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FAQs about Moving Marine Livestock 1

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

Related FAQs: Moving Livestock 2,
FAQs on Moving Livestock: Plans, Gear, Techniques... Success Stories, Troubles/Fixing, &
Moving Aquariums 1, Moving Aquariums 2, Moving Aquariums 3Moving Aquariums 4, Moving Aquariums 5, Live Rock Shipping/Moving,

Upgrading Tank   9/19/10
Bob and crew,
I am again in need of your advice.
I'll make this brief: I am currently upgrading my 120 FOWLR to a 300 FOWLR (I have already inquired about aquascaping last week). ALL of the live rock in the old system will stay in the old system (to be used for a reef tank). The new system will have all new rock (150 pounds of base rock and 50 pounds of live rock to seed the base rock). The tank will be cycled.
However, how do you suggest I move my fish (9 total: 3 tangs, 2 triggers, 2 wrasses, and 2 damsels) to the new tank without creating an ammonia spike?
Would you move a few fish at a time?
<You have to add the fishes carefully over time, yes. Even if the tank is 'cycled' the populations of bacteria will not be large enough to support a sudden influx of life. You would be better using at least some of your old system rock here, and the 'reef' will benefit from some added new as well, in the way of biota. Over time, certain populations out-compete others, so that the general biodiversity decreases as time goes by. Occasional 'new' additions of live rock/ sand can help to replenish this as the system ages. I would quarantine all live rock sans fishes and with light though for several (up to 8) weeks>
Furthermore, I know the tangs like the system to be aged so they can graze on the rocks. Considering that all my live rock will be new, do you think the tangs will do ok until the tank ages?
<Should be if fed well (try NLSpectrum pellets). I would add some of your old rock here though, why I wonder are you considering not doing this? I would mix both old and new rock in both systems>
Should I add some macro algae to the display?
<Try Nori & pellets, perhaps vitamin soaked Mysis>
Thanks in advance (once again).
<No problem>
- Eugene

Need help saving fish... selling... moving f'    8/18/10
> ... Hi there... please display/exert the effort/courtesy to remove formatting from forwarded emails...>
> I am currently moving and selling a saltwater setup. I still have some livestock left and I want to be sure of their longevity.
> So I am unsure of the best way to insure this. I feel I have 3 options:
> 1. Most likely the best option is to "Donate" to an established tank.
Therefore they would only need to be acclimated once.
> 2. Let person buying my setup take fish (which he wants). But I am not giving them to certain death. So the though was they re-create my water to exact measurements of PH, etc. I feel it is not that simple because he need to make the water for a 150 gallon tank in a day. RO does not allow that because it takes long with most home kits to make even 30 gallons of water.
What to do with the fish during the few days?
<Problematical... have to keep/maintain elsewhere... perhaps in a lined trash can... with heater, circulation, sans feeding for a few days>
Also, will the bacteria still be alive in my rocks, sand, and filter media to convert the ammonia to nitrate?
<Yes... if not cleaned, rinsed too thoroughly, left too long w/o moisture>
If he has to cycle tank again, these fish will die.
> 3. Donate to a fish store. But my thoughts are they need to acclimate twice. Once to store and possibly quickly to the new buyer. Might be too much for fish.
> I am being pressured by the guy buying (option 2), so if you think there is a way to make that work. I'd appreciate input.
> Look into using sites/services like Craig's List as well... IF the party you're selling the system to is not interested in, dedicated to their care>
> By the way the fish are a large Annularis Angel, large Blond Naso Tang and a Flame Angel, pygmy of course.
> Your thoughts would greatly be appreciated as I would like to do the responsible thing.
> Best regards,
> Chris
<And you, Bob Fenner> 

Consult the Experts, I do... 90 g upgrade... reef... plumbing and moving plan     7/25/10
Hi Crew,
I have a 75g tank, with a 29g refuge/sump. I have been planning, and scheming for the last couple of months to move to a 90g. Its not much of an upgrade, but the purpose is to get a drilled tank, as my power company cannot consistently keep power on, and 3 times now the overflow box has lost siphon. This has resulted in moving a 75g tank in order to shampoo the carpet. Once was enough, I never want to go through that again.
<I hope others that read this learn from your experience!>
To the point, as I know you guys are busy. I wanted to run my plan through you, and see if there are any problems. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. The current 75g has 100lbs live rock, 5" DSB in DT, and a 5" DSB in a section of the 29g. Tank is 9 months old, and all parameters are solid.
1. The 90g will have 2 corner overflows (WWM suggestion), each will have a 1.5" drain, and a 1" return. If I ever want to increase flow, I can convert the 1" into a drain, and run the return over the back. It will have the 100lbs of live rock currently in the 75, plus another 30lbs of dead live rock that has been sitting in saltwater for 3 months just to maintain it. I will be adding less than 1" of coarse aragonite just to cover up the bottom of the tank (the wife does not like the DSB look in the DT).
2. I am converting the sump to a 38g tank, with an 8"x12"x22" DSB. Will have macro algae, Chaeto, with reverse DT lighting.
3. Return will be provided by 2 Mag 9.5 pumps, and I will also have 2 Koralia 3's for additional movement in the DT. I plan on installing 2 Sea-Swirls, 1 to each Mag pump in the future, but I could not convince my wife to let me spend the money just yet. So each return will just be aimed in the DT to act like powerheads.
<All sounds fine thus far, but do realize the overflow vs. pump situation will not leave you with any redundancy. If you can, just go 2" on the overflow drains, each will be capable of handling the flow of both pumps should one become obstructed.>
4. Just in case you are wondering, I have an AquaC EV-180 for skimming, a custom built carbon reactor (I found a use for a SeaClone 150, he he), and a Phosban reactor on standby should it be needed.
I have built a holding series of Rubbermaid containers that will hold the fish and LR while I set up the 90, and test it. I will have a Mag 7 pump water to the first container from the last, and each will siphon drain to the last container with the pump.
<Siphon drains can spell disaster, even in just a few days.>
Each container will have a powerhead for additional water movement. The corals are going in a QT tank. I am going to scrap the DSB in the 75g, and lay down new, dry aragonite in the 90g after rinsing. The DSB in the 38g
will consist of mostly dry sugar fine sand, topped with sand from the DSB in the 29g. I expect a small cycle from moving the 29g sand, so once all is in place will monitor for a couple of days before returning the LR, and fish to the tank.
Once I begin this conversion, I am guessing the fish will be in the Rubbermaid containers for 8 days. That is how much time I allotted for drying of the plumbing, testing the plumbing, and cycle of the DSB in the new sump.
As always, any advice the team can provide is invaluable.
<Personally I would expedite the whole process. Though you can keep your livestock in holding bins indefinitely, it is far easier and more desirable to get them in the new system ASAP. If at all possible try to allot a whole
day for the new setup. Get all your plumbing done, let is sit for a few hours (a day at most), fill with tap water to test, drain, then just move all over. Specifics may prevent you from doing this, but waiting a few days for the DSB won't accomplish much. Losses in the holding system will be more likely.>
Sorry for the long email, but since I am looking for critique, I wanted to insure you knew all the facts up front.
<Sounds like a well thought out plan. My .02 means little, only you know your specific timeframes of work and situation! Congrats on the new tank, Scott V.> 

Moving From River Reef To 4x2x2 With Sump/Moving 7/14/10
Hi Guys <and gals>,
<Hello Jay>
Was wondering if anyone can help me. I currently have a River Reef set up which if I do say so myself has been doing very very well. It has been set up for 2 years with approx 13kg of live rock and 2.5" of CaribSea live sand.
It currently has a few soft corals, Candy Cane Coral, numerous mushrooms, yellow polyps, Xenia , clean up crew and a Tiger Pistol Shrimp. I have a Royal Gramma, Percula Clown, Banggai and Yellow Watchman Goby. 4 months ago my LFS which has no real idea had a white out looking BTA, I know its crazy to do such a thing but I got it and its amazing now... got its colour back is fully open and feeding very very well..
Having now well and truly got the bug I am in the process of setting up a new tank and am thinking about the following...
4x2x2 Betta Lifespace with sump and return pump
6 tube T5 Luminarie
V2 Skim 800 skimmer
RO Unit
Circulation Pumps
I will install a refugium in the sump area also with cheto <Chaeto>.
<Sounds good.>
I was looking for some advice on how best to swap the live stock?
I already have about 13kg of live rock and have a fellow reefer from whom I can
purchase another 17 which will give me about 30 in total.
<OK, but won't be enough in the 4x2 (120 gallon) tank.>
Will it be possible to set the new tank up with dead sand... and the 17kg of live rock then when I am ready to move the stuff I have across to the new tank could I simply add the live sand to the dead sand... and the live rock with corals and fish etc?
I know that I will <need> a lot more live rock... but as the set up is costing me so much anyhow could I add cured live rock slowly over time as budget permits?
Or should I not move anything until I have 40 - 50 kg of live rock? My thinking is that the stocking will be so minimal the live rock already in place should cope with the bio mass...
<It will/should. I would add more rock before introducing any new fish.>
My main concern would be the moving of the BTA... but if he is doing so well in a Nano Reef I am hoping in a big tank with improved lighting he may sulk for a while but will settle in as he did in the Nano
<Is important here that water parameters in the new tank closely match those of your present system before transferring livestock, and transfer as much water as possible from the old tank to the new.>
Any advice is welcome
Many thanks
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

upgrading to a larger tank... Moving SW    6/30/10
Hello again crew,
<Hello Zachary>
I just got a screaming deal on a new 55g tank.
I want to put all of my live stock from my 29g into this tank, rock, sand, all of it.
<Yes -- I would for sure!>
I was wondering if I could use the same principles from the article on your website for moving a tank.
<Mmm, not sure which article you are referring to here but ok>
Take everything out put it in buckets, put my sand and rock in, take all of my 29g water and put it into the new system and add water to make up the difference, then acclimate my live stock.
<This sounds perfect to me>
This sounds good to me in theory I just wanted to see if it would work in practice.
<Yes it will/ should. I can only caution you to plan this move very carefully first and not just jump right in.>
Basically I think it would be no more shock than a large water change right.
<Mmm, a bit more of a shock really'¦ you are moving the animals around in buckets -- imagine being suddenly plucked out of your home by a giant hand, dumped into a water butt and transferred to a completely different house! Even if the hand did transfer your bed and telly as well, you would still be a little irked>
The most sensitive animal I have in my tank would be my 1 Birdsnest but I do have a few LPS as well. Any thoughts or warnings would be greatly appreciated.
<Plan this move carefully, and expect one or two unforeseen mishaps, otherwise you should be ok. Simon>

Recent Fish Move   6/28/10
Hello Crew,
I recently wrote to you guys at the end of May regarding moving to a new home with my 110G and 125G tank. Although most details were planned ahead for a move that was only 3 blocks from my old place, the end result is now a pure disaster.
The movers broke my 125G tank which hugely delayed getting my fish in a working tank for over 24hours. I had to then move my 110G acrylic quickly, but not quick enough to save all my fish. While I saved all but 2 small fish (1 Chromis, 1 pink skunk clown fish), I had to sacrifice my corals which most did not survive. As unfortunate as it was, I was pretty happy that my fish survived given the circumstances. I had about 80% of my fish in an empty 110G tank. Those fish included a 6" Vlamingii, 4" purple tang, 5" Thompson tang, 5" Naso Tang, Midas Blenny, 2 Cardinalfish, 3 Clownfish, and 2 Chromis. I also had my 29G tank which I normally used for quarantine housing my 4" Blue Hippo Tang and my 4" Powder Brown Tang.
About 10 days after the move, I was able to buy a 135G acrylic Tank and spent the next 10 days modifying the tank and setting up.
However, Early last week 2 of my small fish in the 110G tank were dead.
I tested all water parameters and found no water issues (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, water temp at 78.7F, water salinity at 1.025 and a PH of 8.1. The following day another two of my small fish died. I also saw cloudy eyes in my Naso and cloudy eyes in my blue tang in the 29G. I also saw rapid breathing with my Naso and Powder Brown.
<Environmental... and stress!>
By this past Thursday, I began treating both tanks with CopperSafe.
<Mmm, I wouldn't do/have done this; likely just improved environment, time going by would have fixed all here. IF protozoan disease was feared, quinine compound use would be/is advised. See WWM re, particularly w/ use on Tangs.>
From the beginning of last week till now, I've lost all my fish except the Vlamingii who looks well, the Purple tang, a clownfish and my Blue Tang.
I'm guessing that the stress of the move although a few weeks ago started some sickness/disease which went rampant throughout the tanks.
Should I have started a CopperSafe treatment shortly after the move?
I had no idea that stress could cause disease weeks after the initial move.
<Yes, can>
I'm also guessing that with both tanks empty of live rock and sand, that their places to hide and normal look of their home probably played a part right?
<Likely so>
I have one last question that I truly hope you can assist with. As soon as I saw signs of illness
<What signs specifically?>
with my fish, they were dead within 4-8 hours.
I saw signs of my Blue Hippo Tang becoming sick back last Tuesday. He is miraculously still alive, but very ill. I cant understand how he is surviving. His eyes are still cloudy, he doesn't swim and just lays on a piece of rock or flat on the ground. He only moves for a couple moments when food is near his mouth to just grab a couple of small pieces. He moves his fins every once in awhile. He has now been like this for nearly a week and to see him still alive makes me wonder if there is anything more I can do to potentially aid his recovery. He is the only one in my 29G tank.
<Move this fish to a main display>
I have been adding some drops of Selcon into the water to hopefully help the nutritional standpoint. Should I add anything else? Should I add other medications like Maracyn?
<No and no>
I don't see any real physical abnormalities on him, but on the others that have died, I saw some darkened areas on their bottom portions near their gut.
I also do not want to add additional stress to him.
Frank Meadors
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Moving Large Tanks, and occupants/reefs  5/28/10
Dear Crew,
You guys are the best. Always the best advice which has led me to 4 years of success. Now I've got a challenge with lots of variables which I know you have answered separately in the posts, but I have had hard time to fully finding. I will be moving to a new home at the end of the month and will be transporting my 125G and 110G tank with me. Good news is that the new home is only 1/4 of a mile away, bad news is that I only have 2 days to completely break down and rebuild in that short amount of time.
<Some good planning, getting together of tools, friend/s called for>
I can begin moving in on Friday, May 28th and need to be done by 3pm Monday, May 31st of my old place. While moving normal items on Friday, I was going to set-up my RO/DI to hopefully produce "clean" water aerated and heated up until the first tank move late Saturday/early Sunday. My plan was to move my 125G first by removing all the fish and placing each one (with the exception of the Chromis) in their separate 5G bucket with 1/2 - 3/4 of them filled with tank water. I was going to drop a tablet in each of "Bag Buddies" as read in previous posts.
<Mmm, I'd leave these out... I would ask a store or other advanced aquarist to lend you an oxygen tank, regulator... and Styrofoam boxes and 4 mil plastic bags (or 2 mil or so doubled) instead of the buckets for your fishes>
Next was to place all of the live rock, corals and sand in other separate 5G buckets.
<Which are absolutely clean>
My first main question is if I have to cycle the tank given that from stopping the pumps to begin the disassembly to restarting them in the rebuild should be no longer than 6-10 hours...maybe even much less if I'm lucky.
<Very likely will not have to cycle>
How long can my fish be sustained in these buckets with "Bag Buddies" given that some are as big as 6" tangs?
My second question is if I should keep or get rid of all my sand?
<Is there something wrong with it? I'd either leave as is for the move, or rinse it and re-use if not>
The sand is approx. 3-4 inches deep and is about 3 years old. If complete replacement is advised, I may just change the setup to be only 1/2 deep and forgo the cost of a DSB.
My next question has to do with green hair algae, live rock and glass anemones. My 125G tank that I am moving has an extreme amount of green hair algae. While some rocks are completely engulfed with it, some have medium amounts of the stuff. Some I can pull off, and some I cannot for some reason. My question is if there is any way to completely remove the algae if I were to put these affected rocks in a quarantine type tank.
<Mmm, no... only takes spores to regenerate. You need to discern and solve the causative issue/s here>
I know the reason for the heavy growth is cause my nitrates are very high.
If I replace the bio-balls (which I'm sure are the main cause for the nitrates) in the sump with the live rock infested with green hair algae and glass anemones, would those die without light while still biologically filtering the tank?
<Over time, yes>
I know the glass anemones will probably spread back into the tank, but can the green hair algae re-command the main tank if left in the dark multi-chambered wet/dry sump?
<By spores... strands, yes>
Otherwise, my last option would be to remove the rock from the water permanently and let it die off until those nuisances are gone, then re-introduce them later on to be "re-seeded" as live rock. Any other ideas on how to completely kill off that algae separately from the tank?
<I wouldn't do this... Too much in this one move. Get all to your new place safely, and address these issues later>
I also want to re-confirm that the use of Bag Buddies is safe for my fish.
<This product is not IMO>
Thanks to All,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Livestock shipping - heat packs  4/7/10
Hi crew,
I wanted to ask what the temperature limit is, below which reef fish & invertebrates should be shipped with heat packs. More concretely it's about overnight shipping in Styrofoam boxes. I searched in the business section of the site and only found one related question which, however, dealt with fish imports (which as far as I know take more than a few hours of shipping time).
Thank you in advance, cheers, Alex
<Mmm, a few "qualifiers" here... IF the Styro boxes are "decent", and a cardboard liner is used, and not taped too completely (the heat packs need oxygen to work)... any temperature below 50F. I'd use them. Bob Fenner>
Re: Livestock shipping - heat packs
Thank you for your fast reply, Bob!
<Glad to share Alex. BobF>

