Moving an aquarium full of fish is an intimidating process. As you prepare for the move, you’ll want to consider whether or not you’re are ready to take on the challenge yourself or if you should hire a professional mover. If you decide you’re up to the task, here’s what you need to know to do it right and help ensure the safety of your fish.
You Should Know
There are a few things you should be aware of before you make the move.
Fish are very sensitive and delicate creatures, especially regarding changes in their environment. Moving is a stressful time for them too and they are often too stressed to eat. If you do it right, you can preserve many of your fish, but be aware that some may not survive the trip. For the best odds, you’ll want to minimize the amount of time they are out of their aquarium. Pack your aquarium last before moving and set it up first when you get there.
If you have a long move ahead of you, there is one option you may want to consider: Start fresh with a new collection of fish. The chances of the majority of your fish dying during your journey increases the further away you move. Your best option may be to give them away before you move and then visit a local pet store at your new home. If you don’t know anyone who would like to take your fish, try an online classifieds page like Craigslist.org.
Before The Move
When looking at your new home, scope out a location for your fish. Find a spot that is protected from the sun and has access to electricity. Make sure to check that the surface is sturdy and smooth to support your tank.
Your fish won’t want to eat during the move and it is a good idea to not feed them a full day in advance. You want to keep the water as clear as you can. Don’t worry, fish can go a week without eating so you are not putting them at risk by not feeding them.
Emptying the Aquarium
Make sure that you have a siphon hose, several 5-gallon buckets and a fish net for getting everything out of your aquarium.
Use the siphon hose to drain some of the water into the 5-gallon buckets. Only fill them about two-thirds of the way to make sure they don’t spill during the move. Then, catch your fish with the fish net and gently place them in one of the newly filled water buckets. Depending on how many fish you have, you may want to put them in more than one bucket. Please don’t forget any fish.
If you have them, put the tops on the buckets. Make sure that fresh air can still get in. You can poke holes in the top or get an air pump to make sure there is enough oxygen in the water. If you don’t have a top to the container, you can use grocery bags, which will keep the water in and still allow air through.
Next, remove any decorations from the fish tank and dry them thoroughly. Then wrap them in packing paper or bubble wrap. You can pack them in another bucket or just in a cardboard box. If you have any living plants you can put them in a plastic bag with some water and move them by hand.
Drain all the remaining water into the remaining buckets and get as much as you can. Any water left in the aquarium can crack or shatter the bottom when you move it. Remove any sand or gravel at the bottom of the aquarium and put it in a spare bucket to transport.
Packing the Aquarium
To pack up the glass structure you will want to thoroughly wrap it in bubble wrap. Be sure to seal it with tape so the bubble wrap doesn’t fall off. You’ll also want to wrap it thickly in blankets to make sure it stays safe.
If it is a large aquarium, enlist some help from friends or family to move it to the moving vehicle.
As said before, unpack your aquarium first when you arrive at the new home. Ignore all other boxes. Move the tank carefully to your previously picked out spot. Once in place, double check to make sure that the structure and what it’s sitting on is sturdy and intact.
Once you carefully remove all the blankets and bubble wrap, you can put the transported gravel back in. Set up your pumps, lights, filters, and heaters but do not turn anything on. Doing so without water in the tank can injure you and your fish.
You can now put all the decorations back in the tank and refill it with the water that you transported. After the aquarium is filled with some of the water, catch your fish with the fish net and gently set them back into the tank. Fill the aquarium up with the rest of the water. You may need to add some dechlorinated tap water to finish filling the tank.
Allow the tank to sit for approximately, a half hour so that the water can equalize with the room temperature before you turn the heaters on. After that, you will want to check that everything is functioning properly and continue to check on your tank and the fish for the next few days.
It is a good idea to find a fish store in your area. If you have any problems with your fish or tank, or if there is something you need to replace, you’ll know just where to go.
Sound Like a Lot of Work?
Good luck! If that sounds like too much work, call us at 1 (800) 233-6683 or visit your local Massachusetts moving company to discuss hiring expert help. Also, consider downloading our packing guide for more expert moving advice.