How to Move an Aquarium



move an aquarium

We recommend not moving your fish beyond very short distances, (In this discussion, fish includes all aquarium animal life.) because they suffer from the stress. Even with the utmost care, many will not successfully finish the journey. Therefore, we advise against moving your fish.

However if you discover that you want to keep your fish, then the following might help to minimize the suffering and loss fish.

There are two processes to relocating your fish: (1)Moving the tank, and then (2)Moving the fish. Please don’t move the fish in their tank.

1. Moving the Tank

The hardest part is keeping aerobic bacteria alive. Because the filtration system keeps the fish life, what should you do? It only takes a few hours (within a day) without a flow of oxygen-laden water for aerobic bacteria to waste away. If your move requires a drive less than an hour, your bacteria colony may be able to survive. But if your drive is longer than that, you will need to regenerate the bacteria. Remember that you will need to calculate how long it will take to deconstruct, pack, unpack and set up the tank. The total time might be a few hours, and then you need to take the following process.

1. Move your fish into a holding container.

2. Drain away the water from your tank. You should keep some of the water to help preserve the bacteria colony, if the move will be short.

3. Take your tank apart. Aquarium plants might be able to survive quite a while, as long as their roots are kept wet. So it should be possible to bag them with some water and carry it. If your move is going to be short, place your filter medium in a sealed container (It is the best if your container is an unused pail or other chemical-free hard-sided container) without cleaning it. For long moves, either clean or throw away filter media. You can pack pumps, heaters, etc. as any fragile appliance.

4. It’s the best if you move your tank, rather than asking a moving company or professional packers to do it for you.

5. Reassemble your tank at your new place. If you’re doing a short move, it’s preferable to have enough dechlorinated/treated water to fill your tank and get water filtering. Otherwise if you’re doing a long move, you need to set your tank up like a brand new tank, including a week-long delay before putting the fish back in the tank. Start by adding a few fish to get the nitrate cycle set up. After the tank is stable,you can add the fish from your previous house.


2. Moving the Fish

There are three questions you should consider when moving your fish:

・Where should you put them while moving the tank?

・How should you pack them?

・How should you take care of them during a move?


Where should you put your fish?

You have two options:

・A friend’s tank

・A pet store tank


You may be able to use a pet store tank for free (but not every pet shop), and your fish will be fed while you’re moving. Make sure to sign the contract which details what responsibilities the pet store is taking over. Some pet stores will pack and air-ship the fish to you for an additional fee. Keep in mind it’s not cheap to do that, because you will leave your fish there for at least a few weeks.

How should you pack them?

For a short time (a couple of hours) you can put your fish in sealed bags, half-filled with air. If you fill oxygen into the bag instead of air, you can stretch this time span slightly. Put the bags in a cushioned compartmentalized container, and ship by air. This is the same process that pet stores use when they receive their fish. If the fish are larger, or your trip is longer, a sealed bucket is preferable for each fish instead of a bag.

How should you take care of them during a move?

It’s important to keep the water at an even temperature by placing the fish in a sealed cooler or compartmentalized cooler. Fish can survive for up to a week without food if fish has been well fed before the move and usually they are too stressed to eat. Additionally adding food in the tank is not advised because it will degrade the water quality. If you are going to do long trips by car, using a battery-powered air pump and airstone is a good idea. After the move, accustom the fish to the new tank gradually, as when you add new fish to the tank.


Source : Atlas