Moving an aquarium is a bit more complicated than moving most of your other belongings. Aside from just the pure large size, there are also live animals, your beloved pet fish, to worry about.
We’ve put together some tips to help you get an aquarium ready for a move.
First, remove the fish. You can put them in a smaller aquarium, like small fish bowl, for short travel distances. You can also put them in thick sturdy plastic bags, similiar to how you buy fish from a pet store. Be sure to fill the bag half with water and leave hald full of air. The fish still need air to breath! Professional movers won’t move live animals, so you’ll want to bring them with you when travelling your to new house. Don’t feed your fish – they won’t eat because of stress and the food with just contaminate the water. It’s a good idea to put an air stone in the fish bag, and keep the bags in a shallow box surrounded with towels to keep it, and the temperature, steady.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but if you are not moving long distances, it’s better to leave a little bit of water in the fish tank. There is a careful balance of bacteria that are important for the health of your aquarium and your fish. Draining the tank risks killing off those bacteria. If you are moving long distances, you’ll want to completely drain, clean and dry the fish tank. You’ll have to treat it as a completely new tank at your new location and start the process from scratch.
Take out any decorations or fish habitats like rocks and fake corals and trees. Take out the filter, pump and any other equipment, cleaning them and wrapping them carefully in bubble wrap.
You should bring the empty aquarium along with you for the ride to your new house, especially if you are moving a short distance and still have a bit of water in the bottom. That way, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on it, making sure the water doesn’t slosh around everywhere. A reputable moving company wouldn’t want to risk your other items getting wet.
If you are moving long distance, put the aquarium in a tightly fitting box, using lots and lots of bubble wrap, packing tissues and other moving supplies. Be sure to fill the inside of the aquarium with packing materials as well. It’s important to keep it as snug in the box as possible. The more shifting around, the more likely something will go wrong. Don’t forget to label this box as FRAGILE on every side of the box,
When arriving at your new destination, treat the tank almost as if it’s brand new. Put any rocks and decorations back in first. Let the filter do it’s job for a while before adding your fish back in. Keeping the fish in the bag, so as to acclimatize it to the water temperature, put the toughest fish in first and see how it adjusts. Then slowly continue adding in your other fish. Leave at least a week for filtering if you just completed a long distance move.
photo credit: yarwood via flickr