How To Transport Fish When Moving: A Step-By-Step Guide

How To Transport Fish When Moving: A Step-By-Step Guide
How to Move Fish When Moving House
Written by Gean Brinker
Removalist Manager & Coordinator

Moving a fish tank is one of the things you need to move out. It can be intimidating and complicated. If you’re migrating across the country, selling your current aquarium may make more sense so that starting fresh in your new home is more convenient and less risky than transporting fragile items long distances.

Relocating doesn’t have to be stressful when taking care of your aquarium — there are great strategies to ensure your fish safely make the transition with you. Let this article guide you through this process with ease.

Step 1 – Take Out Your Fish

When your fish tank storage is ready for relocation, it’s time to take the fish out of the tank. First, quickly remove them and place them in containers filled with clean water. Then, pack your aquatic friends into a car. But, again, avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight or crowded spaces.

Moving a large fish tank might seem daunting, but it can be done safely if you’re prepared with all materials. You’ll need to ensure portable pond pump electricity is available during transport. An aquarium loaded up could burst under pressure.

Step 2 – Remove Decors

After the fish have been moved out of your tank, it is time to pack up decorations—first, clean decorations carefully, using no harsh chemicals. Cleaning with mild detergents will also hydraulically purify them below their biologically active level. Next, rinse them in softened water and dry them well before packing.

Keep your prized possessions safe with the knowledge of how to pack for a move. Place heavier items on the bottom of a box, then wrap all contents in bubble wrap and padding to prevent breakage. Labelling everything ensures you keep all treasures.

Step 3 – Remove Plants

Plants may not look alive, but they are! They deserve to be treated carefully if they’re not artificial flowers or foliage. Choking them with plastic bags or boxes is a no-no, even if you keep the top open.

Instead, it’s best to place plants somewhere that won’t restrict their movement during the move. No plant enjoys being smothered, so be sure not to leave any of your green buddies in a hot car for prolonged periods. They may also require frequent watering on the drive, so consider transporting them in a smaller container.

Step 4 – Take The Pump Out

Protecting your fish pump is essential when moving with fish. First, unplug, remove and clean the delicate equipment gently. Avoid harsh chemicals and thoroughly rinse it before packing. Then, bubble wraps around it for extra safety, select appropriately sized moving boxes to place it securely, seal it, and label it as fragile.

Step 5 – Empty Water

After all decorations, fish, and pump have been successfully removed, it’s time to empty the tank. To avoid any disasters, start draining slowly and steadily. It will also help keep the tank’s filter and other equipment in good condition.

Step 6 – Clean Aquarium

Before transferring, give your fish tank a good cleaning to ensure it’s safe for the move. First, use a soft cloth or scrub brush to remove algae and other debris from the walls of the aquarium. Next, dispose of any water remaining in the tank with care. Finally, rinse the inside walls and bottom with de-chlorinated water before packing. Be sure that all parts are arid before wrapping them up for transport. Read our moving house checklist to have a swift move.

Step 7 – Prepare To Move Your Tank

Once your tank is packed and ready to move, you must ensure it’s secure during its journey. If professional fish tank movers are assigned, they will use a dolly or other appropriate transport device so as not to cause any damage.

Learning how to transport a fish can seem challenging, but it is possible with proper preparation and support from professional removalists. To make transport easier, start dismantling your tank as soon as possible. Additionally, use adhesive tape to mark every glass surface with a significant X identifier to help keep each piece together during relocation.

Step 8 – Pack Your Aquarium

Start by wrapping the aquarium in padded materials, then placing it in a box and filling every space with bubble wrap or scrunched-up paper. When the aquarium is secure, label the container appropriately and mark it as “fragile.” If too large to transport yourself, make sure the movers understand that this is a delicate item needing extra care.

Step 9 – Check With Your Removal Company

Ensure your removal company understands that fish and aquarium supplies are in the box. If they do not provide aquarium removals, they must know their policies and check with them first. Some companies will refuse to live fish transport tank removals for safety reasons.

Step 10 – Keep Your Species Together

When moving multiple fish, be sure to transport them separately. If your tank has different species, keeping them in separate bags and moving them individually is best. This is because different species tend to react differently under stress and can release harmful toxins that could lead to the death of other species. By moving each type of fish together, you can ensure they remain safe while transporting your fish.

Step 11 – Unpack

Once at your destination, unpack and set up the fish tank. First, place the aquarium in a place that won’t get too hot or cold, then leave it for 24-48 hours before introducing anything to stabilise temperature and water quality.

Step 12 – Re-establish Your Fish

Once the aquarium is in its new place, slowly restore all the decorations, rocks, plants and pump. Then, put them back in with clean water and a sample of the old water to help acclimate the fish to their new environment. Leave the tank for a few minutes if it was a quick move or at least one week if it took more than just a few hours before introducing any fish.

Important Notes

When moving a fish tank to another room or house, you must understand the steps your fish needs to make safely and comfortably into their new home. With some preparation beforehand, you can ensure that no aquatic friends are harmed during the transition of tanks.

  • To ensure the stability of your aquarium, make sure its new home has a sturdy and levelled floor that will hold the tank’s weight.
  • An electrical supply should be easily accessible.
  • When transporting large or irregularly shaped aquariums, make sure to plan. Ensure your doorways and stairwells are wide enough for passage, and you have plenty of room in tight corners and landings when using stairs. It will help ensure a successful transport.
  • Ensure that the water chemistry at your new location is optimal by assessing pH, alkalinity, and other essential parameters.
  • Designate a specific day or multiple days for the transport to make the job easier and less overwhelming.
  • When transporting an aquarium, it’s best to check the weather first and take caution in extreme temperatures. Wait until conditions improve before starting your move.
  • Give your tank an extra bit of TLC two weeks before you move. Replace 25% of the water and skim off any debris from the substrate for a refreshed aquarium environment.
  • It is recommended that two weeks before the move, the filter should be lightly cleaned. However, care must be taken not to disturb any biological media in the filter. Thoroughly cleaning the unit could disrupt any existing biological stability and affect filter performance in the long run.
  • Prepare your tank for the move by topping it with clean and conditioned water a day or two before relocation. Ensure at least 25% of your aquarium’s volume is filled to ensure a safe journey.
  • Do not feed your fish 24hrs before the move.

Move the Fish Tank With Professionals

In moving house, an aquarium is more complicated than other household items. It requires careful planning and proper support along the way. By engaging experienced removalists like The Smooth Movers, your brave scales friends, along with you and all your belongings, will make it to their new home with little to no stress.

Careful packing, understanding the most appropriate temperatures for transport, and simply having somebody familiar take over on the journey makes the difference. Get a quote for your fish move today with The Smooth Movers!

Quick Quote Rates start at $120/hr for 2 men & truck (ex GST)

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