No one likes to move glass much less a large and fragile glass item such as an aquarium. Besides the literal move of the aquarium, the second hardest part is moving the fish with hopes that they all survive the move. As with everything else, moving an aquarium whether big or small requires a great strategy and lots of patience. The bottom line is that it can be done especially if you follow some of our methods.
If you have moved your aquarium before and have lost a few fish along the way, then one of the reasons could be the lack of oxygen in the water. The first rule in moving an aquarium is to avoid feeding your fish days before you move them. You want to do this because it would ensure that the fish digestive system is cleared way in advance so as not to contaminate the water. There is no need to worry because your fish would not be hungry or starve for that matter.
One has to remember that fish usually excrete when they are under tremendous stress, and heavy excretion in the water can deprive the fish from getting oxygen which they need. Once you have waited a few days, your next step would be preparing to move the fish into bags filled with water. The best place to store your baggies of fish is in a Styrofoam cooler preferably a new one.
The amount of fish that you have in your tank would determine the size of the cooler that you should get. You want to have a cooler that would fit all the fish without stacking the bags on top of each other. Bags should be sealed tightly either with rubber bands or you can use one of the bags with the zippers. You should also try to get a few extra bags so that you can package other items from the aquarium. One of these bags should hold the filter which should also contain water from the aquarium as well as some air, the latter which would lock in bacteria cultures which are necessary for your fish.
The same procedure for the filter should be applied to any aquarium decorations that you may have. As you fill up your bags with fish, ensure that you are grouping them by species and that there is enough water to cover them up fully, especially when you lay them in the cooler.
Experts would advise you that when moving, the aquarium should always be the last thing to go. Once the aquarium is empty, then you have to get it ready for transportation from one destination to another. The aquarium should be well padded so as to avoid any accidents while the temperature in the cooler which is housing the fish should be constant.
If you are moving during the fall and winter seasons, then it would be best to purchase heat packs. Even during sunny days, the cooler should not come in contact with direct sunlight. Those who are relocating out of town or a great distance should never leave the cooler in the vehicle overnight nor should they leave the fish in the baggies more than two days without letting in some fresh oxygen. This can be easily achieved by opening the bags and then closing them allowing enough time for new air to seep in.
Of course an oxygen pump would also help the situation a great deal. You should immediately set up your aquarium as soon as you get to your new location. There you would add new water to the tank and re-install the filter and let it sit for a while before adding the fish to the tank in a slow fashion. By submerging the baggies with fish into the new water in the aquarium for close to 10 minutes, you are ensuring that the temperature in the tank is similar to what is in the sealed bag.
As you open the bag, pour a few cups of water from the tank into the bag before you fully release the fish back to their familiar surroundings.
Back to Moving Guide.Written by Margarita Hakobyan
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