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Old 06-19-2018, 05:07 PM
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Moving my 47 Year old Reef tank

So about six months ago our closest friends got a new Grand Son and he lives in Long Island right near where I live. Of course they wanted to see him all the time and they moved to Key Largo a couple of years ago so they bought a condo 60 miles east from my home out on Long Island in wine country about 90 yards from the Long Island Sound. We went to look at their new place and on the way home, I said to my wife. You know, I could live there. To make a long story shorter, we bought the place next door.

OK now we sell our house and after a few months of paperwork, and legal nonsense we go to closing. What Jiboni invented a Title Search and Title Insurance. That is the stupidest thing some Lawyer ever came up with. If I am paying for a Title search, why do I have to pay for Title insurance? Shouldn't the Title Search Company pay for that? Anyway, I was instructed to bring three bank checks to the closing. Of course I screwed that up and shorted them $2,000.00 so I had to find a "Bank Of America" to get the other two grand. Naturally they wouldn't take a personal check, cash, stamps, gold bullion, World Series Tickets or a signed picture of Nancy Pelosi.

As everyone at the closing is waiting for me (It was a Friday afternoon)I take off to go to the bank following my GPS because this was not my normal stomping grounds. After a few minutes the GPS "Lady" tells me You have reached your destination. There was a Bank of America there but it was closed and looked like it was boarded up since the Great Depression. Great, I put in another Bank of America and follow the GPS Lady there in the opposite direction. Now a half an hour has passed and my wife keeps calling me saying how the lawyers, bankers and real estate people were tying a rope to the rafters to get ready to hang her if I didn't get back with the check.

The "Lady" says "You have arrived at your destination". All I see is a Seven Eleven and I doubted they would lend me $2,000.00.
Otis the town drunk comes out of the Seven Eleven and asks me why I am banging my head against the brick wall. I tell him I am looking for this bank. He says it was a bank a few years ago but if you want a Bank of America, go this many blocks here, and turn so many blocks here, then bear right or left and you will be there.

I figured what the heck, the GPS Lady is on LSD anyway so how far off could Otis be.
The bank was right where he said, I run in a minute before the place closes and get the check and fly back to the closing just as they were going to light the sticks under my wife who was tied to a coat rack.

We close on the house and have a week to move out. I run to my favorite LFS and order a tank.
It sits there a couple of days and I rent a 16' truck for two days.
They load the tank on the truck and I drive it out to the new place.



The stand I built a few weeks before out of redwood because it warps less and the color matches my eyes. All the hardware is galvanized steel and it is also glued together with waterproof glue. I purposely built the legs out of 4 x 4s and not sandwiched 2 X 4s like many people do because I wanted to minimize places where two pieces of wood are together because those areas will get water in between and it will never dry, eventually, that wood will rot. This will also go behind a wall so you won't see any of it. The back of the stand (in the foreground) is built of sandwiched 2 X 4 redwood pieces sealed together for strength because I didn't want a support there that would interfere with that space in case I end up sleeping there or storing Oldsmobile parts.



Two days before my actual move I go out to the new place with the truck and drive up to the water at a boat ramp armed with enough containers to take about 40 gallons of seawater.
(I also collected the week before and carried that water out there with the truck)



I am in back of the truck with my 50' hose connected to a bilge pump and I am pumping water into the truck.
(actually the thing clogged with shrimp, hermit crabs and hot dog wrappers) so after a while I had to pump it into containers, then dump it into the truck)
I am actually a lot taller, skinnier and hairier in person, the camera adds 50lbs to how you look.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:22 PM
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AS I am collecting water I notice a State Trouper pulled up in front of the truck. This tall trooper gets out with this befuddled, but stern look on his face. I run and get my Viet Nam Veteran hat on because maybe he is sympathetic to Veterans and I say "Hello Officer". Is there a problem? He says "I don't know yet What are you doing?". I say I know it looks like it but I am not dumping toxic waste or those little tags that say, "Do not remove under penalty of the law". I am collecting seawater. He looks at me and says "Seriously!" For what?

