Fragile and Delicate: Learn How to Move a Fish Tank in 8 Simple Steps

Have you ever moved house before and suffered damages to your possessions in the process? Even wooden items can become broken victims of careless handling, let alone glass and plastic items.

Keeping this in mind, your next house move may be filling you with dread because you happen to own and treasure your living room’s centerpiece – your fish tank. Learn about how to move it safely in eight simple steps, for the sake of both the tank and your fish.

Plan and Prepare

Gather everything that you will need to move the tank and also try and make the moving of your fish tank one of the very last things that you will do before you move. This is to minimize the length of time in which you will take the fish out of their territory. You will need things such as bubble wrap and/or packing paper, packing boxes, a siphoning hose, fishing nets, and some large buckets.

Put Your Fish on a Fast

Stop feeding your fish one to two days before you move. This is to ensure that they will no longer be producing waste when it is time to move. Most fish can survive two to three days or more without food, (water is a totally different case), and so you do not have to worry about them. Make sure to do your research, however, into how long they will last and if there are any special conditions at play. Sites like The Beta Pet can help you with some of the more exotic fish. If you do your research, they will not die.

Go Fishing in Your Tank

Using the nets, get the fish out of the tank and put them in clean buckets (or plastic bags if they are small fish) filled with water. If possible use spill-proof lids. Do not overfill the buckets with water. Two-thirds full will be appropriate. You can poke small holes in the lids for air.

Remove Everything From The Tank

Unplug the tank and remove all the accessories, decorations, plants and tank equipment. Place the live plants in buckets of water. Use the water from the tank for this. Make sure that you keep the tank’s filter damp during the move. For the other accessories and equipment, dry and pack them well. Use packing paper and bubble wrap to wrap them before you put them in boxes.

Drain Your Tank

Make use of the siphon hose to empty the water out of the tank and into clean, opaque, water-tight containers – five-gallon buckets are recommended. Don’t dispose of this water. This is because it is better to refill the tank with it than to use fresh water. This lessens the strain on the fish in adapting to the new environment. Fish are easily stressed when they are taken out of environments that they are familiar with. Make sure that the tank is totally dry after draining because even tiny amounts of water can cause the bottom to crack or shatter.

Pack the Tank and Move

Pack the lid of the fish tank in bubble wrap and the body of the tank itself in a box. Stuff it with foam or paper, or wrap it in a moving blanket or furniture pad. If you have a large tank, you may need to disassemble it right down to its basic elements. From here, you are ready to go. Make sure that it will be safely transported to your new place. To boost your confidence in its safe transportation, you can employ the services of professionals like Artisan Movers. Visit us at

Set Up the Tank

When you get to your new place, position your tank in its new space (reassemble it if you had disassembled it), set up the accessories, refill the tank with the water you had removed from it and put back the plants and decorations.

Put the Fish Back In

When the tank conditions are right, net your friends out of their transportation containers and carefully release them into the tank. If you had used plastic bags to ferry them, drop the plastic bags into the tank and when the temperature of the water in the bag becomes like that of the water in the tank, you can let them swim out. Wait for at least one hour before you switch on the tank’s heater. This is to give the water time to equal the temperature of the room.

Once you get to your new place, make sure that your fish tank is the first thing that you set up. Remember that we are out to limit the amount of time that the fish are away from their home. Finally, keep checking on your fish afterward to see how they are faring.

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