An aquarium is the focal point of many homes so be sure that you know how to safely move yours to your new home.

Like many people who have a fish tank, no doubt you have invested a lot of time and money in your aquarium.

So you will want to ensure the safe relocation of your prized fish and their tank to your new home.

And knowing how to move fish to a new home is crucial to ensure their physical and mental well-being and to prevent damage to the fish tank.

Moving an aquarium to a new home is no easy task, especially if it is a large tank, so it pays to research as much as possible so that you know exactly the steps to take, and the dangers that are associated with the tank move.

In this guide to transporting fish during a home move, we will give advice that should ensure the aquarium move is as safe and easy as possible, but you should always seek professional advice about the specific species of fish you have.

At the end of this guide, you will find a list of useful websites which should provide the answer to any specific questions you have regarding your specific tank or species of fish.

But before you think about how to move your fish to a new home it would be wise to consider if relocating the tank and fish is a good idea.

You may like to read: How to Pack and Move Things Your Removal Company Can’t. There are a number of items that removal firms cannot move for health and safety reasons. In this guide, we list the most common items that your removal company will not take on the removal lorry.

Things to Consider Before Moving a Fish Tank to a New Home

  • Is it worth moving a large fish tank to a new home? Whilst not impossible, moving a particularly large fish tank can be fraught with problems and you may want to consider buying a new tank locally in your new area, rather than paying to transport your current fish tank. Large aquariums can be an impressive feature of the home, and your home buyers may be open to the idea of purchasing your large fish tank.
  • Will the fish survive a long-distance home move? Local moves, or moves of just a few hours, should be reasonably safe for your fish, but home moves do go wrong, there can sometimes be delays with the release of keys for example.
  • Is it better to restock a fish tank after the home move? Each home move is different and depending upon if you are moving one end of the country to the other, or just a couple of miles away, will affect the decision you make on how to move your fish tank, or if indeed it is worth the risk.
  • Will the fish tank fit in the new home? A floor plan will help you decide if there is sufficient room in your new home for the aquarium, equally that it will be able to be maneuvered into the home safely. Don’t forget to check that there is an electrical outlet near where you would want to site your tank.
  • Will the floors in your new home support the weight of a very large aquarium? Check that not only are they strong enough but they are level too. If not you will need something to level your tank once it is in position.
  • Will the removal company transport my fish and tank? No, most removal companies will almost certainly not move the live fish but check with your removal company. Be absolutely certain they have the skills and equipment to move your fish if they agree to do so. Also, check the validity of any insurance you have as most insurance policies will not cover liquids being transported in a removal van, and you will have to transport potentially many litres of water from your old tank.

You may like to know: How to Move a Garden to Your New Home  This guide is full of practical tips and things to consider when you are moving plants and garden equipment to your new home.

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What Equipment Do You Need to Move a Fish Tank to a New Home?

Goldfish Tank
If you are in any doubt as to how to move your fish to your new home, always seek professional advice.

Like most aspects of your home move, preparation and good organization is key to a successful move. Assemble your fish tank moving kit well in advance of moving day so that you are sure you will have everything to hand that you will need.

  • Separate containers for gravel, accessories, water, and the fish (plan enough containers to take 75-80% of the total water from the aquarium with you to the new home)
  • Polystyrene fish transportation boxes
  • Fishnet
  • Siphon hose
  • Pump to oxygenate the water
  • Bubble wrap, blankets, and protective padding
  • Packing tape
  • Furniture dolly or sack truck
  • Water conditioner

How to Prepare a Fish Tank for Moving to a New Home

  • 2 weeks before moving day change 25% of the tanks water
  • 2 weeks before you move, give the tank filters a gentle clean, being careful not to disturb the biological media
  • Avoid feeding your fish for 24 hours before moving day
  • Do a walkthrough of the route out of the house ensuring there are no tripping hazards and the tank can be safely maneuvered to its transportation

Bonus tip: Be sure to test the PH and alkalinity levels in the water in your new home before you move so that on moving day you are prepared to transfer your fish back to the tank as quickly as possible.

Step by Step Guide to Moving an Aquarium to a New Home

Whether you are moving your aquarium a short distance across town or to the other end of the country you should still follow this guide because of the dangers to the fish and the aquarium caused by not taking due care.

