fish tank with fish and rocks

Moving a fish tank to a new home can be daunting. Fish are sensitive creatures, and sudden changes in their environment can cause a lot of stress. But with proper planning and care, you can pull off a smooth move without harming your aquatic pets.

Our expert fish tank moving tips will help you safely move your fish long-distance or locally. From preparing essential equipment to packing a fish tank to ensure your fish’s well-being during transit, use our step-by-step guide when relocating an aquarium.

Essential Equipment When Moving a Fish Tank

Before packing and moving your fish, first gather all the necessary equipment. Essential items include a fish net, portable fishbowls or bags, a siphon hose, buckets, and additional containers. Having supplies readily available will make the preparation and move more manageable and less stressful for you and your finned friends.

Step-by-Step Guide to Moving a Fish Tank

1. Avoid Feeding Fish Before Transport

It’s crucial not to feed your fish for 24 hours prior to placing them in their transport containers. Fish tend to produce waste after eating, which can contaminate their water during transit. By withholding food, you’ll minimize the risk of water quality issues and maintain a cleaner environment for your fish throughout the move. Healthy fish can live up to a week without food, so they’ll be fine going without food on moving day.

2. Place Fish in Transportable Containers

fish in a plastic bag ready to be transported to a new home portland oregon

Now comes the critical step of transferring your fish to a safe container for transportation. Use clean fish bags or transportable tanks filled with tank water to keep your fish comfortable during the move. Be sure to leave air space! Time your fish and tank preparation for just before the big move. The duration fish can spend in a bag or container depends on their species and size: Smaller, more delicate fish may need shorter transportation times than larger, hardier species.

3. Remove Decorative Objects & Plants

Next, prepare the fish tank by removing items like rocks, live plants, or decorations. Taking out these objects reduces the risk of damage during transport and makes the tank lighter for easier handling. Carefully place plants in separate sealed containers filled with tank water leaving air space at the top. Wrap fragile decorative pieces. Label everything for easy reassembling later.

Related: 10 Tips for Safely Packaging Fragile Items 

4. Turn Off Tank Equipment

fish tank heater and cooler

Before emptying the tank water, turn off the heating and filtration system (heater, pump, cooler, and lights). Each piece of equipment may require specific steps for proper shutdown and storage, so refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let equipment cool down before handling to avoid burns or injuries. Ensure that delicate heaters are carefully wrapped and packed and that filters stay damp during transport.

5. Remove Tank Water

With all items out of the tank and packed up, remove the water from the tank using a siphon hose and transfer it to clean, sturdy, sealable buckets. It’s essential to preserve as much tank water as possible to maintain your aquarium’s biological balance and reduce stress on your fish. The more water you can save, the faster your fish will adapt to their new environment.

6. Remove Any Remaining Substances

Once the tank is emptied, remove all gravel and substrate to make the tank even lighter and easier to move. Gently rinse the gravel to remove debris and grime before storing it in a container for transport.

7. Move Your Fish Tank!

If you choose to move your tank yourself:

-Ensure you have enough help to lift and transport it safely.

-Securely wrap and pack your aquarium using ample padding and insulation.

-Use a sturdy dolly or cart to move the tank.

-Always keep it level during transportation to prevent undue stress on the glass or acrylic.

-Take your time and avoid rushing the process.

If you choose to hire professional movers to transport your fish tank:

-They have the experience and equipment to handle delicate items like tanks.

-They have the expertise to move your tank efficiently and minimize the risk of accidents.

-They are insured and offer financial protection should damage occur during the move.

Related: Why You Should Use a Local Moving Company When Moving

How to Set Up a Fish Tank After Moving

Make setting up your aquarium a priority when you arrive at your new home. Unpack the tank and inspect it for cracks or damage. Place it in its designated spot, ensuring it is level and stable. Install the heating and filtration equipment. Next, carefully add the saved water back into the tank, along with the gravel, decorations, and plants. Turn the filter and heater on and bring the water to the appropriate temperature.

Finally, slowly reintroduce your fish to their tank, acclimatizing them to the water conditions; leave the light off initially to help keep stress levels low. Watch your fish friends closely for the first few weeks to make sure they’re happy and settling into your new home with you.

Priority Moving Can Help Move Your Fish Friends

yellow goldfish in fish tank

Whether you’re moving a large fish tank or relocating a small aquarium, it takes thoughtful planning and execution to ensure the safety and well-being of your aquatic companions.

Our team of licensed, professional movers at Priority Moving Services can take the worry of packing and moving your fish tank off your hands so you can focus on other must-do moving tasks. We are a trusted, locally-owned Oregon mover with almost twenty years of experience moving households of all sizes statewide. We have the expertise to move fragile and uniquely sized objects safely and efficiently. Contact us for a free moving quote! Questions? Give us a call at 503-544-7972.