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Taking Delivery

By Saltwater Ambitions on

Hey, guys, Happy New Year. This is Brian Howell from Saltwater Ambitions a project brought to you in part by Custom Aquariums wanted to talk to you today about taking the delivery of my display tank the stand and some of the filtration from Custom Aquariums.

Taking delivery of this stuff was much more interesting than I originally anticipated. The delivery took place just before the new year and one of the most brutal weather days of the holiday season.

The driveway had to be cleared of snow and ice several times prior to the truck arriving and even then it wasn't best case scenario. The delivery was made by XPO logistics, it was facilitated by a single driver who was operating a fairly large truck and trailer that had a lift gate. The crate itself was massive and heavy. From the delivery receipt, I learned that the crate itself was 89 inches tall, 85 inches in length, and 37 inches deep. The weight was estimated at about 15,050 pounds. Unfortunately, XPO logistics sent this thing and the poor driver by himself with nothing more than a pallet jack to try and unload the crate.

Fortunately, I was able bodied enough to assist in the effort but if you're ever going to attempt this without additional resources proceed with caution, it's good to have a couple people around even if it's just a spot. The crate was too large to fit on the lift gate without first jacking it up to a height that allowed it to clear the edges. It was probably a little too unstable for safety, a lot less stable than I would have liked but it was the only option we had at the time and we got the job done.

Once the crate was safely on the ground and free of the truck, we put it as close to the garage as possible. As you can see from some of the images here, the crate was too large to fit in the garage in one piece, so we were forced to uncrate it in the elements and move the pieces inside one at a time. If I had one complaint about the process, that would really be it. I wish the items would have been shipped in separate crates so that I could have moved them inside out of the cold and snow, to open them up and inspect them somewhere that was a little warmer and drier. Other than that I was really completely wowed by the process.

The effort that Custom Aquariums put into boxing my equipment up was really impressive. There was a ton of lumber used in the crating between the two by four studs, the plywood sheeting, and pallet materials. As you can see from the pictures, there must have been an entire box of screws used to hold the plywood alone. I will re-purpose those so that was a neat bonus. Everything within the package was padded with cardboard and strapped into place to prevent shifting and overall it was probably the most impressive packaging job I'd ever seen. Needless to say nothing was visibly damaged upon the initial unboxing.

Once the items were inspected and I deemed them okay, the driver from XPO logistics was on his way and really the fun started at that point. My brother, Christopher, and I were able to move the filtration equipment into the build location with minimal effort, the stuff wasn't really that heavy and we were also able to move the steel stand into place. We utilized the piece of old carpeting as a pad for sliding it across the hardwood floor and just a bit of ground work got the job done.

The display tank on the other hand was another story in order to get the display from my garage down into the basement and up onto the stand, it was a pretty major undertaking. I knew that making the decision to go with an all-glass aquarium was going to add to the weight and the complexity of the initial build so the cost and effort involved in it was something that I expected and was willing to accept in advance. I did hire a moving company, called two men and a truck to assist with the move. I paid a per hour fee for their service and I required three representatives in order to get the job done.

We started the move at about 8 AM and finished shortly after 11, so it took just over three and a half hours from start to finish. The three reps from the moving company really weren't able to tackle the job on their own so even though I was paying for the move I had to participate in the work as well. The cost involved in the entire thing was just over $450, if you count the bottle of Ibuprofen I needed for my back the next day.

The display tank itself it weighs in just shy of 450 pounds so the weight really wasn't an issue for the four of us, had it been a straight shot. The challenge came into play with two staircases, a 90 degree corner to navigate, and then really being able to dead lift the weight up evenly onto my stand which is higher than normal, 48 inches roughly, while keeping it evenly distributed on the foam padding between the tank and the stand top.

Overall, I was really happy with the process and the outcome. If I have any advice for future project owners it would really be this; number one, the extra cost and effort involved in using an all-glass tank in your build is really worth it. I'm glad that I didn't go with an acrylic tank just to avoid the the extra weight. The glass looks phenomenal. Number two, I would say, make sure you have additional help with the delivery when it arrives not just when you're moving the equipment you can't count on the delivery company alone to be able to get the package off the truck safely.

Number three, don't try to move the display tank on your own or with just a friend or two. For a large display like mine, consider hiring the moving company with enough resources to keep your tank safe and get the job done by experts without breaking the back of your friends and family. Number four, definitely take advantage of the suction cup offer provided by Custom Aquariums. They didn't ship them with my order and I really wish they had. A good chunk of the battle when moving a large display is finding a safe place to get a good grip. This is completely priceless especially when you're attempting to lift the tank off of a flat surface without a way to get your hands or even a strap or something underneath the tank.

Number five, do everything you can in advance of the move taking down doors that are in the way moving rugs and furniture out of the way. Even something like locking up your pet in a place where they can't trip anyone just because they're curious they want to be involved. I did all of those things in advance and it really saved a ton of time and headache on the big day.

Lastly, enjoy it. Getting your tank delivered, it's truly a lot of work but it's also really exciting and fun. If you can, have someone else available to take pictures for you since you will most likely have your hands full like I did. Anyway, that is what I have for you in terms of an update for delivery. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know, and I hope you guys all have a Happy New Year.

About Saltwater Ambitions

Brian installed a custom 240-gallon reef aquarium as the centerpiece of a remodel in his home, complete with filter system and welded iron stand.

Started in May of 2017, the Saltwater Ambitions project was created to document the journey from concept to reality and beyond of a 240 gallon in-wall Lifetime Aquarium build. Owner Brian Howell has partnered with to showcase some of the features and functionality of the Lifetime Aquarium display tank, Seamless Sump, H2Overflow, Siphon Stopper, and more.

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