Preparing for a movie.. Help please!


New member
Hello, all.. Let me cut right to the chase. I have a 26 bowfront aquarium that I must move into my new home at the end of this month. I currently have 2 bangaii cardinals, 3 blue/green chromis, a cleaner shrimp, a frogspawn, a good sized Duncan, bubble coral, blasto's, and various zoo's. The tank has been wet a little over a year and I would like to move it with as little loss and disturbance as possible (obviously lol).

I was thinking about transferring the live stock into buckets and then draining the tank as low as possible while still keeping the corals submerged. I know the sand is going to be a mess because it is a fine grain size. The move is only about a mile away, is there a better way to do this?


New member
Oh you're talking about a tank move!

I would get rid of your sand. I would put a fish or two in a five gallon bucket and then put your coral in a five gallon bucket and put your rock in a brute trash can. It would be a good idea to have 10 or 15 gallons of new saltwater already made up at the new place if that's possible.


Team RC
You are better off removing the live rock and corals and also placing them in buckets. Aquariums are not designed to handle the stress of being moved with rock and sand in them. Bubble wrap at the bottom and sides of the bucket will help protect the corals. I would recommend getting new dry washed sand rather than reusing your old sand bed with is going to contain a lot of trapped detritus which once disturbed can cause problems. Have 10-15 gallons of premixed, preheated saltwater on hand at your new home, the water at the bottom of the tank is going to be so polluted that you will not want to reuse it. The process always takes longer than you (or at least me) would expect. Be sure to allow plenty of time for the move.


New member
Lol sorry for the typo in the subject! Woops! My scape is epoxied together, so wish me luck on breaking it apart. I was hoping to keep it intact but I think you guys are right.

I will use this move as an opportunity to change out the sand (I hate the small grain size) and rescape my tank (there is one area that is nearly impossible to scrape the glass for algae).

Should I reuse any of the tank water? If so, how much? And will I experience another cycle?

Thank you,


New member
You can reuse some of the tank water that you have in with with your fish or coral. It's hard to say whether or not you will have a cycle. It really depends on how established the aquarium is. Just using new sand won't cause the tank to cycle in my experience.


New member
I've moved a cpl tanks in the past.
Here's what worked for me.

Measure your rockscape and calculate water content of tank and sump if you have one.
Make a (written) list of all livestock.

Go to walmart or similar store. Get a tub as close to rockscape size as possible. Too big and you won't be able to cover it with water.

Buy tubs and trash barrel ( plastic) That will hold greater volume of water and a bit oversize for rockscape. As in 40 gallons of water? by 60 gallon barrel or better yet two 30 gal barrels. DON'T forget the lids ! Remember, the tub for the rockscape will use some water. Maybe more than the contents of the tank. In that case you might not need the extra tubs.

Gather sufficient 5 gl buckets to hold fish and coral.

Stop by LFS where you have made friends with the owner/employees ( you have done that right ) Ask for sufficient bags to hold one piece of livestock or coral each. ( don't forget the rubber bands )

While your at the local fish store, buy new LIVE sand as well as 15 gallons of salt water ( or make it up yourself) Take that to the new house and bring the water to temperature. Go back to the LFS and buy more water to make up the volume difference in the oversize tub for the rockscape. Bring that water up to temperature.

Take all the rest of the stuff back to your old place. Go with a friend and vehicle large enough to carry all this stuff and remember to bring some clothes line or light cord to tie everything down during the trip.

Only try to carry water in 5 gallon buckets. Not the drum/barrel, tank or tub.
This means that the rockscape will be the toughest part of the move.

Once you've got everything in place and new water is up to temperature and you're ready to move.... gather coral and place in plastic bags with water and air just like you get when you buy a fish. put those into buckets. Stacking is ok.
Now, start to drain the water from the tank into buckets and carry them to the tub in the car. have the new water near the car to top off the tub.

When it's time for the rockscape, wrap in in a lawn/leaf type bag, carry it to the tub already in the car. Take it out of the bag and place it in the tub. Top off the tub until the rock is covered.

Now the fish are exposed and can be netted. You should still have 6 inches or so of water in the tank. They'll be easy to catch. Bag em and bucket em.

Check that everybody is out of the tank.

