Moving an aquarium: safe and stress-free for the fish

When you move and want to move your aquarium safely, it can be quite a challenge. Especially large aquariums require good preparation. A move can also cause stress for your fish.

The fish leave their familiar environment and too much change can even be fatal for fish. This of course makes it even more important to ensure a successful move for your aquarium.

Aquarium fish moving from an aquarium

Naturally, the ecosystem of your aquarium is home to various plants, fish and bacteria. All these components naturally require the necessary attention and this also means that they all have to be transported in their own way.

It is important for the fish and bacteria to minimize the shock of the move as much as possible. This means that it is wise to move the old aquarium water to your new home. You can use a sealable bucket for this.

Familiar environment

Fish should be transported in their own familiar water. It is important that the fish are also transported in a dark tank because this way they experience the least stress. You can use a bucket for this, but a cool box, for example, is even better because it also protects against temperature differences.

Always make sure that there are no sharp points on the inside of the cool box or buckets. This is because the fish can hurt themselves and you obviously want to prevent this at all times. You can also move fish with plastic bags. You eventually put the bags back in a cool box or bucket, but this way the critters have extra protection.

Free Goldfish in Water Stock Photo

Plastic bags

When you use bags it is not only important that there is enough water in it, but that there is also enough air in the bag. This way the fish also get enough oxygen. Always provide at least 50% air. This also applies to buckets, cool boxes and containers.

It is best to move the plants in plastic bags. Also fill the bags with a little aquarium water so that the plants can continue to live and will not become too slimy. You should of course also transport the bags in a bucket or plastic box for the plants.

The filter material

You always transport the filter material in the aquarium water. Make sure you don't clean the filters because they contain valuable bacteria that need to stay alive. Does your aquarium have an external filter? Then you can let it run in a large bucket with old aquarium water so that it can continue to do its job during transport.

The filter of your aquarium can often only be used without oxygen for a maximum of 24 hours. If the move takes longer and the filter is off for more than 24 hours, you still have to clean it, which is of course a waste of bacteria.

With a small aquarium you can choose to leave the bottom cover with a small layer of old aquarium water, but if the aquarium feels too heavy, you can of course still remove the bottom.

It is important to clean the bottom carefully. You can use a plastic dustpan and brush for this. Everything you scoop out can be placed in a sealable bucket. You can also use a plastic bag or regular bucket for this.

Move aquarium with or without water

Free Hall with various instruments during renovation Stock Photo

Moving an aquarium with water is not necessarily impossible, but it almost never happens. An aquarium full of water is of course even heavier and this can cause tension on the bottom and joints. When too much tension arises, the aquarium can leak or in some cases collapse.

If you have a small aquarium, you can leave a layer of water of about 5 centimeters in the aquarium to keep the substrate in good condition. In this way you ensure that you disturb the ecosystem as little as possible. This way the bacteria in the soil can continue with what they were doing.

A larger aquarium is already heavy and if you leave the bottom cover in it, it will of course become even heavier. In this case, it is best to remove all the water from the aquarium.

Your fish during the move

Moving an aquarium turns out to be not only stressful for you, but also for the fish. As an owner you naturally want to limit all stress for the fish as little as possible. You can also achieve this by paying attention to the little things.

Don't buy new fish well in advance. Keep this for at least 3 to 4 weeks. This results in unnecessary extra changes and therefore possible stress, which you naturally want to avoid.

Try not to feed the fish for about 2 days before the move. Because of the move, the fish can get stressed, which can also cause them to produce more stool and this can poison the water. You don't have to worry because fish can easily go without food for a few days.

Safe transport of your aquarium

Moving an aquarium naturally also means moving fish. It is important that you can place the fish, the plants and simply the entire ecosystem of your aquarium alive and healthy in your new home.

Moving a (large aquarium) and a safe way of fishing

As you have read before, moving an aquarium and therefore moving fish requires a good approach. The most important thing to keep in mind when moving an aquarium is that it should not take too long.

Your fish, plants and the entire ecosystem can really only survive outside the aquarium for about 12 to 17 hours. Good preparation is therefore very important because temporarily placing your fish in a different environment is really stressful for the critters.

