Back in March, my family and I decided it was time to move to a new house. The excitement of a new house was met with the fear of moving 3 fish tanks and an established sump. To make things more interesting, all needed to be done in 21 days and none of this had been previously planned! My hope with this article is to help others who may be in the same predicament be more prepared for the move and relieve some stress. This will be the first article in a series of articles where we discuss the planning, the move itself and the effects of the move. Huge shout out to the Reefnation team who put in a lot of long hours to make this happen. Special shout out to Danny Dunat “aka the Hulk”, Justin Hester, Davis Hester and Dan Becvar for all your help with this move!

Planning for the Move

Everyone’s move will be different, but our plan was to build out new tank stands to replace the existing water damaged stands. We also planned to reuse 2 of the 3 tanks and the sump. Same went for all our ball valves, but we wanted to take the opportunity to replace the check valves as there were several years old. Lastly, figured this would be a good time to do some tank maintenance items by replacing our dosing pump lines and valves, new T5 bulbs and new hanging cords for the lights.

For the new tank stands, we mapped out the builds to assess what we would need and picked up some items at our local Home Depot and LFS Sea Escapes:

  • 8 legs per stand
  • 8 cross beam supports
  • Plywood top and bottom (for shelving)
  • Pond liner – we use this under the tanks on top of the stands to protect the wood
  • Hex based deck screws to avoid rusting and stripping of the screw heads
  • 1 – 40 gallon Lowboy frag tank
  • 1-1/2” Bulk head with slip for drain
  • 1” Bulk head with slip for inlets

For plumbing, we knew we would be doing 1” inlets and 1-1/2” drain lines. Here is the list from Home Depot:

  • 12’ – 1” and 1-1/2” PVC pipes
  • 1” & 1-1/2” – 90 degree elbows
  • 1” and 1-1/2” unions
  • 1″ and 1-1/2” schedule 40 PVC Male Adaptor MPT – used with the threaded ball valve adapters
  • 1-1/2” threaded elbows for drains off bulk heads

For the Bulk Reef Supply purchases, we ordered the following items:

  • 1” check valves
  • 1” Cepex ball valves
  • 50’ – ¼” Mur-Lock polyethylene RO Tubing for dosing pumps (clear – prefer this so you can see liquid inside the lines to ensure they are working properly)
  • Black Egg Crate 2’x2’ sheets
  • ATI BluePlus T5 bulbs
  • ATI PurplePlus T5 bulbs

From Amazon we ordered a few other items:

This was the list that Justin and I had pulled together to prep for the move. There were several hours spent mapping and planning out the new tank layouts and the list of equipment we would need. Luckily we were able to re-use an older 8 bulb T5 fixture we had for one of the new frag tanks we eventually added and we had some extra heaters to use for transporting the tanks. We also borrowed some 5-gallon jugs from Sea Escapes for transporting as much water as we could.

The last part of the “planning” was to map out the new electrical we would need in the unfinished basement and where we would lay the new tanks out in the basement. There were several key factors we focused on for the layout:

  1. Allow the sump to be fully accessed without having to crawl under a tank. Goal was to ensure easier maintenance and be able to access \ clean the sump easier
  2. Place the tanks where we can walk around them on both sides. For anyone who has seen Justin’s 180 gallon tank, we love that layout so we can easily access the tank from all sides
  3. Place the tanks where we can run the plumbing on one side and still be able to walk between the wall and the tanks for easy access and future modifications. If you are in this hobby, you know how it goes. Start small and continue to grow!

For the actual move, we had to enlist some help from my brother (Hulk) while leveraging the rental truck we had for the weekend move. If you ever have to move tanks, I’d highly recommend renting a truck like a Penske from Home Depot so you have a ramp to walk up and enough room to move around and properly lift the tanks. They are heavy, awkward and wet which makes it difficult to move. The other benefit of the truck is a flat, level surface to set them on unlike the backseat of an SUV with the seats folded down.

Now, we’ll back here soon for another article about the actual move and another to talk about the after effects of the move.