How To Move House With Fish Tanks
If you're a fish keeper, the prospect of moving house is a scary one. If you've got tropical fish of any decent size, concerns about keeping them healthy and happy during the move are paramount. Here are some tips from an old hand who had moved more fish tanks than she dares count.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, set aside a time for just moving the tanks. Either move your fish and tanks before you move the rest of your possessions, or afterward. If you move them whilst you are trying to move everything else as well, mistakes will be made and fish will be left to sit in boxes and bags much longer than need be.
If you have large fish, buy large plastic boxes rather than bagging them. That will allow you to save more of the tank water (good for minimizing shock when they go into the new tank,) and give them more swimming room whilst they are being moved. Use separate boxes for large specimens, or very aggressive fish. Fights can break out when the fish are stressed.
Many experts agree that saving as much of the tank water as possible is a good idea. Saving the tank water will mean that your fish go into familiar conditions and it will also help flatten out any variances in pH and other changes that can come with water in a new area.
When it comes to moving the tank itself, tanks 55 gallons or smaller can simply be drained of water and supported by a strong board under the tank. This saves you from digging out the substrate and carting it separately. It is important, however, that you remember to support the bottom of the tank with a strong board. Failure to do so could result in cracking the bottom of your tank, which is the last thing you need especially when moving.
If you have bottom dwelling fish like loaches, they too can be left in the tank in an inch or so of water if the move will not take longer than a couple of hours.
Move larger tanks and fish first. They will be the most difficult and unwieldy and larger fish are at more risk during transit because it's hard to provide them with the same sort of volume of water and security that you can provide smaller fish.
If you have several tanks, don't break tanks down until they are going to be moved. It's best to minimize the amount of time your fish spend sitting in boxes and bags and cooling water. Fish are one thing you don't want to get packed up early.
By following these rules, I've managed to move fish as big as Oscars with no ill effects whatsoever. It is quite possible to move fish safely if you take your time, don't try to pack them early and be careful with the bottoms of tanks.
Good luck with your move!