So I figured I could go into the nitrogen cycle, The Ich life cycle, The Cycle of Life or any number of things but I just said I have this fish tank and it uses salt water. (I also told him I test and inspect the water in the Sound but I think he knew I was full of hermit crab poop) He says "Do you have a permit?". I said a permit for what? A fish tank!. I didn't think it was illegal to collect water. He says it is not. But it's illegal to use this boat ramp without a boat or a permit. I knew that but I played myself, or stupid. I said "Really! I just moved here yesterday and didn't know of such things". He said, "Are you finished?" I said "Yes Officer" And he let us go and told me where I can get a permit and collect water.

We drive the truck back to my new house and notice that it was filthy. It looked like I was looking through Crocodile Dundee's socks. It was filled with chopped up seaweed, jellyfish, sand, pieces of worms etc.
So I look for my three diatom filters. I look and I look but I have stuff piled up to the ceiling and I can hardly crawl through my garage.
I had two moving vans bring my stuff here and I brought almost no furniture, it's all my tools, fish stuff, boat stuff, and just stuff.
I find my XL diatom filter and that is the one that runs the worst. I put in the diatom powder and get the thing running. The bottle on the filter clears up so I run it on the tank where it immediately fills the vats with powder.




Normally I would start the filter and pump water into another bucket where it would be crystal clear. But it just kept getting worse.
I opened up the filter and notice the bag is torn almost all the way off the tube that water pumps through. (A diatom filter has a porous bag in it that gets coated with diatom powder that has microscope holes through it so the water gets as clear as it will ever get)
I find a needle and thread and try to sew up the bag. No luck, it still shoots powder all over. Then I get a towel and sew it around the bag. It still doesn't work and the water is horrible. It's 10:00 PM and I am falling asleep so I leave it and go to sleep.

The next morning I wake up and being I am no spring Chicken the only thing that doesn't hurt on me is my left pinky so I go and take two Naprosyn Sodium's or anti inflammatory pills like aspirin. I tell my wife we need more of them because we are almost out. She says, no were not, we have a ton of them. "Let me see what you took"....Sleeping pills. Yep I took two Tylenol PMs which are used to put you to sleep. That's just great. One of the most hectic days of my life and I hardly slept at night and now I took twice the dose of sleeping pills. Today is going to be fun. (The next time I will put on my reading glasses before I take pills.)

The powder settled and the water was clear so I gently took water from the top of all the buckets to where the tank is about half filled.



I drive back to my old house 60 miles away and my Son N Law comes over to help me catch all the fish and put them in vats along with the water, coral and rocks. I gently removed the corals, then the rocks and siphoned out half the water. Now I had to remove the gravel and the water immediately turned to tar. I mean the top layer of gravel was fine but as I neared the bottom the gravel was replaced by mostly mud. There was no hint of hydrogen sulfide or toxic waste and it didn't smell.
My Son N Law is holding up the UG filter plate which you can see is full of mud. Under it was more mud, bristle worms and Godzilla Larvae but no smells and nothing rotten. I don't remember the last time I lifted the thing but it was quite a few years go. Maybe 20 or 30.




I threw out the old UG filter although it was in perfect shape. I bought a new one for the new 125 gallon tank but it was a mistake because the old one was built like a 1957 Chevy which was nice and strong and the new one is built out of that plastic that frozen meat comes in that you throw out with onion skins and bald tires.

My plan was to wash my old gravel in the sea but that State Trooper put an end to that. I can do that but besides the fish I still have an entire house full of stuff to move and remember I am also falling asleep. My alternate plan was to rinse the gravel in water that I was running a diatom filter in but my defective filter put an end to that. Now I have a tank filled with fish, corals and rocks that is about 3/4s filled. I also added a lot of the water from my old tank which really woke up my fish because my old water had a nitrate reading of 160 and my new water reads zero.

