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The Big Move


Dec 22, 2004
i jst got uh 12 gallin nannnocubea nd wnt to no wy my octpopus vulgdkaris is nt eting andything anymore pls smone hlp me!!!!1!!!111

just kidding

My big move from Wisconsin to Rhode Island is approaching fast--one month and two days away. The biggest challenge will be moving the aquariums: a 30 gallon clownfish tank and my 75 gallon octo tank w/ 20 gallon sump. Luckily the biggest organism I have in the 75 right now is a damsel and a brittle star--no octo.

Here's the current incarnation of the plan: The night before we leave, after everything else is packed, the tanks will be drained. I will buy perhaps a half dozen 5-gallon buckets with press-fit lids; these will contain everything in the tanks, including fish, live rock, macroalgae and sand. Excess water goes down the drain. If I balance my waste producers--ie, fish--with proportionate amounts of live rock in each bucket, I hope the water won't be too bad after 2-3 days time? I expect to make the trip in a day and a half, but it might take me another day to obtain DI water and mix the salt properly. I'm going to have to be very careful to leave AMPLE room in the vehicles for the tanks--the 75 and its stand alone take up all of the back of my jeep.

Has anyone else made a move like this with their aquaria, or have any advice? I may take the opportunity to make some upgrades. I'll probably take down the 30 a day early and spray paint the back of it--I'm excedingly pleased at how my 75 looks with the back done. I currently have a Marineland silent overflow skimmer (u-tube siphon type) and am considering taking the 75 down early, too and having the glass shop drill a hole for me. I don't entirely trust the siphon and I check it constantly, but I've heard people on other forums equally distrustful of having a hole drilled--even by a professional--into a load-bearing glass span. Does anyone have any opinions on the matter?

Hi Dan,

Enjoyed your first couple of lines - getting kinda used to messages like that :smile:

One thing you might consider is a portable oxygenator - a bubbler that's battery operated. I know that fishermen use them and LFSs sometimes sell them.

Hope someone who has had experience with moving will chime in. That's a big move you're undertaking. I suppose at least you'll be nearer the ocean! And you won't miss those frigid Wisconsin winters.

I was considering using a radioshack dc-ac inverter to run an aerator I already have. My primary concern is that I wouldn't be able to seal the tops of the buckets well with a line going in and I might be sloshing seawater and clownfish all over the vehicle. I was hoping there would be enough oxygen in the air in the bucket and said sloshing would keep the water reasonably aerated. I could also take the lids off or actively aerate at night.

I'll actually miss the Wisconsin winters. I don't think they're nearly as frigid as the summers are humid, which is what I really want to get away from! I don't know if RI will be any better, being on the ocean and everything. Last week I picked up one of those 12' pools with the inflatable ring on top that holds it up--Home Depot was trying to get rid of them at $25 each, so I got one knowing I won't have a place to put it next month. 2000 gallons of heaven in my backyard.

Hey clownfish -
We've all said where we live (I'm in Dallas, Texas) - so where do you live? Sounds like you're famililar with R.I.

Hi Dan!

I just moved from NC to MA, we will pratically be neighbors! Anyway, the move took two horrible days. What I did was drain down my fishtanks to about 3 inches deep, put the live rock in styrofoam containers, and left the fish in the tanks! Everyone survived except a few hermits... and *snif* Igor the Brittle Star. The freshwater fish did great! A few days after we got settled I noticed that I had Parrot Fish eggs! It was great. Good luck with your move!
Dawn, I don't know if we'll necessarily be neighbors: what people in the rest of the country consider a doable trip, say 2-3 hours from Madison to Chicago--perhaps even a regular commute--is considered unbearably distant in New England, requiring emergency water canteens, flare guns and pith helments. Or so I've been told by residents.

I've moved the 30 across the room before leaving the gravel and a few inches of water in it, but I suspect the 75 would be a little too much of a burden. I do have a number of the styrofoam containers, so I could use those to augment the buckets. I've got about 110 gallons of water, I doubt there's any way to move all of it, but I want to minimize the amount I have to replace. I'm just glad its not a reef!

Haha you're right about the state of mind here-- I got a job that requires me to drive a whole 45 minutes to commute and everyone seems to think that I am insane.
Anyway, I wish you luck with your move, and also getting your RODI water, I haven't had any luck finding a place in Boston that I can drive to that sells it. And there's no way I am going to cart 50 gallons of water on the train!
To scrape or not to scrape?

Hi everyone,

The big move is less than a week a way, and I have one more question: Should I scrape the algae off the tank walls or should I leave it? My two competing lines of reasoning:

a) if I leave it, whatever of it has survived the move will minimize the re-cycling of my tank and minimizing any ammonia spike.

b) if I leave it, most of it will die and make any ammonia spike even worse after the tank is refilled!

The tanks will be drained for approximately 48 hours. Everything alive (sand, gravel, fish, live rock, filter pads) will be put in a number of 5 gallon buckets for the trip. I intend to move all the remaining water from my systems in 30 gallon rubbermaids so I don't have to wait for saltwater to mix upon arrival (baffled and glued shut). I will live near to the sea, but I don't think this is the right time to experiment with using actual seawater in the systems.


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