Thanks for the help 8/17/09
Hi, Wet Web Media Crew -
<Hello Laurel.>
Thank you for the fantastic information and advice shared on your site.
WWM was extremely helpful to me when I set up my first large tank last year. A few months ago we moved across our state, and WWM helped me learn how to safely transport my fish and disassemble/transport/reassemble the 75 gal. tank itself.
<Ah, good to hear the site helped out.>
We had the moving company crate up the tank, just to be safe, but getting the information from WWM was the necessary first step before I did all the prep work - the moving guys had it easy.
<Well, it is all about prep here!>
We only lost one fish out of our 8 during the move, which is remarkable considering they had to live in temporary accommodations (i.e. a large picnic cooler) and travel (to four different living spaces with our family) for almost a month when there was a huge gap between selling one house and moving into the next.
It's a good thing goldfish are tough customers!
<They certainly are.>
So, thank you again WWM Crew! I couldn't have done it without you.
<Thank you for this, I will let the rest of the crew know. It does mean a lot to us that the site helped you out so much!>
<Scott V.>

Moving Reef Cross Country  7/22/09
Hi Crew,
I've read through your 'moving' article as well as questions posed by others, but I seem to have a slightly different question than what's been asked before.... (hope I didn't miss it!)
I have a 65g reef tank with 20g sump: about 50-60 lbs live sand, 80-ish lbs live rock, 4 clowns (2 false which will be coming from another tank, & 2 true Perculas), 1 flame angel, 1 yellow tang, 1 tiny blue hippo tang, 1 green mandarin, and a small cluster of pulsing xenia. The biggest fish is the yellow tang, currently at about 2 inches (I hope the small sizes will work in my favor). The system is about 2 1/2 yrs old.
My dilemma: I'm moving from southern Utah to Florida - driving - it will be a 4-5 day trip. My rock and sand are not an issue, I can keep them in tubs kept damp. But how might I go about transporting the fish, and 1 coral?
<Best to either ship them ahead (if someone, or a store will agree to receive, house them), or have someone (the same sorts of folk) hold them and ship them to you later, after you've gotten to FLA and re-set-up the system>
I've done a 2 day move before and kept everyone in separate Tupperware/Ziploc containers with holes, and used a battery powered air supply for a few minutes in each when we stopped over night. All were fine - no demises.
If I do this again, but do a small water change for each container daily or every other day, will they last 5 days??
<Likely too stressful. Not the route I would go>
I also have an AC/DC converter for my car which I can plug a small powerhead into for the days if you think maybe a cooler or something would be a better idea than individual small containers. Any thoughts?
The tank will be the last thing loaded up and the first thing unloaded, and I will take as much of the current water as physically possible. Will the tank cycle again though? Will it be safe (enough) to put the fish immediately in the tank once setup (after an acclimation period I mean)?
<Likely no prob.s here>
I know that shipping my livestock overnight would be the best idea, but I don't know anyone there who can receive them, or know what local fish stores can be trustworthy....
<And where you live currently?>
I hope you can give me some insider tips and tricks!
Thanks for all your knowledge and advice - you guys are life savers (literally!)
<I myself wouldn't travel with the livestock... but can be done. Bob Fenner>

Anesthesia, or any other type of drug used for fish transport?   4/22/09
Hi, love your site. I've learned a great deal from your forums. My question has to do with the sedation of fish before transport.
<Mmm, there are, but...>
Is this a common practice?
<It is... in the use of high/er concentrations of Oxygen used in the trade>
I've received a couple fish from a supposedly reputable dealer (Saltwaterfish.com), and the fish arrived near death. Can a drug cause this?
<Mmm, could, but it's use is unlikely....>
I'm afraid to buy any more fish from a web site to have shipped, the only success I've had with fish is from purchasing from a store. Can you recommend a store that ships quality fish?
Thanks for your time.
<Not a "store" but etailers like That Fish Place, Dr.s Foster & Smith, the Marine Center and more are highly regarded. Bob Fenner>

Traveling with a frag. -10/26/08 Hello all, Your site is one of my favorites. I'm very glad there is such a great source of information out there for beginners and veterans alike. My question is I was wondering if It's possible to bring? a coral frag as a carry on item with me on the airplane on the way back from an out of state business trip. <I'm not sure, but I have done this myself. However, this was back when you were still allowed to bring fluids on board. If I were you, I'd pack the frags damp (i.e. not submerged in water) and pack them in a carry on. If anyone asks, just tell them they are coral frags for an aquarium. It's a risk though, so you might want to call the airline first and ask. Otherwise, it is relatively inexpensive to just ship frags damp. The lack of water makes the package much lighter.> Thanks in advance for the info, Chad <Good luck, Sara M.>

Relocating Fish to Larger Aquarium 10/20/08 Dear Media Crew, <Tom> I currently have a 40 gallon FOWLR (have two bubble tip anemones) set-up located in my office. I will be relocating my office to another building so I must either move my existing fish tank or set up a larger one at the new office. I am leaning towards to purchase of A 75 gallon set-up so I would like some advice on this process. <Bigger is almost always better!?> First, I currently have about 40 - 50 pounds of live rock and my substrate is crushed coral, which I'm not a big fan of. If I get a larger tank, I would like to switch to a deep aragonite sand bed. So if I set up the new tank, do I purchase only live aragonite sand or will a combination of live and dry be sufficient? <Hmm, all dry will be fine, it can populate off the rock. Most of the "live sand" is just bagged wet sand with little more than the words live sand!> I don't want my new tank to cycle because I have to transfer my fish (around ten of them) to this new tank as smoothly and expeditiously as possible. Obviously, I will have to buy more live rock for the larger tank but when should I move my existing live rock to the new tank without upsetting the existing ecosystem? <If you have time, cure the new live rock in the 75 first, then just move the old LR. If you do not have the time, just move the old and cure the new in an external vessel such as a trash can. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm> Does the crushed coral in my existing tank have enough bacteria to sustain the system while I am setting up the new one? <No, but the rock will.> Since I will be buying larger filters, power heads, sand, etc for the new tank, I'm worried about the new tank cycling so when is it safe to move the fish to the new tank? <Use the old filters also, at least the biomedia until the new filtration is established. With a little peruse through the marine filtration FAQs you will see nothing more than liverock and a skimmer are needed, preferably a refugium too.> If I upgrade to a 75 gallon tank, do I start with only fresh reverse osmosis water or should I take some from the forty gallon tank? <I would use what is available from the 40, you know the SPG and such is what your livestock is used to.> I really don't want to move but since I have to, please advise me to take the proper steps in making this relocation a smooth and safe one for my fish. <Moving tanks stinks, but is sometimes a reality.> Thank you for your time and prompt attention in this matter. Sincerely, Tom <Welcome, cheers, Scott V.>

Stocking and moving Plan for 220 Gallon FOWLR Tank 10/15/08 Hello Crew, <Sean> I'm upgrading from a 120g to a 220g FOWLR (72L*24W*30H) that will be set up as an island display with visibility from all 4 sides. The overflows will be in the corners, live rock will be in the middle (with plenty of see-through/swim-through areas) and the area between the rocks and the glass on all 4 sides will be left as open swim lanes. After much research, I've finally narrowed down my "wish list" (shown with adult fish size): * Rock Beauty Angel (8") <Mmm, a rare male... start much smaller... and this Holacanthus sp. is not easily kept... do read my acct. on WWM re> * Flame Angel (4") * Red Sea Golden Butterfly (9") <Better in pairs/twos... I'd skip one of the other B/F's and get two> * Saddleback Butterfly (9") * Blue Striped Butterfly (5") <A neat species... C. fremblii> * Purple Tang (10") * White-Faced Tang - a. japonicus not a. nigricans (8") * 2 False Percula Clowns (already paired) (3.5") * 3 Bartlett's Anthias (4") * Orangetail Blue Damsel (3") * Mystery Wrasse (5") * Six-line Wrasse (3") (About 83" total.) I realize that the Rock Beauty requires plenty of sponge in its diet, and I've seen plenty of suggestions for food sources on your website, so I really want to give it a try, as this is easily my favorite fish. So, on to my questions... * Bio Load - What size sump and what size refugium would you recommend for this to be a "safe" bio load with a 220g tank? <Mmm, the biggest/largest you can fit in, really> I am not limited to space inside the stand, as the sump and refugium will be located in the basement below the tank. <Look into Rubbermaid's troughs...> * Big Fish - The above includes 5 fish that are 8-10" in length. Is this too many "big" fish for this size tank? <Mmm, no... given the shape, volume of the system... I don't think these animals will really approach their maximum sizes stated... Maybe half to two-thirds over years time> * Aggression - The above includes a total of 7 angels, tangs and Butterflyfishes, which are reasonably similar in shape and diet. I only have 2-3 of each species, and with the exception of the Butterflyfishes, only one of each genus. I'm hoping that the genus mixture, coupled with the large tank size (with double the swim lanes resulting from the island set-up) will minimize the chance of aggression, or is this an accident waiting to happen? <Mmm, no... I give you very good odds that you'll be fine here> If so, would the situation be helped much if I "downgraded" the Golden Butterflyfish to a Lemonpeel Angel and/or "downgraded" the White-faced Tang to a Tomini Tang so that I have fewer of the "big" fish? <Not really an issue> * Wrasse - I've read that sixlines can be aggressive toward small, peaceful wrasse. Should I be concerned about the Sixline harassing the mystery wrasse in a tank this size? <Mmm, no... s/b plenty of room for them to avoid each other> If so, I might get a more peaceful radiant wrasse instead of the Sixline. Also, I've read some sources which indicate that all three of these could go after small ornamental shrimp, <Can, do> while other sources indicate that they are completely reef safe and won't harm invertebrates. <Mmm, not so> What's your impression? Would peppermints, skunk cleaners and fire shrimp be OK with all three? <If all are well fed... better than even chances of getting along> * Algae control - Without coral, I'll be able to go with minimal lighting, and I'll keep the temps around 76", but the tank will be exposed to quite a bit of direct sunlight. As this is a big, deep tank, I want to avoid having to go scuba diving to keep algae under control, so the stocking plan includes a lot of algae eaters. (I'll supplement with seaweed and algae in the feedings in case algae levels aren't quite high enough.) I've read that the Kole tang is the best for hair and bubble algae, but I just don't find it as appealing as the other fish in my wish list. Does the purple tang go after bubble algae? <Mmm, no, not as much by far> Does the white-faced tang or the Tomini tang go after it? <The genus Ctenochaetus are best here, and with micro-algal species that are palatable> I believe they all go after hair algae, right? <Yes> I know that emerald crabs eat bubble algae, but I also read many of your FAQs which indicate that they come with their own set of potential problems... Also, what critter(s) would you recommend for keeping the sand free of algae? <A sand stirring goby or two perhaps (genus Valenciennea), and/or a goatfish sp.> I have Nassarius snails and a sand sifting star in my 120g, but I still get a bit more algae on the sand than I would like. I may not have enough Nassarius snails stirring up the sand... * Angels - I know that a tank should be up and running for 6 months before adding angels. Since most of the rocks and sand will come from the old system that has been "live" for more than 6 months, how long should I wait before introducing the angels into the new system? Also, should the angels be introduced last, or should the tangs be introduced last? <S/b fine to add once the system is stabilized... let's say in a week or two> * Skimmer(s) - Some sources recommend using 2 skimmers of different types for large tanks. What types would you recommend here? Any particular brands/models that you would recommend here? <One of good quality will do... RK2, EuroReef, AquaC...> * Wet-dry trickle with live rocks vs. using only live rock - I've read/heard strong recommendations on both sides of this argument. What do you think would be best in this setup? <The LR> * The Big Move - My plan is to first fill the new system with RO/DI water to run and check for leaks, then mix the salt right in the system. But then what? Should I gradually do daily water changes from the old system to the new system and gradually move live rocks from the old system to the new system (adding new cultured rocks to the old system) until the new system tests well? <Mmm, likely once all is mixed, settled in water wise, mixing just once, some of the old water for the new... then next week, moving all the old into the new...> Or would I be better off with a big bang approach -- i.e., after the new water is fully mixed and salinity/temperature adjusted in the new system, drain some of the water from the new tank, add all the new cultured live rock to the new tank and move all of the water and live rocks from the old system to the new system? <This, with the one intermittent period> This would then be the equivalent of a massive water change, since the livestock would have all of their old water and live rocks/sand, but lots of new water, too. Or is it possible that some water parameter may get out of balance? (The only inhabitants of my 120g that will need to make the move are 2 clowns, 3 Anthias, 2 serpent stars, the sand star, a peppermint shrimp, a skunk cleaner shrimp and various snails and hermits.) <Best to mix, back and forth at least once...> Sorry for so many questions. Thanks so much for your help (and for all of the great articles and FAQs on you website that have greatly helped my research). <No worries, glad to conspire with you. Bob Fenner>

Giant Tank Move  (RMF, advice here welcomed)   9/25/08 Hi Crew, I need your help! I've asked around and I keep getting conflicting answers. <Oh?> I'm moving about 1600 miles, and am determined to bring my fish with me. Not all of them, but I really want to bring my brackish tank and I don't know what my best bet is for getting everyone there alive. I have a 220 gallon with two 10-inch scats, 2 6-inch scats, 5 6-inch monos (maybe 9 inches tall), a 5-inch archer, 2 6-inch sleepy gobies, a knight goby and a dragon goby. Oh, and a 9-inch Columbian shark/catfish. (I didn't use scientific names because it's not really relevant to my question.) <OK.> I have a moving truck reserved to move furniture and the tank, but I don't know what the best way to move the fish is. I've gotten the following suggestions: 1) Bag them individually and fly with them <Best approach, and how commercial shipping of fish this type/size would be done.> 2) Bag them individually with oxygen and drive them and try to find a store every day along the way to stop and give them fresh oxygen <Nope.> 3) Bag them in groups in giant garbage bags with oxygen and just run/drive for it <Even in oxygenated bags, large fish aren't going to be safe for much over 24 hours.> 4) Bag them in open bags and use an air bubbler or pump and a power converter <Viable, but does depend somewhat on ambient air temperature. Still risky though.> 5) Move them to a friend's house to live in a Rubbermaid container while I move and get settled, then trust the friend to bag and ship them (I don't have a friend that I trust to do this picked out) <Again viable, and assuming said containers are filtered and heated, you could hold them thus for several days. Have done similar myself, after breaking one aquarium and having to wait a few days for the replacement to be delivered. But overly complicated in your particular scenario.> I can't decide what's best and I'm worried about losing them. I'm also worried about the best way to combine them if I do so. The monos harass each other, the scats have killed a large Columbian shark accidentally (I think) with their top fins, the sleeper gobies will eat knight if they have a chance, and dragon is scared of everyone. Archer just chills. <To be 100% honest, in this case I'd sell any fish I felt I could easily replace, and carry any irreplaceable fish with me on the aeroplane. In your case, none of these fish should be particularly difficult to replace. If you're undertaking a huge relocation of your own home and family, having to worry about the fish may be excessively overloading yourself. Instead take the time to settle into the new home, figure out where you'll site the tank, evaluate the water chemistry there, and then relax your way through installing, cycling a new tank.> I have access to as many large coolers (about 40 gallons each, 2 or 3 will fit in my backseat and I could stack them two high if I need to) as I need, and have a power converter if needed. If I drive them, they have to fit in the back seat of a compact or midsized car and it will take probably 4 days to get them from tank to giant Tupperware containers (to wait for the tank to arrive). If I fly them I'm concerned about the cost limiting the gallons of water I'm willing to house them in. It's about $150 per 18-ish gallons according to the airline info I can find. <Shipping certainly better than driving the fish, but even that that assumes they have someplace to go once they arrive at your new home.> So what would you do? <Have said.> Also, I have a 20 gallon planted tank with a Betta, some Pristella tetras and some cories. I was planning on just tossing plants and all in a bucket and not worrying about them. Any problems with that? <Nope; small fish will be fine in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. All those fish should be fine unheated for a few days, especially if bundled up to avoid chilling. Bronze and pepper Corydoras have been reported swimming about under ice in the wild! Pristella tetras are close to indestructible, and Bettas are fairly forgiving in the short term. Keep a heater and a simple filter stuffed with Zeolite to hand, and set the thing up overnight in the hotel to warm up the water and get rid of ammonia. But even that is, to be honest, optional with these things.> Thanks so much!! -- ~Katie <Good luck, Neale.><<Am in total agreement Neale... as usual twixt us! BobF>>

Substrate 09/18/2008 Re: Substrate question and when can I move livestock Hi again... <<Hi there, Andrew here>> I have set up a 55gal corner flow...sump, skimmer..all the bells and whistles. I used 15 gals of water from my existing 2yr 30 gal tank. <<Sounds good>> I set it up on labor day and have added a live rock. I have added substrate, but here is my question...can I use the substrate that is in the 30 gal tank, or move some of it to the new 55 gal tank? <<I would only use the top inch of substrate, else you will be taking over the undesirable parts which are locked away in the bed>> And how long should I wait b4 moving my livestock to new tank? <<Once the tank has stabilized, which your readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate will tell you, it will be fine. In other words, ensure any cycle or mini-cycle has completed>> Thanks mk <<Thanks for the questions, I hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: 6 Line Soapfish Question, moving lvstk.   6/24/08 Hi Bob, Thanks so much for your mail. <Welcome> After reading your reply, here's what I am going to do and hope you can advice if I am making any sense. <Will try> Going to upgrade to a tank measuring 180cm long, 60cm deep, 90cm tall which works out to be about 295 Gallons. Will this be big enough for all? <Should be for a good long while. Likely the Echeneid will become trouble, you'll remove in time> Also, I really do need your advice on how to move the kids from the old tank as seamlessly as possible. I am re-using all the live rock and sand and all the possible filter elements to keep in the bacteria which the kids are all so used to by now. Water will be brought over from old to new too. <Good... when, while all the rock, sand and a good part of the water is removed... get some strong help (watch your back) and some good 4 mil large fish bags (square-bottomed, from the fish store), and one by one, scoop up the fishes with not too much water (pour it back if so) and lift (your back...) the bag, water and fish individually from the old tank to new> Problem is, old tank is 80 gallons, and new tank is 295 gallons which accounts for a 215 gallon deficit. How and what's the best way to do this without putting too much stress on the kids? <Pre-make, store the new water... let the new system run for a week or more with some of the old water, substrate in it...> Apologies again for my ignorance. Barry <No need. Glad to share, co-conspire with you. BobF>

