All right, things have sort of calmed down and I’m able to collect my thoughts and write about moving the fish tank.
I’ll start by saying that due to personal circumstances, the move was sort of a surprise, and some things about the way I moved had to be altered because I wanted to get out of the old apartment as fast as possible. I’ll go through the process of how I moved each of the tanks:
The freshwater tank was relatively easy to move: this was the process: First, catch the fish and put them into a 5-gallon bucket. This turned out to be the hardest part since I didn’t want to remove any of the plants, so they had plenty of places to hide from my nets. Once they were caught, I drained the water out of the tank and transported the tank the way it was. When I arrived at the house, I simply filled the tank up with water, acclimated the fish, and I was done!
Moving a large tank is not easy. Also, moving saltwater is harder than freshwater. Almost all of my energy and time was spent on this tank. To prepare, I pre-mixed 140 gallons of saltwater in trash cans and kept them inside the house. I also cleaned seven new 5-gallon buckets and drilled holes in the lids.
The first thing was to drain some of the water from the display tank; I put some of it in the 5-gallon buckets that would later carry the fish. I then took all of the live rock out by hand and put it in five large coolers, partially filled with tank water. This was some of the more painstaking work because a few of the fish, namely Dantrell and Midgee (Sunny is more of a percher than a hider), like to hide inside the little holes in the rock, and I wanted to make sure they didn’t get stuck in with the live rock. I managed to find Dantrell in a rock, so I just put his rock in his bucket and kicked him out of the rock there. Midgee, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found.
After all of the rock was out of the tank, that began the process of catching the fish and putting them into their buckets. I used a piece of eggcrate to “corner” the fish on one side, and this made most of the fish easier to catch — except the small ones that were difficult to find and could swim through the holes in the eggcrate. I was hoping to find Midgee here, but he definitely wasn’t there :-(. Next, I drained all of the water out of the tank down to the sand. Then, using plastic cups, I took the sand out of the bottom of the display tank and put it into a plastic trash can; any hermit crabs I found went into the refugium and any snails I found (one) went into a bucket.
From here, the display tank was lifted and put onto the moving truck. I drained most of the water out of the sump and the refugium and loaded the stand onto the moving truck with the sump and refugium underneath. Also, the live rock coolers went on the moving truck, while the fish buckets went into the back of a car with the heat on.
Once I arrived at the house, I put the stand where I wanted it, and the display tank on top. I added about 20G of saltwater and then the new sand I bought when I noticed that the water waiting at the house was really cold. I assumed that room temperature would be fine for this water, but I had forgotten that I had the thermostat set to 60 degrees while I wasn’t living there. That, plus the fact that the water was stored near the edge of the house with no heater made it so I wasn’t comfortable putting all of the rock or the fish in that tank until it warmed up. This was a huge oversight on my part, and as a result, the fish had to spend the night in their buckets. That night, I put about 60 gallons of saltwater into the display tank and about half of the live rock. I rigged up my light on top of the buckets for light and some heat and took the lids off the buckets, putting some eggcrate on top of the buckets with Sarge, Filet, Dusty, and the rest of the damsels just so they wouldn’t go carpet surfing. Needless to say, I turned the thermostat up and put the water heaters and a powerhead in all of the water I had left (and in the display tank) to try and warm it up while I slept.
The next morning, the temperature was up to about 70 for all of the water, so I added the rest of the live rock and water to the tank and started the plumbing. While I was doing this, I saw the craziest thing in the tank: Midgee! I honestly don’t know how he could have survived, he must have came with the rock, but he had to have had a really rough ride here, and it must have been really cold for him. I was just happy to see him alive, though. Finally, I acclimated the fish to their new tank and put them in. It took them several hours for them to de-stress, but the next day they were eating like they were before. No casualties!
I have a couple of pictures: full-tank shots of each of the tanks and a picture of all four cardinals. I usually don’t see them together like this unless they’re really stressed, so I took the opportunity to get a few pictures.