Moving Tank with Sand

Jone

New member
Hello, looking for advise on moving a tank..I am actually moving my tank to the other side of the room to get my lights up higher,,the tank has been set up for a little over a year with live rock and 1.5" of sand on the bnottom..
The tank is heavily stock with soft corals,,stocked heavier than most LFS for sale tanks are ..
My question is if I drain everything down with sand still left in the bottom,and refill again ,,will a sand /detrius nightmare happen with an ammonia spike and phosphate spike also. also a possible algea bloom ?
or is it better to get new sand or go bare bottom??
 

Cdodge1

New member
after draining, leave 3" of water above the sand bed, mix sand thuroghly. You're water will most likely turn to a black/brown sludge. Siphon of this "sludge" add another 3" of your cycled aquarium water and repeat the process until the sludge becomes less concentrated. When you refill the tank, it will be cloudy but you will have avoided any major ammonia, nitrite spikes! Hope this helps!

-Chris
 

ca1ore

Grizzled & Cynical
Key is to not disturb the sand bed. If you drain the water down to just above the top of the sand, move the tank carefully, and then refill without mixing up the sand there's no reason you'd have any kind of spike.
 

ca1ore

Grizzled & Cynical
Lots of ways to skin the proverbial cat. Nothing wrong with doing a rip and replace (aka stirring the u know what out of it) but it's unnecessary IMO. If it were my tank I'd just move it carefully and be sure to not overly disturb the sand bed.
 

Neebles

New member
I left my sand bed in tact when I moved my 75g across the room....I did not have any issues upon setting it back up
 

Jone

New member
Thanks for every ones replies,,Ill leave the sand in for the move,,as much as I would like to get rid of it but it will stay..I have been wanting to move it for some time but its going to be a involved ordeal..Need to wake up one of these coming Saturdays early so I have enough time to do the complete move,,as for now my attention is needed elsewhere til things get better...
 

PhaneSoul

New member
after draining, leave 3" of water above the sand bed, mix sand thuroghly. You're water will most likely turn to a black/brown sludge. Siphon of this "sludge" add another 3" of your cycled aquarium water and repeat the process until the sludge becomes less concentrated. When you refill the tank, it will be cloudy but you will have avoided any major ammonia, nitrite spikes! Hope this helps!

-Chris

this would be removing the detritus in the sand.

Key is to not disturb the sand bed. If you drain the water down to just above the top of the sand, move the tank carefully, and then refill without mixing up the sand there's no reason you'd have any kind of spike.

Lots of ways to skin the proverbial cat. Nothing wrong with doing a rip and replace (aka stirring the u know what out of it) but it's unnecessary IMO. If it were my tank I'd just move it carefully and be sure to not overly disturb the sand bed.

the two above would be leaving it in.

why on earth would you leave fish poop, dead bacteria and rotting food in the tank when you have one of the best opportunities to take all that stuff out? where exactly do you think its going to go after you set the tank up again?
 

Jone

New member
so youre saying ditch the old sand,,,then what ,,go bare bottom or use new sand,,what sand would you recommend,,I dont want sugar or Fiji pink..something course??? I have no plans for a sand sifters in a zoa / paly dominated tank..
this would be removing the detritus in the sand.





the two above would be leaving it in.

why on earth would you leave fish poop, dead bacteria and rotting food in the tank when you have one of the best opportunities to take all that stuff out? where exactly do you think its going to go after you set the tank up again?
 

Cdodge1

New member
Key is to not disturb the sand bed. If you drain the water down to just above the top of the sand, move the tank carefully, and then refill without mixing up the sand there's no reason you'd have any kind of spike.

Yes, this method will save you time, and is a safe bet. Especially if it's going to be a short move. I've never been able to pull my rock out without disturbing the sand bed, so I always would just "deep clean" it just to be safe.. but yeah, lots of ways to skin a goat. I just don't see why you wouldn't spend an extra 15 min siphoning out all the extra detritus that has been accumulating for lord knows how many years.
 

Cdodge1

New member
this would be removing the detritus in the sand.





the two above would be leaving it in.

why on earth would you leave fish poop, dead bacteria and rotting food in the tank when you have one of the best opportunities to take all that stuff out? where exactly do you think its going to go after you set the tank up again?

:beer: Good point you have there
 

PhaneSoul

New member
so youre saying ditch the old sand,,,then what ,,go bare bottom or use new sand,,what sand would you recommend,,I dont want sugar or Fiji pink..something course??? I have no plans for a sand sifters in a zoa / paly dominated tank..

That's really depends on the systems nutrient load. If it's over a year old and isn't routinely vacuumed then yeah I would replace it. If it's been cleaned regularly throughout being setup then I would leave it until you start getting algae and it's apparent there are excess nutrients in the sandbed via good husbandry routine and algae seems to have no cause.
 

jacyn

New member
If it were me I'd take advantage of the opportunity of the move and replace the sand with new. If made the mistake of not doing that in my several moves. Make sure to rinse the new sand very well. The days right after you get it running use some bacteria booster like dr Tims or Bio Spira to help boost it since the sand is now new.
 

