View Full Version : Details on moving a tank long distances...

11-10-2014, 11:57 AM
Hello everyone,
I have had a couple people ask me about moving my tank long distances and I how I accomplished it with minor casualties. So here are the steps I took when I moved from Phoenix to the Denver area...

First things first, I always believe in planning in advance so I started collecting Styrofoam containers from local fish stores, some for free and others charged a menial price ($5 each) for them. The larger the containers the better. I ended up using pretty much all Styrofoam containers other than two 5 gallon jugs of my previous tank water.

I was lucky enough to have had one previous trip to setup a "holding tank" at my new place. I purchased an 100 gallon horse trough to use and I placed it on the floor in my kitchen. I went out and bought saltwater premixed(remember I didn't have running water at my new house)...I put about 85 gallons of saltwater in it as well as a circulation fan, a heater and a skimmer. Then I went back to Arizona to pick up my fish, corals, and tank.

In Phoenix I broke down my tank into the separate containers and used my tank water to cover the coral and rockwork in them. I did use freezer bags to put extra fragile pieces of coral in so they wouldn't get bumped around too much. *make sure if you use freezer bags you put them either in a cooler or a box lined with a garbage bag because of leakage.

After all the corals/rock was in I caught my fish and put them into a bucket with more tank water and 2-3 inches of sand on the bottom if you have wrasses that go under the sand to sleep, this helps with keeping those fish from over stressing while moving. I also put my inverts into a container as well with about 1 inch of sand.

After all of the corals, fish, rock, and inverts were placed I drilled a hole in each of the lids of the containers and dropped a battery run airstone in each container....you could run a couple if you have a good amount of fish.

I lined my suv (with the back seats laid down) with garbage bags and put all of the containers in the car. I drove straight through (about 18 hours) and when I arrived I took all of the containers and unloaded each one into the horse trough getting rid of some of the water and using the old tank water as much as possible in the horse trough. When I was done I dropped one small seachem block in and went to sleep.

The next day I setup the tank and transfered everything over to the permanent tank.

My losses were:
One piece of coral that got too badly beaten up during the drive
One fish that hid in the rock work and I couldn't find to put in the "fish" container...he got beaten up too by the rocks shifting I think

Not too bad for the trauma of that large of a move...and I didn't even have another cycle after the move.

I did replace all of my sand in the tank though, just for fear of what contamination (waste that had been stirred up) was in it before the move.

Hope this helps anyone looking to make the move with a tank. If anyone needs help or has questions feel free to ask.

11-10-2014, 12:03 PM
I did keep a few cups of my old sand though to "seed" the new sand

11-10-2014, 03:23 PM
You had better luck than I did with losses!

11-11-2014, 12:03 PM
Fantastic job. Glad to hear things work out so well.