Moving My Reef

pREEFERED

New member
Hello All,

I wanted to see if anyone had some recommendations or could share their experience moving their reef tank.

I am going to be moving from the Bay Area to San Diego (~8 hour drive). I plan to breakdown my tank, and sell some of the live rock and livestock to lighten the load. For the remaining livestock and coral frags that I am going to keep, I have assistance with my LFS to professionally package and place in some styrofoam packing boxes I have saved from shipments I have received over the years, so they should be nice and secure. For the live rock that I am keeping that have encrusted coral colonies that I am trying to save as well, I plan on placing in 5 gallon buckets with an air-stone and battery powered bubbler which should maintain water movement. I was thinking of wrapping the buckets (2 probably) with towels to insulate them, but did anyone use another method to maintain temp? I don't know if my plan will last the 8 hours...

Once I arrive in San Diego, I have a friend who will have Nutri-Seawater waiting for me, which I will use to setup the tank and heat before I return the coral/livestock to their home...

Would appreciate any insight/tips, well wishes, I'll take "˜em all...Cheers and many thanks!


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CrazeUK

New member
Hey. I have moved a number of tanks previously but never 8 hours.

I wouldn't use air bubbles in the coral buckets as I am pretty sure air stings them. I think the movement of the truck will be enough.

If the pieces are small enough, double bag them in water then place in styrofoam boxes.

Remember most me these things travel thousands of miles and hours in transit just to get to you.

The fish should go in double bagged oxygen filled bags. You can probably get an oxygen bottle with a valve to fill your bags. Again, styrofoam as you've planned. what ever you do, don't over crowd the bags.

Your substrate will have life in it too. Don't forget to bag it. that with water and box too.

When you get to the other, float the bags in temprate bucket, so all the bags are at the same temp, then open them up into the bucket, drip acclimatise with air bubbles in the buckets.

Add the substrate, live rock without coral, and fill with a bit of water. Get a power head on. Leave it for a few hours and do a water change. - this should help deal with the die off.

Then add rock with with Coral.

The fish, providing not over crowded will be fine in buckets for a few days.

On a funny side note. .

I once moved a 4 foot tank with a 6 line wrass hidden in the substrate in the tank with 5 inches of water as it wouldn't come out. We travelled for 6 hours together.

I hope all goes well.

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pREEFERED

New member
Hey. I have moved a number of tanks previously but never 8 hours.

I wouldn't use air bubbles in the coral buckets as I am pretty sure air stings them. I think the movement of the truck will be enough.

If the pieces are small enough, double bag them in water then place in styrofoam boxes.

Remember most me these things travel thousands of miles and hours in transit just to get to you.

The fish should go in double bagged oxygen filled bags. You can probably get an oxygen bottle with a valve to fill your bags. Again, styrofoam as you've planned. what ever you do, don't over crowd the bags.

Your substrate will have life in it too. Don't forget to bag it. that with water and box too.

When you get to the other, float the bags in temprate bucket, so all the bags are at the same temp, then open them up into the bucket, drip acclimatise with air bubbles in the buckets.

Add the substrate, live rock without coral, and fill with a bit of water. Get a power head on. Leave it for a few hours and do a water change. - this should help deal with the die off.

Then add rock with with Coral.

The fish, providing not over crowded will be fine in buckets for a few days.

On a funny side note. .

I once moved a 4 foot tank with a 6 line wrass hidden in the substrate in the tank with 5 inches of water as it wouldn't come out. We travelled for 6 hours together.

I hope all goes well.

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Thank you for the detailed steps, and good call about the bubbler in the car, I wouldn't want to stress out the coral anymore than they already will be...


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cody6766

Super Best Friends!
Premium Member
All good advice here. I've moved from OK to FL, then FL to OK with zero losses. I used coolers and 5g buckets for my moves. One trip I used O2 in the bags, one I did not. You're probably looking at 12'ish hrs in a bag, so I'd skip the O2. It's just not necessary. I put my fish/coral in bags, rock in buckets, and a scoop or three of sand in a bag. I just used the sand to seed new sand in the new tank. It's much easier to use new sand.
Make as much salt water as you can haul (save some old tank water if you want), but don't forget to have a few gallons of RO/DI on hand too. You can toss pots of salt water on the stove to warm them so you don't have to rely on a slow heater. Just bring them to a boil and mix with cold water until you reach your desired temp.

Bottom line with a tank move is to have an orderly plan. There are different ways to do this, just plan it out and go.
 