Transferring fish to a larger new tank 04/01/2008 Hi, <<Debb>> We have a 75 gallon salt water tank that my fish have outgrown, so we just purchased a 180 tank for them. <<Yippee...more space, more fish >> We were told the way to transfer the fish is this method: First get fish into pails with the tank water, we will use an air stone and heaters to maintain the temp, then fill new tank about 3/4 full to get our filter running, we will use our old filter as well as our new filter to get the bacteria into the tank, as well as our bio wheel. We will use our live sand from our old tank and put into our new tank, as well as our rock ( is not live rock), but I assume might have bacteria on it that is good for the new tank. <<I would advise to replace the sandbed with new, remove a cup or two from the top inch of the old sandbed and add this to the new bed to give it a boost of life>> Then we will use whatever water we need from our old tank to fill the rest of the new tank up. We were told to make sure the temp, Ph, and salt levels are the same in the new tank as the old, if all is OK then put the fish in. My question to you is do you agree this is the correct way to do this? <<My only change is the sandbed above>> I need to put the new tank in the same place as the old one as I just do not have the room for this tank to be any where else. How do the fish usually fare doing this? I have an angle, and tangs ( all Large ) and a maroon clown, and lawn mower blenny (spelling) and some snails. <<On the whole, not bad. Out of the stock, the fragile tang is the one which will need the most care / lack of stress>> I am very stressed about this change as I hope to not lose any fish in the transfer. I have called several fish stores that have maintenance crews, and they tell me this is the way they do changes all the time. Do you think I should buy some of the bag bacteria to throw into the tank as well, and again do you agree with this process? <<As always with mother nature, live will begin again. There will still be all the life on the live rock and filter media, so I would not be concerned about this>> I appreciate your help, and any other info on the best way to do this, so I do not hurt my fish. IF I could set a new tank up and let it cycle for a while I would, but I just do not have the space and again was told this was not necessary . Again thanks for you help. <<I agree, there should not be a need to cycle again as your using the filtration from the old tank>> Deb <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Transferring fish to a larger new tank 04/01/2008 HI, <<Hello Deb>> Deb here again, thanks for your response (A. Nixon). The only question I have is on your response to the live sand . Do we not use any of the live sand from the old tank and just buy new sand, or use some of the sand and mix with new sand. Thanks again. <<I would suggest to only use a few cup full's scraped from the top inch of the old sand band, and yes, mix this in with the new sandbed>> Deb <<A Nixon>>

Re: Transferring fish to a larger new tank 04/01/2008 HI, Deb AGAIN, (SORRY) <<Hello again>> For some reason having a hard time receiving your response to the question about the live sand, do I use some, all or none of my old live sand in my new tank.? I know you sent me a response, but it did not post. <<As per previous emails, please use new sand, and take a couple of cups of live sand from the top inch off the old sandbed and mix with the new sand>> One more question if I may, what are your thoughts about putting the fish in Styrofoam , coolers while the new tank is being set up, will this keep the water temp to where it should be or should I still use heaters for each container to maintain the temp? Sorry for all the questions, but I want to make sure my fish make it. Thanks for all your help! <<Please, do not be sorry, its fine. Yes, if the Styrofoam containers will keep the temperature constant, it will be fine. Monitor these with a thermometer per box. Deb <<Thanks for the message, A Nixon>>

Overstocked Tank Moving to Larger Tank (And still Overstocked) 3-31-2008 Hello, <<What's up Chris?>> I currently have an aquarium that I know is overstocked. <<At least you are aware.>> It is a 30 gallon with a hang on back wet dry filter with a skimmer, and a power head. <<A hang on macro-algae refugium would serve you better than the wet-dry.>> I change 5 gallons of water every 1-2 weeks. <<Every week would be ideal in a (your words) overstocked aquarium.>> My readings are good except for the pH is low at 7.8, the nitrites, I believe, are a bit high too at .2. <<Ideally one would want zero.>> I have 2 damsels about 1-1 1/2 inches, <<What species/??> a small trigger, 3-4 inches, a snowflake eel, probably just over a foot, and lastly a yellow tang, about 3 inches also. <<None of these animals belong in an aquarium of this size alone, let alone together.>> I know this is way too much for such a small tank, <<And the wrong type of animals for this tank as well.>> but some I took because they would have died or been killed in the systems they were from. <<I can understand wanting to save them but if they were purchased from sub-par stores this only encourages them to order and sell more, by helping one specimen you may doom countless more.>> My question is, I have a 72 gallon aquarium that I will be setting up in the next month or so, I have to wait till we move, will this be big enough for all these fish and possibly the addition of a Volitans or radiata lionfish? <<No it will only be big enough for the fish you have in the short term, even they will outgrow it in the long run.>> And, will the 72 be large enough for the yellow tang? <<Perhaps, what are the dimensions?...Bigger would be better, I usually aim for 100-125.>> Thanks for the help, Chris <<Anytime, Adam J.>>

Coral Beauty Transfer Procedure 03/30/2008 Hi! <<Hello, Andrew today>> I thought I'd try something new...ask a question BEFORE I get into trouble... Last week I picked up a Coral Beauty and I now have him in a 20-Gal quarantine tank w/heater, Skilter, bare bottom and some PVC pipe for hiding. It's been eating like a pig. (I'm afraid to put my hand in the water; just in case). So far so good. I'm doing small water changes every few days; otherwise it's been a breeze. I now have to start planning the transfer. I read in one of the FAQ's here that a FW dip was a bad idea for a Coral Beauty. So, I'm planning on moving him directly to the display tank. When the LFS guy netted him out at the store, he sort of cradled the fish with his hand saying that the fish has little protruding fins that can get caught in a net. So should I be concerned about this when I transfer him?...maybe I should try an alternate method...like a container or a trap or something. <<Yes, one of the more awkward fish to move. I personally prefer to use a tub to transfer this fish from one tank to another. I feel its safe, less stressful for the fish>> Anyway, I wanted to pick your brain and see if 'just a net' is good enough or if there is a better way to transfer the new guy. I don't want to hurt it...it's absolutely gorgeous...and hungry! m. <<Thanks for the question, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re-Stocking Order for Larger Tank, Moving SW livestock   3/12/08 Hello WWM, <Scott> The standard 'you guys are wonderful' is definitely in order. The daily's are a must-read for any serious hobbyist. Thanks always. I'm upgrading from a 75g to a 180g (FOWLR) <Nice!> My current inhabitants (way overstocked, but fortunately (with twice a week water changes) no problems over the last three years) are as follows: 7" Naso Tang 6" Foxface Lo 5" Red Squirrel 4" Niger Trigger 2" Picasso Trigger 3" Fridmani Pseudochromis 3" Bicolor Blenny 7" Eel Goby <I'd get a few more Pholodichthys... are social> a pair of Nemo Clowns that lay eggs every three or four weeks the past year or so. Banded Coral Shrimp (3) Serpent Stars After cycling the new tank, what order do you recommend introducing these fish to their larger home? Also, what kind of time frame do you recommend between adding each fish? Thank you again for all your help... Scott <Mmm, I'd move all... at once, along with the old substrate, rock, filter media. Bob Fenner>

Moving Fish To Larger Quarters 1/11/08 Hey guys, <Hi Nick> Long time reader, first time writer. I wanted to thank you for all valuable advice on this site! <You're welcome.> To the main reason for the writing, I am going to be upgrading my 75 gallon FOWLR to a 125 gallon FOWLR. Right now I have a Cascade 1500 canister filter, I am researching how to make my 29 gallon tank, that is just sitting there into a sump. By what I have read the sump will take the place of the canister filter? Right? <It can, providing the sump is built to incorporate a filter pad and a place for chemical media.> I will be upgrading my (I know crappy) SeaClone 150 protein skimmer....Which other skimmer's would you suggest? <Euro Reef and Aqua C are good choices.> My powerhead situation is good. Heater(s) situation is good also. I will be moving all the live rock, crushed aragonite, and live sand into the 125. Using the same filter for the setup in the first week. Here is a list of my fish. 8'' Engineer Goby (full grown, hopefully) <Mmm, can grow up to one foot.> 3'' Maroon Clownfish 6'' Lunar Wrasse 3'' Blue Hippo Tang 3'' Clown Trigger <Doesn't fit in with the others. One of the most aggressive fish commonly kept by aquarists. This guy can also grow to over one foot. As this fish grows, he will take over the tank, and good luck to anything that gets in his way.> I have talked to a couple of the LFS here, (knowing that their advice isn't always the best). I was told one week would be sufficient enough, (after moving the rock, sand, and filter over) that I could move my fish to the new tank. Does that sound right to you? The plan is to leave some sand, and enough live rock in the 75, while the 125 is cycling. I also plan on using all the water from the 75 (not filling the 125 completely in the beginning). So only 50 new gallons of water, in the end. Any other suggestions on the process would be greatly helpful. <Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i6/Moving.htm In future queries, please cap names of fish and other proper nouns. Saves us time if we do not have to do it before posting. This tank may also become too small for some of it's inhabitants. Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Nick, and the family Fish!

Re: Lots of odd 180 gal Skimmer, Pump, and Sump Questions... Now, moving SW livestock  -12/14/07 Thanks for everything you do for marine hobbyists! I wouldn't have made it this far without you. <Pleased to assist you Eric> I've now got the 180gal tank with ~25gal sump (~200 gal total system) set up and my Euro Reef RS-180 skimmer is en route to my house. I've put the twelve 20-pound bags of sand in and it's settled (water is clear again). I'm planning to transplant all livestock, and live rock from my 2-year-established 55 gallon into the new 180 gal. Here's everything that will be moved: ---------------------------------------------------- ~70lbs of LR ~40lbs of live sand Pagoda cup coral Zoanthids (smallish colonies) Green Mushrooms (Corallimorph) large finger leather (1 foot tall and one foot in diameter when seen from above) 1 - T. deresa clam 1 - T. crocea clam 1 - Yellow tang 1 - 6line wrasse 1 - lawnmower blenny My questions are about how to go about doing this... Since I'm transplanting all my LR, a good chunk of the sand (into the new refugium) will the new tank still end up going through a initial cycle period (high spikes of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)? <Likely not... But, if there's time, I would move a good deal of the current LR and sand (maybe half) to the new set-up and let it run there for a couple of weeks before moving the rest and the livestock> My concern here is that most of my corals are attached to the LR and almost every piece of LR has something on it. I would hate to subject them to that sort of chemical catastrophe. <I understand> Would bringing over a lot of the water help to transfer the bacteria I'll need to help prevent said chemical nightmare? <Yes> I would think that transferring things slowly over the course of a few months would be ideal, but I don't think I can fully run both systems on the same circuit breaker (may have to run some extension cords from other rooms). Last time I tried to turn everything on, the breaker popped (well over 1,000 Watts in lighting alone between the two tanks). <I would alternate the lighting... just have one system on at a time> My 180 is running only the pump at the moment since there's nothing in there that needs light. Any other suggestions on how to go about doing this? <Mmm, yes... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/movelvstkfaqs.htm and peruse the linked files above> I'm sorry for seeming so... beginner-ish here, but I don't know the rules on this specific situation. Thanks so much! Eric <No worries. Take your time here. Bob Fenner>

Tank size upgrade - 09/19/07 Hey My name is Justin McLaren , I live in South Africa . <Welcome to WWM.> I just finished reading all the questions asked on your web pages and its helped so much . but my main question was not answered , it's a very simple question really ,I have a small 120 litre tank but recently purchased a new aquarium (750 litres) and it is running very smoothly and has been for 5 days . all my levels (ph,no3,no2,alk etc) are good . how much longer do I need to wait till I can transfer my fish to my new tank . <Have you moved all the sand and rock from the old tank to the new tank? That might help speed things up a little, but you still need to wait for the new tank to cycle. Adding some new live rock, food or some other nutrient/ammonia source will also help. Keep measuring your ammonia, no3 and no2 until there is a peak of ammonia, then a peak in no2, then finally a slow rise of no3. Once the no3 stabilizes (or ideally goes to 0 again), that's when your new tank is ready. This could take anywhere from a week to 4 weeks. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupii.htm> Your help will be much appreciated . <De nada, Sara M.>

Pondering a move... Shipping fish across country 8/28/07 Hi guys, <Hi Allan, Mich with you tonight.> Before I even think further about this I have to get an educated opinion. <Well, my student loans would say I'm educated and I certainly have opinions! Heehee!> I just upgraded my tank to 70gal marine, new sump, new skimmer, slightly larger fish load than my old 40. <Congrats!> Thinking of going to NYC to further my education, <Always good!> I live in So Cal now. <Lucky you!> This would happen in the dead of winter. <Better you than me!> Am I crazy to even think about moving the aquarium and fish? <Personally I'd start with the moving from LA to NYC question. ;) > As it turns out, my brother, back east, has a dormant 125-gallon setup, so I could leave the tank, take the sump (acrylic), pumps, chiller, lights, etc, and ship the fish? <Would be the easiest way. More info here, not totally applicable but will give you some ideas perhaps: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i6/Moving.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movaqfaq.htm and related links in blue> I've gotten very attached to them. <I do understand.> If school pans out, I could fly ahead, set up his tank a month or so before, get it cycling, then ship the fish just before I leave myself. <This sounds like a good idea or you may be able to arrange for you LFS to ship them to you as well.> Am I nuts to even think about this, or should I find a good home for them and start anew? <Either are possibilities. Shopping is not unheard of. Doesn't necessarily make the most financial sense, but it does sound like it is about the money.> Thanks, Allan in Los Angeles. <Welcome, Mich in the Pocono Mountains of PA.>

Moving, lvstk. 7/31/07 I will be moving my 75 gallon reef aquarium next week and had a few questions. I have read your articles on the matter, but was wondering how long one could keep a Clownfish, Yellow Tang, and Tuxedo Damsel in bags without it causing a serious problem? Also, how long will the coral last in bags? <This is going to depend on how large the bags are. When fish are shipped out from an etailer, they are generally in bags 4 hours and up before reaching the customer. The shipping bags are also filled with oxygen. I would advise not feeding the fish 24 hours before the move. I just transferred animals to a larger system, and I use a agricultural Rubbermaid tub as a holding system until the new tank set-up is complete. I'm not a fan of rushing the move, bad things seem to happen in this regard. I like to adjust the pH, SG, temperature, etc of the newly set up tank before transferring the animals, and, letting the newly set up tank run at least 24 hours before doing the animal move.> Thanks for the information. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Stock Exchange? (Stocking For The Long Term) 6/6/07 Hello Crew: <Hey there! Scott F. here tonight!> I have a situation that is causing me to move my current fish to temporary housing for a couple months. The problem is that as much as I say that they will only be temporary I can not be 100% sure and would like to be able to house the fish for life in the "temporary" tanks if possible. <An excellent strategy/practice. I commend you for being honest with yourself!> Here is my plan for them. Please let me know what you would change if anything. I currently have two tanks- a 75 and a 55 and between the two I have the following fish. 1 Mombasa Lionfish 1 Lawn Mower Blenny 2 Percula Clowns 1 Pygmy Angel 1 Orchid Dotty Back 3 Green Chromis 1 Banggai Cardinal 1 Yellow Watchman Goby and his Pistol Shrimp 2 Cleaner Shrimp 5 Serpent Star Fish Various snails and Crabs. I have about 100lbs of Live Rock between the two tanks with about 100 lbs of Tufa mixed in that looks just like the live rock now. I plan on setting up a 26 Gallon Bow Front tank with 30lbs of the live rock, an Aqua C Remora and a couple small power heads. I will then add the Clowns, The Goby and all of the shrimp. I will also put in 2 of the serpent stars and all of the snails and crabs. I would love to add the Angel/Cardinal also but am not sure if they would fit. <I would not add the Angel and Cardinal, myself. I think that this is too small a water volume for any more animals, and physically not enough space for the Angel, particularly when you take into account its potential for territoriality!. If not what size would hold all of them comfortably for life, including the Dottyback? <If "all of them" means the Clowns, Goby, shrimp, Stars and Dottyback, I would not go less than a (gasp) 55-75 gallon tank! How's that for an annoying answer!> The second tank will be 30 if possible (can go bigger if you think its a must for the lion) and I will add the Lion, Blenny, and 3 of the Stars. Do you think the Dottyback would fit into this mix? <I am concerned about the potential for them to become Lionfish snacks in a smaller system. I still would not go much smaller than a 55...Not the ideal answer, but I have to be honest with you.> This tank will have about 30lbs of live rock a couple power heads and a Remora Skimmer as well. I will be giving the Chromis to a friend along with any of the other fish that you don't think will fit. <Ahh, good.> The Lion and the Clowns are my babies and the reason that I got into the hobby so both tanks are going to be based on their needs. Any advice is appreciated and feel free to mix up the stocking list to make it a better plan. I appreciate all of your help. <This being said, I'd consider moving out the Angel, Dottyback, Cardinal and Goby. This way, you could keep the Lionfish in a slightly smaller system, without fear of it preying on other fishes. Notice that I said "slightly" smaller. Being a predator, it produces copious amounts of metabolic waste products, and you need a respectable water volume to help dilute them. Do keep thinking in the long term with your stocking approach- its a good practice for you and your babies! Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.

