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How to Move an Aquarium with Fish In It


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If you are in the process of moving your household, or have done it in the past, you probably already know that some items require greater care than others if you want to move them safely. This is certainly the case when it comes to moving an aquarium.

Unlike other pets, like dogs, cats, and birds, fish cannot be quickly placed into a cage and carted off to your next location. If you decide that you simply can’t stand the thought of selling your current tank, then there are some steps that you must take before moving your fish with minimum harm. Many of these steps must be taken whether your fish are going to be involved in local moving or long distance moving. For international moves, you’ll want to check with customs of the country you are moving into for specific information as some species can’t enter certain countries.

However, before you start this task on your own, you might want to look into our White Glove moving services which can help to handle specialized products such as fish tanks. With this service, you can be assured that your pets will be transported safely without going through all the hassle required to do it on your own.

On the other hand, if you are ready to take on this task yourself, here are a few pointers to get you started.

What You Will Need

  • 5 Gallon Buckets: One of the first things that you will need before moving your fish and tank are some 5 gallon buckets purchased from your local hardware or general store. You will want to make sure that these buckets are new and completely clean. It’s important that they don’t have any kind of residue in them or it could damage your tank’s water. The number of buckets required is based on how large your tank is. The primary goal with the buckets is to transport your current tank water as it takes quite some time to filter brand new water.
  • Masking Tape/Marker: Unless you are one of those people that can easily put things back together off the top of your head, it is a good idea to label all hoses and wires as they come off your tank. By keeping these items bundled and labeled, it will make it much easier to get your tank set up in your new home and will also reduce the stress that your fish have to endure because they are not in their normal element.
  • Packing Supplies and Fish Bags: You will want to make sure that you have plenty of boxes and wrapping materials handy to box up your filtration system, tank accessories and other items. In addition, you will need some sturdy plastic bags to place your fish in and some rubber bands to secure the tops. Although some people feel it’s okay to put the fish into one of the 5 gallon buckets, it’s probably a better idea to follow the lead of most pet stores and use plastic bags.

Keep in mind that if you decide to use our Roadway White Glove Moving Services, these are things that you won’t have to worry about. We will make sure that all of the finer details are handled and that obviously includes making sure that you have any required packing materials. Our packing services makes a breeze out of the extra-ordinary.

Moving Your Fish

When it’s almost time to move your fish, here are some other things to consider. The first is to stop feeding your fish about 24 hours prior to the move. You will want the water to be as clean as possible when you transfer it to the 5 gallon buckets. For the same reason, you will want to change out your tank’s water during the week prior to your move. Finally, make sure that you know where your tank will be set up in your new home so that you can quickly get your fish back into a familiar environment.

Handling Your Fish Tank or Aquarium

Before moving your actual tank, it should be noted that most tanks are glued on the sides and that they are not fully rigid. This means that they must be handled with extreme care or the tank could flex and break. This is especially risky if you are keeping small amounts of tank water inside to keep certain colonies of bacteria, coral, etc. alive and healthy during the move. For this reason, it’s vital that your tank is kept leveled during movement and is perfectly leveled when you set it up in your new home.

If you like to take the Do-It-Yourself route with moving, these tips should help make things easier with your fish. However, we highly suggest that you save yourself the time and headache by letting Roadway Moving do everything the right way.  We have the experience and personnel needed to make sure that your entire move is painless and that includes taking care of your fish friends.

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