Because moving your (new) aquarium should not take too long, it is important to start preparing it in time. In fact, it is wisest to schedule the move of the aquarium on a separate day so that you can give it all your attention.

Moving an aquarium means removing all the water from the aquarium and of course also cleaning the aquarium. For example, you have lockable buckets, loose bags and plastic bags. You can safely move both the fish and the plants in this way.

Remove water

If you want to remove water from the aquarium, you can use a small bowl for this. You can easily order these items and more online, but of course you already own a full aquarium, so you may already have these items at home.

Lockable buckets for small aquariums

If you don't have too big fish you can transport them in special buckets. Fill the bucket with some old aquarium water so that the fish can still feel a little at home. Of course, use separate containers for the fish and plants.

Make sure you have the right transport

Moving an aquarium is usually not possible with a passenger car. Yes, when it comes to moving a small aquarium, of course. If you want to move a much larger aquarium, it is important that you arrange suitable transport for this. It is best to rent a separate trailer or van. Secure the fish well in the front so that they can be transported safely.

Take a good look at your new home

During such a hectic move you naturally want to tackle all possible obstacles in advance, which is why it is important to first take a good look at your new home. Decide in advance where you want to place the aquarium and measure all dimensions. Not only from your aquarium, but also from all passages, doors and stairwells. This way you can be sure that your aquarium will fit.

Take pictures of all connections!

Forget hooking up your aquarium in your new home. It's more common than you think. Often people don't remember what it was like, which means that the move will take longer and this is of course not good for the fish. Therefore, always take pictures of the connection in the old house so that you know exactly how to reconnect everything in the new house.

After moving a (small) aquarium

Moving an aquarium is difficult and it is best to handle this as well as possible. Is there still a little water in the aquarium? Then don't just pick it up. Especially not when it comes to a large aquarium.

The bottom can become loose due to all the weight. Always slide a thin sheet of wood under the aquarium before attempting to lift it. To protect your aquarium even more, you can wrap the aquarium with a moving blanket or bubble wrap.

Restore everything

Always put the bottom, plants and filter back in the aquarium first. Then you can carefully start pouring the aquarium water that you transported separately. Do this very carefully so that the bottom does not puff up too much.

You can also use a plate for this. You can put this on the bottom before you start pouring water. In this way, the water jet is also distributed more evenly.

You have of course transported the fish in a separate tank and that is why it is important to get them used to it as soon as possible. You can use a siphon and/or a small pump to ensure circulation between the aquarium and the reserve tank. You can transfer the fish to the final aquarium after about a week.

Were the fish transported in a bag? Then of course they also have to get used to the aquarium. It is best to place the bag in the aquarium for at least an hour. This way the critters can get used to the temperature in the aquarium.

You can then pour a little bit of aquarium water into the bag at a time so that you can eventually move the fish from the bag to the aquarium.

The first weeks after the move, the fish can still suffer from stress, which often makes them more susceptible to diseases. Therefore, check the critters daily and give them some attention. If necessary, add some extra plants so that you can prevent a peak of nitrate.

Always give the fish some rest during the first few weeks. Do not buy new fish for at least a month after the move so that no extra unnecessary stress arises.

Moving an aquarium: the costs

This of course depends on the type of aquarium. How big this is, what kind of fish are involved and how quickly this must be done. For a correct price indication it is best to go for free moving quotes requests from various moving companies. This can easily be done via!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to transport aquarium with fish?

You can transport small fish and plants in plastic bags or containers. Make sure that there is enough air on the surface of the water.

How long can you transport fish?

You can transport a fish for up to 12 hours under ideal conditions.

How to empty aquarium?

Put a hose in the aquarium and drain as much as necessary. You can also scoop water from the aquarium with a clean bowl.

How long should you wait with fish in an aquarium?

Wait at least 3 to 5 weeks before your aquarium is properly installed and you put the fish back in the water.

How do I get rid of my aquarium fish?

You can easily sell fish via Marktplaats. Can't find candidates? Then you can also bring the fish to the shelter.