but 5-10 times the volume per hour is about right.> The refugium is going to be about four feet higher than the main tank. Critter-wise, I have four Astraea snails, one turbo snail, five unknown snails, three or four hermits, a hammer frag [4" across when opened], a star polyp rock, a mushroom rock, a flower leather, a purplish finger leather frag, some brown and green Zoanthids, a 1" ocellaris clown, a bunch of assorted Caulerpa, and far too many Aiptasia. Initially, lighting will be 2x30w NO (1@18000K, 1@6500K) plus 2x19w spiral CF @ 6500K. Obviously, I need an upgrade, but haven't quite decided what to upgrade to. Eventually, I'd like to add a frogspawn, bubble, and a brain to this tank. I inherited some coral skeletons, and I'd like to put them to use "hosting" some "fuzzy" encrusting coral. So far, the only one I've found that might be the kind of thing I'm looking for is porites. Are there any other sorts? <Porites are very high light corals and don't always encrust. There are many soft corals that would encrust, but many can become weeds; your Green Star Polyps, encrusting Briareum, Erythropodium, etc.> What would I need, lighting-wise, to keep the porites (or other possibilities)? I'm considering a 2x55w or maybe a 2x96w CF setup, with 1x30w NO actinic and 1x30w NO reptile bulb for UVA/UVB. <I would go with the 2-96 watt PC daylight lamps with 2-30 watt NO actinics.> The two CFs would be both 10000K, or do I need more actinic than that -- maybe do one at 10000K and one 50/50? Another option might be a 175w metal halide with the two NO bulbs. Comments/suggestions? <The MH would be nice for Porites, but at the expense of your LPS.> I plan on building my own hood, so I need to know what's going to go in there before I build it. Also, I've read that MH and CF bulbs color-shift after a while, making them unsuitable for marine use. <All lamps color shift after time. VHO are the worst, in 6-9 months. NO will last 9-12 months. MH & PC 1-1 1/2 years.> Somewhere, I read that they shift redwards. This almost sounds like they would become fairly good for a planted tank. Would two older 175w MH bulbs be too much light for a 55g planted tank? <For all but the most light demanding (generally red) plants.> That's all I'm coming up with for now.... >:-) --Ananda <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Moving Tank Hi all- Thought I had everything figured out to move my 55 gallon SW tank from one room to another...one quick question. Are Rubbermaid tanks (18 gallon with lid) suitable to keep fish in while I tear the tank down and move it to another room? <Yes, I have even used them as sumps.> On the website, you mention placing plastic bags inside whatever container is being filled with tank water. If I aerate the water inside the plastic container, is there any reason to place a bag in before filling with tank water? I understand the logic of using a bag for a trip of significant distance, but my tank is being moved about 15 feet; is there any harm in keeping fish in a plastic container for 2-3 hours (with aeration) while I clean and move? <No, feel free to use them as long as they are clean and have never been treated with any soaps, detergents, or such.> Thanks again for all your help. All good wishes, Daryl Klopp <Good luck moving the tank! I know it can be quite a chore. -Steven Pro>

Changing Tanks I will be moving to a larger tank and I have a question for you. I am planning on housing the fish (one in each bucket) in 6 gallon buckets while I'm transferring the water from my old tank and setting up the new tank. Realistically, how long can they stay in those buckets? I can run air pumps between the tanks ever so often as well. Just wanted to get a general idea of how much time I would have. <I would feel pretty comfortable up to eight hours with air.> Also, excuse me if this is a stupid question, but should I put them in the new tank in a particular order, the order that they were put in the old tank as I purchased them? <No particular order needed.> Does it matter since they know each other already? Thanks for your help! Elizabeth K. Birdwell <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Moving Hi Robert, I am moving in three weeks and I have started to plan the move of my 55 gallon saltwater aquarium. The new house that I am moving to is about 25 minutes away from where I live now. The concern I have is trying to be able to keep all my saltwater from the aquarium. <You will never be able to keep it all. You will have to make some new.> So I am looking at buying a garbage container and siphoning the water into it. <Ok, kind of heavy and hard to move around.> The question I have for you is how do I clean the container so I don't pollute the saltwater I put into it. <Just a light rinsing should do. Perhaps using some baking soda to remove any plastic odors.> I was able to find your break down of what to do when moving the aquarium under the search feature. Which is a great feature on your web site! <Thank you for using it!> Please help so I can take one more worry away from the spouse on moving day! Travis <Might I suggest you look into 5-7 gallon buckets with lids. Salt mix comes in those sizes. They can be had cheaply or free and are much easier to transport than a 30 gallon garbage can. -Steven Pro>

