How to Move an Aquarium When Moving Houses?

Moving an aquarium and all its contents when moving houses can be a daunting task, which is why we have especially developed this guide to help you plan your move accordingly.

We will also be sharing some useful tips to help you keep your pets safe during the moving process.

So let’s get started!

Steps to Move an Aquarium When Moving Houses

Moving an aquarium when moving houses doesn’t have to be difficult if you carefully follow all the steps mentioned in this section.

As long as you are attentive and have done due diligence in planning your move, nothing can go wrong!

Step # 1: Gathering All Your Equipment

It would be best if you gathered all your equipment needed to successfully move your fish tank at least a week before the day of the move.

Give yourself a week’s time to make sure all the things that you need have been arranged. You will need:

  • Fishnets
  • Siphon hose to remove water from the tank
  • Containers to transport aquarium items – such as clean buckets, plastic tubs with lids, Styrofoam containers, or fish bags with rubber bands
  • Air pump/Vacuum
  • Packing tape/duct tape
  • Waterproof tape
  • Cardboard moving boxes
  • Bubble wrap or other forms of padding
  • Tarp

Step # 2: Preparing for the Aquarium Move

You must keep in mind that your duty is not to just export your tank from your old place to the new one but also ensure that a hospitable environment is created for your fish as soon as they reach your new home.

Ensure that you place your aquarium somewhere where the surface can support it. It will help if you put it near an electrical supply for the tank filters and lights to work.

Ensure you set up your aquarium in a place where it will get an ample amount of light, not in a dark corner.

Check the water supply at your new house prior to the move. Compare the pH levels and alkalinity of water with your old location.

The environment in the tank is extremely important for your fish to survive. At least two weeks before the move, change the water in your aquarium by 25% and vacuum it using a wet or a dry vacuum.

Step # 3: Emptying and Packing Your Aquarium

This is, by far, the most essential step for moving day! You should be extra careful while handling your fish when emptying your tank since they are sensitive, little creatures that can quickly get hurt or stressed.

Avoid feeding them for 24 hours before the move.

Before you begin, lay down the tarp on the floor near your aquarium, so your floor doesn’t get damaged.

Unplug all heaters, pumps, and filters from your aquarium. Remove all decoration pieces from your fish tank. Then, wash and dry them up using a towel.

Next, fill some buckets using tank water by sucking it with the siphon hose and add your plants to those buckets.

Now, transfer the fish. Whatever type of containers you are adding your fish to, fill them up with around two-thirds of water from the tank and one-third of air.

Carefully retrieve your fish from the tank using a fish net and place them in their containers.

Ensure that the lids on your containers have holes for the fish to breathe and are secured tightly in place using waterproof tape. Keep your fish at their ideal temperature till you move them.

Once the fish are out, drain all the water from the tank. Scoop out the gravel and store it into bags.

Keep it wet to protect essential bacteria. Clean and dry the aquarium thoroughly. You may also vacuum it to ensure no dirt remains.

Wrap the tank and the decorations in bubble wrap or padding and transport into cardboard moving boxes.

Place small rocks to ensure that your aquarium won’t move inside the box when someone picks it up. Label your boxes and keep near your fish to avoid losing the boxes in the other clutter.

Step # 4: The Big Move

With everything packed, it’s time for your aquarium and fish to make the move. Load your cardboard boxes on to the moving vehicle.

Make sure you have labeled them as fragile. Cover the boxes with blankets or other extra protective padding.

The containers containing the fish and plants must not be placed under direct sunlight during the move.

Overheating of water can occur, which can severely harm your scaly pets and tiny plants.

It is recommended that you keep your fish containers with you in an air-conditioned vehicle during the move so the water stays cool, and you are able to pay attention to them after every few intervals.

If the weather on your moving day is extremely hot or cold, avoid moving your fish and tank. Reschedule the move for another day.

Step # 5: Reassembling the Aquarium at the New Location

Once you reach your new home, you must start setting up your aquarium right away. It is not safe to let your fish and plants stay in containers for too long.

Set up your tank before you unpack anything else. Gather the fish and plant containers as well as the boxes with your tank and decorations near the new location of your aquarium.

Carefully unpack your tank and set it in a bright corner nearby an electrical supply. Make sure it is not damaged during the move.

If you are setting the tank up on a table or piece of furniture, make sure its foundations are sturdy and firm.

Once you have set up the tank, add the gravel and pebbles. Place all the decorations and plants beautifully.

Attach the heater, pump, and lights. It’s now time to fill in the tank with water. If your move was a short one, use the same water you filled up in buckets back into the tank.

If you feel like the water has been contaminated, fill the tank up with fresh water. Ensure the water is de-chlorinated, and the pH and ammonia levels are back to normal before you add your fish.

Once the water reaches the ideal room temperature, it’s time to add your fish! Using fishnets, carefully transfer your fish from containers back into the tank.

Pro tip: If you transported your fish in fish bags, place the bags directly in the tank, so the fish get some time to settle down in the new water environment.

Wait for 1 to 2 hours before turning on the heater and pump. This gives ample time to the water to settle down.

Step # 6: Monitor Your Fish

Once your fish are all set, you must observe them.

Over the next few days, monitor your fish for any signs of distress or unusual behavior.

It’s typical for fish, just like any other pet, to take some time to get acquainted with the new environment.

Useful Post-Moving Tips for Moving a Fish Tank

Here some tips to keep in mind once you have moved the aquarium from one place to another.

Don’t Feed Your Fish Immediately

It’s best not to feed your fish until 24 hours after the move. It’s important to let them get used to a new environment first.

If any of your fish does not eat for two or more days, do not worry. It’s a normal reaction, and your fish is probably suffering from post-moving stress.

Keep Checking the Tank Frequently

For a few days, keep checking the aquarium frequently to see if it is functioning correctly. Ensure all heaters, filters, and pumps are running smoothly.

Keep monitoring the temperature of the tank daily and re-adjust the heater accordingly. Watch out for ammonia and nitrate levels. Take necessary actions if it is too high or too low.

Keep an Eye on Your Fish

In addition to monitoring your fish’s behavior, check if they are showing any signs of sickness.

You will have to watch very closely but doing so is crucial for the survival of your scaly pets.

Visit New Pet Stores and Vets in Your Area

If you have moved to a new town, city, or a place where your previous pet store and vet aren’t accessible anymore, go out and look for your new options.

See what your local pet store has to offer for your fish. See if they have the products you previously used to maintain your tank.

Please get to know the pet store experts as they might be able to help you get what you need.

It would help if you also looked for vets in your area.

Research on the best ones available in your locality and make an appointment to see them if your fish display signs of unusual behavior or sickness.

Final Words

The trick about moving an aquarium from one place to another is adequate planning.

If you plan each and everything before taking any action, moving a fish tank can be an effortless task.

We hope that this article has given you some useful tips to make your moving day as easy as possible, especially for your fish!

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