How To Pack Up And Move Your Aquarium
If you have to move in a relatively short period of time, then you may want to invest in local moving and packing services. However, you will need to leave your aquarium as is when you move it to your new home. You will need to do a number of things to make sure the aquarium and your fish remain in good shape during the process. Keep reading to learn how you can move your fish tank successfully.
Prepare Your Fish
You will not be able to move your aquarium with all of the water, substrate, and fish inside of it. Not only will the water likely spill in your car or the moving truck, but the tank will weigh between 27 and 2,100 pounds when it is full. The majority of this weight comes from the water, which weighs about eight gallons a pound. However, the largest tanks can still weigh well over 100 pounds when they are empty, so care must be taken when moving an empty tank. Before you can move the tank, you will need to move your fish into a temporary container since the water will need to be taken out.
The best container for your fish will be a plastic bucket or a cooler. The more fish you have, the larger the bucket should be so that ammonia and nitrites do not build to unsafe levels in the water. A larger space will also allow for more surface area along the top of the container and more oxygen in the water. If your aquarium is one that is 5 to 20 gallons, then a 16 or 24 quart beverage cooler will work well. For larger aquariums, consider a 50 quart cooler or larger.
On the day of the move, fill the cooler with water from the fish tank. This water will contain the nitrates, pH level, and temperature that the fish are used to. Completely fresh water can shock the fish. Once the cooler is filled, use a fish net to move one fish at a time into the cooler. Allow the fish to acclimate to the smaller space for at least an hour or two before the cooler is moved to your vehicle. Once the cooler is moved, make sure to close the cover so water does not spill.
Tips For Long Moves
If you will be moving several hours away from your current home, then you will need to worry about the oxygen content in the cooler water as well as the temperature of the water. You should consider purchasing a battery powered aerator that will force bubbles into the water so that oxygen is added to the water. Battery powered heaters are available as well, or you can slip your aquarium heater into the cooler and use a car plug adapter that fits into the cigarette lighter space in your vehicle. This is the best option to heat the water, because the aquarium heater will be set to the proper temperature for your fish already.
Prepare the Tank
After your fish have been secured, it is time to start preparing your fish tank. Start by taking out the filters, bio-balls, or sponge media from your filtration system. Fill a gallon sized closable bag with water from the tank and place the media inside. Your filters will be covered with bacteria that are essential to the breakdown of the wastes in the fish tank. These bacteria are waterborne varieties that will die if the filter media dries out. The same bacteria live along the substrate on the bottom of the fish tank, so make sure enough water is left in the aquarium so the rocks or sand are covered. Empty out all of the rest of the water.
Ask your movers to move the tank carefully on the back of the moving truck. The tank should be the last item secured, and a blanket placed over the glass should keep it safe from damage.