Two months back we adopted a seven-year-old 90g reef tank, with all its fish and corals. We’re happy to report everyone in the aquarium, including several new members of the family are growing happy and healthy.
Adopting or buying an old tank is a quick and easy way to get a full-blown reef aquarium installed in your home. But getting an old saltwater aquarium doesn’t come without challenges.
There is usually a reason someone is getting tired with their tank, and don’t forget the timely task of dismantling, transporting, and getting the tank up and running. However, with careful research you find yourself a new tank, and feel good about giving some fish and corals a new home.
Considerations For Tank Adoptions
We spotted this tank on a local aquarium facebook group, and already had in mind the rough size of an aquarium we wanted. It’s possible to score some sweet deals as people tear down their old systems, especially when it comes packed with coral, but always take into consideration the time and work involved with tear down and transport.
Older tank often come with older equipment, so be prepared to upgrade if needed. For example our tank came with a five year old skimmer, and the constant hum that cannot be silenced it starting to get to me… Upgrade coming soon!
But these old tanks are resilient, and especially the larger tanks, can coast along nicely with their current equipment. We recently went on a two week long road trip and the tank was perfectly fine once we got home. One of the perks.
The move is probably the most daunting task when setting up an adopted tank, especially for big aquariums. You can read more about our experience moving a 90g tank here.
Depending on the tank size, from start to finish you should aim for a full day’s work. It took us around 16hrs from start to finish to move a 90g tank. If you think the move will take longer make sure to pay close attention to temperature especially for fish and delicate corals. Make extra sure to include heat packs in boxes on cold days.
After everything is settled in you can start your weekly maintenance, just make sure to ask the previous owner for their routine. Keep an eye on your water parameters as well as ammonia level for the first few days as you want to avoid your tank going through a new cycle.
With old tanks, you can start to enjoy your coral right away, no waiting for tiny sticks to grow. We love our old corals especially some of the unique behaviors like the slow war occurring between the large coral colonies.
Adopting a reef tank lets you skip the task of sourcing gear, and you can rest happy knowing the fish and corals are going to a good home. Think of it as a jumpstart to reef keeping.