I am moving every thing from my 75 that has been set up and running great for almost 2 years. I know that over time the live sand will collect nitrates. my question is this can i clean all the live sand and reuse it and just reseed it with some more live sand or should I get all new sand? I have had a nitrate battle in the tank it hanges around 15ppm in this tank. so what do you think clean it or throw it away. or get more and mix the two?
please more then one person aswer. I am always interested in more then one opinion.
Every tank move I've made (around 12 now) we've just put a garden hose in the bottom of a half filled 5g bucket and run the water until you could see the sand in the bucket. About 3 minutes per 2 1/2g of sand. You may have to carefully pour the water off the sand once or twice to remove the crud. You will see trace amounts of sugary fine sand escaping. This also helps set up tanks that are almost clear at the time of setup. It will kill off most of the organisms in the sand but will quickly seed back from the rock work. I recommend keeping 1g of sand to the side. When you fill the tank with sand pour that 1g bucket over the "clean sand". I've found this to reduce any extra spikes at tank start ups. I bought a ton of equipment for moving tanks about 4 months back when I picked up my 400g tank. Since then I've been moving a tank about every other week for money.
can you go into detail what kind of stuff did you buy to help with moving tanks and reseting up?
First drain off about 20-30g of water into clean 5g buckets. Do not disturb anything while doing this. You want the cleanest water possible.
This also makes it much easier to mess with the tank since the water level is lower.
remove any small corals and bag them. Ask your LFS for about 50 bags and rubberbands. Offer them $5-10 for them and they will generally refuse the money offer but give you the bags to keep you as a customer. Lay any bagged corals in a cooler. DO it just like at the LFS with equal amounts of air to water.
Have a new garbage can or some new rubbermaid bins ready for the live rock. Carefully remove any LR that does not contain any coral or anemones and place it in the garbage can or bins. Place newspaper over the rock and lightly wet it with water removed from the tank. Look for any hitch hikers and remove them. Toss them into one of the buckets. I recommend buying garbage cans on wheels for the obvious reason of moving it about.
When all the rock is removed, corals bagged, or large rocks with coral sitting in buckets finish draining all but about an inch of water from the tank. BTW, if a coral is on a large rock it might be easier to cut the coral from the rock and remount it later. This will save the amount of buckets you will need just to haul a rock with one small coral. With the tank drained down it will be beyond easy to remove the fish that are now laying on their sides. This is much less stressful than chasing them around a full tank for hours, for both the fish and your sanity. Place them in the buckets with the clean tank water. When all are removed and placed into buckets, I then use a cup to fill bags with water from the buckets. I then bag the fish to protect them from being injured from another fishes mouth or spines. Once they are all bagged and in the cooler move to the next step.
Finish draining the tank. Remove the sand. The best way to do so is to use a child's plastic shovel. The kind you take to the beach of course. They are soft, won't scratch, stiff, won't bend, and flat to scrape the bottom clean. Do not drag the sand up the outside of the tank. This will scratch it. Instead scoop it out and place in the buckets, don't worry if you can't get it all. Just relieve the bottom of the tank of having to hold that weight while you move it around. Nothing sucks more than having the bottom fall out a tank because of a stupid mistake of being lazy while all the fish are out and during a move. So skip making a mistake and just do it right. Any sand stuck to the glass can be rinsed out later or the water in the tank will cause it to fall when refilling. Drain off the buckets used to hold the water for the fish and refill with sand. Drain off any water that surfaces as this will add unnecessary weight. Seal with a lid and load into truck.
Disconnect any plumbing. Be careful with bulkheads as they can break out the bottom of a tank if left in and the tank placed on a truck bottom down. I instead put them pointing up in the truck if they cannot be removed for plumbing reasons.
Now attach your Woods 8" suction cups. http://www.powrgrip.com/powrgrip/images/items/n4950.jpg, Nice huh? Lift and move tank.
Decide if you need to empty the stand to lift it. I usually don't. I'll drain the sumps to make it lighter but have had good luck lifting them and leaving chillers, ballasts etc. in place. Disconnect any electrics and box what needs to be boxed.
When at new place move stand, place tank, and set up plumbing.
At arrival rinse sand. Use a 5g half full of sand, place a garden hose in the very bottom of the bucket. Allow the water to flow up through the sand with some turbulence and rinse to clean. You may have to pour the water off once or twice, some sand will appear on the ground. When clean, transfer to another bucket or line the tank bottom. Do not allow the sand to "plop" out of the bucket into the bottom of the tank, this could break it. When all the sand has been treated in this manner the tank will stay surprisingly clear. Add a half inch of sand to the tank, then place any large pieces of LR in the display before adding more sand. This will prevent anoxic spaces.
Stack the LR as best as you can. When satisified begin adding water to the tank. I never ever ever reuse old tank water. The tank probably needed a water change anyways. When moving a tank you stir up all kinds of detritus, why add dirty water back to a system that will get dirty? Lessen this by cleaning the sand and using new water.
Have your water mixed and ready to go the day before. When ready use a small hobby pump and some vinyl tubing. Place the tubing up on the rocks and allow it to slowly fall over the rocks and refill the tank. This will prevent a dust storm and help reduce the cloudiness of the tank. Using these methods has always provided me with a crystal clear tank within 4 hours of set up. When the water level overflows into the sump (if there is a sump) continue filling until the water is where it was when you drained it.
Once it is full turn all the pumps on. Let it flow for about a half hour checking for problems. If none are found begin acclimating the fish and inverts with water from the tank. Do realize you may use up a gallon or more of water. While acclimating the fish place any coral that was saved to large pieces of rock to the display. Add remaining corals and anemones.
Check all electrics for proper function. Check lights. Sometimes bulbs can be damaged just by shaking them. Make sure everything works is it should.
Realize that while acclimating that if you take 6 cups of tank water it will need to be replaced with 6 cups of sea water, not RO/DI. This is one of the very few times you will actually remove salt from the system so don't make the mistake of diluting the tanks SPG.
When all the fish and inverts have acclimated, place the small skiddish animals in first. Allow them to take refuge before adding the bolder fish.
Take your time, plan everything ahead, work at a nice pace. Enjoy what you are doing.
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