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How to Move a Fish Tank

admin | Sep 08, 2019

Fish are great pets. They don’t require as much constant care that cats, dogs, or birds do. They’re beautiful and soothing to look at. Event the soft bubbling sounds and heat lamp glow of the tank make for a nice ambiance! Obviously, there are all kinds of benefits to owning fish, but there’s also one big downside: moving them. 

Fish tanks are big and heavy. They require filters, water, and accessories… not to mention the fish themselves! Figuring out how to move a fish tank properly, without damaging your scaled sidekicks, is as simple as planning ahead. You’ll need to know how to move the tank and the fish themselves. Luckily, if you have questions about either process, we’ve got answers:

What supplies do I need?

Moving a fish tank isn't as simple as dumping out the water and throwing it in the back of your car. Obviously you could technically do this, but it would be awfully hard on your fishy friends. To move your fish and their tank as safe and easily as possible, you'll need a few supplies. These supplies include:

Large lidded buckets. 

You'll want to get some five-gallon lidded buckets from your local hardware store. The water in your fish tank is pre-filtered, so you don't want to get rid of it. Preserve it so you can use it in your new home to help your fish quickly reacclimate. 

Fish bags. 

Go to the pet store where you bought your fish and ask for the same bags you took them home in. These bags are especially durable and ideal for moving your fish. 

Packing supplies for all the aquarium gear. 

The different parts of your aquarium are sensitive. You don't want to throw them in a box willy-nilly and risk damaging or breaking anything. Make sure you have extra packing supplies like bubble wrap. Carefully pack these items for transport.

How do I safely move my fish?

Moving can be stressful for everyone, including your fish. Help manage that stress and move your fish safely by taking each of the following steps:

Stop feeding your fish two days before you move. 

This helps ensure the water stays as clean as possible. It may seem like it would be dangerous for your fish, but it's usually not. The average well-fed, aquarium-living pet fish can go without new food for 6 to 8 days. Check for information about your specific species of fish online to double-check.

Remove the fish from the tank as late as possible.

Fill the bags you prepared in advance about one-third full with water from the tank. Place one fish in one bag and secure the tops of the bags with clips or rubber bands. If your fish are too large for these bags, use one of your lidded buckets to transport them instead. Make sure you tape the lid shut when transporting your fish.

Load fish into your car after everything else.

You want to make sure that you jostle and move your fish as little as possible. Load them into your moving transportation only after you’ve already packed everything else. Strap the fish in as securely as possible. Make sure you’ve tied everything around the fish down as carefully and thoroughly as possible. Ideally, you want to keep the bags from moving at all. You certainly don’t want anything else rubbing up against or smacking into the bags.

Move your fish in first.

Fish don't like living in plastic bags. The first thing you should do when you arrive at your new home is start unpacking and preparing your fish tank. Make sure the PH balance, chlorine levels, ammonia levels, and temperature of the tank’s water are all right before placing your fish inside. When you do re-introduce your fish to the tank, do so gently with a net scoop or similar tool.

How do I safely move my tank?

Once you’ve safely transitioned your fish into their moving bags, you’ll have to deal with the tank itself. Here’s how you should approach moving the tank, step by step:

1. Save the water in five-gallon buckets. 

This pre-filtered water will help you to set up your fish tank faster when you arrive at your new home. This water already has the ammonia and chlorine levels your fish are used to, so it will help them re-acclimate. 

2. Clean the tank out thoroughly. 

Unplug everything. Remove all plants and accessories. If you have sponges or plants, keep them in separate buckets or containers that contain the tank’s water. Clean, dry, wrap up, and package any tank accessories and decor. Do the same thing with the lights, pumps, and heater. After you’ve removed everything from the tank, clean it thoroughly, dry it, and disassemble it.

3. Move the tank into the moving vehicle. 

Since the tank is so fragile, you should consider moving it in your own car. If this isn’t an option, take extra special care to make sure the tank is secure and safe in any moving transportation you use. 

Set up the tank first.

The faster you can re-acclimate your fish, the better. Make sure you set up the lamp, heater, and filters, and treat the water before re-introducing the fish.

Moving your fish tank successfully will knock one major item off of your moving list. If you’d like to knock a few other things off that list, get in touch with Storage Direct. Our personalizable self-storage solutions take the pressure off of any move.

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