Moving an Established Aquarium??

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Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:12 am

Moving an Established Aquarium??

by Jacuzzi7754

So I am moving about an hour away form where I live now. I am going to double bag each of my 13 fish mostly cichlids in there own bags that I got from my LFS. The tank is 60 gallons and acrylic so I am going to drain it down to where I can carry it out. I am worried about starting with all new fresh water and causing the tank to re-cycle. Anyone have any tips on what I can do? I have a ton of lace rock in the tank and I am not going to change the filter media to jump start it but are there any other tips on moving aquariums and to ensure a minimum of stress on my fish for the move and keeping water conditions stable? Thanks all take care

Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:18 am

by miami754


Sounds like you are on the right path. Are you going to put oxygen in the bags? That would certainly help.

In terms of the water, it is good to save some, but the water column actually contains relatively little bacteria. Your rocks, substrate, and filter media contain much more. Therefore, you need to keep these things in your tank water while you move and use them to seed. Maybe use a covered plastic tub and put your rock / filter media in there with enough tank water to cover most of it. If you put a lid on the tub and a towel underneath, it shouldn't be too bad. That's what I did. Then you can keep a little bit of water in your tank to keep cover the substrate while you move it. Once you get there, put the rocks back in, add the water from the tub and then fill it up with new water. It may go through a mini cycle because you'll be doing the equivalent of a 70% water change or something like that, but it will finish quickly.

You also need to make sure that the water doesn't get to hot / cold while you move it. This will depend on where you live, but moving in late spring should make it where this won't be a problem unless you live somewhere where it is very cold still (I forgot to look at your profile).

Good luck.

Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:47 pm

by JazzyD_KingRoy

I recomed just buying some of that new tank stuff from your LFS, it has the good bactira that your tank needs. When i moved, i guess i was lucky! i just put my fish in a five gallon bucket with a airpump, and drained my tank compley. Then i filled it up with tap, and added primer and stress coat, cleaned the tank and filters, hooked everything up and dunped the fish in. Through the process i lost 1 of 14.
But that was b4 i knew anything, so its best 2 take the advice of someone like miami... :)
Good luck!

Posts: 401
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:14 pm

by zambize

Do save as much of the tank water as possible though. I just put it in 5 gallon buckets. Be careful when buying and using the new bacterial products. They are not all the same. There are different types of bacteria, and some of those products have a short shelf-life and what you find at the store can be past its prime! My favorite is called Super-Bac. Also, it is critical that you not use any bacterial product within 15 minutes of using a water conditioner or any typical dechlorinator. It will render the bacterial product useless.


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Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

Jacuzzi, guess what pal...I just moved from one house to another on May 8, 2009. The only thing I lost was one ghost shrimp during the move.

Best way to go about this is, first you must slowly refrain from feeding them so their digestive systems pass as much food stuffs out. If you feed your fish etc as you usually do right before you move, the stress that is caused during the move and any breakdown of foods that do not breakdown as easily cause of the stress may cause illness.

Next thing to do, get a ten gallon tank or even a 20 gallon tank dependent on how many fish you have. Put all your fish etc into the tank. Put some gravel and something where they can hide around and under during the move (I used bogwood with a plant attached).

Next drain the water down half way in the tank. You can do either 2 things, you can place all the water into buckets and save the all the water or you can disregard the water and fill the tank up with new dechlorinated water. (I used all new water).

Next take out all the ornaments, rocks, lighting, heater, filters, etc. If you have bio-wheels, place the wheels with the fish (keep the wheels wet).

If you have plants, bring the water down to about 2 iches so the plants do not dry out. This is actually the hardest part, because the plant leaves will dry out, though you may mist them if you like during the trip. Some say to package the plants in wet newspaper, but I highly frown upon this method because you must uproot the plants, and uprooting plants is the worse thing you can do to an established tank with live plants.

Absolutely save all your gravel. BUcket the gravel. And if your plants are embedded in the gravel, leave as much as you can for the plants. The good bacteria is in that gravel.

After you move the tank, fish etc to the new place:

fill you tank up about half way, so the plants can breathe again, so to speak. Put all the stuff back into the tank, same as before or a different arrangement, your choice.

Fill up the tank, of course, add dechlorinater. Turn on the heaters and filters. Watch the temperature rise to the point where you had it before.

Wait for the temp to get right, let the water cycle a few times through the filters. Then place the fish etc back into the tank.

YOu will have a mini cycle. I did, for 3 weeks the ammonia and nitrate bounced around a little. But if your fish are healthy to begin with, you should be fine. Test the water twice a week. Do not feed as much. Watch for any unusual behavior on the fish etc part.

IN about 3-4 weeks, your tank will settle. Your ammonia will come back down to 0 - funny thing is, in my case, my nitrite only went up in the first week, then went back down to 0 and stayed 0, whereas the ammonia fluctuates a little, but not to toxic levels - and the nitrate will come back down to its usual levels.

As soon as your water is okay, then you can resume normal feeding etc.

Do be aware that you may lose some fish etc due to stress. I lost 1 ghost shrimp during the move; in the next week I lost 1 red platy (out of 12); and in the 3rd week I lost 2 African Dwarf Frogs (out of 13). But outside of this, all is fine. The the live plants are thriving.

Hope this helps......unless you moved already (((Frowns)))...if you did, how did it go?

Moving an Established Aquarium??

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