Moving a complete setup

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Hi there,

I have found a complete setup of a reef tank with rock and fish that I'd like to buy. Obviously it will need to be emptied and cleaned so I will need to house the fish and rock somewhere while this is done, and while the tank water becomes safe for everything to live in again.

Many, many moons ago, I worked in an aquarium shop, we stocked all common tropical freshwater and marine fish, invertebrates, etc - so I have some experience with this type of thing, but as I say, this was a very long time ago and things have most likely changed in terms of what you now can and can't do and how long it takes.

I am expecxting that this will be complicated, since I know how delicate the marine life can be. The tank is pretty small around 2' X 1' X 16" but seems well set up with the following kit:

Fluval reef M60 tank with cabinet (90 litres)
Fluval sea LED 3.0 Bluetooth light
Fluval u3 filter
Fluval ps1 protein skimmer
Tunze osmolator 3155 water level controller
Jebao 4 dosing pump
JBL pro temp s150 heater
Sicce voyager nano circulation pump
Fluval circulation pump
Eheim compact 1000 sump pump
JBL marine test kit - used
Refractometer
JBL autofood (automatic feeder)

So, would you guys have any pointers about the best way for me to do this, so as not to kill anything! I really wish it was just the hardware I was buying but I think the seller wants shot of everything.

Thanks,
Nick.

mightyhatter

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Reply #1

Welcome to ReefBase!

It can be a little tricky but at that size it should be fine with a bit of planning. Personally i wouls suggest...

- get some water containers to transfer water (normal cans are 25L so you will nees 3-4). You can buy them but can sometimes borrow/ hire from LFS. (By using the water it will make the initial transfer much easier and quicker)
- put the corals/ fish in bags with the tank water (like when you would buy from a fish shop) and these can be careful transferred in a box as long as transfer isnt too long. If it is far/ going to take a while then include some insulation to avoid too much heat loss)
- ideally the live rock would be transferred in water too (something like plastic 'really useful' boxes with lids work well)
- dont transfer the tank with water in if you can help it
- set up the tank again at the other end - if you can have some fresh saltwater to top up what is 'missing' (in the bags with coral/ fish etc) that would be ideal. Wait until the tank is up to temperature before adding the livestock
- personally i would run carbon in the filter too to help the tank settle back down and remove anything that might have built up in transit

Good luck

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nickko

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Reply #2

Hello @mightyhatter and many thanks for your advice here.
So, are you saying that i should drain the tank nearly all the way, just leaving the sand in it, then refill when I get it in place?
I think the seller has three 25l drum things for the water, so I could syphon into those. Also, there is an auto top-up gizmo, so that should handle the restock of water once in place. I also have a couple of polystyrene boxes at home, would it be worth putting the rock in these and does the rock need to be fully submerged? Could I put the fish in as well?
How do I run carbon in the filter and can the livestock return to the thank even if its a bit cloudy?
Thank you again, there will be more questions yet, I am sure!

All the best,
Nick.

P.S. I have been on the Tube - people there saying that maybe getting rid of the sand and adding it back slowly is a good idea if the tank has been set up for a long time (and this one has been going for 7 years,) I was thinking setup without the sand and then wash it all, rinse in RO, put back slowly. What do you think? Thanks :)
Last Edit: Sep 17, 2021 12:18:22 am by nickko

mightyhatter

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Reply #3

Sand - yep, if it is a mature set up washing the sand can be a good plan

Carbon - i think the M60 has a rear filter chamber? If you put a mesh bag of carbon in one of the chambers with decent flow-through that will do the job nicely

Poly box would do a job for the rock (ideally would be submerged if it is out of the tank for a prolonged period - if it is only part submerged you may get a bit more die off but as long as some of it maintains the good bacteria your tank will be fine. For the fish i would put them in bags to minimise movement

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HK_Fuey

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Reply #4

Wet (with salt water) paper around the rocks for a short time (hours, rather than days) will keep them damp and prevent most die off.

Def drain the tank before moving.

I'd be tempted to keep some sand for the bacteria, rinse in salt water then add to the tank. Replace the rest. Its weight a tonne wet in the bottom of the tank, so I'd keep a bit and chuck or clean the rest. There will be loads of detritus in there, and all the moving of rocks, moving the tank, refilling, reading rocks, etc. Will disturb it all and end up creating an ammonia spike.

Fish in a big heavy duty tub, even a big bin will be ok. Add a heater and a pump to create surface movement. Add the established liverock for filtration.

Short wide containers are less likely to fall over when moving them about.

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Ratvan

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Reply #5

Short wide containers are less likely to fall over when moving them about.

Thats a brilliant point

nickko

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Reply #6

OK, many thanks to all of you for your input.

I'll put the rock under water in a poly box, the fish in bags in a poly box. Hopefully I won't then need a pump and heater - they should only be there for a matter of hours and certainly not overnight. How much sand should I keep and how much do I need to rinse it? the rest I'll wash and add a bit at a time. Collecting on Saturday (25th), so hopefully all will go okay.

Thank you again, guys - very much appreciated

HK_Fuey

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Reply #7

A few cup fulls should be plenty. The rock will have a load of established bacteria which will multiply fairly quickly. Maybe get some ammonia bonding chemical on hand just in case too...like AM Guard.
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nickko

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Reply #8

OK, all set up now.
I emptied the tank at 1500, cleaned everything, had the rock and fish (fish in bags) back in the tank at 2000 and let them out of the bags at 2300. I put all of the water back I could but needed to add extra, probably not even 10%.
I have checked salinity and that looks good at 1.026. Out of interest, I checked the original water and it was 1.027. I have two Clownfish and a Royal Dottyback. Dotty is in hiding most of the time in the rocks, the two Clownfish look happy enough.
I stuck the rock in without really arranging it at all. Just got in back underwater as soon as I could. I left the sand out completely and will start washing it tomorrow and adding it back a little at a time. I'll also see what chemical testing bits I have and run through everything.
The tank does seem to have lots of algae on the rock, so i will look into how best to get rid of it. Pump is also very noisy.
Thank you for all your help so far.
Nick.
 
Last Edit: Sep 29, 2021 11:06:48 pm by nickko

mightyhatter

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Reply #9

Glad it went well - looking good!

When you are able to check the parameters you may find nitrates and phosphates are high (hence the algae). A few water changes will help to bring them down and a little clean up crew (CUC) of snails/ crabs should help with the algae itself.

Look forward to following your journey!

nickko

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Reply #10

Thanks!
I bought some live sand today so that will go in this evening. LFS says I can put the lot in in one go. Also got some more RO, a Ca test kit and some more salt.

nickko

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Reply #11

A bit more organised now and I've also rechecked salinity, and looked at my pH and Ca - all looking good.

Last Edit: Sep 29, 2021 11:22:28 pm by nickko

mightyhatter

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Reply #12

Looking good. One observation is that you might want to move the rock away from the side glass a little to make cleaning the glass easier when algae, coraline etc starts appearing.

It's very much a personal preference (and can depend on if you can look in through the sides) but is worth considering now before everything settles down

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