How-To Move an Aquarium: 120 Gallon Reef Relocation – Boston to Salem, MA

Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Installing a big aquarium or reef tank is no easy task. There is electrical, plumbing, specialized equipment and lots of heavy lifting. Yet, you can take your time and go through all the stages step by step without having to worry about any live fish or corals. Once the installation is complete, the animals are added slowly over the next months and years.

So, once that giant aquarium is full of water and delicate fish and coral with all the equipment running, what happens if the tank needs to be moved?

Relocating an aquarium of any size is tricky especially when it’s big and fully stocked with thousands of dollars of sensitive animals. Not only does the entire system need to be disassembled and put back together. It needs to be done in very little time to keep the animals alive.  Even little mistakes can cost huge amounts of time and without a plan, this project can be daunting.


This move from Chelsea to Salem was for a 120 gallon reef aquarium that has been running for a couple of years.


We start by siphoning the water into 5 gallon jugs and buckets. The rock and corals are removed as the water level slowly drops. It is important that we keep as much of the water as possible so we don’t alter the environment for too much during the move.


Corals, fish, shrimp, crabs, snails, starfish and more are all packed up in bags and coolers to keep them protected during transportation. Although it adds a substantial amount of weight, the live sand is left in the tank for this job to reduce the time of the breakdown.

The filter system is removed, cleaned and prepped to reinstall at the new house.


Once the tank, stand, animals and all the other equipment is packed into the vehicles, we caravan to the new house in Salem. The stand is set in place, leveled and then the tank is set on it. Rockwork is done before the water goes in. All the original water we transported is slowly added 5 gallons at a time. A barrel with 30 gallons of newly mixed seawater is waiting for us at the new site.


Once the tank is full and running, the fish are added back into their new home. The water is a bit cloudy for the first few hours but quickly clears.


6 hours after we arrived in Chelsea this morning, this 120 gallon reef aquarium is has been completely relocated to Salem. The system is back up and running better than ever with improvements made to the plumbing.

Moving a large, established reef tank is not rocket science. But, it can be an overwhelming task if it’s not something you do on a regular basis. By hiring the pros at Imagine an Ocean, you can be sure your aquarium will be moved safely, efficiently and that your animals will be under as little stress as possible.

Call us today for a quote to relocate your aquarium today. 978 884 0187