Traveling Tank Mr. Fenner, <Actually, Steven Pro, one of the WWM crew members.> I have enjoyed exploring your site. Several of my marine concerns have been answered, and I am sure most of the rest will be answered as I explore. I ran a 55 gallon freshwater for several years with great success...even moved it from Illinois to Texas without losing a fish. When we moved to Europe, I gave the tank away as a gift. Upon returning to the states, I purchased another 55 gallon tank. Since we will be in Florida for a couple more years, I opted to try a marine tank. We have had the tank since March, with one loss, a Lima scabra, imagine that. <Yes the Flame Scallop is a categorically poor choice that fails to live in most captive systems.> We are trying to determine what kind of environment to build. My husband is military, and we will be breaking down and moving this tank every two to three years. Any suggests on an environment that could tolerate that kind of abuse would be appreciated. We would be able to transport about half of the water on these cross country moves. <Few things stand out as being much harder or easier to move cross country. You want to stay away from large fish, as bagging and shipping them is more difficult, and also anything venomous, like Lionfish, Foxface, Marine Catfish, etc. for fear of inflicting severe pain on yourself just prior to a long drive. Small, hardy, community types should be ok.> Thank you, Shelley Meyer <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

moving hello again, My dad is going to be moving here to Missouri from Texas and has a 50gal. salt water tank with a Foxface, clown, and some inverts. I was wandering how the best/safest way to move an aquarium for that long of a drive. (approx 8 hrs.) thanks again for your help. <Please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/movingtkho.htm  -Steven Pro>

Moving Hello Mr. Fenner, I am moving in couple months to Pennsylvania. I have saltwater fish that I would like to take with me. Is this possible by airplane? <Yes> If I can take them by plane, how would I pack them? <Tripled bagged with oxygen, preferably, and inside a Styrofoam box or cooler.> I would be on the plane for about five hours. I have two clownfish, a long nose Hawkfish, a pink spotted goby, three shrimp, a snail and a starfish. <The biggest thing will be you need to have a fully cycled tank to put them into when you arrive.> Thanks so much, Jennifer <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

MOVING A 125 GALLONS REEF TANK TO A NEW LOCATION Dear Bob, I have a 12-month old 125 gallons reef tank with lots of soft & hard corals & 7 mixed species of fish, about 150 lbs live rock in 6 inches deep sand bed. Currently my coralline algae is flourishing and all looks healthy without any problem. I need to move from Los Angeles to Cerritos, which is about 25 miles in distance and about 30 minutes drive. My question is whether I can use the same water, liverock & sand? <Yes> Do I need to cure the live rock & wait for another month cycle before adding the livestock? <No> Is it a good idea to use the same water, liverock & sand, including the livestock as soon as the tank is set up in the new location? <Yes> Thanks for your expert advice. <Please review here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movgtkho.htm -Steven Pro>

Moving and painting Hi all, Thank you for the answer to my question about changing lighting systems for my 55 gallon FOWLR aquarium. <You are welcome.> Here's a completely unrelated question: My 55 gallon FOWLR aquarium is in the dining room, which the wife has decided needs to be painted, and may end up with a new floor as well (got to keep her happy...she does feed the fish for me after I leave for work in the morning). I have read the "moving aquarium FAQs" on the website, but was wondering what is a reasonable protocol to move the aquarium to another room then back again. 1. If we only paint, should I move the aquarium out of the room entirely, or is it safe to cover with damp towels, turn off the powerheads and skimmer, and move it to the new wall once that has been painted? <If you need to move the aquarium anyway (to paint behind it), it is best to move out of the room.> 2. If I move the aquarium out of the room entirely (from either a paint or a flooring point of view), is it feasible to remove about half the water and all the live rock and have 3-4 people lift and move the aquarium without doing a "catch and release" program with the fish? <No, you need to remove all the water and rock, but you can leave the substrate (crushed coral or sand) in the tank.> Needless to say, either way I am taking out water and rock, whether I am moving from one wall to another or one room to another and back again. My concerns are mostly 1) paint fumes (would be latex paint, not oil based) and 2) the weight of an aquarium with about 25 gallons of water and 40 pounds of crushed coral and the ability to move it safely. Thank you again for all your help. Daryl Klopp <Good luck! Gather up some fish friends to help with the move. The promise of beer and pizza works wonders. -Steven Pro>

