ok so I just put everything in the 29 because the water is much better and my skimmer took a crap in the 125. it was a sign that it broke right when I was floating. need a new impeller. have a bank up for now but it's smaller.
the bubble is starting to look good after floating for 30 and acclimating for about 90 minutes. he crawled around the tank for an hour or so and I just helped him into a little hole on top. he started bubbling right after.
the stars floated for like an hour and acclimated 2 hours. one of the stars had a snail hitchhiker that I busted up - maybe should have waited to do that but I didn't want any eggs in my tank.
so the idea is that I will dose bacteria into the 29 for 2 or 3 weeks until the 125 is under control. I know that stars take about a year to starve so I hope to move them in a few weeks when conditions are better and they've stabilized from the trip.
I will buy from Petco online again. their selection is small though. packaging was good. I'm going to post a video soon but there was only 1 heat pad. temps in Cali have been hovering around 80 and pretty warm here today too.
fish came in a box interior lined with a foam box and cover. inside of that was a metallic insulated bag. inside of there was lots of newspaper with a heater pad wrapped in newspaper and taped to a paper plate. heater pad was still warm when I removed it. each item was bagged individually, doubled bagged with thick plastic bags and closed with crimped metal clamps.
I felt there was not enough water in the bags but it seems like everything is ok. I will not be upset if I lose a starfish but as of now everything looks good. I suspect they sent the free starfish as one of them had the snail attached. so kudos to them recognizing a problem and proactively solving it.
hopefully not, that would be sad. this tank seems very stable to me, nitrates and phos are very low. i'll check ph swings this evening, but i keep my refugium lights on 24/7 so maybe the swing will not be that badThose stars have no chance in such a small tank. The fluctuations due to the small water volume are gonna do them in quickly.