Long-distance move, how do I keep LR/LS alive for 1 week/1000 miles?

LockeOak

New member
Hi everyone, in a week I'm going to be moving a long way. I've already found a member of the local reef club willing to keep all of my livestock for a few weeks and then overnight it to me once I'm restablished, but I'm going to attempt to take all of the live rock and sand from my 10G nano with me for the car ride. The trip itself will be two days of driving, then a few more days until I can set up the tank again. I'm planning on using a 5G bucket and I have a couple of battery-powered air pumps, all the rock and sand will fit in easily with enough water from the tank to cover them. The sand is probably 1.5-2 inches deep. I know I need to keep the temperature as steady as I can (air-conditioned car in the summer should be roughly 80 degrees), but what else can I do to minimize the die-off on the rocks and in the sand? I'd like to keep as much of the microfauna (amphipods, brittle stars, sponges, feather dusters, etc.) alive as possible. There will probably also be some chaeto in the bucket, I'll leave the bucket open when it's not moving (will top off as well). Anyone have tips/advice?
 

frungkis

New member
I think you got it covered. Most live rock is shipped 2nd day air anyway. As long as it doesn't stay in the car for long periods of time w/o the AC running (i.e. during rest stops, gas fill-ups, etc), I don't think you will have too much of a problem. When you get to your destination you might want to stick a powerhead in the bucket to get some flow going. There will probably be some die-off from trip anyway so when the new tank is set up you will have a small cycle. JMO.
 

poppin_fresh

New member
I dont think you are going to need the airpumps. I would just use a cup to scoop and pour some water a couple times a day. There is not a lot of high oxygen needing stuff on/in LR or LS. I would keep the sand in a different bucket from the rock. There is a chance you might release toxic stuff from disturbing the sand, so you wont want the rock exposed to that.

The long and short of it is that you can't prevent all the die off. The microfauna is fairly hardy though, and most of it will survive with minimal effort.
 

ahullsb

New member
Honestly, if I were you, I wouldn't put that sand back in the tank. There is no easy way to move it. I tried in and I only had to go 40 miles. Once you stir it up to get it out, and have it slosh and slide around, it's going to be more trouble than it is worth. Just buy new sand, and using a cup or two from your original sand bed. The live rock in buckets should work fine, you might want to use a power head overnight but you don't have to.
 

shootist

New member
You could by an inverter that plugs into your car lighter. This would allow you to run a powerhead and a couple of other items without using batteries. I think you can get one at Harbor Freight for 30 bucks or so. I know a couple of people use them when they are moving livestock to take to frag swaps. You could possibly just leave the sand in the tank with 4 or 5 inches of water and throw a powerhead in there be a lot less trouble and would remain vitually undisturbed,good luck with your move.
 

flyyyguy

King of the white corals
Premium Member
I agree with not reusing the sand. Take it as an opportunity to start with a clena fresh snadbed again. Just start with new dry sand..it will become live on its own soon enough and you will be starting with a guaranteed clean slate.;

I would also do the inverter thing and run a powerhead with a venturi hooked up to it so the water is circulated and nice and aerated. You will have no die off to speak of doing it this way.;

Good luck :)
 

LockeOak

New member
Great tips, guys. The air pump I have is one of the automated backup ones from DrF&S, it should run for 20hrs intermittently and I can plug it in overnight. I have a cheap battery powered one in case it's needed ($3, couldn't resist). I can hook up a powerhead whenever we're not in the car, the sloshing around should provide some movement when the car's moving :) I'm unsure about the sand though, after I arrive I'm not going to have a car, so getting supplies like new sand may be difficult. Is there a way to rinse it to remove most of the built-up organic material, setting aside a cup or two for re-seeding? The tank has only been running for 7-8 months if that makes a difference.
 

poppin_fresh

New member
You can rinse the sand well in clean water and reuse if you want. I would rinse it with spring or RO if you can get it. I would try not to use city water if possible.

You can then pour the sand you saved on top to reseed.
 

LockeOak

New member
I'll have access to plenty of RO/DI. Would a good method be to set up the tank in the new place, pull the rock out of the travel bucket and into the tank, aquascape a bit, remove a cup or two for re-seeding, then fill bucket half full with RO/DI and stir? I could then siphon off the dirty water til it's just wet sand and scoop it into the tank around the rock, re seed while filling with fresh salt water and done. Sound like a good plan? (Remember, 10 gallon tank, makes things simple!)
 

Tennsquire

New member
No ideas on sand rinsing, although you can order new stuff from Drs. Foster and Smith pretty inexpensively. Regarding moving, I've had good luck with those round, orange screw top Igloo coolers like you see on the sidelines at football games. The insulation helps keep the water stable, and the lids make traveling easier. They have them at stores like Target, Home Depot, and the like. As mentioned above, a small inverter (like the ones for running a laptop of a car's cigarette lighter) is great for running a powerhead. Good luck with it.
 

mkarston

New member
Just to share my experience...

In February I moved from South Florida to Durham, NC and transported my 210 gal tank, and all of its inhabitants, in its entirety with me.

I got 2 Brute 40 gallon garbage cans, and a hand full of ~20gal totes. I put sand in the bottom of the Brute cans, filled each with Live rock (I have about 300lbs) and then filled them each with enough water to cover the rock. I split my fish between 2 of the totes, and corals in another.

After setting out with this all in the back of a UHaul at about 50 degrees, my wife, who after about half way, became sick and need to stop for the night. YES! The entire content of my 210 tank sat in the back of a Uhaul where it probably got down to ~30 degrees all night long.

After arriving in NC, the following day, I moved all the totes with the livestock into the house right away and setup a 10 gal tank and the larger tote as temporary housing.... The brute cans, since I couldn't move them myself, and the movers didn't come until the next day, spent a 2nd night outside in the UHaul. Although none of them looked like they were going to make it, only 1 died (Foxface Lo) in transport. Another died, because of a foolish mistake, and was by far my greatest loss. My Blue Hippo tang was stuck in the rock that got moved into the brute cans. And didn't make it to a tote. My clownfish and 2 other tangs survived after nursing them all back to health. Within a week or two they were back to 100%.

All of my corals, a small assortment of softies and LPS all lived, as a matter of fact, some xenia, that I had bought in S.FL and had died months earlier, came back to life several months after setting up the tank her in NC (and now there are like 20 pulsing heads).

What didn't live were the inhabitants of the live rock. All my snails, crabs, starfish, pods.... all died. And seeing how I only reused about 60-80 gals of my old water, my tank cycled again, and had to build its bacteria colonies again. However, my live rock def stayed "live" for polyps, feather dusters, mushrooms, etc... that were on a particular rock before the move, eventually came back to life on that same rock in time.

Hope this helps in some way... I guess my move was pretty bad considering the temp changes, and still most everything lived. And like I said, the hardiest of things where the fish and corals.
 
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