Packing and moving a fish tank: how to

A beautiful and large aquarium with rare fish and their colorful water kingdom is a true paradise for the eyes. If you have one at home, then you certainly know that it requires a lot of time and skills to keep it nice and clean. But what about packing and moving a fish tank? Wonder if it’s possible and how to do it? We’ll show you easy steps you can follow and relocate your fish tank anywhere! With our tips, a little patience, and with a little more skill, you’ll move it like a pro. And if you don’t have enough time to pack and move both household and your pets, hire professionals. Just make sure to read and understand custom clearance and freight forwarding conditions first.

Plan packing and moving a fish tank ahead of time

Packing and moving a fish tank requires a good plan. Whether you’re moving locally or overseas, there’s going to be a lot of work to do. This is even more difficult because fish should be the last thing you pack, and the first thing you open when arriving at your new home. Your moving plan should include finding the best transportation way, providing a transport container, removing fish and accessories from an aquarium and others. Besides, you need to pay attention to your fish’s condition. They are prone to stress when changing their environment. And if you’re shipping tank’s or fishing equipment, make sure to find reliable customs clearance company.

Find appropriate room to pack a fish tank

The first thing you have to do is to find an appropriate room for packing and moving a fish tank. If your tank is in your living room surrounded by electronics you’ll have to remove them. Don’t forget to unplug all devices and turn off the electricity while draining the water from a fish tank. But, you need to find a corner that isn’t exposed to direct sunlight and has plenty of space. Also, make sure you take other pets away while removing fish from the aquarium. You don’t want your cat to grab a fish!

couple playing with fish
Make sure to find a vast room and corner away from electricity to prepare a fish tank for moving.

Moving a fish tank overseas? Find out how to create a budget for an international move.

Take photos of a fish tank from different angles

This is a very useful tip when it comes to packing and moving a fish tank. Just use your smartphone and take a few photos of your fish tank from different angles. If you do this before moving, you’ll know how to set up everything later after moving! But, don’t forget to turn off the flash to avoid startling fish in the tank. And because fish are sensitive to low temperatures, explore common cold weather shipping risks and solutions.

Choose the best transportation option

When moving a fish tank, you need to find the best transportation way. The most important thing you need to know is, that it’s not safe or practical to transport fish in the tank. Not to mention that professional movers won’t allow them to travel with your household. For local moves, transport a fish tank and fish with a vehicle. Just fill a plastic bag with tank water and place one fish per bag. But if you’re moving interstate, choose buckets. As for the overseas or longer moves, ask a local pet shop to give you recommendations or contact some airline.

Collect the best packing supplies

For packing and moving a fish tank, you’ll need the best packing supplies. Of course, this depends on the size of the tank, but also of the size and type of fish. The following are the common supplies used for packing a fish tank:

  • plastic bags or transport containers for fish
  • fishnet
  • siphon hose
  • duct tape
  • moving boxes (cardboard or plastic)
  • buckets for plants
  • foam board insulation
packing and moving a fish tank
Visit your local aquarium store before packing and moving a fish tank, to find an appropriate transport bag.

Move fish into transport containers or plastic bags

Fish are pets that are prone to stress and illness if changing their environment. This is why you need to put the water from the tank into transport buckets. Besides, experts recommend that you stop feeding your fish 24 hours prior to moving them into their transport container, to help keep the water clean during the move.

The bucket should be filled with 1/3 with water and 2/3 air, or 50% water and 50% pure oxygen. Besides, avoid moving a fish tank during extreme heat or cold, because they react on extreme temperatures badly. Also, follow and check how your fish react to being placed in the transport container. If some fish acts aggressively, pack them separately.

packing and moving a fish tank
Be careful while removing fish from an aquarium. Fish are prone to stress when changing their environment.
Remove plant and accessories from a fish tank

When fish are out of their tank, it’s time to remove plants, decorations, and sand from it. All living plants should be placed in a five-gallon bucket that is half full of water from the tank. But don’t sip freshwater in it! You should place living corals in an ice chest with about 50% water. Then, take out all decoration, clean them, dry and bubble wrap them. And the last, remove the light, pump, heater and filtration system. Place everything into a moving box and label as fragile.

Drain the water and clean the fish tank

After you are done with removing the fish, plants, and decoration from the tank, you have to drain the water out of it. Don’t try to relocate a tank with water in it, because the pressure could cause the glass to break if jostled around too much. Use a siphon hose to drain water. That water should be placed in fish transportation containers. And don’t forget to clean the fish tank before moving! Also, make sure to clean the filter about two weeks before the move.

empty fish tank
Don’t play with your fish’s health! Clean thoroughly their fish tank before and after the relocation.

Pack the fish tank carefully

Now that everything is removed from the fish tank, and the tank is dry and clean, you should start packing it. This is actually easy to do. First, measure the size of your fish tank and cut foam board insulation to size and place it around the tank. This will protect the glass from breaking. Then, use towels or packing paper and fill the tank. Remove the lid, and wrap it separately in paper padding. Use a moving box and place a blanket inside. After that, put the foam insulated fish tank inside. Make sure there isn’t shaking and fill the gaps with bubble wrapping. Close the box and tape it as many times you want to secure it absolutely.

Label the boxes

Once you’ve packed everything, use a maker and label the moving boxes. This won’t take you much time, but it’ll be very useful. Just label all boxes with tank’s equipment, decorations, supplies, fish food, and others. And after moving, you’ll easily know where to find everything and set up a tank fast.

Hire pet movers

Only professional pet movers or pet-friendly airlines will know how to move an aquarium on a long-distance. Consider finding a reliable and professional company to help you relocate a fish tank.

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