Transferring To New Tank...Cycle First Or Use Existing Media? - 05/21/07 Hi, <<Hello>> I am frequent reader of your website and I have a question to ask. <<Okay>> I have a 55-gallon tank with 2 Common Clowns,1 Bicolor Angel, 1 Bird Wrasse,1 Royal  Gramma and two Sailfin Tangs one yellow and the other one brown. <<Too many active/large fishes for this tank>> They all have done well for about four years.  I am now building a new tank of about  120-gallons. <<Ah...much better>> My question is how am I going to transfer the fish in the new aquarium?  Can I use the existing biological filter media? <<This can be/has been done this way, though I don't recommend it unless absolutely necessary and/or the aquarist is very experienced and well aware of the dangers re.  In addition to transferring the biological media, do also transfer as much of the old system water as possible.  Be sure to add chemical filtration (carbon/Poly-Filter)...monitor water parameters very closely for the next week...and have plenty of saltwater on hand that has been "mixed and aged" ahead of time for performing large water changes should the need arise>> And if yes how long should I take to transfer the fish? <<As long as it takes to transfer the media/water>> Or should I recycle the tank from the beginning? <<This is the best method, in my opinion>> Thank you in advance. Anthony Zahra <<Happy to assist.  Eric Russell>>

Re: Corals as Carry-On? - 04/05/07 Hi <<Hello Jorge>> I finally heard back from the TSA on Carrying Live coral as Carry-on.  The answer was pretty Vague.  See Below: Thank you for your e-mail.   The Transportation Security Administration's current security screening procedures require all carry-on luggage and accessible property be screened before passengers take them onboard an aircraft.  Regardless of whether an item is on the prohibited or permitted items list, the Transportation Security Officers (TSO's) have discretion to prohibit an individual from carrying an item through the screening checkpoint or onboard an aircraft if the item poses a security threat.  Therefore, TSA security screening personnel make the final decision on whether to permit items like a live piece of coral into the sterile area of the airport.  Should you need additional assistance, feel free to contact us at toll free 866-289-9673.  Please visit our website at www.tsa.gov for additional information about TSA.  We continue to add new information and encourage you to check the website frequently for updated information.  We hope this information is helpful. TSA Contact Center <<Mmm, so it would appear from this, the possibility of you carrying this coral aboard the aircraft is a matter of pure chance.  Perhaps if you post this question on the reef message forums (RC/reefs.org) you can find some folks who have tried this recently and get a better feel for how airport security is handling this situation.  Regards, EricR>>

Flying Fish? - 3/10/2007 Hello All, <Hi Harry. Alex here today.> I may be moving to Germany and I am wondering if it is possible to take my fish with me.  I know they can be moved if people are driving to their new home, but what about flying?  I have read a lot of stuff about transporting them on your website, but nothing seems to fit my situation, since we have to fly to get there.  I don't know where to begin.  It's a fresh water 10 gallon tank. <This would be a MAJOR undertaking.  I would seriously consider other options first.  If this is not a permanent move, I would "hire" a trustworthy friend to keep the tank for you.  If permanent, I would sell the aquarium (things given for free do not have perceived value) and start over in Germany. Although possible, moving this distance is risky.  Read here re shipping mortality: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/frtloss.htm So many issues to consider, including customs, flight times, cost, cracked tank, and likely fish death.  If I was going to attempt this, I might consider leaving the fish behind temporarily, setting up a system for them, and have them shipped to you after cycling the new tank.  Weighing the costs and benefits would lead me to find them a new home here.> Thanks, Harry P. <Welcome! Alex>
Re: Flying Fish? - 3/11/2007
I don't believe there is much of a mail order aquatic culture in Germany and, as such, your fish might be further at risk. Karen <Harry, another vote for leaving your fish here.  Thanks for your input.  Alex>

Getting the Last Fish Out, Light Shock  2/28/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Tom!  Mich here.> I have the unpleasant task of removing all the fish from my reef tank to treat for a Crypt infestation. <I'm sorry for your trouble.> The latest addition, and only recent one, was a Mandarin that I did QT but obviously not well enough because a week later some of the others are showing Crypt. Here's a list of the fish we have in the 135G reef display: Purple Tang Hippo Tang Percula Pair Flame Angel Royal Gramma Yellow Watchman Goby Mandarin The Tangs were easy to trap, and I think I'll get the Clowns, Gramma, and eventually the Goby. I'm having doubts about ever trapping the Angel and Mandarin, and nets are useless. This reef tank is now well established with a lot of SPS coral that has fused rocks together, and just can't be broken down without doing damage...but maybe it will have to come to that. Since I'm going to have to get every fish out of the tank, do you have any advice or unusual tactics for catching them? I hate to even ask this dumb question, but as an extreme measure is there any way to stun these last fish just enough to help capture them (e.g. cold, heat, anything?) without causing long term problems for the fish or the coral? I suspect the answer is "no", but in the past I've received Liveaquaria fish shipments where the bag water was down to about 60 degrees, and the fish were moving pretty slowly. I sure don't want to harm the fish, but I don't want to see them die of Crypt anyway, and slow down the fallow process just because I can't get them out. <One method that I have heard that you might try is turning the lights off in the middle of the day when they are normally on.  Allow the lights to stay off for a period of time gather you nets, catch containers etc. and turn the lights back on.  This can induce a shock like state which may allow you to capture your... victims? ...I mean fish.  Don't know if this will work for certain, but I think it is worth trying.> Thanks, <Good luck!  I wish you success!  -Mich> Tom

Broken Glass Aquarium Seal...What to do?  2/28/07 My 55 gal saltwater tank is losing it's seal (salt forming on outside edges/corners).   <Sorry to hear that.> I think this would be as good a time as any to change everything over to live sand in my new tank. <If you have sand already in the aquarium...and have live rock, the microfauna fauna from the rock has likely made it's way to the sand.....you already have live sand.>    I have about 30 lbs of live Fiji rock and fish in my current tank. <...See above.> I planned on borrowing a pump and heater to placing in my current tank and moving my rock in with the new sand and get it up and running. How long would I have to give the new tank/sand to adjust and should I use some of the water I currently have in my tank? <I would get two rubber tubs (likely about 30 gallons in volume each.) Move as much water from the tank as you can evenly into each tub and compensate by filling with mixed water (preferably mixed a few days in advance). Move the livestock into one tub and the rock/sand into another.  I would perform daily water changes on each of 10% if not then 50% weekly.  Put powerheads and heater in each...make them as stable as possible your animals may be here for a while...if you can't do this see if an LFS will house them for a week, longer is they can.  Remove the tank to a garage or well ventilated area and remove the current silicone sealing and reseal, allow to cure for a few days. Then fill it with freshwater to check for leaks...if it leaks...do it again.  Once you have it right, set-up the tank as you would a new tank, utilizing your old rock. If want to utilize a new type of substrate/sand that is fine but I would add at least a few pounds of the old sand to seed the new sand.  At this point do not add the new fish yet, monitor the chemistry and when stable then acclimate them...much more is posted in detail on WWM.> What sand do you like? <Fine sized (sugar), aragonite based for most applications.> How much sand for 55 gal.? <Depends you want deep-sand bed (functional) or a shallow sand bed (aesthetic appeal)?> Kathy DeMann <Adam J.>

Moving a Puffer  9/25/06 Hi Again! <Hi Suzie, Pufferpunk here> Thanks for your help in previous times. In the next month we'll be moving across town, not a big drive. Read through your moving aquariums handout. Found it very helpful. Just wanted to ask if there are any specific parameters on how to move pufferfish himself--whether to bag him or bucket him. I understand netting is not a great thing with pufferfish. Just want to make sure his travel is safe as possible. We'll most likely set up a new house for him and cycle it before his arrival instead of transferring the old. We will transfer the old media and all that jazz. Thanks so much for your insight into puffer moves! Take care, Suzie <I would catch him in a container & transfer in a bucket.  More than likely would bite through any bag.  ~PP>

Tank Upgrade issues... Tough Transitions... SW tank troubleshooting   2/1/07 Hey there hi there- <Mmm ho there?> I've searched the site for hours looking specifically for my issue. So here goes. <OK.> After years of dreaming and waiting I finally upgraded my reef tank. <Congrats!> I went from a 35 gallon corner to a beautiful yet still moderate 70 gallon oceanic starfire glass reef-ready tank. <Very nice!> I upgraded the sump and the lighting. When I did the big full day switcheroo sat 1/27, I had a ten gallon tank which I setup to house the corals and fish in. I transferred a large amount of sand to seed the new sand bed and appox 75%+/-  of the water in the old tank and also used BIO Spira to help out. <OK.> I waited about a day to transfer the corals, crabs and the fish. (I wanted to make sure the parameters were all in order so to speak) I made the transfer and the fish seem or seemed to be doing well until today 1/31, the regal tang (better known as baby dory) was MIA, the damsel is in heaven with all the space and the false Percula seems ok and the crabs and snails are moving around as well. <MIA?!?> NOW on to my problem. <MIA isn't the problem?> The corals seem to be struggling. The moon coral is shrinking up more and more, the torch coral is withdrawn and just generally all of the corals don't seem to be too happy in there. I tested the water and everything is literally near perfect. <Perhaps everything you tested for, but obviously everything isn't near perfect.> Ammonia is 0ish, <ish???> no nitrites, nitrates, Alk is 3.9, calcium is a little high at just above 500, ph is 8.0-8.2 and salinity is 1.024 <Water temp?> The only thing that I can think of at this point, in retrospect is that the water in the 10 gallon housing tank was colder than the 70 gallon at the time I made the transfer. I am hopeful that it won't be the demise of my gorgeous corals that had done so well.   <Usually the corals will recover quite quickly, with in a day or so, from a temporary change in water temp.  But it could be related to temperature.  Have you double-checked your thermometers?  Did you change the setting of your heaters and perhaps the new tank's temp is being maintained at a higher or lower temp than before the switch?  Or maybe your Ammonia isn't exactly zero?  Are the coral now getting hit with more water flow than they did previously?  You said you upgraded your lights, I would place the corals lower than they were previously to prevent light shock.> The anemone was splitting itself in the other tank, the mushroom split as well and everything WAS living amazingly. <OK.> Is it just a matter of acclimation at this point? <It could be.> Is there anything else that I can do to "help" them out? <Keep an eye on all your parameters and check how you water flow is being directed.  Other than that, time and patience will most likely be the best thing here my friend.> Have I completely screwed everything up?!?! <Hopefully not!> Thanks in advance for any advice and help <Hope this helps.  -Mich>

Rearranging Live Rock, temporary storage.   1/5/07 Hello WWM, <Hi Valerie, Mich here.> I am on the verge of rearranging my reef tank because the rock wall I started with has too many dead spots.   <OK.> I have a 220 gallon tank and maneuvering the rock is going to be a chore.   <Yep.> To add to this problem, I have approximately 15 soft corals to move around in the process.   <Yep.> Without removing all the water from my tank, I'd like to set up a separate tank to store the rock and corals in while I aquascape. <Excellent idea.> Do you have any recommendations for this process, such as salinity, temperature, lighting and pumping for the separate tank. <Mmm, how long do you think this process will take you?  I wouldn't think more than a few days at max.  I would match temp and salinity to your 220.  I would use a large Rubbermaid type container/s to temporarily hold the LR and the corals.  Placing a powerhead in each container would be a good idea along with a heater to control temp.  I would not worry about lighting if you can complete the rearranging within a couple of days.>    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks <Hope that helps, -Mich> Valerie

Moving/Long Transit of Marine Tank and Livestock - 10/12/06 I am about to undertake a 20 hour move from Sydney to the North Coast of Qld (Mackay).  I have a 120 gallon reef tank and the plan is to ship the rock in large plastic containers with water, the coral in individual containers and the fish in individual containers. <<Sounds like a good plan thus far>> I have access to a large number of Tupperware style containers (unused) that range from 1 - 2 gallons.  Will these be OK to move livestock in (one item per container)? <<They will...but regardless of the type container used to move the livestock, you will need to have extra water available for one or (better) two water changes along the way.  A container large enough to hold the amount of needed water and fitted with a portable/battery operated airstone to keep it aerated will be necessary>> Is it also advisable to use an ammonia lock additive such as Seachem Prime and products such as Seachem Stress Guard to assist in reducing the risk of problems with the fish? <<You can use the Stress Guard, but I wouldn't use the Prime here>> I plan to have large containers full of water set up with a skimmer and basic filtration prior to the move at the new house to have a somewhat established system to hold the livestock into prior to setting the tank back up. <<Very Good>> I also plan to not feed the fish for two days prior to the move to reduce the waste they produce during the move. <<Another good idea>> I am keen for any advice as I am already stressing out about the move and have not even started yet.  Thanks for any advice you can give. <<Do arrange/allow for a couple water changes; 20 hours is too long to leave the livestock in small unfiltered containers.  Otherwise, it sounds to me like you have things well in hand>> Marc <<Regards, EricR>>

New Marine Tank...Decisions, Decisions II - 05/24/06 Thanks for the reply. <<You're welcome>> I don't really want to setup a complete tank to hold my fish and corals in while the "new" tank cycles. <<Perhaps a fellow hobbyist/LFS can house them for you>> I read about moving a tank and I was wondering if it would not be possible for me to keep my fish and corals in a separate system while the new tank cycles the best way to introduce the fish/corals into the new tank and new water (half new anyway). <<?>> Sorry that last sentence was a little confusing. <<Indeed>> What I mean is would it be better to set up the new tank with some new water and let it run for a few days then do the transfer or would it be better to transfer everything and slowly add the new water. <<Were this me...I would set up the new tank and install all the support components (sump/fuge, skimmer, lights, etc.)...add water and "new" substrate...then "seed" the new tank with some "old" water from the old tank (about 10% by volume) and some of the old substrate (several cups...more if you wish), as well as transfer about half of the live rock...toss in some shrimp pellets...and let things go to work.  By seeding the new tank from the old in this way you can significantly shorten the nitrogen cycle associated re...sometimes to a week or less.  Once the new tank cycles, "slowly" begin the transfer of the remaining live rock and livestock over the course of about a week.  Take things slow and keep an eye on water quality as you go>> Basically what it comes down to is I want to make this the least amount of pain in the hind end to me and I also would like to keep my fish/corals as happy as possible through the process. <<Mmm...the two don't always go hand-in-hand>> To sum the whole thing up I do not want to spend the money on an aquarium, pumps, heater, sand, rock, and lights for a holding tank if I don't have to.  Sorry it probably sounds like I'm being a tight wad but that's a lot of cost. <<Understood my friend, but we're not talking "plug and play" here.  The decision is yours, but I'm not going to tell you you can dump everything from one tank in to the other and everything will be fine.  I know of folks who have done it...but none without some loss.  It sounds (to me) like your best option is to ask your LFS to hold your livestock while you set up/establish your new system.  EricR>> I do currently have a 10 gal quarantine tank.  Thank you very much.  I would really appreciate a response. P.S.  I have been told I can do the whole thing in a day and everything should be ok, but I really trust you guys.  Thanks again, Ryan. <<Rarely will rushing things be without consequence.  Regards, EricR>>

Moving    5/3/06 Hello, <<Hi Alex.>> I am going on a trip overseas soon for an extended period of time, and cannot find a person to look after my 29 gallon, salt water tank. I'm wondering what the procedure is to either sell my livestock to a fish store or are they willing to hold on to the fish for the period that I am gone.  Any information would be extremely helpful. <<Many stores will offer credit for healthy fish.  Your best bet is to contact the manager at the store directly.>> Thanks Alex <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Moving Up To a Bigger Reef Tank - 04/22/06 Cool, thanks.... <<welcome>> Also, I am going from a 55 to a 125 (toadstool leathers, open brain, closed brain, mushrooms, star polyps, a few fish, about 125 pounds of live rock in the 55 gal). <<neat>> My question is (probably from impatience) can I transfer everything from 55 to 125 (3-4" sand bed, all water etc.) and then top off the 125 without cycling (seems like it would be comparable to doing a 70% water change) or will this cause super stress on everything and kill most of it off? <<While using the existing rock/water/substrate (and associated biota) from the current will likely "shorten" the cycle period, just the act of transferring same will cause some "die-off"...especially within the sand bed.  Because of this I would expect to cycle the new system>> Better to be patient and cycle new tank with a couple pieces of live rock? <<No, you can go ahead as you plan.  Of course this means you will need someone/someplace to keep the current livestock>> If I cycle it, then how slow should I move all the stock and rock from the 55 over? <<Mmm...as stated, just moving the rock/substrate will cause spikes/cycling to occur.  I think your best strategy is to house the livestock elsewhere temporarily (perhaps at your LFS), move everything else to the new tank, and let the 125 completely cycle (may only take a week or two) before introducing the livestock>> Also sump, I'm using a 30 gal underneath the 125, I was thinking if coming into the first chamber (housing an EV-180) keeping that at 9" then flowing into the main chamber with about 3" fine aragonite (seeded from my 55) keeping water level 7 1/2-9" and then flowing into the return area. <<Sounds fine, though I would go with a full 6" of sand here for increased nitrification>> I'll probably be pumping 1500 GPH through the sump, I'm assuming this is way too much for a refugium, so, would I be better off having the middle chamber as the return and the end opposite the skimmer a refugium (water about 14" deep) and feed it either with a small pump from the skimmer chamber or a T in one of the return lines? <<Hmm, you don't want to make this more complicated than necessary.  The flow through the refugium is not an issue...I think the flow through the sump as a whole is though.  I think you will find that trying to push 1500 gallons through your sump (assuming your overflows can accommodate this much volume) will be very noisy and difficult to manage.  My recommendation would be to strive for about "half" that rate (even 350-400 gph would be fine here), and utilize other methods (a closed-loop perhaps) to increase flow within the tank>> Thanks again, Mike <<Always welcome, EricR>>

