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Byron

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Probably none of it, except the containers holding the fish obviously. There are some other important issues here though, so I will mention them.

First, know your home water parameters, namely GH and pH of your source water. Second, know the GH and pH of the tank water the fish are now in. If these are reasonably similar, the fish will do better going from the container you bring them home in, straight into the new set-up. There will be "stuff" in the existing water that you really do not want in your new setup. [I'll be mentioning something else connected with water below.]

Remember, the tank will obviously be completely drained, and absolutely nothing can be left in it (no substrate, rock, wood, etc) because this is almost certain to cause the seal to give and the tank will leak. The tank will be heavy enough on its own, and it is best if you can to have a sheet of plywood under the entire tank so you carry that and not the tank frame. It will take time to get the tank up and running, and the fish need to be in suitable containers so they can survive. If this were me, I would put them in a running tank even if smaller; I do this when I tear a tank down to change the substrate. The fish may have to be in this temporary tank for hours, even a few days, depending.

Now to the water. There are, going from the other thread where you described this tank and had a photo, African rift lake cichlids in this tank, and Central/South American cichlids. These two groups cannot be together in the same tank. Thy have substantially different water parameters (the African must have hardish water, the South American the opposite, Central American sort of middle of the road). The fact that they are now together does not mean they are not being harmed by this (could be the reason the individual is getting rid of the lot). Nor does it mean they are not in serious stress because of just this one aspect. As was mentioned in the other thread by someone, you need to know the species of these fish and where they come from.

The strongest will in fish, as in any animal, is the will to survive and reproduce. Fish will do whatever they can to make the best of their environment when it is completely off what they really must have to be healthy, but all along they are being further weakened and it is just a matter of time. The post I made yesterday about the scientific evidence for the effect the group size has deals with some of this. What is in the species' genetic makeup is there, and it will play out in time, good or bad.
 

Byron

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No, the tank will not be drained. I will be helping the owner drain it and take the system apart. Or my husband will. This appears to be in the owner‘s place of business. I’m grappling with how much of the original water to take home. A credible source says 50% if possible.
I can make that happen with many 5 gal buckets (& lids)

Fine, but I have already explained that the tank water is not advisable if the parameters are close. You've no idea what pathogens may be in the water, and while it is true that the fish would likely carry some of these, it would not be all of them. The ammonia for example is one.

The sand has to be taken out because you cannot have any weight in the tank when it is lifted. Colin will say the same.
 

noobfish

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I am picking this up tomorrow. It has 20-25 South American & African cichlids in a 90 G tank with a 20 G sump below. The husband & I will help the seller dismantle it.
I am bringing many 5 G lidded buckets. Looked into Jerry cans & coolers. Pricey for a one time use.

I would greatly appreciate advice how how much water to bring home.View attachment 142060
That will be a nice setup! Looks like you're in for a heck of a day with tear down and setup. Agree with @Byron and @Colin_T , you really should remove everything, including substrate, prior to moving the tank. Wet sand is heavy! Small plastic flat shovel, like in a kid's sand toy set would make pretty quick work of it, but that beats the heartache of the bottom cracking.

Hope it goes smoothly! Expecting pictures when you get it set up!
 

Byron

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Thanks, Bryon. Should I reuse the sand or get all new?

Given that either will have to be rinsed, plus the fact that you don't know what nasties may be in the present substrate sand, I would buy new sand. Play Sand is inert, and as you are in the USA, you can get the one I use which is Quikrete Play Sand, from Home Depot or Lowe's. There is a dark grey (I have this) and a normal buff tone. This would work well especially in soft water fish species tanks.

Another option is an aquarium sand, and here it would be the choice if you intend a rift lake cichlid tank as they need harder water. Rift lake sands dissolve minerals and can be especially useful if you have soft or moderately soft water (which is why you need to know the GH and pH of your tap water, it may or may not be what is needed, depending upon the fish). Soft water fish could have real difficulty with such a substrate though.
 

itiwhetu

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I would be using everything as it is. Get it setup and then take a deep breath. Then think about improving things if you wish. Remember these fish are going to have had a hard enough day as it is without anymore changes. It is true that everything must come out of the tank before moving it. Why I say take half the water is at the end of the day it will be just like giving the tank a 50% water change.
 

itiwhetu

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There is nothing you can do about the difference in water supply so the fish will have to get used to it one way or another, that is the least of your problems.

Please consider just setting the tank up exactly as it is and then thinking about what you want to change once you have caught your breath and the fish are over their move.
 

itiwhetu

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my sentiments exactly, to maintain their present habitat as much as possible. That’s what’s intuitive to me.

But I am getting confused by conflicting opinions.
Do what your gut tells you is the right thing, it will all work out fine. Any issues can be worked through when they happen, Don't get stressed about it.
 

itiwhetu

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Just one thing with moving Cichlids. I have found they are best bagged individually and then put into boxes in the dark. They will then just go to sleep and they have separation so they won't annoy each other.
 

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COLIN T
I printed up your moving instructions & had a question.
basically, why should the sand be removed? Shall I put in a container & reuse at home?
You want everything out of the tank because the substrate, rocks, ornaments and water all put pressure on the bottom of the tank. This makes it more likely to crack the base of the tank if you hit a bump. By having the tank completely empty, there is less chance of the base being damaged on the way home.

You can keep the substrate or replace it with new stuff. The choice is yours.
 
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FishHobby99

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You want everything out of the tank because the substrate, rocks, ornaments and water all put pressure on the bottom of the tank. This makes it more likely to crack the base of the tank if you hit a bump. By having the tank completely empty, there is less chance of the base being damaged on the way home.

You can keep the substrate or replace it with new stuff. The choice is yours.
Thanks! Your help has been invaluable.
 

itiwhetu

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So not in groups in covered buckets? This guy hasn’t said much by way of specifics.
No, I always bag fish when you move them and always put them in boxes in the dark, it takes as much stress away as possible. If you have a LFS handy they will often have a couple of spare polystyrene boxes you can have and buy some bags off them.
 

noobfish

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No, I always bag fish when you move them and always put them in boxes in the dark, it takes as much stress away as possible. If you have a LFS handy they will often have a couple of spare polystyrene boxes you can have and buy some bags off them.
No time now, but in the future you can get them off amazon. I got 100ct 8" x 16" bags for $10. Cheap enough I've used them just to move fish from QT tank in one room to main tank in the other. Still have 96 left 😂
 

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