Moving fish from NY to FL - How to Hi Bob, Looked around your site, but didn't see this question answered, hope I didn't miss it. I am moving from NYC to FL shortly, and want to bring a medium maroon clownfish down and some live rock (bout 50 lbs) down to a tank I have running down there. <Good to have the system to move to up and going for sure> How can I make this happen successfully? I am not as concerned about the corals surviving as I am about my clownfish. <No real troubles here... have a local store sell/give you a couple of good sized fish bags, oxygenate the animal prior to placing in a cooler or fish box (insulated thermally, dark interiorly) and will ship fine for the duration> I was planning on doing the 26 hour non-stop drive, but am worried this is too long for the fish, as when I get things shipped, they are usually in the box for more like 12 hours. <Mmm, actually, very often in the box for much longer than a day... from the wild> Please let me know what I need to do exactly and I'll follow it. Thank you so much, Your site is by far the #1 reference site for marine related activities on the net. Long time fan, Marc <Thank you for your kind words. Bob Fenner>

Re: moving strategies for marine aquarium thanks for the tips. about the sponge filters - do I put them into the main tank now and run them? also, should I bring along the gravel from the tank - washed or unwashed? <Either or both, unwashed. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm  and the FAQs linked beyond. Bob Fenner>

Moving Strategies for Marine Aquarium Bob, <Steven Pro online right now.> I am an experienced marine aquarist facing a big problem. My 250 gallon fish tank must be left behind after the sale of our house, because it is built in. What do you suggest I do to keep my fish alive as I transition to a new home across town? <Can you buy a second new filter, take the old one, and install the new one on your old tank? This way you could take your entire biological filter with you and not get in trouble with the new owners.> Is it practical to take some of the filter substrate or gravel to pre-seed the new biological filter? <I would take as much as possible.> Use all or some of the water? <Some of the water will be fine, say 50%.> Multiple small tanks for holding the fish? <Possible if you start culturing new biological filters now. A bunch of sponge filters would work and be fairly economical.> Board fish with dealer? <Possible> Sell fish and start over after new tank cycles (unattractive option but hate to see these old buddies die)? <Yes, an unattractive option.> Appreciate any tips. May not have more than 3-4 weeks to get new tank running before the move. Paul Seifert <Set about a course of action and act ASAP. 3-4 weeks is not a lot of time to cycle the new tank. Here is a link to moving aquariums which you may find useful http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movgtkho.htm Good luck, Steven Pro>

Moving Tanks We are moving next week to a new house. I have two salt water aquariums that will have to be moved with us and I need to find out what the simplest way to do so with the least amount of stress to the fish would be. The first tank is a reef tank with a Yellow tang, a mandarin, fire fish, cleaner shrimp, carpet anemone, urchin, sponge, sea fan etc.. There is a lot of live rock and the tank is very well established. The second one has a porcupine puffer, a snowflake eel and a lawnmower blenny. For them I have a larger aquarium on order but it wont be here in time so they will have to be moved twice. Do you have any advice on the safest way to do this? I would hate to lose any of them. <Bob wrote a piece on this topic. It can be found here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movgtkho.htm  -Steven Pro>

Moving Tank (different person) No, I mean REALLY moving. Hi all. I have a 46 gallon tank and MUST move from the east coast to the west coast. I have 40 pounds of live rock and a BUNCH of nice things growing on it (like about 50+ little tiny feather dusters that I love). Any reasonable way to get the stuff moved from one coast to the other? I guess I'll have to see if the LFS wants my fish but I'd like to keep the LR if possible and maybe my snails and hermits. I know it's a long shot but I figured if anyone would have an idea you guys would. Thank you. <Take a look here for some info, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movgtkho.htm,  but it is going to be an awful long time in transport. 3-4 days drive? -Steven Pro>

