The Move to 850 Gallons
While I was very happy with my original tank dimensions of 72w X 30h X 48d, I really wondered what the aquascaping possibilities would be with an extreme front to back dimension of nearly 8 feet. I began to theorize as to how to turn my existing tank into one of nearly double in size without having to break down the existing tank and start over. I came to the revelation that this was indeed going to be possible if everything were pre-made to allow a tank exchange happen within a 48 hr period.

The first thing to do was to list all the components that would be affected by this change. I concluded that along with the tank…. the light hood, stand, and closed loop pumps were the most affected.

The light hood and upgrading of the closed loop pumps were the easiest to change since their construction could be accomplished without affecting the old tank’s operation at all. The stand was another story though. I added on to the existing stand’s walls to accommodate the new tank; but, to avoid structural instability of the joining the new stand with the old stand, the stand’s floor joists would have to be replaced. This would have to be done on moving day.

Before moving day arrived, I mixed up over 1000 gallons of fresh sea water in three 450 gal inflatable kiddie pools and made sure that all replacement components were at the ready. The following is a timetable of events for that fateful weekend:

Day one:

I emptied the existing tank’s water into two 450 inflatable kiddie pools and placed all the corals in one pool and all the rock and fish into the other.

With the livestock removed, I disassembled the old tank and light hood.

I began the reframing of the existing stand to accommodate the new tank. Since the new walls were previously framed, dry-walled, and painted, the new floor was the only new construction required on that day.

With the expanded stand now completed, the new tank was fork-lifted into place along with the new light hood.

The most time consuming task of switch day was now started… the connection of the new plumbing to the old plumbing.

The plumbing was sill not finished…go to bed..

Day two:
It’s now starting to resemble a Trading Spaces episode.

Finish the plumbing.

Begin to fill the new tank with the pre-made water and check for leaks.

Start returning all the live rock and livestock to the new tank.

With all the livestock in the new tank and all systems working, it was now time to clean up.

This was a huge undertaking that I do not regret. The increased depth component added aquascaping possibilities unheard of on most systems. There has been tweaking here and there; but, most of the replacement labor was accomplished in that very long weekend.