RioReefr

New member
I made a move 6+ hour drive. I also used styrofoam coolers, battery-operated air-stones and tried to separate everything out. For Corals, I rolled up some plastic to act as a cushion during movement.

My advice:

1). Have extra "D" batteries on-hand. They don't last long in those battery-operated air-stones.

2.) Get up as early as possible. Best to do things during the day. It is going to happen something small will drop on the floor and easier to see/do things in the daylight.

3.) Not sure about your fish. But a small bottle of Prime will neautralize an initial nitrite spike. Nitrite bacteria takes time to form on all the surfaces -- glass, sand, etc.
 

CrazeUK

New member
I made a move 6+ hour drive. I also used styrofoam coolers, battery-operated air-stones and tried to separate everything out. For Corals, I rolled up some plastic to act as a cushion during movement.

My advice:

1). Have extra "D" batteries on-hand. They don't last long in those battery-operated air-stones.

2.) Get up as early as possible. Best to do things during the day. It is going to happen something small will drop on the floor and easier to see/do things in the daylight.

3.) Not sure about your fish. But a small bottle of Prime will neautralize an initial nitrite spike. Nitrite bacteria takes time to form on all the surfaces -- glass, sand, etc.
Speaking of air pumps these £1.44 40%OFF | Portable Mini USB Aquarium Fish Tank Oxygen Air Pump Mute Energy Saving Supplies Aquatic Terrarium Fish Tank Accessories
https://a.aliexpress.com/_BTa1Og are brilliant.

USB powered. Apparently, you can reduce the current draw by cutting the resistor between the motor contacts which acts as a stay awake threshold for auto switch of power banks.

Yes, it means use power banks to power an air pump for HOURS!!!

(Just remember if the air pump is taking ambiant air, it is possibly reducing the temp of the water.)

absolutely brilliant.

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jdemarco

New member
have as much water made in advance at temp.....u will always why up needed water....and that will be the biggest pinch point....plan plan plan
 

pREEFERED

New member
have as much water made in advance at temp.....u will always why up needed water....and that will be the biggest pinch point....plan plan plan


Totally agreed, actually have a buddy who is going to prepare some saltwater before I arrive, and luckily there is an LFS nearby my new place as well, thanks for the advice!


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Axel33

New member
I got containers frome Home Depot. And put the rocks in them. Then I got 20% of the old water as well and new sand. That was live sand.
And of course corals in separate containers.
But it took a long time to do the move. Also if the distance is to long make sure the corals are warm. But not to warm
 

Kevin Guthrie

New member
It'll take longer than you plan.

One thing you can do is invest $90 in a 100 gallon stock tank and set it up at the new place half full with mixed and heated water ahead of time. Then when you arrive you can hold the livestock in there with a powerhead and lights, and they can stay there for days if you want. This gives you the time to set up your new tank right instead of having to rush things.
 

pREEFERED

New member
I got containers frome Home Depot. And put the rocks in them. Then I got 20% of the old water as well and new sand. That was live sand.
And of course corals in separate containers.
But it took a long time to do the move. Also if the distance is to long make sure the corals are warm. But not to warm


Yeah, I am planning to place my live rock and old water in a cooler. I am thinking of getting a power inverter for my car and bring a small heater that i can use if the temp drops over the 7-8 hour drive...

livestock is separate bags in styrofoam cases with hand warmers

I took 2 days off to just for my tank, hopefully that's enough... i appreciate the input!


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pREEFERED

New member
It'll take longer than you plan.

One thing you can do is invest $90 in a 100 gallon stock tank and set it up at the new place half full with mixed and heated water ahead of time. Then when you arrive you can hold the livestock in there with a powerhead and lights, and they can stay there for days if you want. This gives you the time to set up your new tank right instead of having to rush things.


So i have some heavy duty 27 gal containers that i will transport everything too once i get down there, and my buddy will have some SW that ill heat up, place a pump in there and plan on doing just what you suggested and letting everything remain in there until i set up my tank... finally get to make all the tweaks i've been dreaming about haha...


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MarAquatic

New member
Yeah, I am planning to place my live rock and old water in a cooler. I am thinking of getting a power inverter for my car and bring a small heater that i can use if the temp drops over the 7-8 hour drive...

livestock is separate bags in styrofoam cases with hand warmers

I took 2 days off to just for my tank, hopefully that's enough... i appreciate the input!


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Don't forget hand warmers get alot hotter then mailer heat packs. There are videos of people cooking their corals because they put too many hand warmers. You could also put a heat pack in a zip lock bag or a water tight container and float it in your water to keep it warm.

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