Another Person Moving Hi Robert, Anthony Calfo, or whomever else may be responding, It is time for me to move soon, and with it goes my 30 gallon reef tank. I am scared as hell of moving it, as it has been doing spectacular for the last 3 months. Any tips or words of advice you can give on moving? Any way to prepare the living organisms for their trip? I will give a short list of my tank members: 1 maroon clown, 2 Chromis, 1 mandarin, 1 hammer coral, 4 types of Xenia (one propagated from another, all tank raised), 1 derasa clam, 1 plate coral, 2 small Acropora frags (tank raised), 1 beautiful porites rock with x-mas tree worms (very green and VERY healthy), 1 small Clavularia frag, 2 feather duster worms, 1 large polyp rock, 1 anemone crab, 2 brittle stars, about 25 hermits, 1 tiger tail cucumber, lots of Caulerpa, and tons of copepods (to keep that mandarin alive). I am really concerned about the xenia, hammer and porites rock (if this rock dies, then too will I die with it). It is possible for me to transfer these to a friend's tank a couple of days before, but I would rather not, since I am concerned about moving them so much between tanks. Would rather just move them once and have it over with...but if you think that it would be best, then it could be done. I was also going to save almost all my system water with the exception of maybe a couple of gallons for water change as well (to keep beneficial bacteria). I also need advice on preventing too much die off on my LR. Any thoughts and insights would be awesome. Thanks, guys! paullee  <Robert wrote a piece on moving aquariums here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movgtkho.htm I would add to be sure to float/suspend all LPS's from Styrofoam -Steven Pro>

Moving Tanks and Fish Around Mr. Fenner and or WWM staff helpers, <You got Steven Pro today as Bob is in Australia.> Hope I have found you well. How does this sound, this summer I am going to "launch" a 135 in my living room to replace the 55 (without sump FOWLR) that's there right now. I need advice on a protocol to switch these two aquariums out. I have two 20 gal. aquariums I will set up in my office with an emperor 280 on each (already own these; my hospital and quarantine tanks now empty). Using the live sand bed (40 lbs total) from the 55 and Bio rings from the filter (Fluval 304); how soon could I transfer the very live rock (45 Lbs) and livestock from the 55? The 55 has a CPR Backpack 2r which will go from 20 to 20. After a rather ambitious retrofit of my living room including electrical work, floor tile tank stand surround, backsplash and new carpet I will be starting the 135 with 90 lbs of new Live rock from Walt Smith and an additional 80 lbs or so of live sand. I intend to use the 55 as a sump in which I plan to place an EV180 (better choice)? <That seems like a fine choice.> Best guess on cycle time? <One to two months.> When conditions warrant I will move the contents of the 20s into the 135 . I'm a bit of a water quality nut. By biggest concern is for my 5" Harlequin Tusk, think it will be OK in a 20 for a month to six weeks? He did his quarantine in the show tank by himself. <This is kind of borderline IMO.> The only other fish is a 5" yellow tang which I think will do OK in the other 20. Each will have about 20 lbs of Live Rock. Should I use the Fluval on one of the 20s? <I would place the Fluval on one 20 and the CPR on the other.> If the above plan will not work I would just move the 55 into another room and buy a sump. <It may be safer to give your fish that extra room.> Thanks for all your help, Thanks everyone for sending in your letters. I have learned so much here! Rick Klages <Glad to be of assistance. -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>