Road Trip with the fishies !    3/24/06 Hi Bob, Anthony, et. al., <Fred> Its been a while since I have consulted WetWeb Oracle, but its time to head to my roots and this is where it all started.  5 months straight of reading on WetWeb until my eyes were bleeding is where I learned basically everything that got me going in this hobby.  Thanks again and as always for your invaluable service.  On to the deal: <Mmm, when are you joining us...?> I have taken the plunge and decided a fish store is my destiny so I'm moving.  I am in North Palm Beach presently and I purchased a property in North-Central Arkansas, Mountain Home (where marine means -- something for your bass boat !). <Heee! Congrats!> The fish store building is a new 1200 sqft steel building on a slab.  It's built as a store front(gabled front entry, rear/side door, commercial fluorescents in nice ceiling tile).  It's small, but it's what I have, so... <Is "right about the right size"... this was approximately the footprint of our retail fish-only places> I have a basic plan in mind including a fish system of basically 24 linear feet, 3 high, <A bit lower... 32" is about right...> probably 3 8' long racks in a L config. This system is 1500 gal or so.  The non-fish will be much smaller as I expect to be selling little coral/expensive light set-ups, especially at first.  I was thinking maybe 500g BUT, (pay attn, I finally got to a question!) Would it be a BAD idea for me to include my non-fish water with my personal 180 reef and run as one system?   <Mmm, do you mind selling your livestock? This is the biggest concern here, not disease, parasites...> The reef will be on a storefront window right next to this system, so it would be real convenient, but what of the safety?   <No worries... better to blend, dilute...> On my fish set-up, economy-one large pump, redundancy-2 or more.  I'm thinking economy with a spare pump. Your thought on this and any tips or timeless fish store secrets you could pass along on keeping good water and a reasonably dry floor would be fantastic. <A good beginning is what I have posted on the Aquatics Business Subweb on WWM...> I've become very capable along the way, but there are often very simple little things/ideas that I realize in some profound moment, that are probably old hat/rule of thumb stuff to you gents. <A lifetime or two's worth> OK, now the important stuff.  I have to move all of my critters 1200 miles. Some, but not much is fairly hilly and curvy.  I'm right at the edge of the Ozarks.  It should be warm enough by then (late April) where heating won't be so difficult.  I plan on taking them in my pick-up truck.  It has a camper shell so the whole operation will be protected.  What might be the best way to do this?   <Actually... the best would be not to do it... To instead leave all behind, go build out the store, then send for all... to be air-shipped. If you had to haul, I'd "lightly bag" and oxygenate, Styro and cardboard box all, with heat packs if necessary, and drive like the wind...> I am considering making an acrylic 'travel tank' with dividers to separate and to baffle. <Too much work, damage... not necessary if you can make the drive in under two days> Corals on eggcrate shelves across the top, fish below that in their assigned cells, and a sump area below that of <12" or less.  Some PCs on the top and I have wireless temp from PP along with several other monitors that could be inc.  But that seems like a big job all by itself and I have a huge one waiting in AR. SO, I saw some 1 gallon clear plastic food canisters, with large flat screw on lid, on EBay cheap.  Would fish do ok for up to 24 hours sloshing around in one of these, if I silicone/plumb in a very simple, low volume circ system?   <No... time for you to become super-familiar with practices in the trade... Visit some of the better stores in your area, observe how their livestock is shipped to them... little water, lots of oxygen, double and more bagged and some types of specimens "hung" attached to material... This is what you want to do> Also, is there anything (that's safe) like a mild sedative you can add to their water to cushion the blow?  (Hmm, I could crush up a valium for them!)  Just kidding, I think... you can't do that, right? <I would not use these here> Well, I know my letter is getting lengthy so I'll end with a quick list of fish: Cuban Hog, Coney, V Lion, Sailfin Tang, Orient Swtlips all about 3" green moray 12" O clown, Dotty, Clingfish, Wrasse, Diadema, Yoshi  all about 2", Purp Tang 6", Foxface 7".  My 2 big ones of course would be granted multiple cells if not housed together (they're best friends, never apart) add to that a multitude of small inverts and a couple dozen corals in various families, only a couple SPS frags. P.S. On the road trip thing, even if you have a completely different idea, please enlighten me.  Every time I think I have it ALL FIGURED OUT, I learn something else that makes me see how much more there is to learn.  I'm very open to opinion from a respected source. Thanks Again, Be Chatting! Fred <Again, the best of luck, success in your endeavor. Bob Fenner>

Live rock transport    3/19/06 If I got live rock from someone with an established tank and transported it in buckets full of water for about 7 or 8hrs in the buckets, could I put the rock directly in my tank?  <Read FAQ's here Mike, should find what you are looking for.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrshippingfaqs.htm Thanks for the help  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>    Mike

Novalek Breathable Bags  - 03/09/2006 Hello WWM crew,     I have a question regarding the breathable bags  from Novalek.  I own an aquarium installation and maintenance business in  New Hampshire where we quarantine all of the livestock for our clients tanks for  30 days prior to delivering. <A very good practice. Our service business used to do the same>   The systems are small now to fill our needs,  but as we grow I would like to consider offering some QT livestock online. <Mmm, am compelled (by myself) to mention that this is very unlikely to prove profitable... too much cost involved...>   I read an article on these bags recently and it seems that if properly cleaned  out (not fed.) prior to shipping, that most fish could last a considerable  amount of time in these bags.  In order to function properly the bags must  not touch, and will work better if not double bagged.  Would this be a good  tool for shipping fish? <Not IMO/E... as much as I am a fan of Dr. Rofen's work, company, these bags are not appropriate technology for the vast majority of applications in the pet-fish interest... Other factors, mainly temperature fluctuation, greatly discount their utility. Still best to seal insulated boxes, utilize pure oxygen...> My main concern is that if the bags work as well  as Novalek claims, and one could perhaps save on shipping by not using a next  day air service, how could the temp. be properly regulated in the shipping  box? <Bingo...> Also, can a breathable bag, or multiple bags for that matter,  continue to function in a sealed shipping box? <Mmmm, don't see how...>   Thank you in advance for  your advice, you're web site has been an extremely valuable resource. Thank You, Myk. <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Marine Tank Upgrade   2/2/06 Hi , <Hi Nicole.> I have a 2 part question.   <Okay.> I'm moving up from a 55 gal to a 120 gal.   <Awesome.> First part After I cure live rock in new tank, 90 pounds can I move all of my 55 gal into the new tank (rock, soft corals, and fish, refugium) at the same time? <You could but as you allude to below, patience is the best way, maybe ? one week and half the next, giving time for your new nitrifying bacteria to adjust.> I'm figuring no. o.k. second part In the new tank I plan on having 2   Bannerfish Heniochus diphreutes 1 four lined wrasse. What fish from my 55 gal do you suggest I keep without over stocking? I have 4 Blue-green Chromis  1pink skunk clown 1 ocellaris clown 1 mandarin goby this one I am  keeping) 1 skunk cleaner 5 peppermint shrimp. <Remove one of the clowns from the list and you should be fine.> I am  torn I have had my tank  for 5 years , but I fell in love with the Bannerfish and I Have no room for both  tanks. Thanks so much Nicole <Welcome, Adam J.>

Moving 20H tank 3 feet over? - 12/21/2005 Hi, <Hi there Susanne!> In a couple of weeks we'll be adding a 40G tank to our household. <Always room for one more!> To fit it into our rather small place, we'd have to move over our 20H setup with HOB refugium (which will stay up) about 3 feet from its current position. <WooHoo! Been there before.> I have the feeling there is no easy way to just "slide it over" and I'll have to treat it like a move, taking out the water, rock and livestock (1 ocellaris clown, 1 watchman goby, 1 pistol shrimp). Is this correct, or can I take out just some of the water and rock to lighten the load and try sliding the stand plus tank? <This is what I've always done. I must say however, there is a risk of your tank cracking or splitting a seam. It must be moved (lifted/slid) evenly. Get some friends to help and drain at least 50%. One gal. of water weighs 8.34lbs. or something like that, so a half full tank+substrate and rock is going to likely be over 100lbs. You may want to drain 75%.> The 20H has been up for about 3 years and has been doing very nicely, and I don't want to jeopardize things. <Understood.> I'd be grateful for your advice. <Well, you've got it. The safest thing is of course "the break down", but you've got to take into account the distance here and possible detriment of fully disassembling the tank.> Best regards, Susanne                           <Josh>
Re: Moving 20H tank 3 feet over? - 12/21/2005
Hi, <Hello Susanne.> <Well, you've got it. The safest thing is of course "the break down", but you've got to take into account the distance here and possible detriment of fully disassembling the tank.> Best regards, Susanne                           <Josh> Thanks for the speedy answer, Josh! <Gladly!> It's great to have a place to ask questions, and I've spent quite a few hours researching at wetwebmedia.com over the last few years. <Glad you've found so much use for us fish geeks.> Now if I could only find consensus on which brand return pump I should get for the 40G/sump!;) <Better yet, how to avoid ridicule when your tanks are all you talk about!> 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>

Shipping question 10/28/05 Hello, <Hi there> First of all, thank you for reading my question and giving me so many advices  <much advice>  in the past. I am opening a new business and I'm planning to import corals and fishes in small scale (10-15 box). The problem is that the supplier that I found (From Bali, Indonesia) never shipped this far before (To Toronto, Canada) and they asked me whether to use any special method to deal with the winter condition in Toronto (It should be between 3-6 Celsius when the shipment arrive). <... need to pack light (less animals, more water), use heat packs...> Could you please tell me how does it usually done when shipping livestock this far away (we're talking 36+ hours). <Can be done> I suggest them using a heat pack (Heat source 35+ or 60+, which one do you think is better and how many should be used in one normal sized Styrofoam box?), <They should ask about... their competitors re what make/model of heat packs they have, are using... some are better than others... I would use at least two pieces per box, on top of newspaper, on top of the bags... all individual bags sealed in one box bag. They should "practice" with a given volume of water, time (36 hours) in a refrigerated setting to see how this works out> but they told me it may overheat the box since the weather in Bali is relatively hot already. I already read the information about this heat pack and it mentions that the heat pack will heat up to 130 degrees! I'd like to know what will the temperature be inside the box if it is placed on the lid of the box and double wrapped with newspaper. I would really appreciate your help on how to ship livestock this far and dealing with different weather condition. Thank you very much for reading my email. Thx Jony <Only way to tell is to experiment... try a given number of heat packs under similar timed conditions... Bob Fenner> 

Moving/Recommendations  10/5/05 Hello Guys,     I'm moving from Ft. Lauderdale to the Ft. Worth/Dallas area. We have some great aquarium shops in this area which I am going to miss. Can you recommend an aquarium store in that area? I'm already a little stressed moving our aquatic buddies from Florida to Texas. I'm even taking 40 gallons of their aquarium water with me. Not to mention a big inverter to run a pump for the trip. If you can think of a more intelligent / common sense way to move my fish, I would greatly appreciate your input. I have no idea on what the hell I'm doing. I'm pathetically attached to my fish.  For the record I'm moving a 180 gallon A.G.A. FOWLR set up. Any advice on moving Live Rock would also be appreciated and re-setting up the tank. I'll be putting in fresh bio sand plus the sand I already have with me. Hopefully this will all work. I've had all my fish ranging from five to seven years. I don't want to loose them now. Including a Maculosus Angel (named: Mac). If I lose this guy (the fish) my girlfriend will kill me. It would break her heart. I catch the nut talking to Mac and the other fish all the time. I'm sure this is not normal behavior, especially our unusual attachment to our fish. But if you knew the hassle and aggravation we've gone through to keep them alive over the years you would understand. For example we and I include the fish, went through Katrina here in South Florida. We were without power for five and a half days. Battery operated pumps will only last so long. One broke, the other I decided to save in case my alternate plan failed. I ended up running a 100 foot extension cord from my truck to my second floor condo to run power using a power inverter. Then I had to start my engine every hour or so to keep the truck battery charged. I still had to go to work (twelve on twelve off shifts). The only fan we could run off of this overtaxed inverter was used on the tank. We kept it as cool as humanly possible considering there was no ice available for 75 mile radius. The outside temperatures reached 98 degrees (heat index was 103) in the apartment 96 degrees. We were able to keep the tank at an average of 82 degrees. Needless to say we didn't sleep much, were very hot and miserable. I've lived here on and off my entire life. I've had enough of hurricanes. My mother and sister just relocated to Dallas/Ft. Worth from New Orleans so you can say they've had enough too. Please let people know about power inverters it might help if they have to deal with a long term power outage or just want to run other equipment in a emergency. I keep mine in my truck. You never know. I also have a fish question. Will my Maculosus Angel or Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus (named: Barney) kill a cleaner shrimp? Any shrimp? Thank you for your advice and information over the years, James Thomas P.S. For the record I am not responsible for naming of these fish. <James, don't believe the angel would kill a cleaner shrimp.  As to moving here is a like with loads of info/tips.   http://www.google.com/custom?q=moving&sa=Google+Search&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Good luck in the move.  Hopefully you won't lose any fish.  James (Salty Dog)>

Livestock Transport  9/30/05 Hi there, <Hi Ai Kun, Adam J. with you tonight.> I will be moving to a new place which is 5 hours drive away soon.  I have a new tank setup and cycled, and will be transporting my fishes and corals over this weekend.  <Congratulations.>  I have asked my LFS to help with the packaging and dismantling of my existing tank.  My question is how long can my fish/corals stay in the packages safely? <Depends on how they are packaged, if it is done with bags and pure oxygen or if they are in an open container with a battery powered air pump it can be done safely within 24 hours.>  they can I have 2 maroon clowns, 1 blue tang, 1 yellow goby, 1 bi-color blenny and 1 orchid Dottyback.  Are there any precautions that I can take to ensure that all my livestock will arrive at their destination safely? <Well there are a few that are important ones to me, lots of air and water to keep stress level low and keeping the temp stable whether it be with ice packs and fans in the heat or heat packs in the cold. Otherwise see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm and please read the linked FAQ's as well.> Thank you for your time. <No trouble at all.> Ai Kun
Post Move  10/6/05
Hi <Hello.> Thanks to your prompt response to my earlier email. <No trouble.> I am pleased to inform you that all fish and corals survived the move. <Awesome!> However, I am having problems with the maroon clown couple right now.   <Uh-Oh.> In their previous home, they had a BTA and three days before the move, they spawned.  Due to logistic issues, I was unable to transport the rock (it's huge) with their BTA and eggs.  It has been 5 days and they are refusing to eat. <They are likely stressed out.  5 days isn't long enough to start panicking yet but I would offer them a variety of things. Maybe try soaking some Mysis shrimp in Zoe or Selcon. That usually works for me.>  They would occasionally swim near the edge of the tank as though they are trying to run away.  The female is also stirring sand around the tank and has dug a rather deep 'cave' in between two rocks.  <The "digging" is fairly normal of Maroons.>  Does these symptoms tell you anything?  What can I do to make them eat?  <See above.>  I don't want to lose any of them. <Don't panic yet. As stressful as the move was for you, it is/was even more stressful for the fish.  Hunger strikes like this can last weeks at times, so don't panic yet, just keep offering food.> Thank you. Ai Kun <Good luck and keep me posted, Adam Jackson.>

Upgrading tank 9/19/05 Hey guys, I am plotting a tank upgrade this week and I'm a bit nervous about it. My current tank is a 45gal and I purchased a 65gal from a friend. In my mind it seems rather easy, but as I read some of the articles I'm getting worried. I have a local "fish guy" who seems to always have good advice, and he seems to think what I'm doing isn't all that big of a deal... <I agree.  Simply moving animals from one tank to another is usually not that hard.  Be sure to have plenty of extra salt water, lots of buckets and tubs and lots of towels!> Any way I plan on draining all the water out and putting it into the new tank, then adding aprox 15 gal of new saltwater.  I have several larges rocks. As for the substrate, I had planned on using most of it.  There must be 2 inches of crushed coral. <I am not getting a clear picture of your plan, but I would suggest the following:  Drain most of the water to buckets and/or tubs.  With most of the water removed, it will be a simple task to capture the animals and place them in the buckets/tubs.  Transfer the substrate and rock to the new tank and arrange as you like.  Return all of the water from the original tank to the new tank (placing a plastic bag over the substrate helps prevent stirring and clouding) along with the animals.  Us the extra salt water you mixed up the day before to top off the new tank.  Move the filters, turn everything on and you are ready to clean up!> I'm using all the same filtration: 2 of the largest emperor filter with bio wheels. (I've done extremely well with them by the way). <Good to hear.  I am not partial to power filters in marine tanks, but "don't fix what ain't broke!  Do see here if you are curious:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/Filtration/Filtration.htm> I'm kind of looking at this as a major water change. I  have 5 fish including: neon Dottyback, needle nose hawk, 2 clowns and a canary wrasse, 2 anemones, no live rock, 3 star fish, crabs and turbo snails. I don't see how this is much different than one of my 40% water changes I do every three months. <Agreed.> I also thought I'd set up my 10gal to keep the fish in while I do this, or is a bucket suffice with air stones?? <Buckets should be fine.  If you can move quickly and efficiently, even airstones are probably unnecessary.> I do realize that my ammonia will spike a bit but I'm sure it does when I clean my tank. I'm hoping this will only take a couple of hours. I was planning on removing most of my decorations out a little bit at a time during the week, then on Sunday going for it. I did buy a bag of live sand to add to what I have now.  Am I going at this totally wrong?? Nervous Nelly.....KJ  <I don't think you will have an ammonia spike at all unless your substrate is really filthy.  In this case, I would rinse it well with saltwater before adding it to the new tank.  Don't worry, it should go fine.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Transporting Seahorses (8/27/05) Greetings, <Greetings to you as well! Leslie here with you this morning> I've had a 55 gallon aquarium set up for seahorses now for about 3 months. I have the parameters adjusted as seahorse.org suggests.  However, I've had trouble finding just the right specimens to start out with and have been very patient in my search.  Finally, I've found them, a trio of healthy, captive bred H. erectus.  The trouble is that store is 12 hours from my home. <Yikes, 12 hours is quite a drive.> I'm trying to decide on the best way (or whether to try) to transport the little guys.  I would start out with the largest bucket/bag I can fit in the Styrofoam shipping container.  The owner/operator of the store does not have oxygen and suggested that seahorses don't do well with oxygen anyway. <I am not really sure what the he means by that. Seahorses are shipped with oxygen all the time.> He suggested a battery powered air pump in conjunction with well monitored temperature in the car and frequent water temperature checks. <That sounds like a fine plan. Even better would be if you could get hold of a 5g bucket. That would allow for decent water volume. I like the buckets marine salt is packaged in. You can cut a hole in the top leaving a rim around the circumference of the top which, will prevent water from splashing out. You can control the temp in your car with the heat or air conditioning so temp should not be too much of an issue. You could insulate the bucket by wrapping it in a blanket or 2. > I'm concerned that this may cause pH issues if the seahorses produce too much ammonia on the trip (as your cite suggests). < This is always a possibility when shipping, but many many fish and seahorses are shipped and do just fine.> I am not really sure how you get around that I haven't been able to find any specific info on your site as to transporting seahorses. <I really do not think they require anything special regarding shipping with the exception perhaps of a small piece of Caulerpa to hitch to.> Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. <A 24 hour round trip seems like quite a bit of trouble and expense to go to, especially with the price of gas these days, If it were me, I would reconsider the source. IMO it would be much easier on you and the seahorses to have them shipped by an experienced retailer. Have you looked into seahorses from www.oceanrider.com? They have lovely healthy CB seahorses, which they have been shipping all over the continental US for 7+ years. I personally have received many shipments and have never had a problem, as have many of my friends.  They have several specials on a regular basis including first time buyer's specials which include 1 or 2 pairs of erectus for a discounted price. I believe that shipping is also included. Another pro for ordering seahorses from an aquaculture facility such as OR is that you are getting seahorses that have come to you directly from a high health facility with no holding facilities in between. This is a big bonus in my opinion. These seahorses and fish are not exposed to any other fish CB or WC, in process of getting from the breeder to your tank. I honestly feel this is your best option.> Also, if there are any special acclimation procedures you would suggest after the trip, please pass them on.  I planned on using a 2-3 hour drip acclimation into a dark tank. <The dark tank is only necessary if the horses have been in darkness for an extended length of time. If your temp, pH, and salinity are close to those of the transport water dripping is not necessary. Seahorses are not as sensitive as some of the inverts. The only other special acclimation procedure I would advise is to give them a holdfast to hitch to in your acclimation container, if it will be for an extended period of time.> Thank you for your help. <You're most welcome!! > I've robbed myself of much sleep perusing through your wonderfully informative website.   <Well, get some well deserved rest before you get your seahorses, as I can promise you, you will be glued to the tank once they arrive. > Now, hopefully it's time to research some pipefish tankmates. <Pipefish make wonderful seahorse tankmates, however you must consider that these fish are not yet commercially available CB. WC pipefish typically do not do well in captivity. They carry with them the issues of disease and requiring live food that WC seahorses do. I do not recommend mixing CB seahorses with any WC fish. You risk the health of your CB seahorses by mixing them with WC fish of any type. There are several seahorse compatible tankmates that are being CB at this time and any one of them would be preferable over a WC tankmate. I would recommend you look into one of these options including Banggai Cardinalfish, Assessors, many of the Gobies,  Fridmani Pseudochromis or even Ocellaris Clownfish. For additional information please have a look at www.oceanrider.com and www.syngnathid.org. Also, be on the look out for a seahorse related article by Pete Giwojna in the Conscientious Aquarist, WWM's online magazine.> Cheers, Matt <Best of luck to you Matt! Cheers, Leslie>

