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How to Move a Fish Tank or Home Aquarium

Moving a cumbersome fish tank or aquarium takes a lot of planning, but with the right tools and tips, it is possible to do it safely and without any mishaps.

1. Move Your Fish into a Bucket

Your first step is to move your fish into a clean bucket with plenty of water from the aquarium. If you’re relocating nearby and will be able to put the fish back in their tank within one hour, you can put each fish in its own plastic bag. Make sure that the water in the container is water from the aquarium.

2. Disassemble the Tank

Now that the fish are in their bucket or individual bags, it’s time to drain the tank. If you’re moving locally, you may want to keep some or all of the aquarium water, since it has its own bacteria colony.

Once drained, you can disassemble the tank. If there are aquarium plants in the tank, put them in individual bags with a bit of aquarium water. So long as you keep the roots wet, the plants should be able to survive for a while during your move.

Put the aquarium filter in a brand-new sealed container. If you’re moving long distance, consider getting rid of the filter and purchasing a new one when you reach your new location. Now is also the time to pack up the pump and heater.

3. Move the Tank

If possible, pack the tank in your car and move it yourself. Transporting the aquarium in your vehicle is essential if you’re moving across the country, as it could take a week or more for the moving company to arrive. If you must have the movers carry it, ask them to put it in the truck last so that you can set it up quickly at your new home and get the fish back into their environment as soon as possible.

4. Put the Fish Back In

If you move a short, you can put the fish back in in the tank right away, assuming you retained enough aquarium water to fill the tank and get the filter system started. However, if your move was long, you’ll need to set it up as though it were new. Wait one week before adding the fish back into the tank. It’s also a good idea to purchase some hardy fish and add them first, which will help establish the nitrate cycle. Once stabilized, you can add the fish from home.

If you have a long move ahead of you, you may want to reconsider transporting your home aquarium. Moving long distances can be stressful on fish, and there’s a possibility your pets won’t survive the trip. However, if you’re moving locally, you shouldn’t have a problem moving your aquarium, assuming you follow the advice listed above.

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