Transferring Part 2 (chipped, cracked glass tank) Hey Bob, <Anthony Calfo sharing e-mail duty, in your service> Thanks for getting back to me so quickly....gotta like that. <indeed... Bob runs a tight ship here <wink>> Since the last email I sent you, we have decided to keep the iron stand that the 125g came with (dh thought it might have been too low, but alas he changed his mind). <perhaps you folks aren't as short as I am...hehe. I'm sure I wouldn't have hesitated to keep it <G>> So we don't need to worry about trying to switch the tanks using the same stand. The 125g is on the stand and about 1/2 full of water (checking the seams for leaks seeing it is used). But we found a boo-boo (hopefully it won't cause any problems another reason we are testing), there is a slight crack on the corner about mid way up .......HELP! <Ughhh> What kind of problems might this cause? We have resealed it with silicone on the inside (didn't go through that far but better safe then sorry),  <agreed...although old silicone never truly makes a water tight bond with old silicone... only used for small details such as this> and epoxy on the outside. The crack is more like a chip. Just a surface chip for the most of it. Can you offer me any suggestions? <Ahhh...very good to hear it. For the purpose of this discussion, may we call a chip a planar section or shard taken out, and let us call a crack a concise line or fissure? By that definition, I can say with experience and confidence that a chip the size of a small coin is little matter at all beyond aesthetics. A dab of silicone on the outside to protect fingers is more than enough. A crack of any size however will inevitably run and is a serious risk that I wouldn't take. It sounds like you have a chip and that it is no matter. No worries my friend, you've done a good job with it> We live in Nova Scotia, Canada (right next to the ocean actually...what a beautiful sound at night),  <almost makes you not want to bother with even a tropical aquarium...beautiful!> and only have one really half decent LFS here. We have gotten most of our goodies from JL in British Columbia <my goodness! And I am actually familiar with them... they are just one of two dealers for my Book of Coral Propagation in Canada so far> (would you believe cheaper for us to get it from the other side of the country then right here in town, even with shipping). <gee... that doesn't say much for the LFS! With regards for the dear cost of freight> So back to the original question....(can you tell I'm a woman...like to babble...hehe) how serious would you think that chip may be? <no worries... and by the way, I'm a bloke and just as chatty!> Thanks for all your help and answers. Keep up the good work. <with kind regards, Anthony> Hannah in Nova Scotia
Chipped Tank
Hey Anthony, <hello, dear> Thanks for a very quick response....I won't tell anyone you're a bloke...hehehe <no,no... please do tell all the attractive, intelligent single ladies you know that like talkative gentlemen <wink>> Okay dh feels a bit better now knowing that the chip should be ok.  <good, as it should be> His only (and mine too) other concern is will that chip weaken the tank once the sand, lr, and water are in? Personally I think he is being overly concerned about this, but see his reasonings too....all that money and hard work for it to crack later on us would not be pretty. <there is indeed some concern about a stress point, although a small superficial chip really is of little matter> I might add here too that if it was not for Bob and the rest of you lovely people (the web page too), we would have been out of the hobby long ago. We have gotten many answers and a lot of help with out tank from you. <your kind words are overpayment for the work done> The latest was a calcium level of .......are you ready for this........50. Yes 50!  <Aiiiieeeee!> We lost only a small (smaller then my baby finger round) bunch of pumping xenias. Everything else is still alive and doing so much better now (go figure eh) that the calcium level is about 450. <excellent... indeed on the higher end. I don't complain if it is over 375ppm> I am anxiously awaiting the transfer to the 125g and will send before and after pics to you (I mean you helped get us this far.....why not share in the glory). Thanks a million guys!! <looking forward to it! Anthony> Hannah :) Bluenoser

Switching Tanks Hey Bob, How's it going these days? <Fine, as always> I have a question that I wasn't readily able to find on the web page (hey...I may have looked right past it). <Yes, or more likely it was not visible to you, or present> I have recently acquired a 125g tank (wohooo I finally get the BIG one). I currently have a 66g that looks pretty good (now that we have learnt a few lessons the hard way). The situation I have is the stand for the 125g is the same stand that we are currently using for the 66g. Of course I'd like to have the 125g set up before transferring everything over, but I ain't liftin no full 125g tank (I'd like to see the guys that can!). <I avoid them> Any suggestions on making this transfer and easier one? <Plenty... this is the same operation as "moving a system". See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm  and the links beyond> Tank contains: 1 Yellow Tang 1 Banggai Cardinal 1 Blue Devil Damsel 1 Domino Damsel 1 Clarkii Clown 1 Mandarin 1 Anemone 1 Green Open Brain Yellow Polyps 3 Bunches of Anthelia Green Star Polyps Single Mushroom ( only one still...??) Ricordea Mushroom Anemone (recently split from two mushrooms into 3...what an experience) Devil's Finger Leather Pearl Bubble Crabs & Snails We have an order on hold at a LFS for the new tank after it's going for a bit.... Any help you can offer, would be great Bob......and an awesome Web Page BTW. Hannah :) <Thank you my friend. Read over the "action plan" on moves cited, gather the tools, materials together... and extra help (for fun, assistance)... go over your plan and execute. Not hard in retrospect. Bob Fenner>

paint fumes and fish tanks Hi Bob Fenner (or however is answering the emails today), I just bought a house and have some painting to do in the living room before we move all of our stuff in (saltwater fish tanks included). Of course I will NOT be painting while the tanks are in the room (there will be nothing in the house while I am painting), but how long should I wait to set the tanks up in the living room after painting? I know the fumes stick around for a while and was wondering is this is a concern with fish tanks. Any suggests? Thanks for any advice you might have! Have a good day. Jana <With water-based products a day should be fine. Oil-based ones I'd hold off a good two, three days. Bob Fenner>

