Hi and advice on tank move/setup

Discussion in 'Welcome!' started by JVU, May 10, 2017.

  1. JVU


    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to BAR but I've been in the reef aquarium hobby for about 17 years or so. I've recently decided to get more active in the hobby since I've enjoyed it for so long, so I'm planning a tank upgrade and I'm interested in getting more involved in the local club and online forums.

    My current tank is an unbranded 75g display with about 30g sump/refugium that I bought used around 6 years ago. Mixed reef but dominated by softies.

    I'm planning an upgrade to a larger rimless low iron glass setup. I considered lots of different options and am currently most interested in the new Red Sea Reefer 750 coming out soon (160g main with 40 sump). The new tank will go the same place as the old tank and I plan to keep most of the livestock, which adds some extra logistics to think about and probably a multi-step move.

    Up until now I've been able to do my own tank moves and setups by myself with the occasional one other non-reefer to help with lifting. Now I think I would be better off with additional muscle as well as additional setup experience/expertise. I live in Walnut Creek. Do you folks have any recommendations for someone to help me with the move/setup?

  2. I can't help with the lifting, but I can help with other stuff. I'm also in Walnut Creek. However, my suggestion would be to have a professional do it at a discounted rate! Jess at Diablo Corals in Pleasant Hill just became a Red Sea retailer. He has often in the past done delivery and basic set-up for customers in our area for a very reasonable hourly if the tank is purchased through his shop.
  3. Newjack

    Newjack Supporting Member

    welcome to bar!
  4. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

    I agree with Bruce. When I ordered my reefer through Neptune Aquatics, I negotiated a rate with some of the fellas that work there to deliver the tank and help me set it up. For an hourly rate I'm sure they would be happy to help move your old one.

    Ive also toyed with the idea of one day going bigger, and in the same tank location.

    I would plan to take down the rock scape and corals and place in a holding bin (heated with circulation), catch all the fish, drain the tank and sump, move the old tank and stand to another location in the room, set everything back up with rock/corals/fish. Make sure everything is stable with the old tank. Move in the new tank, and spend a month or two setting it up just right, and then moving the fish over, and then the coral once things are stable. Then take down the old tank and try to sell stuff.

    Interested to hear how you make yours work. I personally would not try to do everything at once in one day. Too many things can go wrong in my opinion. Though with a primarily softie tank you have a lot more leeway for error I guess.

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  5. JVU


    Thanks for the welcomes and info!

    Jess and Diablo Corals was my first thought too, I've found them very helpful and knowledgeable, and they are near me. I even asked Red Sea to make an exception so I could get my tank pre-order from him (he wasn't on their list), which they did. I asked Jess for references for installs he's done and he said no, which was a warning flag for me. Actually that's what prompted me to ask here rather than just go with him.

    Maybe it's just a misunderstanding, it would mean a lot for my peace of mind to connect with someone who is happy with an install job he did for them.

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  6. He's done two installs for me. I know of a number of others he has done for reefers in this area as well. He has actually come out on his own time to check on things and rushed out here in an emergency without being asked. He is now on Red Sea's list. They are asking him to set up a Red Sea display tank in the new shop.
  7. JVU


    Thanks @Gablami, that process was about was I was thinking too. Seems like it would be easy to get myself overwhelmed with it and mess something up. So your advice for me to get help sounds right.
  8. JVU


    Exactly the kind of endorsement I was hoping to hear, thanks!
  9. roostertech

    roostertech Guest

    Now that you received some answers, we demand pics of your tank :)

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    Kim Pattison likes this.
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    While the advice to pay someone to do it for you is great, I'm more a "and teach a man to fish..." kind of guy.

    But here's what I would do if I was swapping to that RSR750 you're eyeing, and do note this is because I do have the leeway of having things looking messy for a few days (i.e. no significant other to give me holy hell if there's a bunch of water on the living room floor just sitting there for a couple days)
    Step 1: Figure out how much space you'll need for your new tank above and beyond the existing, and this includes how much space you'll need to move things and setup the new tank

    Step 1b: Get enough water for a massive change on the new tank ready, like 80+ gallons is good, and get your salt mix going. This part is again one of those "what will my significant other say" steps though.

    Step 2: Set up a temporary tank, or 2 or 3... now this doesn't have to be something fancy, or hell even an actual fish tank, simply some rubbermaid storage bins could work. Now how much you have will depend upon what you're moving over, fish definitely get one for swimming around, make sure they have circulation, a heater and some places to hide (you could use some of your old rock for this). A place for rock, now this can be another storage bin, or a Brute trash can, just put a heater in it, and have a pump to circulate stuff around. Corals can go wherever you have space, they'll survive a couple days without light they just need water to circulate and the water to stay warm. If you have a sand bed, save as much as the old water as possible without disturbing the sandbed and then toss the sandbed or at the very least store it somewhere such that you can have time to clean it out later. You should be able to keep hold of things for a few days, which in general would be more than enough, but you give yourself some "whoops" room if anything takes a bit longer than anticipated.

    Step 3: Friends are awesome! Get someone to help move the old tank, stand and all equipment out of the location, put it somewhere you want to store it for a while, just get it out of the way.

    Step 4: Setup your new tank. I can say from experience by 65 year old father and I moved a 135 gallon tank that had wet sand in it from one room into another. In hindsight that wasn't probably the best of ideas, but the point is he was not exactly super strong, and I'm not super strong either. So getting a couple friends can go a long way to help you move a tank into position. Now I would not be adverse to paying someone from the stores mentioned above either, but they certainly do not need to set it up for you completely. Regardless, get the stand up (apparently goes together like Ikea furniture?) and get the tank positioned on it.

