How To Move A Fish Tank

How to move a fish tank

Key steps when moving a Fish Tank or Aquarium: Moving home is one thing. Moving pets can be an added plot twist. Relocating an entire aquatic world takes some advanced consideration.  Cats and dogs live in your home.  Fish live in their home, within your home. Their requirements are significantly different.  Therefore, you want to spend a bit of time getting your head around the stages of the process. It’s not just the transportation of the tank, but the individual fish, plants, and all the materials involved.   Consider these five stages to ensure your fish and their aquatic world are fully accounted for each step of the way. 

1. Get stocked up for Operation Empty Tank: Aquarium removal kit

To empty the tank, you are going to need various key items to make sure you can easily transport all that it contains.  Fish, plants, decorations, stones, and pumps are all going to have to be carefully stored for transit.  Luckily, we have a system for that.  Check and see if you have these items around, and if not, go and purchase them in advance.      

Buckets or plastic bags or containers for fish: Small fish can be moved in plastic bags secured firmly at the top with a twist tie, provided you will only travel a short distance (an hour or less). You could also use small plastic containers with lids. For larger fish and/or longer moves, you’ll want to use clean, 20-litre containers with lids. It is recommended to use food-grade plastic containers for transporting fish and to be aware not to use harsh dish soaps in these containers as they can damage the fish.

Buckets or containers for plants: Use the water from the tank for transporting your aquatic plants, and make sure they are fully submerged.  Plastic containers with lids are going to be helpful if you can move and unpack quickly. Again be mindful with the detergents you use so as not to introduce harsh chemicals into their ecosystem. 

Fishnet: A useful tool for moving fish from their tank to their means of transport and back again.

Aquarium Siphon pump: For removing water from the tank.

Other packing supplies: You will need gaffer tape, and other packing supplies. Cardboard and plastic boxes, air-filled plastic padding, bubble wrap, even cushions and blankets.  Save packaging in advance for the big day. 

Remember, you will also need to have a box ready for all the other aquarium equipment that is outside of the tank.  Allocate a box for fish food, water de-chlorinator and all the various bits and pieces needed to keep your aquarium thriving. 

2. Moving your fish 

Firstly, moving the fish themselves is important, so you can deconstruct the aquarium for removal.  This is the most stressful part for the fish, as they do not like being moved out of their environment.  Often fish can suffer from a change of water in their tank, so it is important to do this very carefully. Consider your moving schedule, plan to remove the aquarium last, and set it up in your new place first. This reduces the time the fish are in transit and the stress they may encounter.  Secondly, use the water from the aquarium for their travelling containers, as this is preferable for them.  If you have large containers, you can put several fish together, which will be more normal for them.  Finally, don’t feed the fish 24 hours before the move, as this will keep their water clean through the transportation process. 

3. Preparing the tank for transportation

Once the fish are out of the tank you can begin the next stage of the process.  The existing tank water is important, so don’t lose that in the process. 

    • Move the plants into their transport containers and leave air at the top.  Seal the containers, so they are transport ready. 
    • Store the remaining water you siphon from the tank, so you can set it up again swiftly when you arrive in your new location.  Use a large sealable plastic box, water butt, or similar container. 
    • Clean your decorations and paraphernalia from fish world.  Be careful with detergent soap, and pack them so they are safe.
    • Remove the pebbles, sand, stones, and rocks from the tank and store them in a sealable container. 
    • Wipe down the tank and dry it completely.
    • Store any other equipment from the tank safely, and label everything so it is easy to restore order to your waterworld upon arrival. 

4. Packing Your Tank

Damage to your aquarium during transit is going to be a complication to avoid. If the aquarium cracks or is damaged, it’s going to be a disaster for your fish.  Therefore, careful packing at this stage is crucial.   This is where bubble wrap, plastic padding, and towels are going to be very important.  Here is a staged guide to this part of the procedure: 

  • Remove the lid and wrap in bubble wrap and secure with tape. Use extra towels to pad out the lid in transit. 
  • Wrap the tank in bubble wrap and place in a packing box.  Fill in the edge spaces with bubble wrap, polystyrene cut to fit, and cushions. 
  • Fill the tank with soft protective wrapping or towels.  
  • Label the box that the aquarium tank is in, so it is clear which side is up and which box it is. 

5. Transportation 

You may wish to take the aquarium, fish, and all associated elements with you in the car, so you can start reassembly straight away.  However, if it works best to have your removals company handle the aquarium, be sure it is clearly labelled so they can ensure its safety.  If you are packing it all in your car, make sure to pad out areas in between boxes so everything is secure and upright. Above all, you want this stage to go as swimmingly as possible. 

6. Re-establishinging your aquarium.

This is a priority in your moving plan.  Hopefully, you know in advance where you want to set up the aquarium and get right on it. If you are uncertain, decide on a room and find the best place there for your friends, and the electrical requirements of their aquarium. 

Firstly, you will want to check that the tank has not been damaged during the journey.  Secondly, begin to rebuild their world with the pebbles, sand and rocks that establish their home.  Decorations and plants follow next along with the original water from the tank.  Thirdly, using the fishnet restore your friends back to their habitat. Use all the water from the containers to fill the tank as much as possible. Dechlorinate any additional water before adding it into the tank. Finally, wait a few hours before turning on the heater and pump.  In this time the water and temperature will settle. 

Now your fish are back in their Neptunian empire you can begin your regular feeding schedule.  Pay attention to any signs of stress and distress which are common after a move.  There are many experts and online forums you can reach out to if you are concerned.  With your fish happily established, your new place is surely going to feel like home straight away. 

Aussie Removals London

At Aussie, as London’s favourite removals company, we have a strategy for every sensitive removal.  There’s no need to surf the net when we have all things aquatic covered on your behalf. Contact us if it’s time for you and all your pets to re-anchor, and we are more than happy to assist.