In a couple of months I will be moving about an hour away. I have been searching forums and such, and still have a couple of questions due to the variety of methods people use.
I have a 55g with about 20 fish and a 29g with about 12.
-- What method do you think makes more sense? - Bagging all the fish or putting them all in coolers with tank water? The bagging seems like it is more work but would be the least stressful for the fish. From what I can see, with a little added O2 they can safely survive in bags for days if necessary. Plus, how do you introduce the fish to the moved tank from the cooler? Wouldn't you have to bag them anyway to acclimate them?
-- How much of the original tank water should be saved? Some people say very little, some say at least 50%.
My 55g is an African tank that has a higher Ph than the tap water around here, so I'm concerned with too major of a water swap which would drop the Ph too drastically until I can bring it up with buffers.
I plan on dropping all the filter media in a bucket of tank water for transport to keep the bacteria alive. I also see vastly different methods of moving the substrate. Should I rinse it off with tap water prior to re-introduction like I would if it were a new tank since the vast majority of good bacteria is in the filter media? I think this would reduce nitrates?
I just wanted to get some feedback from you guys that have gone through it before.
Thanks in advance.
I've done a move with a 30gal tank. Here's what I did.
Drain half the tank into water carriers (I only did this to prevent severe swings in pH or hardness when restocking it...apart from that it's not necessary).
Catch and bag up the fish.
Bagged fish went in a bucket of tank water (I used this to try to maintain the temp as much as possible)
Plants uprooted and popped around the bagged fish in the water
Rocks out and into a polystyrene box.
Gravel/sand out into a bucket.
Drain rest of tank and throw out the water.
Close the taps on your cannister filter (if you have one) and disconnect it from the tank. Keep tank water in the cannister - don't let it dry out. I used duct tape to secure the cannister inside the cabinet and loaded the cabinet into the moving van with the filter (you might not be able to do this if you have a very large heavy cannister though...in which case, seal the ends and stand it upright in a box for transport.
Load everything and have someone sit with the bucket of fish and plants between their feet in the van (I guess you could use a lidded bucket but I didn't have one).
Set-up tank in new place with all the hardscape, then reintroduce the old tank water, top up with dechlorinated new water, get the filter going again as soon as possible, plants in, fish in when the temperature is right.
Luckily, I didn't lose a single fish when I moved. I think it was down to careful planning and the fact that I dedicated one trip to just moving the tank.
Hope that helps. Any questions, shoot.
Just did a move with my 75 and 3 10s. Here was my method
Remove all plants and hardscape - bucket of water for the plants, hardscape into a box
Drain 75% of the water, filling 2-3 5g buckets
Remove fish, put them in the buckets, just an even spread out. Put a few plants in each bucket for cover
Covered the buckets
Drained the rest of the water
We left the substrate in... dumbest thing ever.... remove it - very very very very (did I say very) heavy
Move tank, plants and hardscape back in
Fill tank, let temp get back to normal
Add fish with all water from buckets
Now the 10s, we just drained them half way and moved them with two people that way. Was easy and stress free
Thanks guys! This was exactly what I was hoping for. Will be sure to let you know how I do in a couple of months.