Tips on Moving Home with Your Tropical Fish

Posted on: 11 June 2015

Moving home can be stressful especially if you have tropical fish to move too.  Here are some tips to help you relocate your fishy friends and their tank safely.   

Moving your fish tank

First of all, never try to move your fish in their tank.  Fish tanks are not designed to withstand the rigours of being moved while containing water.  The glass or Perspex sides of the tank will move under the weight and shifting pressure of the water inside, and will certainly leak, if not collapse altogether in transit.

Remove the fish and empty the tank of water, gravel, plants, ornaments and anything else you have in it.  Ask your removalist company for a suitable box in which to safely transport the tank.  Wrap the tank up securely in bubble-wrap and blankets to prevent damage, and make sure it can't slide around inside the box. Label the box clearly as 'fragile' and make sure the removal company places it somewhere safe in the van, the right way up.  Alternatively, transport the tank to your new home in your car if you have room.

Save a small amount of water from the tank in which to transport any biological filter media and plants. These will be quite happy in a bag, just make sure it's well-sealed so that it can't leak in transit. It's important to keep the filter immersed in tank water to preserve the bacteria colonies that exist within it. This means that you won't have to restart the filter all over again when you re-fill your tank, the water quality will be stable, and your fish won't become unnecessarily stressed.

Turn the tank's heater off at least 20 minutes before you empty the tank and pack it up to avoid the risk of the element cooling down too quickly and the glass cracking. Wrap the heater up well in bubble-wrap, label it clearly as 'fragile', and place it somewhere safe.

Moving your fish

Fish regurgitate food when stressed so don't feed them for 24 hours before you move them. This will also minimise potentially harmful waste in the transport container.

The safest way to transport fish is in special polythene bags which can be obtained from your local aquarium supply shop. You'll also need some strong elastic bands to seal the bags with. Your fish will need an air supply during transit so only fill the bags half way, and make sure that there is a large air pocket left in the top half of the bag. Use tank water to fill the bags and double-bag to reduce the danger of leaks. Transport your fish in pairs so that they aren't overcrowded.

Place the bags in a polystyrene travel box. You can obtain one of these from your aquarium supply shop.  Make sure you label the boxes clearly, 'live fish' and 'this way up'. If at all possible, transport the fish in your car where you can keep an eye on them rather than in the removal van.

When you arrive at your destination

When you arrive at your new home, try to set the fish tank up as quickly as you can. You'll need to add dechlorinator to the water as if you were setting up a new tank from scratch, and make sure that the water is at the correct temperature before putting your fish in it.

Monitor your fish closely for the first week to make sure they aren't showing any signs of disease or stress following their move. It's a good idea to add a proprietary aquarium tonic to the water to be on the safe side.

Moving your fish can be a painless procedure if you plan ahead. Make sure you have everything you need well in advance, and brief your removalist company if the fish are to be transported on their van. For more tips, contact companies like City West Removals And Storage.