Jone

New member
Do you think I ll get an ammonia spike or nitrite/nitrate spike also ?? my tank is heavily stocked with zoas and palys,,hate to see something go bad,,especially with zoas,,once they are getting bad they mostly go,,,do you think there will be issues with bacteria count being lost from taking the old sand out by replacing with new...
I agree about ditching the old sand ,but I have a ton of zoas and hate to see something go wrong..
diatoms are no big deal with new sand cycling but loosing that much bacteria in my old sand worries me..
 

jacyn

New member
I recently moved my 5 fish ( blue tang, yellow tang, percula, chromis, red flame hawk and pseudo) and a few small LPS hammer, frogspawn and mushroom into a 20gal long. I went bare bottom because it's only temporary while I redo my main display. I placed the filter pad from the HOB in my display sump for a month prior, transferred about 12 lbs of Live rock and added bio spira and never saw an ammonia Spike or lost anything, Not even an ich outbreak. Nitrates are contributed to by too much nutrients from food and fish waste. If you pay special attention for the first month to you're parameters, boost bacteria with said products and be diligent with water changes you should be just fine. My little temp 20 gal is def overstocked right now and it's doing fine with absolutely no sand. The sand play a role in the denitrification cycle but most of it is done by the Live rock given you have enough.
 

amutti

New member
Hello, looking for advise on moving a tank..I am actually moving my tank to the other side of the room to get my lights up higher,,the tank has been set up for a little over a year with live rock and 1.5" of sand on the bnottom..
The tank is heavily stock with soft corals,,stocked heavier than most LFS for sale tanks are ..
My question is if I drain everything down with sand still left in the bottom,and refill again ,,will a sand /detrius nightmare happen with an ammonia spike and phosphate spike also. also a possible algea bloom ?
or is it better to get new sand or go bare bottom??

It's only been a year -- no need in most cases to replace the sand or do a big swish up. IMHO doing that will guarantee a cycle. The only good reason to remove the sand (and rock and coral) has to do with how your going to move the tank and getting the weight down.

If you don't disturb the sand, save the water in containers (preferably with heaters), and gently refill the tank with the original water after the move you will be fine. Just in case I'd get some Prime (for minor ammonia/nitrite spike) and some bacterial supplement to smooth any cycle.

The less time that elapses the better.

I just moved a 120 gallon out of my living room to have a new floor put in and then back afterward without any issue. I've moved multiple smaller tanks (55, 75, 29, 4.5) without issues either. The beneficial bacteria that processes the ammonia/nitrite are in the sand bed and in your porous material in the tank (e.g. live rock).

What are you doing with the coral/rock during the move?
 

Jone

New member
I am actually moving the tank over to other side of room plus adding a 80 gal frag tank to the system/same sump..I still have to figure out the overflow water amount in my sump if the power goes out,,I just barely have enough room in my sump for the tank now,,let alone adding this 80 gal frag tank...I am going to put everything in plastic containers and try to recycle as much existing water too..
I have to possibly take the sand out for fear of cracking tank,,this tank is a 60 gallon frag tank that 2'x4' x 12" high..a wide footprint but not high,,plus rimless.

the sand is dirty because of the few fish I have and plus I feed the zoas/palys heavy..
would it just be better to go bare bottom..
 

PhaneSoul

New member
if you go barebottom your going to need to compensate for nutrient reasons. softies and lps need some nutrients in the water. barebottom would be great for sps dominated tanks.

with my barebottom 55g I have a 55g sump. I keep no sps coral. instead what I do is let the 55g sump be a settling tank and every 2 weeks I vacuum it out, touch up the display tank by siphoning out any stary detritus & blowing the rocks free of detritus. in total I replace around 20g of water every 2 weeks. this works for me. it took a little playing around with when to clean the sump, but I feel im in a good spot now. my nitrates stay around 10-20ppm, I don't test phos as its useless, but I also have no algae growing whatsoever and only have to clean the glass once a week. even when my nitrates were 50ppm+ I had no algae growing (did an experiment to introduce a kole tang. I grew algae for him to naturally eat while he got comfortable with the system, after he was comfy I lowered the total phos level in the tank returning the tank to a no algae state).

sand naturally traps detritus so you pretty much do the same routine only sand takes a lil longer to siphon then a bare tank does. as long as you maintain a constant nutrient level things will fall into place and the algae will show you if you need to maybe clean every 2 weeks instead of every 3 weeks.

giving the sand a good stir will not cause a cycle provided you remove the gunk and detritus. no detritus for the bacteria to create ammonia = no ammonia spike.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
for that small a move, just drain it down and move it over: if you can get teflon glides under the stand, it will help. Put a large mixing bowl onto the sandbed and gently fill water into that, which will keep the water from disturbing the sandbed.

To handle the sump problem, have a friend over to watch the other tanks, set the sump at what you want to have for the 'power out' fill problem, and pump it into the system. Cut the pump again, see where you are, pour water into the sump until you are at a good level, repeat, repeat, repeat. Each time you pump water up to your dt, you'll get closer to the max draindown of your top systems, and your max dead-pump fill {high water mark] of your sump. Gradually you know that even if the power goes out, your draindown will not exceed the capacity of the sump. HOWEVER, if you have two systems on one sump, you will have two draindowns going into that sump. Two may be the necessary answer. But try it: see if you have enough room.
 

Branespikin

New member
I transferred my tank from one apt to another. I left an inch or two of water above the sand bed, had a 15 min drive to my new destination. When i put the water in put plastic on top of my sand and poured water in a plate to not disturb my sand bed anymore. Everything turned out fine. My sand was only 4 months old so did not have much detritus build up.
 
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