All American gives you some tips on how to move your aquatic friends.
Going new places can come with special challenges. One of the biggest is moving a fish tank. Travel is highly stressful on fish. Even with the best precautions, you may lose several. Some experts even suggest you sell your fish and buy new ones after you arrive. However, if you must move your fish, follow the procedures below to minimize your losses.
Moving fish consists of two parts. First you move the tank. Then you move the fish. Never move the fish in the tank.
Moving the tank
The biggest challenge in moving an aquarium is the filtration system. Without a flow of oxygen in the water, aerobic bacteria start to die in a matter of hours. It will take you a few hours to tear down, pack, unpack, and set up. If you move a short distance, no more than one or two hours away, you might preserve the bacteria colony. Otherwise, you’ll need to restart it. Follow this procedure:
- Put your fish in a holding container. (see below)
- Drain the tank. If the move is going to be short, save some of the water to help preserve the bacteria colony.
- Disassemble the fish tank. Plants will likely survive if you keep their roots wet. Bag them with some water and set them aside for hand-moving.
- For a short move, put your filter medium (do not clean it) in a sealed container, such as a new pail or other chemical-free, hard-sided container. For long moves, either clean or discard your filter media.
- Pack pumps, heaters, and other accessories like any fragile appliance.
For a short move, you should have enough dechlorinated and treated water to fill your tank and get water moving through the filter. If you make a long move, set your tank up as if it were a new tank. This includes waiting a week before putting fish in. Put in a few hardy fish in first to get the nitrate cycle established. After the tank is stable, put the rest of your fish in.