Harold (Buddy) Pope's Blog
Moving to a new home is both an exciting and stressful time. There’s nothing quite like a fresh start in a new place. It’s a blank canvas just waiting for you to make your mark. It’s just that there is also a lot of stuff to move! And for fish owners there comes the added complexity of how to move the carefully acclimated ecosystem of their aquatic pets.
While moving fish is not as simple as loading them into a carrier with their favorite blanket or toy it’s not an impossible task. And I’m sure you don’t need reminding how temperamental fish are to their environment. Because they are so easily upset I highly recommend setting a day aside dedicated solely to moving your aquarium. Ideally, your fish will spend as little time as possible outside of their familiar habitat.
Before you begin disassembling your tank you’ll want to have the place you would like it to be located in your new home already picked out. This way you can have a plan of action to put into place as soon as you pull into the driveway. You’ll also want to make sure you have the proper supplies for moving your tank.
Check in your local aquarium shop for advice on how to move your specific type of fish. You’ll also want to pick up some bags like those your fish are placed in when you first bring them home, a battery operated pump, a fish net, a few 5-gallon buckets with lids and a siphon hose if you don’t already own one. Be sure to bring home as many bags as fish you own. You’ll also want to pick up or borrow a cooler that would fit your bagged fish if you don’t have one.
To preserve as much of the vital bacteria in your tank’s ecosystem you will want to siphon as most of your tank water into your new buckets along with your aquarium’s rocks and filter. Pumps, heaters and other tank accessories can be packed separately as normal.
Your fish will be much easier to catch with less water and nowhere to hide. Gently catch your fish and place each one in its own individual bag filled ⅓ of the way with water from the tank. You’ll want to place all of your fish in the cooler as the dark reduces stress and the insulation helps to prevent extreme temperature changes.
When setting up your tank in your new home remember that you want to get your fish back in their familiar habitat as soon as possible. Start by adding the water and rocks from your buckets. You’ll want to hold off on setting up any complex decorations until your fish are in the tank and a few days to settle down. You’ll just want to add any live plants you may have and a place or two for your fish to hide.
Top off your tank with the appropriate type of water your fish and consider using a bacterial additive to support your fish's ecosystem as they adjust to the big move. Watch the readings on your water closely for the next month and do not add new fish until acclimated. You will also want to hold off on feeding until your water reaches proper levels.
I'll be honest t’s not the simplest process to move with fish but it’s also not the most difficult. And if you’re a fish enthusiast it’s well worth the effort to keep your beautiful friends happy. With some proper planning and some help from your partner or a friend moving your fish can be a smooth, stress-free experience.