first time moving old tank to new - any advice would be great!


New member
hi all!

hoping i could get some help. Looking to move from a 252 liter/ 66 gallon tank to a 324 liter /89 gallon tank.

I was hoping i could get some advice on the following areas:

  1. I have about 28kg of live rock and would like to increase by a few KG's, should i do this a few weeks before the move?
  2. should i move the old sand or start with new sand?
  3. i hear a lot about the tank recycling which we dont want so what steps can i take to avoid this?
  4. what should i do first, take out as much clean (old water), then take rocks out, then move the fish? what should then go into the new tank?
  5. can i turn the lights on or should i have them off as much as possible on the day of the move?
  6. is there anything i can give the fish/ soft corals to help them not be too stressed?
  7. if i am using old sand, can i add some new sand, should i use half old half new?
  8. the new water which i will need to top up with, what should this be, i.e. R/O, tap?!, or something from a local fish store, live water i have heard its called? also is it likely that i will lose fish/ corals by doing this move - have others had this experience?

This is my first time doing this and would really appreciate any help here!

thanks team! :thumbsup:


Team RC
I would not reuse the sand, it will contain a lot of trapped detritus that if released could start a new cycle, killing off all your livestock. Start fresh with dry sand. Be sure to wash the sand well before using it. To wash the sand place 5 pounds or so at a time in a 5 gallon bucket. Use a garden hose at full flow to agitate the sand. The finer grains of sand will overflow the top of the bucket, leaving the larger grains behind. Continue to agitate the water until it runs clear. I would not use "live" sand as it can contain more dead than live organisms and has the potential to start a new cycle (and cost more to purchase since you are paying for water). Try to reuse as much clean water from the old system as possible to lessen the shock of new water chemistry on your livestock. Once the water from the old tank starts to get murky from stirred up detritus, don't reuse that water. Have plenty of new premade and preheated saltwater on hand to make up for the lost water. I would plan on pre-making 50% of your display tank's volume and have it ready for use. 5 gallon buckets with lids are your best friend for a tank move. Anything larger becomes very heavy to move, although for longer moves ice chests work well at maintaining water temperatures. You can use bubble wrap to help keep your rock with corals attached from being smashed against the sides of the buckets during transport. Start by filling three buckets 1/3 with water from the tank and then add the rock from the system to one of the buckets. Continue filling buckets first with water, then rock until you have removed all the rock. Save a couple of half full buckets of clean water from the tank for the fish. Once all the rock has been removed, the fish should be easy to catch. Some fish will burrow into the sand to hide so if you come up short on your fish count you may need to sift through the sand to find the missing fish. Once you have everything back at your home and the tank in place, first set up your rock. Try to minimize the amount of time the rock is out of the water. If aquascaping the rock takes you awhile, pour some of the saltwater from the old set-up on the rock to keep it wet. Once the rock is set fill the tank with all the old water and whatever new water is necessary. You can just dump the fish directly from the buckets into the new tank to prevent injuring the fish or adding stress to the fish by netting them. Then start circulating the water, get the heaters running and the rest of the equipment. Tank moves take much longer than one would first suspect. Plan on a very long day. Best of luck and keep us posted with your results!


New member
Awesome thanks a lot for the advice! Massively helpful and will take before and after shots. :)

As I need to add live rock- about 3-4 kg should I do this now or possibly wait and add on the day? Conscious that this will poss. Cause an ammonia spike so was thinking maybe to do this sooner rather than later? Thanks!


New member
Moving to a bigger tank

Moving to a bigger tank

Same problem here!!!
But I don't have to move,just want to upgrade my tank.
The bigger tank I got was used for freshwater also the canister that came with it.
I want to do the move from the 29 g to a 68 g.
Is the new tank going to start a cycle?
Can I use the canister that came with it?