Mature fish and a Good Aquarist Hi Robert, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I used to have 10 salt water tanks many years ago --like 15 or more---I finally gave all my fish to Sea World of Texas and kept 2---a cleaner wrasse and a tiny angelfish Koran--it was the size of a dime when I got him --- <very cool> I put them in a 10 gallon tank I had and got rid of all my other tanks. This is eight years ago. So all I had is 2 fish (new ones and the ten gallon tank) Now it is 8 years later and the fish are fine and healthy and the Koran is in the midst of a change to an adult. <magnificent... kudos to you for excellent husbandry!> Lately I noticed that the water level is down a 10 cup coffee pot filler every day. I don't know where it is going but fill it daily with fresh water from a carbon block filter water treatment system I use for the fish water for past 8 years--contains no chlorine etc. <could simply be a change in relative humidity affording evaporation> I wonder where the water is going? And how would it be possible to change over to a new 20 gallon tank? <probably would be too much trouble especially if the new tank is going in another place (giving you more time to transfer and prepare> I would love to use the water in the existing tank if possible? <yes, agreed and helpful> I am paranoid to do anything for fear I would disrupt the 2 fish <don't clean filter media before move...we would want mature/undisturbed media moved on a normal water change/scheduled routine...but this time we will be ADDING new water to ameliorate the transferred water to fill the new larger tank> and after 8 years in a 10 you know I must be doing something right---I very rarely ever lost fish----I always used a formalin dip i made myself for most any diseases and never put chemicals in the tank ever--- <agreed...beautiful> I raised Emperor Angels and Queens etc to maturity from juveniles and had great success---never used tap water either----always a carbon block filter---Would REALLY appreciate how to make a changeover with these two fish into a new 20 Thanks a lot, Red (Chuck Van Alen) <red, tell us more about your exact filter components (how many, what kind and what is the cleaning schedule) to fine tune our advice for you. Kindly, Anthony>

Re: Aquarium leakage, Moving Mature Fish Wow what a surprise when I saw your answer already--where were you 15 years ago when I desperately needed you so many times?  <I was 16 years old and at a Sadie Hawkins Dance with a quirky girl named Rachel... thanks for asking <smile>> Thank you so much for the response ----I mean that---- <truly my pleasure... it is an honor when anyone cares enough to know ones opinion> My little ole ten is just full of algae some red and mostly green and both the wrasse and the Koran eat it all the time--- <indeed at least a small part of your success with this natural and nutritious food> the front glass has spots all over it where they peck it off ---I also feed them Wardley's marine flakes and tropical flakes plus brine shrimp I buy frozen all the time---other than that I rarely toss anything in---sometimes some mosquito larvae live of course--- <an outstanding food...more of it please> I only have 2 Aquaclear power heads 201 on each side of the tank in back and a AquaClear filter (mini) along the back--I use nothing in the filter but the little foam filter no carbon or anything-- <very good..this move should be quite easy... put an extra foam block in your power filter if you aren't already running a second foam block and leave both sponges undisturbed for 2-4 weeks prior to move. You can resume your sponge rinsing/cleaning schedule 10-20 days after the move if things settle well. I find it fantastic and delightfully simple that you've had such success and longevity with your fish with coarse foam block filtration. It reminds me of the Nancy Aquarium in France that has some of the oldest marine fishes (including a pair of wild caught <as adults!!!> percula clowns that were captive for over 29 years!)... their "secret" was regular water changes and foam block filtration. Many freshwater fish breeders will attest to the packed power of sponge filters for strong bio-loads. Wonderful!> I use a heater now that it is cold and it is set at 75? and keeps the tank around 80? most of the time--- the wrasse goes to bed each evening at 6/45 like clockwork-- <naturally> oh yes when I had all my other tanks years ago I finally found out where my wrasses went----the darn shrimp would eat them when they were asleep in the coral at nite--they literally pass out cold at nite--you can actually pick up the coral with a wrasse in it asleep and it wont wake up!!! Done it--- <heheh...> Anyhow got some gravel on the bottom of an old old plastic undergravel filter and that's it---nothing fancy but I change water about 50% every 4 weeks usually--sometimes 5 weeks--but water is always clear like gin but the algae is thick so I have to clear the glass--- <The UG filter will take a hit in the move...save and rinse some of the gravel in some of the old aquarium water (no freshwater) and reuse if a UG filter will also go in the new tank...otherwise rinse clean or discard for new. Compensate with a weekly partial water change for a month until the tank seems to get on its feet so to speak> I have not checked the ph nor used my ole trusty test kits in years---just temp and specific gravity run it at 1.021 almost always--- <do at least test just before and for a little while after the move> Fish look great ---the Angel goes behind a big giant shell and sleeps there at nite and is there most of the day---always comes racing out and eats flake off the top of the water--wrasse eats flake and loves brine and even pecks off the algae---he is also 8 years old now!!! <do enhance the diet with more substantive frozen meats than brine like zooplankton/bloodworms or Mysid shrimp. It will improve color and longevity even more> I so want to do another tank for them and am really worried about the shock of changing them over and would love to use the existing water and same exact setup just a lot of new gravel which I can add more each few days no problem there---I know I could siphon out at least 3/4ths of the 10 and mix with new mix like a water change--- <exactly... a low risk endeavor. Most likely you'll be fine> it just scares me to do it and if it don't work Ill feel like hell for not just leaving them---tank looks like hell but I don't care---they are happy and alive--I've seen real pretty tanks with lots of dead fish----!------ <agreed...but the angel really needs a lot more room. The move is necessary> I read one of your columns about the velvet---someone said they had a barking Emperor---they are males I think and I had one who I raised to adulthood and he would grunt at me!!! That was one beautiful fish--- <very cool indeed> Well gotta run Anthony, Thanks again pal for the great response, Red (Chuck) <best of luck to you, my friend. Anthony>

