Moving 55mi, looking for advice.


New member
My current plans are as follows
-siphon out about 20-25% of the water into some container yet to be bought
-put the rock into that container

I have that part mostly decided, this is where I am stuck.. I can't decide how to move the fish. I was thinking of buying about 3-4 five gallon totes and splitting up the fish, then I also though about buying a bigger sized maybe 20+ and putting all the fish into one. Maybe different advice?

Current fish are
- Blue Tang
- Sailfin Tang
- 2x Perculas
- Lawnmower Blenny
- Cleaner Shrimp
- 4x red hermits
- 8x misc snails
I really need a bigger clean up crew (will happen with my upcoming upgrade)

Just so you know what I'm working with. The move is coming in about 2 weeks, so I really need to get a plan together that I'm 100% confident with.

So aside from the beginning of the move, what should I do when I arrive at the new place? Any advice anybody could give me would be more then appreciated.

Edit: I plan on leaving the sandbed as is with maybe an inch of water above it. Unless it would be significantly better to just replace the sand? Benefits?
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New member
In the title, 55 miles exactly

Edit: If you don't agree with any of my current plans at the top please say so because I have never done this before and I'm extremely nervous. I don't want to lose any of my fish..
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New member
55, I know its tiny for Tangs but mind you they're both incredibly small still and I'm upgrading to a 120 in about 2 months if even, the tank is already ordered.


New member
My suggestion would be to get one of those big rubbermaid-type totes with the lids, fill it 3/4 full with tank water (after rinsing it out, of course), and put all your fish in there. I would also put a couple of flat pieces of live rock in there to handle any ammonia from the fish during the trip, as well as a small battery-powered air pump (if you don't have one they're good to have in case of emergencies too). They should be fine for 55 miles. If you have a power-inverter, a small submersible heater in the tote would be a good idea as well.

Once you get there, bring your fish inside and make sure they get plenty of air and circulation, as well as heat. That is all they need for now. Set up your tank where you want it, fill it with as much tank water as you have (try to keep as much as you can). Then add your rock and your fish and everything else. If you didn't keep all your water, make sure you don't add too freshly mixed saltwater to the tank or you can stress out those tangs. Hope this helps and good luck.


I'm a member of **!!!!!!
if you can, I would leave the fish behind in there own tank/tub with a heater powerhead and airstone, then move your DT first and get it set up, then bring the fish over and put them in the DT.

something always happens that was unexpected and will happen


New member
Just bought some rubbermade totes, do I just rinse them with water to make them safe to use?


New member
You should be ok without air pump for 55 mi. I moved a 60 g back in Dec 200 miles and all went well. I put the live rock in plastic tubs and the corals in plastic bags with water from tank. I also put the 4 fish in seperate bags with water and oxygen tablets from local fish store. I also had heat packs and old shipping boxes from local fish store and put all live stock in those and in the car. The live rock and saved water from tank road in the back of a pickup with camper in snowy weather. The live rock had wet newspapers and little water as I wanted to save for tank. I had to setup everything that same night. It was a long day but everything came out perfect and nothing died. I left a little water in tank to keep sand covered. I also got some stuff to help with ammonia but it was not needed. I tested all the time and had no increase in anything. I was very happy all went well. I hope all goes well with your move! I did have to use about 15 gal of new water but it was heating while I went to get tank.


New member
you may want to leave them in the rubbermaid tote with the air pump over night because when you pour your water in, you may get a sandstorm, or the water would be cloudy with sand.

to avoid the sand cloud, i would put a bowl in the tank and use a powerhead to transfer the water. this way your fishes don't have to sit overnight. no need for the airstone for the trip but put an airstone once you get to your destination.

like others have said, try to keep the original water as much as possible. the way i did mine was i had to put them in a bunch of 30gallon rubbermaid trash bins and i had 30 gallons of fresh saltwater on hand.


New member
Anything special I should do with the rubbermade totes before I use them in about a week? I sorta rinsed one with really hot water today and there were bubbles that formed atop the water like soapiness. So my question really is, is rinsing with hot water enough? Or should I use something else?


New member
Personally I'd just replace the sand all together, wouldn't want to risk a cycle and sand is cheap.


New member
I would replace the sand, get some bags from my LFS and bag the fish and put them in a stryo cooler for the trip. If it will take a long time to get the tank set back up then just take a little more water with you in your rubbermaids so you can let the fish go in one of those while you set the tank up.

If you don't want to bag the fish then I would still use a thick styro cooler to help keep the temp.

No rocks in the cooler/rubbermaids with fish. Don't want them rolling around and some fish (like your blenny) will hold up in the rock and if you don't account for it and leave the rock out of the water while you aquascape you risk losing the blenny. Also, that rock could get stacked in the new tank in a way that won't allow the blenny to get out. This is why I bag fish when I have moved in the past. Fish are accounted for and safer.

One other thing I would recommend is to eith have extra water ready at your new location or take it with you. You always seem to lose water when you move.

Good luck.


New member
You're using 20-25% of the water for your rocks. You can move the rocks while out of the water though, just put them in a box, the same they use when importing them and your rocks should be okay. That's the way I did my move.

What are you doing with your water? Are you going to use "new" water? If so, don't forget to let your fish get used to the new water by using a drip method or something.

It'd probably be best to try and move as much water as possible.

Good luck, I remember from my move in October last year that it was very stressfull. You're being very smart making a well thought out plan. Just keep calm and all will be okay!


New member
I moved a 75gal. a few months ago(about 100 miles)we brought the water lv down to about 3-4 inches(it was still pretty heavy) and left the inverts in the tank,put the rock in some buckets with water(3-4 5 gallon)and bagged up the fish and put them in a bucket so they didn't get thrown around and everything made it just fine.I only kept about 25 gal. of the original water.Good luck with your move.


New member
we brought the water lv down to about 3-4 inches(it was still pretty heavy) and left the inverts in the tank,put the rock in some buckets with water(3-4 5 gallon)and.. .

I moved a 46 gallon recently and all I used was 6 sterilite 56 quart bins from Target and two 5 gallon buckets from Lowes. Pretty much did exactly as 'amazo' did except I kept all the water and left the fish in the tank, LR in the buckets and filled with water, corals in one container and the rest of the water in the remaining containers- less stress the better I guess. I topped off whatever water spilled, it will happen.

Oh, no heater and no pumps or anything like that but it was only a 2 mile drive!


User and Abuser
There's no way you're going to be moving a 55 gallon with only 25% of the water siphoned out. That's still nearly 500lbs with no sand or rock.

And if you stir up the sand bed, you're likely going to have another cycle.

You'd better keep the fish at home until all the equipment is moved, setup, and tested.