View Full Version : how to: Move fish accros town and into a new tank?

arch stanton
01-26-2008, 12:34 PM
Hello there everyone!

We are moving into a new house in about two months.. so I have a bit of time to plan our fish moving strategy. Will be upgrading our fresh water tank from a 20 gal to a 30 gal tank, since I have to move anyway why not upgrade the tank ..plus the 30 gal was free ;}

so .. does anyone have any tips from past experience .. obviously I'll have to set up and cycle the new tank .. I have access to the new house (buying from family) so getting the new tank in place is no problem.

any help would be appreciated ..

01-26-2008, 02:37 PM
First off, you need to get something to transfer your water, this will help the cycling. We went to our local Walmart and bought 5gal fuel cans for about $7 each. Get 4 of those, and you can take all your established aquarium water. Put your filter media in another container with some tank water as well to keep it from drying and killing your good bacteria.

Our lfs sell us our larger fish in a large plastic bag and in a styrofoam box bottom. You may want to check with them and see if yours has any, and you can bag them. If you have smaller fish, you could probably get away with buckets. Without knowing what you have, it's hard to say...

Since your moving right across town, if you make a direct trip, you shouldn't have to wrry about a portable heater or airstone.

If you get your 30gal set up and you tear down the 20gal last before leaving your house, you should be able to transfer the substrate (keep this wet also), filter and water right to the 30 gal eith the fish, with conditioned water, and it'll be the same as a 30& water change!

Good luck!

Lady Hobbs
01-26-2008, 04:33 PM
I disagree with the water transfer. The bacteria is in the gravel and the filter with little in the water itself.

If you transfer your filter and subtract into the new tank, you will not have to do a cycle. Put the old gravel on top of the new. If you are going to be upgrading your filter, use the filter insert from the old filter for a while.

Let your filter media get good and dirty and don't be changing it out.

arch stanton
01-26-2008, 04:43 PM
Thank you both for the quick responses.

I was thinking along the lines of both your suggestions .. i.e. taking enough water to fill up the 30 g 50% or so and topping up with fresh/ de-chlorinated water, then using my old filter along side the new one till i get a good biomass going in the new filter , my current filter is an aquaclear 20( not gonna cut it in a 30 g )

also the 30 g came with a filter but i'm not sure about it.. but that doesn't really matter too much , i'll probably pick up another aquaclear as i've been pretty happy with mine so far.

Lady Hobbs
01-26-2008, 04:50 PM
I've done 75% and even 90% water changes on my tanks with no effects whatsoever. Works on the same principal. I have moved my tanks here and there in the house and used all new water each time. I put my fish in a large bucket of tank water, put the gravel in other buckets, and just move the tank. Dump in the new gravel (if needed) the old stuff on top and turn the filter on. Nuttin' to it.

Clean nothing. You can rinse the old gravel in old tank water but don't run chlorinated water over anything. Set up your new filter and either use the gunky old filter media or run your new and your old filter for awhile.

And don't set your tank up where the sun will hit it.

I generally don't advacate leaving anything in a tank before moving it but you have a small tank. You could dump out most of the water and with help, just move it with the gravel in it and transfer that way to your new home. Larger tanks have to be emptied out.

01-26-2008, 04:57 PM
Yes! I'd definatley set the new filter up on the old tank and let it seed itself while you're waiting to move...

And I wouldn't bother moving water either...but I would make sure to do frequent water changes before I moved the fish so that the water they move into isn't chemically different from the old water.

Oh yes! Make sure you keep the old gravel and media wet! Don't let it dry out between tanks.

Move the old gravel (with some mulm) to the new tank as well.

When you add established gravel and filter media, you're in effect 'instant cycling'. Aquarists with many tanks do this all the time.

Make sure your water temps are similar too, to prevent temp. shock.

Another thing...

If you're thinking of painting...paint the wall behind the tank NOW...saves you having to move the tank to paint later on...

01-26-2008, 05:07 PM
When I moved, I hauled my 20g into a Uhaul truck with the stand. I think some fish jumped out or didn't make it cuz a few fish I found disapeared and were never seen again after moving day.

Blue Ram
01-26-2008, 06:53 PM
When I moved, I hauled my 20g into a Uhaul truck with the stand. I think some fish jumped out or didn't make it cuz a few fish I found disapeared and were never seen again after moving day.

I would hate it if that happend. Didnt you have the tank covered with a lid or something?

01-27-2008, 01:01 AM
Yes, it had the hood on top.

arch stanton
03-18-2008, 12:40 AM
Well, we moved our fishies into their new home and a nice big new( to them ) tank and everything seems good so far.. we set them up and had to leave them alone in the new house over night..so i'll be a bit nervous tonight.. hopefully they'll all be happy to see us tomorrow when we move in ourselves ;}

P.S. we will probably be without phone and internet for a day or two :{ so you may not find out how this exciting story turns out for a few days ..

03-18-2008, 12:42 AM
Congrats! And I hope they do well overnight, all on their own! :19:

arch stanton
03-20-2008, 09:20 PM
We are all moved in.. finally!,and just got out internet hooked up...

Here are a couple of pics of the new tank..
I 'll definitely need to get some new plants, it's looking a bit sparse in the bigger tank. The fish seem to be handling the move well so far so hopefully we wont have any problems.

04-20-2008, 10:47 AM
I've had to move my fish several times and over distances of at least a hundred miles each time so I thought I might add my two cents in case anyone is interested. (each time I didn't loose any fish)

First I went out and bought a inverter for my car, it allows you to use your cars cigarette lighter to power regular AC household appliances. I also got two five gallon buckets with a tightly fitting lid which I melted two holes in the size of air tubing with a very hot screw driver. The first hole is for the air tubing, the second is to let air out so the pump works and/or doesn't pop off the lit. I then placed a large ring shaped airstone in the bottom, filled the bucket with some tank water and then placed most of the gravel from the aquarium over that as well as all my filter media. This was done in hope of saving as much of the bacteria as I could through aeration.

I did the same thing with the second bucket, but instead of gravel and filter media I put in the fish. The bucket the fish were in was also placed in a black trash bag since I figured they would be less stressed in the dark. I Hooked the air lines to the pump, plugged the pump into inverter and drove very carefully. I also had a heater in the fish bucket anchored down to prevent breaking or bashing the fish.

The one important thing to remember though if you plan on using an inverter to power a pump in the car is too add up the power requirements of the pump(s) and heater(s), if its more than your inverter is rated for you will burn it out. Also if its really high it can damage your cars alternator. Last but not least this will wear your battery out fast if you have this stuff on while your car isn't moving.

Congrats on getting your fish safely to their new home.