Habitat - Indoor :: Advice on major tank move

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:42 pm   Advice on major tank move

Ok, the last time I did a tank move, it involved a new location. That meant I could get the new tanks set up and fully cycled before the move, which was a rather unstressful move to the new tank.

This past weekend I got a 150 gallon on Craigslist. Delivery to my garage included. It's going into the basement in the same location as my 55 gallon.

I don't think cycling will be an issue, because I have an FX6 that hasn't been cleaned since early May and another 55 gallon as a refugium. Those will be staying. I'm thinking to not clean the FX6 just yet, because that will mean more bacteria and stuff for them to feed on as waste builds back up.

But I'm not sure of the rest of the logistics. I'm lining up a furniture dolly and help to get the aquarium into the basement. However, from that point, I'm not sure.

I'm thinking disconnect the refugium and run the pump back to itself. Move the Tobie into a bucket. Move the fish to the refugium. Drain the 55 and pull the sand into a bucket with aquarium water.

Then, get the 150 stand in place and level. Put the aquarium on, start filling with the right temp water and relevel early on. Add the extra sand I bought and cover with the sand from the old tank.

Once full, run the FX6 to clear the sand dust I couldn't rinse and then return Tobie and the fish.

I'd appreciate any thoughts or input.

EDIT: I should add, the basement floor is very unlevel and I've shimmed the heck out of the 55.
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:18 am   Re: Advice on major tank move

Tobie won't like the bucket. This could be a pretty long process, there's no other place to set him up?
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Post Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:38 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

Instead of a bucket, would something like a plastic storage tub work as a temporary solution?
The 105qt sterilite tub (26 gallons) is ~$12 around here, the 30 gallon is out of stock nearby but is actually cheaper at ~$11.

Good luck on the move!
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Post Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:45 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

spork wrote:Instead of a bucket, would something like a plastic storage tub work as a temporary solution?
The 105qt sterilite tub (26 gallons) is ~$12 around here, the 30 gallon is out of stock nearby but is actually cheaper at ~$11.

Good luck on the move!


Thanks. Move didn't happen yesterday because the teenage son did an overnight and my wife had to help her sister who just had surgery. Today was a trip to see my mother in law that involved 5 hours of driving, so the plan is next weekend.

I do think a larger holding pen is appropriate.
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Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:45 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

I'd give myself a day to let the tank sit full of water after moving it to it's final resting place to check for leaks. The move could potentially damage the seal.
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Post Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:57 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

OtisDriftwood wrote:I'd give myself a day to let the tank sit full of water after moving it to it's final resting place to check for leaks. The move could potentially damage the seal.


Thanks! Not like I was already worried enough. :lol:

With this being July 4 the weekend, it may be another week and a half. I promise to update with the success or horror stories.
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:48 am   Re: Advice on major tank move

Not to make you any more worried, but I should have mentioned in my previous post that the regular storage tubs are not made to be full of water, if the sides start to bow it should be braced either with a frame or between some heavy (and potentially waterproof) objects. I was thinking hours more than days, but realistically a tub that size should hold up to a couple days of torture.

I agree with the leak test recommendation. I typically clean and do a leak test outdoors overnight, then bring it in and fill in place, but I have not had the pleasure of 150 gallon tank. That could be a whole different animal.
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:11 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

So the move is this Saturday. I know the aquarium did not leak when I got it. It was full of water when I first looked.

Obviously, a move down stairs on a dolly will be stressful on the tank. However, it is a basement, so I will likely still fill it and move Tobie back as soon as I can. If it leaks, nothing will be ruined.

Tobie will have better accommodations than a bucket, but I'm thinking to just dry dock.

I'll definitely update.
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Post Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:34 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

I normally do full water changes at night... let the water dechlorinate and getting the extra heaters going. I put my turtles in a plastic bin, usually with a small blanket and shove it into a closet. I'll still hear an annoying *thump* but they eventually sleep. If it's too annoying, I wrap them in a blanket and tie it so they can't move much. A lot less struggling and they go to sleep much sooner.

I think moving the tank, setting it up are the biggest challenges. Is the stand wooden or metal? I don't overly stress about cycling and stuff.
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:35 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

Wooden. Custom stand built out of thick plywood.

I'm really not too worried about a cycle. I already have an FX6 on the existing tank, and the first chamber of the 55 gallon refugium has a few gallons of media. The second chamber has duckweed and a sand bed. If anything, I'm more worried about starving some of the bacteria with what will practically be a 100% water change and effectively a major tank cleaning. Of course, Tobie should fix that clean tank issue pretty quickly!

I figure it will be a long day, but I'm hoping I won't have to keep her out over night. Not that she can't handle that. She's escaped the tank twice and hidden well in the boxes and junk in the basement. Once was just over 24 hours and the second time was a few days.

Assuming the tank makes the trip down the stairs, I'm looking forward to watching Tobie in the larger space. I'm even considering adding more fish. Tobie hasn't touched the black neon tetras that have been there since she was small and in the 20 gallon tank, but the one time I tried neon tetras, they started to disappear overnight.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:47 am   Re: Advice on major tank move

I wouldn't worry about the bacteria, especially if it's only a day or two. It it pretty neat to watch turtles zoom around in their tank, they're much faster than we realize. What are the plans for the basking area?
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:24 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

For now, th basking area will be the same acrylic ATBA and MegaRay. I'll eventually build something larger, but she hasn't outgrown the banking area yet, just the tank.
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:02 am   Re: Advice on major tank move

Well, the question of where to put Tobie has been solved... by Tobie.

She's now escaped for the third time, which was one of the major motivations for the new tank!

I've spent an hour looking with no luck. The basement is half filled with old boxes, furniture that should be thrown out, etc.... I'm moving on to the tank tear town, so I'm ready for the tank move. Then we can have a more focused search.

Sigh. I hope this isn't a harbinger of how the day will go.

UPDATE: Tobie has been located. Just started filling the tank!

UPDATE 2: tank has been full for almost two hours. No leaks yet. Tobie has cautiously bitten the two new rocks I'd added as decoration, but otherwise seems amazingly unperturbed by the new tank.

Here's hoping that I can still report no leaks tomorrow.
Tobi a RES born in 2012
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:18 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

I'm impressed with her escape skills, glad to hear the move is progressing well!
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Post Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:13 pm   Re: Advice on major tank move

Final update: it's been a bit over a week and the tank is fine. Turns out I have it backwards. There is a small All Glass label. It's on the bank of the tank now. The previous owner had cichlids, and stacked rock up, so my "front" has more scratches. It's going to stay that way.

I also cleaned the FX6 and had a weird buzzing noise when turning it back on. The motor never came back after it shut off to release air. Tore it back down to try cleaning the impeller and found two Seachem matrix stones stuck in the fins. The motor still won't start. Luckily, the refugium has handled the nitrogen cycle with no issue, and the FX6 should still be under warranty. I haven't called yet.
Tobi a RES born in 2012
1 dog, 1 teenager, 3 aquariums filled with fish, snails, shrimp and a bit of algae
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