Planning for a new tank and transfer, what to do?

rishu_pepper

New member
Okay, so the boss (wife) has given the green light for a new long peninsula tank (165g approx.), and now the arduous planning stages will begin.

Currently I have a pretty nicely stocked standard 75g with fish, corals, LR, etc. with a 20-odd gallon sump. It's sitting at the spot where I plan the new tank will go, so there are some logistical problems that perhaps RCers can help me with.

My plan is to buy a Biocube 29 or RSM 130, something along those lines, toss some of the LR/sand (and some new sand) from the 75g and temporary house my fish and corals in there. Perhaps use half new-mix water and half tank water from the 75g? I'm guessing there shouldn't be any cycle so the livestock will do just fine in there (7 fish, nothing big).

With the livestock safely housed, I can start selling/tossing the 75g DT/sump/stand during the 4 week waiting period for the new tank to arrive (custom made from another province), and definitely will have the old stuff gone to make room for the new tank to arrive.

So far so good? I think? Do bear with me :eek:

The next part is, how should I deal with the new tank and its rock situation. Should I:

a) buy dry rocks now, start cooking them (for 1+ month), and toss them in the new tank when it arrives
b) keep my live rock from the old tank, and buy some new live rock when the new tank is here, and toss them in new tank
c) buy and use all new live rock, and toss them in new tank

Which option (or another) do you recommend? There are many things to consider (cost, convenience, well-being of tank short/long term, safety of livestock etc.). I'd like to avoid a cycle if possible, so the livestock don't have to be stuck in the biocube for too long. I don't know which of the above 3 options will be the best way to avoid the cycle. Will that be feasible?

Please give me some advice and comments on the above transfer, rock situation, and the whole process in general. Feel free to criticize any part. I want to do this once and do this right, and have a healthy tank with healthy fish/corals. :)Thanks!
 

woodnaquanut

Premium Member
The need for a cycle is to grow bacteria. You already have that. As long as you preserve it and don't release large amounts of detritus, you should avoid or minimize a cycle.

The biggest issue is the detritus built up. I'd either not keep the sand or clean it really good. Weeks before you take down the current tank, work at cleaning the rock. Use a powerhead to 'power wash' the rock and siphon up what comes off it. This can be done in the running tank, just go slow and don't blast all the rock in one massive cleanup.

When you do take the rock out give it it's final big blasting to remove as much build up as possible.

Lots of new rock needs some kind of coking just to make sure it's not going to be a phosphate source. I'd get it cooking as soon as possible and monitor nutrients. If it's not leaching, it can go into the new tank when you are ready to do the switch.

I don't think there is any advantage to using the old water. As long as chemistry and temp match you'll just have a big water change. Of course monitor levels and be prepared for water changes if there is a cycle. I've used the liquid bacteria products to help with this process.
 

rishu_pepper

New member
Thanks for the information so far.

Yeah, I don't plan to keep any of the old tank's sand except a couple cupfuls so I can use it to seed the new sandbed.

The process sounds "easy" but of course it will be a whole PITA to actually deal with when the day comes haha.

Any other sage advice and suggestions fellow reefers have? Experience of doing the same thing? Would love to hear all about it.
 

rffanat1c

New member
I'd keep all your old rock. I just moved my 90 from upstairs to downstairs in a day (not as complicated as your move). I drained about 20 gallons into a garbage can and put all my rock in it. Heater and powerhead in that can. Then I filled another can with a heater and powerhead. Tossed all my fish and shrimp in there. Filled a third can and put the corals in there. Moved tank, setup rock, pumped old water in, tossed fish in and turned it all back on.

Like I said much simpler but same basic principle. Keep it all wet and alive and you'll have no issues with cycles or the like.
 

rishu_pepper

New member
I'd keep all your old rock. I just moved my 90 from upstairs to downstairs in a day (not as complicated as your move). I drained about 20 gallons into a garbage can and put all my rock in it. Heater and powerhead in that can. Then I filled another can with a heater and powerhead. Tossed all my fish and shrimp in there. Filled a third can and put the corals in there. Moved tank, setup rock, pumped old water in, tossed fish in and turned it all back on.

Like I said much simpler but same basic principle. Keep it all wet and alive and you'll have no issues with cycles or the like.

I'm leaning towards keeping all my own LR too. That said, it won't be enough for the new tank (I have about 80 lbs currently, new tank + sump will be around 210g). Should I buy new LR or buy dry rock and start cooking them?
 

rffanat1c

New member
I'd buy dry and cook it. I'm currently dealing with 5 month old reef cleaner rock leaching phosphates and hair algae. It doesn't need to be cooked but you can build bacteria on it this way and remove phosphate.
 

cody6766

Super Best Friends!
Premium Member
I did this about 6 months ago, from a 34g to a 120g. I set up the 120g with new sand and dry rock and let everything settle. I built the right half of the rock structure with the dry rock I planned to use, and the base for the left. When it came time to move things, I pulled the rock structure, corals and all, from the 34g and moved it right into the 120g. Everything was moved into the 120g at that point. I had the 120 running only long enough for the sand to settle before moving things over because I was using new, dry sand and rock and didn't expect or experience a cycle. You'll probably notice some 'anger' in your corals, and maybe a little browning in SPS, for a few days, but it shouldn't be a big problem.


I've also taken down a tank and replaced it with one in the same spot. I did basically the same thing, but I used a plastic tub to hold the livestock and rock when I tore down one tank to set up the next. I never use old sand in a new tank unless it's completely washed and dried. I'm paying for not washing some sand well enough by some crappy water quality in the Solana I just set up. I'm contemplating emptying it and starting over because of the algae issues I'm experienceing. I'd say that's good reason not to try to reuse the sand. It's amazing what gets caught in there and is a pretty convincing reason to go barebottom...if only I liked the look.
 

rishu_pepper

New member
Is it acceptable to use half LR and half un-cooked dry rock on the day of rock insertion? Or will that cause the dry rock to leech phosphate and lead to algae issues?

Thank you guys for the advice so far, it's very helpful :)
 
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