Oxygen for shipping 8/15/05 Howdy folks, <Fred> I've scoured the FAQs and the forum, and still come up empty-handed with an answer for my question. I've started shipping out a lot more fish and corals lately, and feel it's time to invest in an oxygen system to bag up most of these with. The problem is that every company I've found offers a rather wide variety of mixtures available, all varying in their oxygen purity. <There are a few...> Now, I would assume (but hate to assume) that since most livestock will ship just fine with good old' air, that anything more "pure" in oxygen than that would be beneficial, at least to some degree. <Yep> But, I don't want to lose anything due to not asking the question, so here it is: What grade/purity of oxygen is accepted for use in the industry? Should it be the highest grade? Medium? Low? Any idea on a certain % of oxygen? <The higher the better... and the cost difference nowadays isn't much... medical grade is about best> I'd be surprised if most facilities/shippers used the purest form available, as it's also likely the most expensive (forgive me, it's Sunday and I haven't actually been quoted any prices yet, so there may be an insignificant difference price-wise in purity levels). <Here in S. Cal... it's nominal...> Any insights you can offer, as always, are appreciated. Thanks! Fred <Price out what the welding outfits have... including leasing the bottle/s... look for handy options like long flexible hoses, single hand (pistol-type) actuators for helping you fill the bags... even (in the longest haul) combo oxygen and bag-clip machines. Bob Fenner>

Shipping fish to US <from Canada> 8/7/05 Hello :)  Has anyone had any experience with shipping live fish from Canada to the US?  If so, what is the procedure/requirements...Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks! l. >>From the Canadian side it is very simple if the amount is under $2000 (if above you need to fill in the B13 export paperwork). From the US side it is a nightmare. The US side will have to get in touch with USFW and likely buy an import license. Then there is also an inspection fee and the fish have to enter at a designated port, of which there are few. There has to be a 48 hour notice when the shipment will arrive and you have to fill in the USFW form, invoice and AWB at that time. When the fish arrive they have to be inspected, and you also have to clear customs. Good Luck, Oliver

Moving to Boston 7/21/05 Hi everyone. I had a question regarding moving my fish tanks. <What happened to it?> I have read your site looking at the various questions people asked regarding moving fish tanks, and they have helped me in the past, but those moves were only short trips within the city. Now I am moving from Cincinnati, OH to Boston, MA. This trip is substantially longer, most maps say roughly 887 miles and/or around a 14 hour drive. I have two tanks that I will be moving. My first is a 72g bowfront, 100 lbs of live rock, live sand, a bird wrasse, a lemon peel angel, a white faced tang, and a Humu Humu trigger. The second is a 25g with a few crabs and about 35 lbs of live rock. I know that I can pack the live rock in a few boxes with trash bag inside and wet newspaper on that, and the live sand I was going to place in a 5g bucket from home depot, but what about my fish? Your site recommends that I get large fish bags, 2/3 with air and 1/3 with water, double bagged, with one fish per bag. <Mmm, then you haven't read all... I would not move the fishes with all the rest... have someone, a store hold them and ship them to you later... after you've got the tanks all up and going> I would place all fish in a box just like when they are received through the mail. Would this method still apply for a long drive to Boston? I am worried about moving these four fish, the bird wrasse is about 7 or 8 inches, the trigger is around 2 or 3, and the other two are around 4 inches. Would it be better to try and find homes for these fish, rather than stress them on the drive? I plan on moving during the night to minimize traffic jams and construction delays, hoping to shave off some of the time. Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated. On a side note, the Humu Humu was the last fish added. I know triggers can get very aggressive, but I have read that this particular is of the less aggressive triggers. So far he has shown no bad traits. Do you think that I will eventually have to worry about him harming the other fish? Thank you again. Sincerely, Brian <Too much going on to haul all with you... the LFS you trust most will know how to air-freight your livestock. Bon voyage. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Levels Hi. I hope you can help me. I've been reading your FAQ's about stocking a small tank, and it seems I'm dreadfully overstocked, although I can't quite tell HOW dreadfully, and I hope you can help. Up until last week, I had a 150-gallon tank. That tank met a slow, sad end (as did my carpet) when the seal started leaking. I have temporarily housed my fish in my quarantine tank (30g) and a spare 10g I had. The 30g tank is holding  most of my livestock (10 damsels, 6 turbo snails, a 3" conch, one 4"  choc chip star and the one emerald crab who survived the upheaval); the 10g  has my second 5" ccs and 5 hermit crabs. Both tanks have enough sand and  rock from the original tank that I haven't experienced any problems with ammonia  or nitrites and everyone has been doing well while I researched my tank replacement options. To make a long story short, I'm looking at a minimum of 3 months before I can replace my tank and stand, which is too long for me to keep my fish in less-than-optimal surroundings. Any suggestions you have on which you would keep  in such a small tank would be more than welcome. I have resigned myself to the need to get rid of at least one of my stars, and possibly both, but I'm unsure  if there's a maximum damsel-per-gallon limit. If it helps any, the damsels are a  combination of 3-stripes and blue damsels, ranging in size from 1-2". They have  not yet been territorial in their smaller home, but I'm worried that may become  a problem in the future, in addition to the obvious problem  of their bioload. <Rachel, you might want to look into a Rubbermaid water tub.  Farm implement stores handle these and are relatively cheap.  I think that would work out well if you don't want to give up any of your animals.  Other than that, you can roughly figure one cubic inch of fish per five gallons of water.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Rachel

Shipping Livestock in the Summer Hi all. I recently purchased a LFS in Orlando and have a customer that wants a large order shipped to him. I want to make sure that I package it properly to insure live delivery. I am using a large Styrofoam cooler, but am wondering what you suggest to keep things cool...I know that many people used ice packs, but how do you determine how many and where to place them? Thanks for any help, suggestions. Marcye <Ice-packs are still the best available, most appropriate technology here... along with expedient shipping, labeling ("livestock, keep out of the sun")... preparation of livestock (no feeding for a few days, depending on sizes, species, condition) and good/maximized water volumes. Bob Fenner>  <<Marina also suggests looking to floral supplies - they are using cooling packs designed to ship roses from South America, and they seem to remain cool for a very extended period of time.>>

Adding Tang, Tiera Batfish Owner Thanks so much for the quick response Marina! <<Most welcome, Elisabeth.>> The Tiera Batfish arrived as a very small juvenile and we had lowered the salinity to between 1.015-1.020, as our "LFS" told us that the juvies tend towards brackish.  <<Yes. Lots of sea creatures spend their collective youths in such waters.>> We have started the process of slowly increasing the SG. It's been 5 months of "tinkering" with it and the other fish and inverts have tolerated well. <<Taking your time like this is best for the invertebrates. The fishes, however (especially the bat), can tolerate relatively quick changes. Not necessarily advised, but possible.>> We are in the process of having a 1000 gal. tank built into our family room and hope that the batfish doesn't outgrow it too quickly, he's such a hoot with personality to spare, he hand feeds shrimp and "follows" as you move around the room. <<Yee haw haw! Now *that* sounds like fun. Giving care to the animal's final dimensions should lead to success. I bet your general contractor loves you.>> I love the twin spot hog, it's one of my favorites, he's been going strong for 2 years and seems to tolerate change well.  <<Incredibly hardy fishes as a genus, as well as really *quite* attractive, and I think this species is the most attractive of the group.>> I'm going to try a Naso the same size as the blue angel as you suggested, and hope that aggression doesn't become a big problem.  <<Me, too. I suggest doing this when you have two-three days off in a row, and have NETS READY. Tangs are incredibly quick with their spines (searching for the name, no success! Bob?)<<Of all things: "tangs"... or spines is fine. RMF>>, and can slice up a fish faster than Martin Yan. Large angels are no slouches, either, so just be ready.>> I'm planning on moving the batfish and the angel to the new set up when it's ready (it should be ready for water and live rock in the next two weeks and then we'll start to cycle and make sure it's well established before moving them over.) <<WOW! Pictures would be fun (hint hint).>> Thanks again for the advice! Elizabeth <<You're most welcome, as ever, glad to have helped. I do look forward to hearing how the move, etc. go(es). Marina>> 

Royal Gramma made a run for it!  Please Don't Ship us in Ziplocs... Hello Crew,  <Hello Jim> I received a beautiful Royal Gramma from a fellow aquarist yesterday (along with some other fish). The fish were bagged in large Ziploc bags. While driving them home, I had to stop quickly at a light (I was driving like an old lady!!!), and you guessed it, the Gramma's bag opened. About 90% of the water ended up all over my floor. So, trying not to panic, I found the bag with the most water in it and decided to do an emergency transfer. I opened up the bag, but the Gramma was quite determined to stay inside. So I reached in and got him. (wait...it gets better) As I'm about to put the Gramma into the second bag, he bites me! In my astonishment, I drop him on my passenger side seat. Anyway, I pick him up again and get him in the bag. He looks quite freaked out, but that's about it. Luckily the rest of the ride home was uneventful. Once I get home, he doesn't look good...just laying on the bottom of the bag, so I decide to risk it and take him out before the full acclimation is complete (although he was probably at 50/50 tank water/bag water at that point, and the temps were the same). I take a pitcher filled with tank water and drop him in. He continues to lay almost motionless on the bottom, although he'll swim around if the water is agitated. So, I decide that I'm too concerned about his state to add him to the QT with the rest of the fish, so I add him to my Rubbermaid tub that's been mixing up a new batch of water. That's his new QT for now.  He survived the night, and he will swim around occasionally, but for the most part, he just lays on his side.  I read on your Gramma pages that they tend to lay/swim at odd angles, but he seems very lethargic. There's not really much I can do now besides monitor him and hope for the best, but do you have any suggestions or tips to help me help him?  <I think you said it, Jim. Monitor him. You didn't mention if he was taking food. That would be a good sign. James (Salty Dog)> As always, many thanks! ~Jim  <You're welcome>

Transporting Large Corals 1/16/04 I have a very thinly branched Acropora coral, which I'm happy to say is growing very quickly.  I have fragmented the coral several times.  Some of the fragments themselves have grown quickly as well, one of which is now 8" across.  I'm going to give the corals to my LFS (about 30 minutes away), but I can't figure out how to transport them without breaking them.   <use a large cooler (Styro if possible) for each coral (never mix species in transit) and line it multiple times with a full box plastic liner (bags). Fill the bag with sliced or shredded plastic before adding enough salt water to cover the coral. The specimen set in place in this bed of shredded plastic is fairly well cushioned. Some people instead wrap the coral in plastic sheeting before sinking it... but this often traps air bubbles which over all are a problem or at least annoying)> The smaller fragments are easier because I can float them upside-down in a bag.   <correct> Do you have any suggestions on how I might be able to transport the larger ones?  I'm afraid that the weight of the larger ones, including the rocks that they are attached to, will be too heavy to float with Styrofoam.  Any suggestions you might have for me would be great.  Thanks! <best of luck! Anthony>

Netting fish with spines Hello- <Hi there> I've been an avid reader of all the info on WWM for about 8 months now.  It's been a great help while I try to get my 75 gallon bow front up and running.  My question is about fish with spines or even venomous spines (specifically tangs and Rabbitfish).  I've seen it mentioned that these fish need to be netted with caution.  Is there a specific net you recommend?  A specific technique? <A couple things... do use two nets (much better than chasing fishes around with just one), and thick rubber gloves to cradle the caught specimens if they have such spines (many fishes and quite a few non-fishes do)> Thanks for your help and keep up all the great work on WWM, it's such a great resource for all of us just starting out! Danielle <A pleasure to serve, share. Bob Fenner>

Delayed shipping and inverts Hi, << Hi there. >> On Tuesday, I ordered 20 turbo snails, 30 blue-legged hermits, 12 Nassarius and six Bumblebee snails from Live Aquaria - the company correctly shipped everything Tuesday night but FedEx still hasn't delivered the package (they held the package in a facility for an extra day despite the words RUSH/LIVE ANIMALS that appear on the box.  I'm told tomorrow afternoon, which will have everything in their bags for roughly 48 hours. << Sounds fine. >>  Live Aquaria agreed to replace everything even though it's the shipper's fault.  Still a bummer though...  Anyway, can I expect heavy loss of life because of this? << I think it will all be fine.  By the way, I'm impressed with Live Aquaria's willingness to replace the animals.  Nice to hear, but I don't think you'll have any losses. >> <<  Blundell  >>

New 55 for Christmas, Moving livestock from an existing tank to a new tank Merry Christmas guys--<HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!> I Received a new 55 for Christmas. It will replace my old 55. I have been researching the best way to transfer the inhabitants of my FOWLR tank. I will save as much water as I can. My areas of concern are switching the substrate, adding a 15 Gal fuge, and my snails. Right now I have about 1" of larger size crushed coral and am planning on switching to 1'' of .5-1mm aragonite. I plan to seed the new sand with my old crushed coral. How much should I use? <If you keep your old filter and run that for a couple weeks then you can change all the gravel.> Can I layer the larger substrate under the sand or just sprinkle it throughout the tank? <Both methods would work but I would use the sprinkling method.>  I also have around 50 lbs of LR. Will there be any cycling after the move? <A small cycle but nothing big.>In the fuge I am planning to use a 4-5'' DSB. I am planning on using the small sand but also seeding this with existing CC. Because of the size (or lack there of under my stand) I am pulling the main tank forward and placing the fuge behind the tank on a stand so the return will overflow back into the main tank by gravity through a 1'' bulkhead drilled into the fuge. Almost like the hang on fuges you can buy. I plan on using a powerhead to feed the fuge. Right now I have an extra Penguin 145GPH and a Hagen 400GPH available. One seems a little small and the other a little large. I am thinking the Penguin will give me close to 10x turnover but I might want a little more. Do you think either of these powerheads will work well or would you recommend something else?<You should be O.K.> I think there will be about 6'' of head. My goal in this fuge is to grow pods for the tank as well as macro's Chaeto or Gracilaria for the Tang and hopefully a little benefit of the DSB. If this setup works well I would like to add a larger sump behind the tank as well. I have 4 large Turbos that have been in the tank for well over a year and 2 Nassarius (Spelling). After rereading Bob and Anthony's book they recommend 1 turbo for every 25 Gal and I have 4 in 55. Will they find enough to eat on the new tank with a new Sandbed?<Yes, you should be fine.> They definitely prefer glass to LR. I have not scraped the glass in my isolation tank for a while just in case I need to keep the turbo's in there for a while. No chemicals used in this tank except Melafix. Also I have a False Perc that has been in the tank for the whole 3 years it has been running. Could I add another to the tank at the same time I transfer everything else?<If you add them at the same time you should be fine.> Or could I add one after the quarantine time?<That won't work.  The percula will have already set up territory and there might be fighting.> Some of the reef forums I have used mentioned that it might be easier to add another Royal Gramma.<In my experience one per tank only.  Otherwise, they will fight.> I would like to have a pair of one or the other. The Gramma has been in the tank for a little over a year.<You would be better with the Perculas.> He has exploded in size and is close to 3'' already and very robust. The Perc is smaller but still larger than what I have seen in the LFS. Would I need to get the new fish larger than the existing one?<If you want to go with the grammas that would give the fish the best chance.>I have received various opinions about this so I thought I would ask the experts. I would have to put off switching tanks for about a month so I could quarantine the new fish if they needed to be added at the same time. Thank you again and Feliz Navidad Pat <Pat, the best is to go with a pair of Perculas.  Your filtration sounds sufficient and you are on the right path.  Happy holidays and good luck. mikeb>

