Moving Reef 16 Hours - Need Advice

Apparition

New member
So, in about 5 months I'll be moving from Orange County, CA to Portland, OR and the one thing that keeps giving me a lot of trouble is whether or not to move my 55 gallong reef tank. I've gone back and forth on this several times and just can't really come up with a solution I like. I'm down to trying to move everything to selling it off and starting over.

I guess my biggest question is would my three fish and corals (Mostly zoanthids, ricodia, and LPS) make it through the 16+ hour journey if they were in 5-10 gallon containers with a battery powered air pump and a small heater to ensure temperature? Obviously these animals are shipped from all over the world and made it this far, but I can't find many people who have moved a reef tank long distances. Most people tend to just start over and while I think that is the best decision, it's not really the one that makes me the happiest. Also, I think a big motivating factor is that I doubt I'll be able to find homes for my three fish: a 3-stripe damsel, a 6 line wrasse, and a black ocellaris clown. These fish have reputations for being killers despite that the three I have are some of the wimpiest fish I've ever seen and have never shown any aggression to anyone.

I guess I'd just like advice from people who have done it before or who have thought about it. Anything anyone can provide would be great. Or, if someone would be willing to take the fish, I guess that would make the decision for me too.

Thanks for any help you can give.
 

tydtran

New member
If you can personally transport the fish and coral, my vote would be to move the fish and coral. Since you will be doing this is May, I don't think temperature will be an issue. Make sure everyone is well fed the day before. Get two large size coolers with wheels. Water and fish in one. Water, rock, and fish in the other. Sand wet in a bucket or plastic container. Load into truck with tank, skimmer, lights, and pump. Battery powered airpump for the coolers. When you get to the new location, sand in first with maybe 10-15 gallons of new salt water. Rocks and old water next. Wait for sand to settle. Add corals and fish. A lot of work. I have done this once with my 55 with no livestock losses. I just think it is better to continue with what you have than to start all over. Good luck!
 

Apparition

New member
Thanks for the response! It's nice to see some encouragement to this type of endeavor. I whole-heartedly agree with what you said, the idea of losing 3 years of growth doesn't seem very pleasurable. However, I've been thinking about problems with moving the sandbed and the possibility that it could cause harm if it is stirred up too much and have been thinking I might try slowly removing the sand bed over the next few months and then move it as a barebottom and keep it that way after I move until I'm ready to consolidate that tank into a new tank I'd like to build where I would incorporate a sand bed again. I've just heard a lot of negative things about moving old sand beds, but maybe I'm incorrect on that and shouldn't mess with removing it. Any thoughts?
 

Apparition

New member
Unfortunately, no. I won't be in our new place until about a week before we leave here so that's not a viable option. What I've been thinking about doing is I have a 34 gallon tank that I've been holding onto and when I make the move (after having removed all of the sand) is taking 1/3rd of the LR and putting it in the 34 gallon and placing the fish into there immediately once I make the 16 hour drive and then using the current 55 gallon as a coral frag tank with the rest of the LR and all of the corals. This should make for two much cleaner systems as well and then I can consolidate them and take my time setting up a new tank with new sand. So, similar to what you suggested of setting up a new tank with sand, but just on a longer timetable.
 

allenpantino

New member
I moved about 4 hours with my tank and luckly i only lost 1 fish just plan it out very well and spend the extra cash to have all the buckets and containers to move everything good luck.
 

Apparition

New member
See, but that's my concern. I can plan out as much as possible, but it's still up the animals. As you said, you moved 4 hours and lost one fish. I'm doing 4 times that amount of time. I guess it seems to be best to break down and start again.
 
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