Moving a running fully set up reef aquarium can be a very stressful event for both the keeper and the reef animals but you’d be surprised how easy it can be with lots of prior planning, and a degree of experience doesn’t hurt either. Last week we set out to showcase the whole process of moving a running reef tank in a single video and while everything went pretty well we did encounter an immovable roadblock towards the end of the day which prevented us from completing the process.
The tank tear down went very smoothly thanks to the technicians at DL Reefs who have already moved two tanks this month and actually made preparations for the tank move two months prior. Some of the equipment was uninstalled but mostly the tank was made more move-ready by gradually removing the sand bed to reduce the work of moving the tank, not having to deal with it in the first place, and preventing the kick up of detritus which would have just made the entire process so much dirtier.
It might seem like common sense but the tank tear down starts from the top and then works its way down by removing the top and lights, pulling some clean water before disturbing the tank with separate buckets for fish and water, while larger bins were used to hold the live rock. The fish and corals were both provided with clean water, the fish were also supported by a battery air pump for aeration and the rocks were mostly wrapped in wet towels to keep things from frying out but minimizing the overall weigh to be carried out and transported.
Acrylic tanks are famously light in their weight but the use of large industrial suction cups makes their handling that much more nimble, and it also helped out in the moving of the acrylic stand as well. We moved everything very carefully and the tank, stand and all the livestock made its way to the Reef Builders Studio without incident but alas, it’s a lot to ask of an acrylic stand to hold up the 2,000 pounds of water, tank, rock and equipment for 15 years.
After setting it outside for just a half an hour while we broke for lunch, a combination of cold air, hot sun and the acrylic relaxing caused a spontaneous break across one side of the stand which prevented any further progress at least for the day. While we were bummed that we couldn’t package the tank move into a neat and tidy single video, we are extremely grateful the stand didn’t fail while setting up the tank and filling it with water.
Furthermore, that glossy black acrylic stand was well past its prime and the antithesis of the style we’ve cultivated in the Studio. But before we can get to the replacement stand we needed to erect an ’emergency’ livestock holding setup for the fish, corals and rock which is featured in our next video which is now turning into a challenging but fun substantial tank refurbishing project. Stay tuned as this unplanned mini series will go over many little discussed aspects of reef keeping and it’s sure to be as informative as it is entertaining.