Moving livestock from an existing tank to a new tank Merry Christmas guys-- << Same to you. >> I Received a new 55 for Christmas. It will replace my old 55. I have been researching the best way to transfer the inhabitants of my FOWLR tank. I will save as much water as I can. << Typically I think this is a good idea, but it is also a good time to do a big water change. >> My areas of concern are switching the substrate, adding a 15 Gal fuge, and my snails. Right now I have about 1'' of larger size crushed coral and am planning on switching to 1'' of .5-1mm aragonite. I plan to seed the new sand with my old crushed coral. How much should I use?<< Use all of your old sand. >> Can I layer the larger substrate under the sand or just sprinkle it throughout the tank?<< I'd spread it around some. >> I also have around 50 lbs of LR. Will there be any cycling after the move? << Definitely.  But keeping the rock under water helps a lot. >> In the fuge I am planning to use a 4-5'' DSB. I am planning on using the small sand but also seeding this with existing CC. Because of the size (or lack there of under my stand) I am pulling the main tank forward and placing the fuge behind the tank on a stand so the return will overflow back into the main tank by gravity through a 1'' bulkhead drilled into the fuge. Almost like the hang on fuges you can buy. << This is a great way to go.  It doesn't help with other sump ideas like auto water top off, but it is great for refugia reasons. >> I plan on using a powerhead to feed the fuge. Right now I have an extra Penguin 145GPH and a Hagen 400GPH available. One seems a little small and the other a little large. I am thinking the Penguin will give me close to 10x turnover but I might want a little more. Do you think either of these powerheads will work well or would you recommend something else? << I'd go with the larger powerhead.  You can always T it off if it is too powerful. >> I think there will be about 6'' of head. My goal in this fuge is to grow pods for the tank as well as macro's Chaeto or Gracilaria for the Tang and hopefully a little benefit of the DSB. If this setup works well I would like to add a larger sump behind the tank as well. I have 4 large Turbos that have been in the tank for well over a year and 2 Nassarius (Spelling). After rereading Bob and Anthony's book they recommend 1 turbo for every 25 Gal and I have 4 in 55. Will they find enough to eat on the new tank with a new Sandbed? << I think so.  Especially with the move where you will have die off. >> They definitely prefer glass to LR. I have not scraped the glass in my isolation tank for a while just in case I need to keep the turbo's in there for a while. No chemicals used in this tank except Melafix. << I probably wouldn't use that either. >> Also I have a False Perc that has been in the tank for the whole 3 years it has been running. Could I add another to the tank at the same time I transfer everything else? Or could I add one after the quarantine time? << I would not add any fish to this new tank for several weeks. >> Some of the reef forums I have used mentioned that it might be easier to add another Royal Gramma. << Gramma's are tough fish to keep for many people. >> I would like to have a pair of one or the other. The Gramma has been in the tank for a little over a year. He has exploded in size and is close to 3'' already and very robust. The Perc is smaller but still larger than what I have seen in the LFS. Would I need to get the new fish larger than the existing one? << No worries.  In a tank that size you should be able to add several Percs and not have a problem. >> I have received various opinions about this so I thought I would ask the experts. I would have to put off switching tanks for about a month so I could quarantine the new fish if they needed to be added at the same time. Thank you again and Feliz Navidad << Good luck. >> Pat <<  Blundell  >>

Transporting fish Mr. Fenner,       First, I would like to thank you for writing such a wonderful and useful book.  My copy has never actually made it to my bookshelf.  It is an incredible reference.  I do have a question to which I don't believe that I have found an acceptable answer to.  I will be driving to Utah for Christmas to visit my wife's family and intend to buy several fish from a particularly good retailer there.  I am unsure of the best way to transport them for the 15 hour drive home.  Would it be best to leave them in bags and place the bags in a cooler for insulation purposes or would it be better to take a 5 gallon bucket with sand and water from their future home and a bubble box and airstone? Is there some other more preferable way?   <Yes... the former, in double bags, oxygenated, in a sealed cooler to keep warm, dark. Should do just fine... livestock are routinely shipped for more than 24 hours in this fashion. A good idea to pick out your choices and instruct the retailer not to feed them for the few days ahead of your pick-up, transport> I appreciate any suggestions or guidance that you might have. Mahalos, Jason Geyer <Thank you for writing and your kind, encouraging words. Bob Fenner>

Moving, completely cleaning out a fish tank I want to do a 100% water change. I have seen these little Aquarium Tote things that little kids use. Can I put my Fish in some of those while I am cleaning my tank? For how long can I keep them in there? Jahner <Can use... as these are chemically inert... How long? Depends on how much life... maybe add a mechanical aerator (airstone, pump...) and DO keep the top screened over to prevent your livestock exiting stage up! Bob Fenner>

Transporting fishes trough commercial flights Hi crew, I have been reading many of your information but I would like to ask you now, I live in Venezuela but I will travel for vacation to USA soon and would like to by few fishes (no more than 4) hard to find here, my question is if you know how hard would be to me travel with commercial flight caring my fishes. Thanks for your response Angel <Ask that they be double or triple bagged. Double-banded. Oxygenated (not ambient air filled)... and carry them on (don't check them in your luggage)... and memorize this line: "For personal consumption"... that is, not for sale. Bob Fenner>

Moving live rock as you move tanks I was looking through some of my old email, and came across this conversation we had.....I had high ammonia from taking live rock out of the tank for a short period of time, from the die off.....well, now my tank has transformed into a reef tank with about 130 pounds of live rock and a forty gallon sump with a refugium inside....I am about to move 2 hours from my current location....should I expect the same result? << Well it is up to you. If you take a small bucket, place it in your aquarium, move rock into it, pull out that bucket, place it in a large Rubbermaid container, slide the rock out, and keep repeating this.... no problems. Does that make sense? You just go slow and make sure the rock never comes out of water. Then you do the same process to put the rock back in.  Now you will of course have some die off, and you will have filtration problems as you disturb your sand bed, but the die off is minimized by keeping the rocks completely submerged. Blundell >> 

Moving to a bigger tank 8 Aug 2004 Hey Crew: <Hi Heather, MacL here with you today> Thanks again for all the great advice I find on your sight. <I'll pass that along so nice to know.>  I am about six months into a 75 gallon reef tank and got a great deal on a 120 gallon. <FANTASTIC!!!>  Here is the problem. The tank will need to go in the exact location as the one already set up. <See now you are a better person than me cause I'd squeeze them both in somewhere, driving family insane.>  If I siphon all my water from the 75 to the 120 and make up the difference with new water, making the switch half way through do to weight issues.  Will the new tank need to cycle or can I go ahead and start rebuilding my reef immediately? <Any time you disturb a tank in any way, even adding a fish it has to go through a cycle of some sort. Usually not a large one but any bacteria missing needs to be rebuilt and/or additional bacteria needs to come to handle whatever change you have made. That being said as long as you keep any live rock etc wet you should be okay to set things back up. You'll have to watch closely for any ammonia rises and be prepared to do water changes as necessary to dilute.> I have an extra 10 and 20 gallon for hospital/quarantine that could be set up for the transition, but I would prefer to do this as quickly as possible. <I use five gallon buckets as well. They come in very handy.> I acquired extra skimmers etc.. but don't have the room to have both tanks up and running at the same time. <I do understand.>  Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and I will also be getting quite a bit of extra live Fiji rock that is currently in an established tank. <Wonderful, sounds like you really lucked out.> The transfer distance is about five minutes so can it go directly into the new tank without ammonia, nitrite etc. issues. <Be sure to keep it wet, whether in water in buckets or at least covered with wet towels.> Thank you again for your time and wisdom!!! <You are too kind Heather. The more water you have ready to go and oxygenated the better Heather. <Maybe consider putting some of the water from the 120 in buckets you can bring with you but won't be too heavy or perhaps consider have a trash can for water from your 75 gallon tank. You can also use the trash can to store the rock from your 75 in. One creative person I know did this same type of move using a baby's wading pool.  Worked great for him. Good luck and please let me know how it goes, MacL> Heather Leneave

Catching Fish (7/15/04) Hi Steve <evening'> Thanks for the reply and advice. <my pleasure.> I have been reading your site for about 7 months now and find it fascinating. <Yes, me too. There are a lot of good folks helping out here. I am happy to play a small part.> I only wish I had read this prior to starting the hobby, I would have avoided making quite a few mistakes! <I hear ya.> Just one more thing, without emptying the tank how does one catch the fish that needs to go into hospital? kind regards, Ian Shepherd. Cape Town, South Africa. <That can be tough. I've had to resort to removing most of the rock. There are traps available. Having help from another person with a second net can work too. Search the site for terms like "catching fish," etc., and you should find more.>

Fish Catching Tip 7/17/04 Hi gang:  I saw a question about catching fish in a reef tank. . . and maybe I'm the only one who does this, but after messing with fish traps, etc. for years I came up with a simple solution: I use a vastly oversized net (say 10-12" for 4" fish) and make my captures, when necessary, at feeding time. Just keep the net near the glass. . . and dribble/drop the appropriate food between the glass and the net. The 'target' fish generally tends to hang back or hide for a bit. . . almost like it senses it's the focus of my attention. . . till it sees OTHER FISH feeding 'safely' on its favorite food. It's the one thing these 'stomachs with fins' can't seem to handle. . . and invariably the target fish comes to feed, only to get 'netted' against the tank wall. My usual 'problem' is capturing two or three fish in the net at once, and having to release the others (or transfer them all to a waiting vessel. . . and send the 'extras' back. Chuck <Great tip Chuck!  I am a big fan of draining the tank down to a few inches and netting the fish and very small barbless fish hooks baited with meaty foods.  However, your method is certainly the one I will try first!  Thanks!  Adam>

Don't pass up this deal! Tonga live rock Hello to all, I have a chance to buy 100 lbs of Tonga Shelf that has been in a friend's tank for many years, he is moving and breaking down his tank. >>Ooo eee aaahh!! >My question is this, can I add 100lbs of live rock at once (40lbs going in refugium the rest in display)? >>This REALLY depends on how far/long it has to travel. More than an hour, I'd pass it through a mini-cure in trash cans. >I currently have 200lbs in display and 30 in refugium, my system has been running for 3 years. I hate to pass up this deal (2.50 a lb) but if it's a bad decision to add all at once how can I keep it alive? Will keeping in a clean trash can with a power head be enough? Thanks for your time. Mike Winston >>Mike, do NOT pass up this deal. It won't hurt to add it all at once if it is a short trip between tanks. Otherwise, cure it in a trash can, DO change the water to prevent ANY spikes, skim the bejesus out of it, then you can add it all at once. Marina 

Tonga live rock II - The Long Ride Home >Thanks, I will have about a 2.5 hr drive, I was planning on transporting the rock in water in a trash can, should this prevent the curing process? >>Well, it can help. BOY is that thing going to be heavy! If you can get one or two, I'd go buy bait aerators - battery operated air pumps for live wells and the like. Drop an airstone into the trash can(s). However, that long drive being the case, I'd leave it in the trash can(s) for a few days. Have on hand mixed, aged, aerated saltwater (or Real Ocean if that's what you use) for big water changes. I'd drop a heater in there, and test over that time to see if you get any spikes. If you *do*, definitely change enough water to keep them way down. Sweet deal, Mike. Marina 

Returning Healthy Fish To The Display Tank Scott F.,   Thank you so much for your invaluable advice and time you take to answer these questions. <You're very welcome> I was wondering.. is my display tank's bio filter going to be affected with the absence of fish?  I am concerned that after having the fish out of there for 6 weeks, when I put them back in it is going to be a shock to the system & overload the bio filter.  Maybe I'm worrying about nothing, but I just want to be prepared if this is the case. <Good question. Typically, if you continue some feeding of small quantities of frozen foods (which can help benefit the fauna remaining in the system and rock), you'll be able to keep the system running just fine during the absence of fish. If it makes you feel better, when you are ready to repatriate the fish, you can always use a "bacteria in a bottle" product to help "kick start" things.> Also, how do I acclimate the fish back to the display tank without getting any copper in there? <Well, if you are treating the fish in water from your display tank (which is the recommended procedure), then it's really a matter of just netting the fish and placing them back in the tank. If the water in the hospital tank is different than your display tank, you can gradually add water from your display tank to the hospital tank when you're ready to return the fish, so that they will be "pre-acclimated" to the tank water.> Thanks again for your answers, time & great website.  I stayed up until wee hours of the morning informing myself, and will continue to do so.  -  Roger <Glad to be of service! The WWM site is very addictive, and we love bringing it to you as much as you enjoy visiting it! Regards, Scott F.>

-Changing over tanks- Hi all, Again thanks for all your helpful  advice. <Always glad to be of service.> I am in the process of setting up a small 75G reef.  All the parts are here I just want to set it up right. - specs - 75 G main w/ drilled overflow - 33 G long Sump (sump/fuge) - Custom Sea life 4 x65 PC w/ moon lights - AquaC EV 180 w/ Mag7 Pump - Dolphin 800 (700 GPH) for return from sump into a loop manifold - Tunze stream pump (1650 GPH) <These are VERY cool.> I currently have a 44 Gal pentagon tank (not the idea saltwater tank) <Yep, that's what I started with.> with the following inhabitants - 3" Yellow Tang - 2 1/2 Blue (hippo) Tang - 3" Royal Gramma - 3" Maroon Clown - 5" BTA - Some zoos I will not be adding any additional fish to the tank and I realize the hippo will outgrow this new 75G tank also. <Yep, he's in good shape for now.> The current tank has 50lbs of live rock.  Running a crap skimmer <never heard of that brand ;) > with 2 power heads and a Eheim canister with substrate in it.<For what? To trap detritus and promote algae growth? I'd remove all the stuff inside and use it for periodic carbon use. Your tank can more than sustain itself without any additional filtration. Ooo, then again, you're switching tanks anyways...> My question is how do I make the switch from tanks.  I use crushed coral substrate now and in the new tank I want to but a 4"-6" sand bed and a sand bed in the fuge. <Excellent>  I have been drained a little from the purchase of the equipment and do not want to spend money on more live rock. <You mean these things are expensive to set up? Muhahhaa... 50lbs is more than enough to build a nice reef. You don't need more unless the aquascaping demands it. Most people, including myself, generally overload the tank with rock to begin with.> I wanted to get the 75G set up and running and place some of the live rock in the sand of the fuge area and aqua scape the main tank with dead reef/Tufa rock (cheaper and will become live in time). <Again, you don't need to fill the whole tank up with rock. The Tufa will indeed become "live", but you're missing out on all that diversity had the Tufa rock been new live rock. My advice: skip the Tufa, if you want more rock later, do it when you're less bankrupt.> Would moving the canister over help cycle the new system? <Yes, but a better idea would be to just move most of the rock over and leave the canister on the 44.> I do not plan on keeping the canister running on the new tank.  I understand I can not move the livestock over until the new system cycles, but what would be the best transfer process from one tank to another. <You will likely not get any detectable cycle (ammonia or nitrite) if you do it right. This isn't a huge move, and the tank size is not much larger, so by putting most of the rock in the 75 for a week or two with a few of your hardier fish, you should be switched over completely within a few weeks. It's all about testing and being prepared for water changes though! >Do I share water from the old system? <You can, it would be nice, but it's not vital.> Last what order would you recommend for moving the livestock? The Blue and Yellow tang are bumping into each other in swimming route in their current tank. <Maybe set up a stop light?> The maroon clown has been in her BTA for 5 months and very aggressively defends the swimming area around her BTA (I would assume the anemone and the clown should be moved together) <I would, although it doesn't really matter.>.  Last the Gramma is very large and is not an aggressor but will defend its area.  As you can see I found out that a small system can not house marine fish for a long time and be successful. <Put the Gramma and the yellow tang in the new tank to get things going, and feed lightly. If you don't overfeed and you have plenty of live rock in there, you won't run into any ammonia or nitrite problems. That said, test frequently.> The hippo is my favorite and plan on moving him to large system when evident he is cramped. <Good thinking. I hope this helps! -Kevin> Thanks in advance.

