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Tips For Moving a Fish Tank To a New Home

When you brought your fish home and set them up with their gently trickling filter, their fake-but-flowing ferns, and the soft glow of the heat lamp, you imagined the low-maintenance relationship you and your finned friends would have going just perfectly.

And then, you decided to move.

Moving with pets who need to stay submerged in water is a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Here are our tips for moving your fishy friends to your new home with as little hassle and stress as possible.

You’ll need some supplies

  • Ease the transition by reusing your existing tank water as much as possible. You’ll need enough unused, clean 5-gallon buckets and lids to hold most of your tank water for transport. This will allow you to set the tank up immediately without a delay to treat water.
  • Stop by the pet store for small plastic bags- one for each of your fish. Since these bags are made specifically for aquatic creatures, they won’t have any residues that could harm your fish and will be durable enough to make the trip.
  • Secure clean packing supplies for all of the pumps, nets, heaters, gravel, and other items from the tank. This will save you from needing to clean everything again. Organize everything in a way that will be easy to unpack when you arrive!
  • Examine your tank: is it solid enough to make the trip? If you are working with professional movers, they may be able to crate the tank for safe transport. If you are doing it yourself, consider transporting the tank in a car rather than a moving truck to prevent damage.

Prepare your fish friends

First and foremost, plan accordingly to pack your fish last and unpack them first!

  1. Drain about half of your tank water into the buckets while the fish are still in the tank.
  2. Grab your bags and fill each ⅓ with tank water, then use your net to put a single fish in each bag and seal it with a rubber band. Keep a large pocket of air at the top.
  3. Put the fish together in a cooler, and close the lid. This will help keep the water at temperature, and the dark will keep the fish from being too stressed.
  4. If you are traveling a long way, bring your fish to the pet store and have them fill the bags with pure oxygen for the journey.

Moving the tank itself

Moving a fish tank is bound to be a challenge, but with a few friends and a lot of new bubble wrap, you can do it. Once everything is out of the tank, wrap it securely in bubble wrap and tape the wrap in place. If you don’t have a secure lid, also cover the top of the tank with wrap.

Then, protect the tank further in moving blankets. Lift it from the bottom and keep it oriented as flat as possible, and do your best to move it in as few steps as you can. Set it up first thing on arrival! Your fish need to get to their new home and settle in.

Once you fill the tank with your plants, filter, and the buckets of water, let your fish float on top of the water for a few hours to equalize the temperatures and reduce the shock. Give them a little pep talk about your new life together, and then set them free in their new home. Keep in mind, it may take them some time to acclimate – just like you.

Prefer to have someone else do the heavy lifting? Let Unpakt give you a moving quote so you can focus on your fish.