Moving Fishtanks

Posted on by admin in Moving

Moving fishtanks is a complex and daunting challenge – and one of the most complex of all moving related tasks. Each fish aquarium has it’s own private ecosystem that not only keeps your fish happy and stress free, but healthy. Here’s a guide to safely transporting your fish as prepared by the moving experts at US Express.


Before the Move

  • Change 20% of the water in the tank every day, starting 5 days before the move starts.

  • Don’t feed your fish for 24-48 hours before the move. Fish that have been getting regularly fed well can survive for over a week without food.

  • If your move will take a week or longer, see if a pet store can board your fish temporarily. Make sure to get a signed contract confirming what responsibilities the people at the pet store will take on in order to take care of your fish. There might even be the possibility of packing and air shipping your fish to your new home.


During the Move

  • Save at least 80% of the water from your tank.

  • Depending on how long the move will take, use plastic bags or 5 gallon buckets with tank water to transport your fish.

  • Make sure the bag/bucket has enough air in it for your fish.

  • Make sure to take any plants from the tank and put them in the bags with the tank water in order to keep any healthy bacteria on them alive.

  • Take any remaining water or tank decorations out from the tank to prevent any cracking.

  • If it’s a short move, put the filter media (don’t clean it) inside a sealed, chemical-free hard sided container. If it’s a long move, clean or discard the filter media.

  • Make sure to pack any heaters, pumps, or fish tank accessory with the same care that you’d’ pack any fragile electronic appliance (see our recent blog post for more tips on packing delicate electronic devices.)

  • Move your tank while it’s still empty. Moving tanks while there’s items in it increases the risks of it cracking.


After the Move

  • Make sure to unpack your fish tank first, before all your other objects

  • Replace all rocks and decorations inside the tank.

  • Refill the tank with water that you saved from before the move.

  • Install all pumps, filters, and heaters.

  • Reposition the live plants inside the tank.

  • If the fish are in buckets, you can pour or use a net to transfer them into the tank.

  • If your fish were in bags, let the bags float on the water in the tank to help balance out the temperature between the two vessels. Once the temperature has equalized, you can pour the fish into the tank.

  • Your fish will need time to adjust to the new surroundings. Treat the move the same way that you would if you added a new fish to the tank. Keep a close eye on the water in the tank, as well as the condition of your fish. After a few days, the fish will be able to relax and begin to thrive inside their new home at the same time that you begin to thrive in yours!