Removing/restocking Hey guys, I hope this finds you all well.  <as well to you, my friend. Anthony Calfo in your service> Personally, I've had a horrible last few days...my parents house burned down, and my uncle passed away in the fire. <What tragedy! My prayers for peace with the surviving family and dearly departed> Bad Mojo here! I need a break from reality, and it's time to take care of a problem with my system. <aquaria are indeed a blessed and peaceful escape> I have a tomato clown that loves to dig in my 4" DSB. This is OK with me,  <normally not a big deal> because it's cute but I have my LR stacked directly on the sand. <Ok its a big deal...dangerous to stack rock that way... always place rock on tank bottom and fill sand around it (no worries about the anoxic submerged rock)> Since the clown is digging so much, the rock wall is becoming unstable. I'm concerned that I'm gonna have an avalanche.  <and you will> I'm thinking about breaking down my aquascape, and using PVC and eggcrate to elevate the LR a bit above the DSB. <yes...excellent, a fine alternative> When I insert the PVC supports into the DSB, should they be capped, to prevent any detritus from getting trapped there, or should I fill them with sand?  <minor consideration either way...I'm inclined towards the latter> Also, I plan to elevate the LR by about 1/2".  <a little higher will allow for better water movement, retrieval of lost frags/dead fish, snaking siphons or tolls if ever necessary, etc> Would it be a good idea to leave a few small pieces of rubble on the sand bed, against the main pile (for lack of a better word) so the hermits, and other critters can climb up? <just on the corners will be fine...you don't need much... the tank is relatively small and is covered many times over by the captives> Lastly, my sebae anemone is VERY happy in its current locale. It is quite firmly attached to a piece of LR (hopefully only one). If attached to more than one, how the heck do I unattach it w/out damaging it.  <poultry shears (used in kitchen to cut through chicken bones)/camping scissors can be used to snip at the carbonate rock base and separate the animal without ever touching tissue... by the way, this is a great way to remove mushroom anemones for trade with friends/others> It is doing really well (10 months or so) and is now eating the squid that I provide, as well as Sanjay mix that the clown feeds it). I really am doing this to secure the sebae. I'm afraid if there is a rock fall, it'll crush the anemone since its right at the bottom of the display. I'll look forward to reading about all of your expert advise/experience. I'm not really worried about breaking the tank as it's acrylic, I just don't want to damage the inhabitants from falling LR. Jason <agreed...but no worries... a simple, albeit laborious, matter. Anthony>

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

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