Sohal tang and hook Thanks for your response. We tried to get him out with a small barbless hook with a piece of shrimp on it. Sure it worked, but the worst happened. He pulled the hook off the line.<you must of not tied a correct fisherman's knot lol> He immediately went to the back of the rock. It looked like from the front of the tank that the hook was sticking out his cheek about a half inch back from his mouth.<Ewwww...it will rust off eventually. or it should> A few minutes later he was back out swimming around with no hook showing. He had a little tear on the top inside of his lip.<should heal> What are the odds that he was able to spit it out or would he have swallowed it? What would be the repercussions if he swallowed it?<it will eventually rust> Would I have to worry about such a small hook being in the water with my size tank if he did spit it out?<I doubt it> I have a pretty open area behind the rock to look in the sand and I looked for a long time and haven't been able to find it in the sand. I appreciate your help again, Thanks Ian <I would just continue to try to capture the little bugger, I wouldn't be too concerned about the hook, IanB>

Collecting large fish I may have the opportunity to go on a collecting trip later this year.  I am interested in collecting some various small fish and hopefully about 3 or 4 medium/large fish (12-20") for a quite large aquarium I have.   The small fish shouldn't be a problem, but I'm concerned about the larger ones.   It may be difficult for me to fast the fish prior to transporting them.   The transport time shouldn't exceed a 30 hour drive.   I have a few ideas on transporting, but I need to get some idea of how much waste these fish will produce. <Depends on species mostly...>   I can either box/bag them up individually or bring a 75gal portable tank. <I would move them in large "coolers", in the dark>   My idea is to put the three large fish together and either run a power head or inject pure 02 if need be. <Look into car-battery (12 v) continuous duty air pumps... and incorporate ammonia-absorbing media in the system/s>   I would also test the water every few hours and add Amquel to keep the ammonia under control. <Amquel by itself will not sequester enough of the ammonia. Count on at least one good (50% percent) water change, and haul the water with you>   If I split them up I won't be able to use the powerhead/02 setup. <If you use pressurized oxygen, make sure to vent the car... dangerous> Maybe I should also plan on adjusting the pH and doing a partial water change along the way. <Yes. Simple sodium bicarbonate will do as a buffer>   Any suggestions or comments would be helpful.  I have found a great deal of info on transporting fish, but with the larger fish it seems like it will be much harder. <It is, but is done every day (mainly for public aquariums and large private systems. Bob Fenner> john

Moving from US to Canada 6/15/03 I am considering a job in Montreal.  I've already decided I ain't going without my reef tank.   <a true aquarist <G>> It is a 90 gal mixed reef.  I plan to sell off anything with fins, move the corals and live rock to a temporary 55 gal tank, and then drive them up to Montreal when the 90 gal setup is stable in the new apartment. <all good> Only one problem.  I can't find anything about getting live marine products through Canadian customs? Does anybody have any experience with this? <simply need to contact their agency on wildlife management and the customs folks. Start with customs and ask their advice/requirements my friend. Likely no trouble for most of your species... Canadian reefers have most of the same corals & inverts imported as we do> Any hints on how to move and pack the corals?   <one per bag, double or triple bagged... 1/3 water and 2/3 air for most bags (O2 saturation). Pack in a solid Styro and tape the lid sealed to keep temp stable (good for around 18-24 hours this way). Not knowing where you are moving from or how (car/plane)... I cannot say any more about heat/ice packs or no. But do consult any large local aquarium store that ships and receives tropical fishes internationally each week for further insight. really should be little trouble for you to make the move. No worries.> Thanks, Bill <kind regards, Anthony>
Moving from US to Canada II 6/15/03
Thanks for the quick response Anthony. <always welcome my friend> I'll be driving up there.  It will be about a 10 hour drive in the dead of winter.   <excellent... and despite the temps, it should be an easy drive> I'll pack the corals as you describe.  I'll probably add a couple of heat packs.   <agreed... although with a warm car and just few brief stops with the car off... little heat packs will be necessary with a taped/sealed Styro... just one large or two small ones with their edges taped to the inside lid/top will be best> I'll pack the live rock in another big Styrofoam box with wet newspaper or towels.  Nothing should be out of the water for more than a 12 hours. <agreed... really no trouble at all considering the considerably greater duress they endure on import> When it is all over, it should come out well.   I'll have at least 30 days for the DSB to mature in the new display tank with no predators, I'll get the thing drilled while it is empty, and the 55 gal will end up making a killer fuge. <fantastic!> Should I be so bold as to move the fish? <a ten hour move really would-be little trouble for the fish... just some extra considerations before and during packing (some greater details on this in the WWM archives)... the gist of it being to fast the fish for 2 full days prior... and to catch them with absolute minimal disturbance. Do so by decanting clear water for shipping bags from the tank before disturbing any sand or sediments as well as draining some extra for reserve on the road in case of emergency). Then.... do attempt to catch the fish in the tank full of water.... drain almost all water away until their backs are just barely covered or till they even begin to tilt in the last few inches of water of a draining tank. Our goal is literally a strategic swoop... we do not want to chase then for minutes with nets and then put them huffing and puffing into a small bag of water with limited oxygen. If there is a local dive shop or aquarium store with pure O2 for packing... inflate the bags with oxygen. Else, no worries... 10 hours is no sweat with a gentle catch.> Bill P.S.  LOVE the book! <thanks kindly, my friend... do holler if you need more advice. Best wishes for your move and vocation/location change :) Anthony>

Catching the Kole Hello, I've written before, and have a strange question- We have a 75 gallon reef setup and among the inhabitants is a Kole tang. He has developed Ick. We know he has it, we've got the quarantine up and running ready for treatment. Here is the problem: we are having the absolute worst time corralling him into a container (we never net for obvious reasons) <Desperate times call for desperate measures, net away. It gets stuck, pull it out, I'd rather see it lose some scales than go untreated.> is there any way whatsoever that we can catch this guy without dismantling our live rock? Any tricks of the trade so to speak? <There's a whole pile of tricks, who knows which one will work. Here's a few: a.  2 nets, one for each person, much easier than one net. b.  Chase the fish into one side of the tank and quickly drop a barrier down to the substrate (eggcrate, acrylic, anything you can think of) to separate it from the rest of the tank. c.  Break that baby down! I took all 100+ lbs of rock out of my 120 several months ago to remove a problematic 6-line wrasse. Sometimes, it's worth it. d. Try the old feed-n-snatch: throw some food on the top of the water, and if the fish is bold enough, it will begin to eat. Quickly try to scoop it up in a big net. Well, that's the idea, it's actually really difficult! e. Use a very clear container (lee's makes some nice ones, use the larger specimen container) and try to corral the fish into it with nets. f. Really really small spear-gun. ;) You may have to break down, but try some of these first. Don't be afraid to net, sometimes you have to.> Any help would be great, in the past we've just found that trying to move our 75 pd.s of Fiji is stressful to everyone,,,, <Yep, nobody's going to be happy about it, but life goes on!> any ideas would be excellent, I'm guessing there is no quick fix but wanted to ask anyway :) everyone else in our tank seems to be an easy catch ;) <I hope it's an easy catch! -Kevin> Thank you so much!! we love the site ;)

Fishing for fish 5/26/03 Dear Anthony: <cheers, Connie> Is there anything special you bait the hook with?   <whatever is most attractive to your target... lean towards sinewy meats if possible (stays on the hook better)> He took a nibble of shrimp but didn't come back.   <do keep a long line/lead to the tiny barbless trout hook... sit far back from the tank (perhaps room lights out) so that you are not looming over the aquarium> Now we are using scallop. This Centropyge pygmy angel is running amok, speeding repetitively around the tank  When he does this, he looses his color on his sides.   We could catch the other fish easily, they're interested, but this guy is pretty freaked out. <Heehee... typical> Aside from that, happy Memorial Day Anthony to you and the crew. Connie <and to you in kind, my friend. Anthony>

Catching Fish in a Reef- Redux 5/23/03 Dear Scott, <Anthony Calfo noticing I could help with the latter question> Thanks for "going the extra mile" for me.  I contacted the fish store in NJ - they have a website - so will see what happens.  I really appreciate what you did. <no doubt welcome, friend> Also, I have a question regarding removing my hyperactive Centropyge pygmy angel from the tank without draining it-- input from ANYONE would help.  I have purple-pink macroalgae on the sides and back of the tank (rocks too) and it looks really nice to me, anyway.  It will die if I drain the tank.  The fish has gotten too aggressive for his tank mates after 1.5 years and we're selling him back to LFS, as he is in robust health, just needs to be put in his place by more aggressive fish.  My very best, and have a great holiday weekend. PS- We have tried netting him and so far it hasn't worked.  We have a lot of live rock and deep sand bed and understand rocks shouldn't be moved because of "dead spots" under the rocks. Connie <Connie... I had a feeling that the archives FAQ was buried deep in the archives so rather than point you there, I've copied a reply to a similar question below. With patience it generally is quite effective. The last ditch effort (before tank break down) would be a barbless trout hook (seriously). Another query for that pasted below. Kind regards, Anthony-

Removal of Butterfly: I have a 55 gal reef tank. I recently purchased a Raccoon B/F to eat Aiptasia. He/she seems to be nipping at my mushrooms. I would like to get the Raccoon out of the tank. Any suggestions. Will it be ok to move some of the live rock. Thanks <no need to remove rock... One of my favorite ways to trap fishes in a rockscaped aquarium is as follows: take a small Ziploc bag filled with a concentrated slurry of live brine shrimp. Seal the bag closed. Then take a rather large plastic bag (10x22 or bigger), fold the top down a couple of inched to make a rigid collar (you'll see...) and sink the whole bag under water in the reef... making sure to get all air bubbles out. Fluff the large bag out a bit and throw the sealed small bag of brine shrimp (sans air too) into the back of the bag. Then squirt a tiny amount of live brine shrimp at the mouth of the bag. The premise is to lure fishes to the mouth of the bag to feed on the brine shrimp and entice them to swim to the back to take a shot at the "mother lode" in the sealed baggie once into the back they are often confused and run into the bag wall in an attempt to run towards the reef when you go to snatch the bag (you are sitting patiently by the tank). You might take it a step further and tie a slip noose of fishing line under the collar of the bag and run a lead of line to the bark-o-lounger that you are sitting on in wait for the silly twits to swim into the bag. Best regards, Anthony> Also...

Trapping fish in a reef tank Good morning to all...enjoy reading this website every day and it has been a tremendous help in getting my tank completed. My question is do you have any tricks or suggestions on getting 3 blue damsels out of an established reef tank without taking the tank apart? 72G bow with about 90 lbs. of live rock and hard and soft corals. I know, they should not have been put in the beginning to cycle my tank but I was not sure if I was going to get live rock until after reading everything on this site. It has been up and running for about 10 months and I want to try and get rid of them. Any suggestions?... <many... with a fast pump and some clean garbage cans you can drain the tank to mere inches, catch the fish and refill the tank within 15-30 minutes easily. A large power head and some tubing would do the trick too. Another method (seriously) is to fish for them with a tiny barbless trout hook. It is no more stressful than an unskilled aquarists chasing the poor buggers into exhaustion with a net around the aquarium. It is actually a minor disturbance. I have even caught my Tuskfish and chevron tang (quite a few dollars there) in this manner... I practice what I preach :) Best regards, Anthony>

Shipping corals Hey Bob!! <Hello Debra> I attended your talk in Denver at Marine Showcase recently and you discussed transporting gorgonians without large quantities of water.  Basically, they were layered between wet newspapers and stacked in a cooler.  I'm trying to find info on what other corals can be transported via this method.  I've heard that Zoanthids fare well this way. <I have heard and seen this as well. However, stony and soft corals (scleractinians, alcyonaceans) and all other polyp groups fare poorly moved this way. All others need to be submerged in water during transport> Hope you can help me. Thanks, Debra (you sat next to me in the front row during the door prize drawings.) <Ah, yes. Bob Fenner>
Re: shipping corals
Thanks for the speedy reply!! <Welcome> After some exhaustive searching, I have found that people have shipped Acropora, star polyps and Zoanthids by "dry shipping" with success.  I'm hesitant, however, to draw the conclusion that species similar to Acropora, for example Montipora, would fare as well. <Me too> I'll keep looking for additional information.  I find this topic rather intriguing. Take care, Debra <Please do share what you find. Bob Fenner>

Algae Transplanting Hello Crewmember #6: I have some grass-like algae growing wild on some LR that I would like to remove from the rock, but keep growing elsewhere.  If I rip the algae off the rock, does the ripped part stand a chance of survival?   <Chances are good depending on the type> If so, would I have to mount it somewhere so it can re-root, or does rooting matter?  That said, would any/most algae "clippings" live if transplanted?  Is there a special method to this madness?   <I would place the transplant in a low flow area if possible and anchor it with another rock. All you are trying to do is keep it in place for a few days so the hold downs can find a place to hook on. Hope this helps, Don> Thanks, Rich

Macroalgae On The Move! Hello Crewmember #6: <Scott F. behind Door #3 tonight...> I have some grass-like algae growing wild on some LR that I would like to remove from the rock, but keep growing elsewhere. If I rip the algae off the rock, does the ripped part stand a chance of survival? If so, would I have to mount it somewhere so it can re-root, or does rooting matter? That said, would any/most algae "clippings" live if transplanted? Is there a special method to this madness? Thanks, Rich <well, Rich- these are all great questions, and the answer largely depends on the type of macroalgae you're working with. Algae that propagate with runners, like Caulerpa species, can be relocated with relative ease. Some of the others, like Halimeda, put down "holdfasts" (for want of a better word), and can also be removed easily. The more hair-like macroalgae tend to be damaged through "ripping"; it's really a matter of luck. You could chip off a small chunk of rock that the algae is attached to as well- maybe best of all...But you should experiment with different techniques...Do let us know what works best (but verify the species that you're working with so others can learn)! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Switching tanks Hello <Hi, Debbie, Don here today> Just by the by -- I gave my poor clown a bath (freshwater/Meth blue) and popped him into the q tank the other evening. I have no meds in the q tank because I'm still not sure what the problem is/ may be.  So far so good.  Still no visible signs of anything -- although he did seem a little upset with me after his treatment.  I will let you know the outcome in a couple of weeks. <Please keep us updated> However, my husband and I are in the planning stages for a new system.  We are thinking about/planning a 90 gal reef.  I know about waiting for the cycle etc.    So far our plans are to set up the tank with a sump and refug. put some "cured" live rock in; wait a couple of weeks.  Add hermits/ snails and a detritivore package; wait a couple of weeks.   <You are looking for 0 ammonia/nitrite/nitrate before adding any livestock> But when it comes time to transfer my current livestock and live rock to the new tank, do I need to put all my fish through quarantine first?  In what order should I add things to my new tank (a few corals such as star polyps/mushrooms, then transfer the fish or should the fish go first?)  I can't seem to find info about the best way to accomplish this switch anywhere.  What are your recommendations about switching from a fish/live rock to a reef system?   <I would balance the water (SG, pH, temp) between the two systems and move the fish over. I don't think QT is necessary at this point. As far as corals/inverts/fish, I don't' think the order is going to make much difference. Please let us know how this goes.> Thanks! <Your welcome, Don> Debbie

- Shipping Algae - Hi the Crew, <Greetings, JasonC here...> Hope you all had wonderful Easter. I have Fauchea Sp. grow in my tank, and time to time I ship some to the fellow reefer all over the country via Priority Mail (Average 2 to 3 days). The experience is if the algae arrives within three days it will be fine but longer than three days the color of Fauchea start to fade and turning to transparent. Currently I pack the algae in a small plastic bottle filled with tank water. I like to find out is there any better way to ship the algae without put to much stress and will survive longer than three days trip? <Well, for most intents and purposes, your shipping methods are about as good as they can be - you could use a Styrofoam container to pack the bottles in and provide a less bumpy ride, but it doesn't sound like it is necessary. As for longer shipping times, I think you are probably at the practical limit... not sure there is a way to extend this, but experimentation would be easy, just keep the algae in the dark and see how long it can stay viable.> As always appreciate your expertise. Wayne <Cheers, J -- >

- Moving - <Good morning, JasonC here...> Bob...(if not Bob then please someone who has actually handled a similar situation personally) <That would be me...> I have read through the FAQ sections and have not found a lot of information pertaining to my particular situation.  Since I have so much time and effort (not to mention $) invested in my tanks and am going nuts just thinking about moving them I would like to get your advise. I am being relocated from Southern Illinois to Las Vegas Nevada.  This is about 1600 miles and takes about 24 hours to drive straight through, which with small children in tow could easily turn into a three day excursion. I have two tanks.  The first is a 110 gal reef tank, tons of live rock, corals, fish, inverts, eco-system filter, aragonite substrate.  Has been up for about 18 mo.s, everything is going well.  I have good coralline algae growth everywhere, polyps, mushrooms, and small corals have grown out of my live rock.  Corals are all growing, fish are all growing.  everyone is happy. Second tank is 58 gal fish only with live rock.  only residents are wisenheimer golden puffer (about 8") and snowflake eel (about 16").  this tank has been up for about 5 mos.  I think the only way you could kill either of it's inhabitants would be to shoot them, but they might try to eat the bullet.  also on eco-system filter. How do I get two tanks, fish, corals, inverts, rock, and water broken down moved 1600 miles, and set back up without anything dying. <That's a very, very tall order.> I have several fish that I would really hate to lose (never thought I could get attached to a fish.) I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me step by step instructions on how you would handle this move. Thank you, Jeremy <Jeremy, I just moved from Massachusetts to California, and thought I would be smart and shipped all my fish ahead of time and kept them at a local store until I could get my system up and running again. Well, to make a long story short, I took too long - over three months - and in that time, all my fish perished. In other words, it was a waste of time, money, and life. I would have been much smarter to find good homes for the fish in Massachusetts, and replace the fish out here. Honestly, the problem is the impracticality. I'm single and have no children - I can only imagine the technicalities in your situation. Honestly, there's no easy way to disassemble a system and keep it viable for the week or so that it will be in transit. Even without distractions, you will be hard pressed to get salt water and the tanks prepared in a timely manner on the far side of this journey. Your live rock will re-cure, your eco-systems will need to re-cycle, and overall it's going to be at least a month before you would be ready to go. And I'm sure you will have other priorities, namely your family, to deal with upon arrival. My honest suggestion to you is to forgo trying to move these tanks as complete systems - say your goodbyes to the fish, and move only the equipment, taking your time to set it back up on the far end. You could easily find a fish store in Las Vegas that would hold your fish for you, but again it's costly and impractical, and sometimes disappointing. The road to hell is paved with good intentions as the saying goes, and I certainly had plenty of good intentions, as I am sure your intentions are also genuine. That being said, it's an uphill battle that can't be solved with money alone, and you'd be hard pressed to get these systems running quickly enough. I'm sure that's not what you want to hear, but it is from my own recent and hard-learned experience that I say this. Good luck on your move. Cheers, J -- >

- Shipping Fish - <Good morning, JasonC here...> I have been successful in raising Banggai Cardinals and have someone who wants 10 of my newest batch of fry. <Excellent!> They are 5 weeks old and eating frozen food. <Even better.> The person wants me to ship them to him. <I'd wait a couple more weeks until they are at least two months old.> He lives about 5 hours from me.  Can I ship them this young and I have no means of putting oxygen in the shipping bags like suppliers do. <You could, but I think there would be some loss... ideally, when you ship any fish you want to stop feeding it a day or two in advance so they don't pollute themselves to death in the bag. I'm not sure your juvenile Banggais would do well without food for the day in advance and then the day of shipping.> Do you perceive any problems if I ship this overnight for delivery before 10AM. <Not really, overnight-priority is the way to go if there is someone there to pick it up. As for the oxygen, you can also add a drop or two of Methylene blue to the shipping water which will help keep the fish calm and provide a source of oxygen. If the weather is cool to cold in your area, you would also do well to put a heat pack or two in the Styrofoam container to make sure the temperature doesn't drop too much.>

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