Drain the rest of the water. It will prolly be too cloudy to see everything remaining but this is not a time for delay. Drain the rest of the water. look for anything moving. Dump the sand. Look closely for any thing moving. You did make and inventory of all your corals and critters right ? Do the numbers match ?

all water, coral and critters should be in the vehicle.
You might take a few minute to wash out the tank. rinse and load.

When you arrive at the new place, set up the tank. You can connect plumbing later.

Moving water back into tank:

You can either bucket or use a power head. If you pump, get a hose long enough to go from car to tank. NO not garden hose. then have a DIY return fixture made of 1/2 Pvc. it hangs over the side of the tank like a U on one end is a T that goes in the tank but not to the bottom. On the other end is a hose barb sized to fit the hose from the pump.
If bucketing, don't pour water directly from buckets to tank. The sand will cloud the water too much. Use a pitcher and gently place the water in the tank.

Place the NEW live sand in the tank. start the water running or the bucket brigade. install the rockscape. As the water level increases, float coral and fish bags.

Top off with new water. Release the fish etc. Install power head for water circulation.
now start to place the coral.

Complete the plumbing, wiring etc. Wipe the floor , wipe your brow, thank you friends.

NOW pop in the move and have some popcorn.

I didn't read back to make corrections but if you read it twice, you'll be able to ignore this list and make our own.


Shaun v

New member
I just moved my tank 5 miles away with no losses after 3 days. Here is what I did...

I placed my corals, fish, and inverts into a cooler with tank water. I placed my rocks in a Lowe's bucket with water. I left the sand in the tank with a about 3" of water. I moved the tank with a buddy by hand and tried to not move the sand much. The sand moved quite a bit. When I got it to the new spot, the water in the tank was super cloudy so I drained the rest of the water and added the water from the bucket and put the rocks back in. I added a little bit of water that I had pre mixed. I put a heater and power head in the tank and in the cooler. By this time, about 1 hour had passed. I let the water circulate in the tank for about 6 hours. Then I did a small water change (10%) in the tank. Then I added the fish and water from the cooler. Then I did a 25% water change. I tested the water this morning with no nitrates, nitrates, or ammonia. The only thing that died was the coralline algae on the back glass.


New member
Thank you everyone for the replies. I am nervous but I am very hopeful this all goes well. I will have the keys to my new place for a week and a half before I have to be out of my current one so I am going to take my time and make the transition as smooth as possible. Again, thank you everyone.

If anyone else has anymore suggestions, please do not hesitate to share :)


New member
I've moved quite a bit with tanks. It can certainly be a pain but it's definitely doable. I moved my 36 gallon bowfront across the room a few weeks ago and it was actually just as difficult as moving it across town. I like to use the opportunity for a very large water change, maybe even 100%. I keep the bags I get from buying livestock just for moving. I bag everything first, put rock in a bucket with a little bit of water and wet towels. I typically leave the sand in, but I've never moved anything larger than 36 gallons; much more than that and it might be too heavy to move around. Of course, you'll want to have water ready to go at the new place. After you get everything in the new house add the hardware, water, rock, then start the long tedious process of acclimating everything. If you'd rather keep the water to make acclimating easier that is certainly possible, I just like to use the opportunity for a large water change. Good luck!


New member
"Rent" brute trash cans from Lowes or Home Depot

Yes!! For a small deposit of around 45 dollars, you can rent them for a few days. return them and get your deposit back =D

I did the rent to own, Ended up keeping mine after moving the 90 gal.


Not afriad to admit wrong
Team RC
I would rather use the BUY option instead of worrying that the person before me had body parts in it, when they rented it, and my fish turn into zombies.


New member
I did epoxy a few of my frag plugs in to the rock work, any suggestions on removing the coral? Also, if i reuse the water, or some of the water, do I still need to acclimate the livestock?


Active member
I moved an established tank 4 hours away.

New Sand
Brute containers - which will be fine for your rock since you are going to rescape
Heater and a PH in the brutes with rock and fish. Make sure you rock is not going to move, and the fish will be fine.
Corals - bag them up and put them into a cooler or foam lined box.

Since you tank has been up for a year, you should see no cycle, (since the rock will still be fine when you get to your destination), and will serve as the Bio filter.

Make sure to have clean socks or plenty of filter floss since you are using new sand, and you will have a cloud in the tank for hours. If your using 100 micron socks, then a couple hours. Alternatively, you could pre-rinse the sand before the move and put it in buckets for the trip.

Also have plenty of "fish towels" on hand for when you set the tank back up.