I added some of my old gravel but most of it is still in filthy old seawater that I have not cleaned yet. I now found a diatom filter that works but haven't had time to mess with the fish yet. Initially I couldn't find my bluestripe pipefish, Janss Pipefish, bleeny, or hermit crabs and I figured they were toast but they eventually showed up. I have no thermometer except for my finger so the temperature could be 40 degrees off and so could be the salinity. I have very little RO water that I brought from home because there is no water or drain near the tank, that will come later. The tank is lit with a couple of temporary lights that my friend Andy lent me but the fish are wearing minors helmets with flashlights on them because it is very dim. I am surprised my corals are still living. My old water cooled LED lights need a piece soldered but I did not find my soldering iron yet or have a place to lay the thing down so I can fix it. Also, no time.

The fish haven't eaten in a few days because I ran out of food and no matter how much I try, they won't eat Cheerios. The mandarin is not speaking to me because I have not hatched shrimp in over a week and the Janss pipefish is also not happy.
I was scared to look at the tank the day after I threw everything in but the fireclowns were spawning so at least they were happy but clownfish will spawn in an earthquake or on opening day of "Star Wars, Revenge of the Seth" or "Yoda gets a Date".

Fathers Day I left my house and fish to fend for themselves and took my wife for a nice dinner on the water.





The tank looked like this before I moved it. About 20 or 30 lbs of my rocks don't fit but I built a big rock before I put the stuff back in.




This DIY rock is about 15 lbs and is the backbone of the new aquastructure.




mcarroll, grassy_noel, Fudsey and 2 others like this.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:26 AM
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Nice Paul, is it full of water yet
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:35 AM
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No, still needs about 5" of water. But I found one of my working diatom filters so I can filter some of the water I collected that is full of mud and dump it in. I can also clean the gravel. I have to get your refractometer to you if I ever get back to AQ.
You can come out any time to visit. As soon as I get the beach permit I can go off road and collect more water. All the fish and corals seem to have made it and I got my old lights working for now so I threw them on it.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:42 AM
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Congrats on the move. You know I’m following


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:58 AM
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It's finally happening! Congrats on the move Paul.
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul B View Post
No, still needs about 5" of water. But I found one of my working diatom filters so I can filter some of the water I collected that is full of mud and dump it in. I can also clean the gravel. I have to get your refractometer to you if I ever get back to AQ.
You can come out any time to visit. As soon as I get the beach permit I can go off road and collect more water. All the fish and corals seem to have made it and I got my old lights working for now so I threw them on it.
Thanks for your help.
Don't worry about the refractometer, if you need anything from the store let me know I'm working on friday
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:07 PM
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Tagging along after thoroughly enjoying the previous thread. Impressed with no smells or hydrogen sulfide after dealing with that situation in my tank that was just about 10 years old .
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Old 06-20-2018, 09:38 PM
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The tank looks surprisingly good after the move and not having any lights on for a few days, no thermometer, (I still don't have one), the tank is only 3/4 full until I get back to the sea to collect and I only have food enough for tomorrow. I didn't hook up the skimmer yet, UG filter, or the ozonizer. No algae scrubber and about half of my gravel is in buckets in very cold, dirty water from the old place. I found a working diatom filter but I am painting my garage and workshop so I can hang steel shelving from the ceiling so I can't work on my tank. I did get my old water cooled LED light working last night. I can't yet find my soldering stuff so I borrowed one from my friend to fix the thing, fill it with water and get it working. I do not yet have a sink in there or a drain so I cut a big hole in the sheetrock and removed a 4" plug from the main sewer line and put in a 4" pipe with an elbow facing up. Now I can use that for a drain and I can put the plug back in when I am done. I may use that for my RO drain hose if I ever get it hooked up. If not I will have to use tap water.

I know a lot of people have problems with ich, mini cycles or Godzilla larvae when they do something major to their tank but I don't seem to have those problems as of yet. The fish are doing fine and seem to be enjoying their larger home with real water.
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:53 PM
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nice story Paul, good luck with the new tank. Enjoy the new home!
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