6 Easy Steps on How to Move a Fish Tank  - GoShare

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6 Easy Steps on How to Move a Fish Tank 

6 Easy Steps on How to Move a Fish Tank 


Moving is an intimidating and grueling process. So, moving with pets can cause your stress levels to reach an all-time high. Although fish provide peace and comfort in your home, they can be difficult to handle when it’s time to move to a new home.

Whether you’re preparing for a last-minute move or big apartment move, certain precautions should be met to ensure the safety of your fish and fish tank.

Moving a fish tank can result in a total disaster if not done properly, so we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide on how to move a fish tank with ease.

Take a look below at the quickest and safest method on how to move a fish tank.

Step 1: Gather supplies in advance.

Your first plan of action is to gather the right supplies for moving a fish tank. A variety of necessary items are listed below:

  • A siphon hose for draining the fish tank
  • A fish net for safely catching and transporting your fish out of the tank
  • Containers for transporting your fish (plastic fish bags for small fish or short moves, 5-gallon buckets for large fish or long-distance moves)
  • Rubber bands or twist ties and packing tape for tying up your plastic bags and sealing your bucket lids and moving boxes
  • Packing supplies, such as packing paper and bubble wrap, for protecting your fish tank and all of its equipment and accessories
  • Moving blankets for providing a thick layer of support over the fish tank 
  • Moving boxes for storing and protecting the fish tank and other items during the move
Step 2: Prepare your fish before the move.

After you’ve gathered all of the necessary supplies, the next step is to prepare your fish before your move.

You should stop feeding your fish 24-48 hours before moving day. This gives them ample time to digest their food and pass waste before you take them out of their comfort zone (fish can survive for a week without food, so don’t worry!).

Transport your fish with the original water from the fish tank so they don’t experience shock. Begin by draining some of the water from the tank with your siphon hose. Pour it into your plastic bags or large buckets until they are roughly two-thirds full, leaving enough space on top to prevent water from overflowing.

Now, carefully remove your fish from the tank using your fishnet and place them into your containers of choice. Make sure the plastic lids on your 5-gallon buckets are secure by sealing them with packing tape or duct tape. If you’re using plastic bags, then simply tie them up with rubber bands while ensuring there is enough room for air. For anything more than a short drive, at least half the bag should be air.

Remember, in an enclosed bag, the only source of oxygen is what is in the bag. If carbon dioxide levels get too high, it can interfere with oxygen absorption by the fish’s gills. Take care. For longer trips, you may need to use compressed oxygen. Oxygen for fish transport is available for rental or purchase, and is usually controlled with a hose and valve into the bags or buckets.

Step 3: Prepare the fish tank before the move.

Once your fish are properly accounted for, it’s important to pack up the interior of the fish tank.

Start by draining the rest of the tank water into 5-gallon buckets with your siphon hose. You can pour this water back into the tank once you’re settled into your new home, reducing stress for the fish. We recommend storing any live plants in the buckets and submerging in the water during your move. This helps their survival and makes them less likely to dry out by the end of your move.

Next, remove any decorations from the aquarium, such as rocks, pirate ships, shells, rock castles, and artificial plants. Carefully dry and wrap them with packing paper, and then bubble wrap. Afterward, place them into a small to medium moving box with an appropriate label. 

Remove the fish tank equipment and accessories as well, including the aquarium hood,  heaters, chillers, lighting, pumps, and filters. Place these items into a moving box after properly drying and wrapping them. 

In order to prevent cracking or shattering, it’s vital to reduce the weight of the fish tank by removing any sand or gravel. Transfer these particles into an empty bucket for safekeeping, which can later be used to refill the tank once you’re finished moving. Finally, wipe down and dry the tank completely. 

Step 4: Pack the fish tank.

The last step of the preparation process is to pack the fish tank. 

Once you’ve made sure that the tank is completely empty and dry, start packing the glass tank in packing paper, and then in bubble wrap. As an extra layer of protection, wrap a couple of moving blankets around the tank and tape them in place.

After the fish tank is properly secured, carefully place it into a large moving box. Make sure that there are no loose gaps for the tank to wiggle. Then, tape the box shut and appropriately label it “FRAGILE and HEAVY tank” for easy recognition from you or your movers during the move.

Step 5: Transport your fish and fish tank.

On moving day, you’ll want to ensure that your fish and fish tank are transported in a safe manner. 

If there’s enough space in your vehicle to safely fit your fish and fish tank, then a safe bet is to transport them yourself. Make sure they are placed tightly among other boxes to prevent constant shifting during the ride to your new home. In addition, you should keep them in an enclosed cargo space (not a pickup truck) for protection against external conditions. 

If you seek help with moving the tank, consider using an on-demand service like GoShare. GoShare is an app that connects you with movers who will transport your items on demand. Although it doesn’t allow for the transportation of fish, GoShare gives you the option to select one or two movers who own a cargo van or box truck with an enclosed cargo space for your fragile fish tank.

Step 6: Set up the tank after the move.

Find a suitable location in one of your rooms to place the fish tank. Ensure the stand is stable and firm enough to handle the large weight of the glass tank. In addition, it should be positioned near electrical outlets and away from direct sunlight. 

Next, add the sand or gravel to the bottom of the tank. Afterward, place your aquarium decorations back into their original locations. If you’ve been wanting to redesign the fish tank but haven’t had the time or energy to do it, now is a good chance to let your imagination run wild.

Once everything is arranged to your liking, it’s time to install the heaters, filters, lights, and other equipment pieces. Do not plug them in yet. Damage may occur if the tank doesn’t have an adequate amount of water to cover the heaters and pumps. 

Begin pouring the old water into the fish tank and fill it halfway. Then, use the fishnet to catch all of your fish and gently release them into the tank. Fill in the rest of the tank with any remaining old water. If you have run out of it, use dechlorinated tap water instead. 

Afterward, plug in the pumps, heaters, and filters. You should leave the light on for several hours, allowing your fish to get acclimated to their new aquatic home. Finally, cover the fish tank with its hood and let your fish rest at last.

Additional Resources

If you found this article to be helpful, check out other posts for moving help and tips.