A tiny fish in an aquarium.

How to move an aquarium

Are you getting ready for relocation but have no clue what to do with your lovely fish? If the answer’s a YES, we might have a solution to propose. First of all, let’s just say that even though most people never develop a sincere relationship with their little fish friends, it’s pretty safe to say that an aquarium is one of the main points of their homes. Whether it’s because they want to show it off or something else, it really doesn’t matter. We’re here to talk about the logistics. Moving with pets can get messy, and it’s important to know what to do. In the article below, we’ll show you how to move an aquarium without having to worry about whether your fishies or their living space will reach their destination safely. Stay tuned for some quality info.

Are you able to keep the bacteria alive?

We know that this title isn’t the most inviting one. Unfortunately, there’s no other way of saying it. Anyway, this paragraph is concerned with the most tricky part of your aquarium relocation: how to keep your aerobic bacteria alive? If your new home is a short distance away (less than an hour of driving) from your old one, you’ll probably be able to keep your bacteria colony in life. Otherwise, you’ll have to regenerate the colony. If your new home is, in fact, less than a one-hour drive away, please note that you’ll also need time to unpack and set everything up. A total of a few hours will do the trick. Anything above that time limit will require you to regenerate the bacteria colony.

Little fish swimming in the tank

Steps to successfully move the aquarium

Here, we will show you how to move an aquarium (without the fish) in a few steps:

  • Put your fish in a portable holding container – their temporary home while you set everything up the way it used to be
  • Remove the water from the tank – you can leave some of the water in the tank if your relocation is a quick one (like the one we described above)
  • Dismantle the tank – your aquarium plants can survive a short distance trip as long as you keep their roots wet. Also, you can bag them with some water and prolong their durability. If you’re doing a short-distance relocation, put the filter inside a sealed container without cleaning it. Otherwise (i.e., in the case of long-distance trips), clean it or throw it away. You should carefully pack other aquarium components such as pumps, heaters, and everything else like you would pack any other delicate items.
  • The moving part – either move the tank yourself or contact professionals to help you handle the task. And try to avoid local moving companies that seem a bit fishy even though it is the fish you want to transport.
  • Reassemble your aquarium at your new address – if you have had a long-distance move, you’ll need to set up the tank just like the first time (as if you bought it yesterday). You’ll need to wait a week before you put your fish back inside. Don’t rush and put them all at once. Start carefully by adding just a few of your fish friends. When you notice that the aquarium atmosphere is stable, feel free to add all the remaining fish. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a short-distance move, make sure you have enough dechlorinated water with you and start the filtering.
An aquarium set up on the table.

Help your fish cope with moving

First things first, talk to your fish about the decision to move, see how they feel about it, etc. We’re just kidding, of course. Before we continue, remember that there will be some post-move paperwork to deal with. So, here’s a quick tip on how to get that paperwork handled with ease: since you’re a fish lover, don’t forget to notice your water company you’re moving to another apartment on time. You don’t want to pay extra funds for something you don’t use, and you want to ensure that you have water in the new place. Also, contact your gas company, electricity company, and Internet provider. YOur aquarium needs electrical power to run, and the Internet will help you if you run into trouble.

Anyway, how will your fishies handle the trip? There are ways you can make it easier on them.

Renting a pet-store tank

Some pet stores offer this kind of service. You can let your fish chill in the pet store while you set everything up. Some stores even provide the option to pack your fish and send them over via air-mail, although it can be costly.

Pack your fish for the move

As we all know, packing for a move is pretty tough, especially when you need to pack living beings. There are ways you can make it easier. For a short-distance move, you can use sealed bags half-filled with oxygen. For longer trips (or if the fish is big), you should use sealed buckets. If you’re shipping your fish, you can use compartmented containers. That’s how most shippers send their shipments to pet stores.

A pair of goldfish, representing how to move an aquarium.

Caring for the fish during the move

Make sure your fishies are well-fed. A full-fed fish can survive up to a week. Also, fish will probably be too stressed to eat during the move. Don’t add extra food to the container, as it will lower the water quality, and the fish probably won’t even want to eat it. Keep the water temperature at an even level, and avoid significant changes. You can do this by putting the fish in a sealed or compartmentalized cooler so that they keep their cool. Another lousy joke, sorry.

Final words

So there you have it. These were some tips on how to move an aquarium. Hopefully, by doing everything we’ve listed above, you and your dear fish will enjoy a stress-free relocation. Moving your aquarium locally is really a piece of cake, as you’ve probably noticed. Anyway, it’s still necessary to be very careful as if it was a long-distance trip. Good luck with your relocation, and please send regards to your fish in our name!

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