    Step 5: Get all the plumbing set up, this is the part I hate the most, it can require a bit of planning and sometimes feels like a contortionist is required to actually get in the stand and do it sometime... but this is why we set up our temporary tanks to last for a few days. So you don't have to rush through all these steps.

    Step 6: Once you are certain it's plumbed tight, pour some water in the overflow to make sure it doesn't drip, then pour some water in the sump return pump chamber and fire that up to make sure there's no leaks there.

    Step 7: All that water you saved start putting that into the tank, and start on your aquascaping. Don't worry about corals that are attached to the rocks being out of the water, it's not going to be that much time they're out of water they'll be fine. Now if you're going to add new rock (and have it) now is the time, ditto with sand. You may go through a mini-cycle as a result, but as long as you still have a lot of your live rock then it should be fine.

    Step 8: Top off the rest of the water from what you made earlier (Step 1b)

    Step 9: Get all the pumps and circulation going, make sure everything is working great. If you did not make enough water you can hold off on this step, simply put a heater in the display tank and get circulation in there, water in the main tank is more important than water in the sump.

    Step 10: Add your fish in, this really should be the last step as you don't want to scare the crap out of your fish while you're moving rock in the tank, getting pumps going, etc. It wouldn't be the first time a fish hid inside of a pump (like a Vortech), and when it was turned on... sushi. Plus it gives the fish to find their hiding spaces without you doing any additional stuff to the tank. Keep your lights on a lower setting initially let them be able to see stuff, but not so bright that they get freaked out.

    So yeah... maybe you want to pay someone to do it for you after all that :D
    cpage101 likes this.
  11. JVU


    A simple 10-step process is all? Lol

    Thanks for spending the time to give such great and detailed advice! It all sounds right to me and I wouldn't have a problem with any single step or two, I've moved and transferred tanks up to 75g before by myself. But one thing all those moves had in common is that they were always harder and took longer than expected (for me). Having to do it all and not screw anything up seems pretty intimidating.

    I am lucky that my wife is willing to put up with my tank shenanigans pretty well and would tolerate extra tubs or tanks sitting around for a couple days even though it is in our family/great room.

    On a side note, my great deductive powers lead me to believe you are in or interested in Physics @sfsuphysics; we saw science rockstar Neil deGrasse Tyson at Davies Hall on Monday, that was pretty cool :)

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  12. roostertech

    roostertech Guest

    You will definitely want some serious muscles for the 750. For my 525, we had 4 people to comfortably bring it from the garage into the living room. The stand assembly is easy just like Ikea. You can do by yourself ahead of time though.

    Don't be tempted to move your old tank with live stock / rock in even low amount of water. Recently someone tried that on r2r and had their tank leak afterward before new tank is ready.

    I like the new sump design in the XXL.
  13. JVU


    @roostertech had requested some tank pics, so here they are. Pics are unretouched from an iPhone so the color isn't great. Keep in mind when I said softie-dominant that was a euphemism for "I let my mushrooms and button polyps grow like crazy and it's kind of out of control at this point" :)

    I'm planning on selling/trading most if not all of the rocks that are covered with mushrooms and button polyps. I like them and they are easy, but I want room for more forms and colors in the new tank. Also, I know I have issues with the lights on the left side, but I'll be getting new lights with the new tank.

    Full tank shot:


    'Shrooms, bird's nest, arrow crab, with a rose anemone hiding in back:


    New small plate coral from Diablo Corals I like the coloring on:


    Clown pretending my hammer coral is his anemone:


    Dendrophyllia I mentioned in my other recent post:

    Coral reefer likes this.
  14. roostertech

    roostertech Guest

    Holy shrooms, how many did you start out with and how long did that take?

    I wish my clown would do something entertaining beside hugging the back corner...
  15. JVU


    Started with a couple on 1 rock. Can't remember exactly when but at least 10 years ago. There are 2 different kinds of shrooms but 1 is obviously dominant. They kind of exploded in the past 2-3 years.

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  16. roostertech

    roostertech Guest

    Those are Discosoma right? I added a few to my tank. After 2 months there is one new baby.
  17. JVU


    Yep, Discosoma. Mine are pretty basic but there are some other cool colorations out there.

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  18. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Wow, not sure I have ever seen a shroom-tank before.
    Not meant in a bad way. I like softies as well, so think it is actually pretty cool!

    +1 on setting up a side temporary tanks for the move.
    I would suggest two. One for coral frags of pieces you want to keep, one for fish.
    Maybe even a separate tank for the big hippo tang.
    The water quality will not work out otherwise.
    Take your time on the new one, like weeks or months. Get the plumbing and everything right.
    If you rush it, you will regret it.
  19. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer Past President

    Plumbing on those tanks is super easy. 1 hour at most
  20. Gablami

    Gablami Guest

    I agree, plumbing is essentially done for you as long as you're not using a manifold. But still, it's a big job to move the old tank out of the way and place a new tank there. Better not to be rushed.

    I don't think I would hire people to perform the entire transfer. I think I would transfer livestock and move the old tank myself with a few friends. If the tank is being delivered by professionals, I think it makes sense to have them help you shim and move the new tank in place. But I would probably do the rest myself.

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