One of the key times which any aquarist dreads is having to move a fish tank, whether it’s due to a house move or simply moving it into another room, it can feel like a minefield, particularly when you have taken such care to get the tank set up perfectly in the first place.

The first thing to understand when planning to move a fish tank is that you cannot do it with the fish in place. You need to take the fish out of your tank before you attempt any kind of move because that’s just a disaster waiting to happen and will be immensely stressful for the fish and you.
Fish Tank
Fish Tank
Our friends form Aquacadabra gave us some great tips for making moving your fish tank simpler:
  1. Buy some containers which you can use to safely store your fish in temporarily where they will be safe and unable to escape or fall out. If you have a second fish tank, so much the better. Ideally you don’t want them to be in this temporary state for more than two hours. Any longer and you will need a heater and aerator in place for them.
  2. Start by removing all of the decorative features, while the tank is still full of water – double check to make sure there are no fish or creatures hiding inside any of the items as you remove them.
  3. Turn off the heater and water pump and any other tank systems before you start to remove the water from the aquarium.
  4. Use a siphon to remove the water from the tank – you need to store some of the water to put back into the tank to keep the eco system intact.
  5. Clean the gravel and substrate at the bottom of the tank
  6. Sterilise a dustpan by washing it with some of the aquarium water so it doesn’t disturb the environment and then use it to shovel the gravel and substrate into buckets to make it easier to move and make the tank less heavy.
  7. Fish tanks are heavy things even when they are empty so it’s always a good idea to have people on hand to help you. Make sure you disconnect any leads and power supply first, and tuck all the wires safely away before attempting to lift the tank – you don’t want to trip while moving it.
  8. If your fish tank is going into a vehicle make sure it fits! Pack it up carefully and safely as the last thing you want is to find it cracked or damaged when you arrive at your new home.
  9. Don’t forget you will need the fish tank stand to fit into the vehicle as well, along with all of the systems and the substrate – it’s best to keep it all in the same place so you don’t arrive and find you have left a vital piece of the set up behind, or in another van which will take hours to get to you.
  10. Once you arrive at the new destination, replace the substrate, all the decorative features, the systems and the water and then add the fish carefully allowing them to acclimatise to their home once again. Keep the lights off to reduce their stress levels.
Moving an aquarium needn’t be a stressful experience for you as long as you have a plan in mind for keeping the fish safe while you sort everything out. The fish will be stressed at any change in their environment, particularly if they end up in a box or a bag temporarily, so make sure you plan for their temporary home to be lived in for as short a time as possible.

Make sure you don’t throw the water from the aquarium away – you need to reset the tank up as it was, to keep and maintain the aquatic environment you had worked so hard to create. If you just add all new water it will cause stress to the fish when you put them back into the tank so you need to have a system to transport the water with you as well.

Having the right equipment to store the fish and the water safely will make all the difference when you come to move the tank – and it is a good time to take the opportunity to clean the tank once the water has been removed, to make sure it’s all in good order when you get to the new location.

Hopefully these top tips will help you to make the move in a less stressful and easy way – it’s all down to planning the move ahead, making sure you are prepared with all the right equipment and that your vehicle is big enough to carry everything.