  • Unplug the aquarium heater at least 30 minutes before removing it from the tank to allow it to cool and to prevent it from cracking
  • Remove filters and pumps and place in water taken from the tank in a sealed tub
  • Siphon out 75-80% of the water from the tank into suitable lidded containers which will make it easier to catch the fish but also because you will want to put that water back into the tank at your new home
  • Only fill the containers about three quarters with water to prevent spillage (even though the containers must be securely sealed with lids, this is a good precaution to take, they will also be lighter to carry)
  • Remove decorations, plants, and accessories from the tank (taking care that no fish are hiding in them) and place them in water within lidded containers
  • Remove the fish from the tank using a net ensuring you keep your hand over the net as you transfer the fish to the bags as fish can jump out of the net.
  • Safely pack the fish in plastic bags that have a mixture of one-third water from the tank and two-thirds air.
  • Seal the bag with an elastic band and then place inside a second bag, also sealed with an elastic band. This will help prevent bag punctures.
  • The fish should be bagged in similar species if possible as some fish can give off toxins or may attack other fish when stressed
  • Place the bags of fish within the polystyrene fish transportation boxes
  • Lay the bags on their sides to increase the water surface area so that the fish have more swimming area, and so that the water surface is exposed to more air
  • Keep the lid of the box closed as the fish will experience less stress when kept in a dark box
  • Remove the gravel from the tank and place in a container with enough water to cover the gravel thereby keeping the bacteria alive
  • Clean the tank ready for packing
  • Fill the tank with padding such as old blankets which will help prevent any damage to the tank
  • Wrap the aquarium in multiple layers of bubble wrap and blankets and hold them in place with packing tape
  • Check the route to the vehicle the tank will be transported via to ensure they are no tripping hazards
  • When moving the fish tank be sure not to twist, tilt, or place any stresses on the glass of the tank as the seals may break and ruin the tank
  • If moving a larger fish tank ask friends to help with the moving of the tank to your vehicle.
  • Load the tank onto a furniture dolly or hand truck, secure it to the dolly to ensure it cannot move, then carefully move it to the vehicle. It is best to have someone available to hold and guide the tank whilst it is being moved on the dolly
  • Once loaded into the vehicle ensure it is stable so that it cannot move around whilst being transported.
  • Keep the fish, water, and plants out of direct sunlight whilst they are being transported to your new home.

You may find this guide useful for odd-shaped aquariums: How to Pack Odd Shaped Items During your home move you will likely come across things that do not fit easily into a moving box. In this guide we show you how to pack things that are not a uniform size or shape.

How to Set Up an Aquarium After a Home Move

Fish Tank
Once safely moved to your new home, it will take lots of care and attention to ensure the health of your fish and plants.
  • Unpack the aquarium and position it ensuring it is on a stable surface
  • Level the aquarium, using shims if needed
  • Gently spread the gravel into the bottom of the tank
  • Refill the tank with the water that you removed from the tank earlier, taking care not to disturb the gravel on the base of the fish tank
  • Reassemble and fit the filters and pump
  • Place the décor and accessories back in the tank
  • Let the tank water temperature equalize with the room temperature before turning on the heaters.
  • Keep the aquarium lights off for the next few hours as this will reduce the stress the fish are feeling
  • Reintroduce your fish to the tank as if they were newly purchased
  • Lay the bags of fish on the surface of the water for about 45 minutes adding a small amount of the aquarium water to the bags every 10 minutes
  • Release the fish slowly
  • Top up the water in the tank as necessary
  • Do not feed the fish as your filter will have lost some of its bacteria during the move and will not be able to cope with the fish waste as efficiently as it normally would
  • For the next four weeks regularly test the tank water nitrates and ammonia levels
  • Only feed the fish if the levels are at zero
  • Feed the fish every couple of days for the next two weeks
  • Do not add any new fish to the tank during this time

One frequently asked question is how to move a fish tank without emptying it. Warning: Never try to move a fish tank with water or fish still within it, it will put undue stress on the fish and the tank.

You may like to know: How Much Does it Cost to Pack a Home For Moving? Hiring professional packers is one of the best decisions you will make moving home but how much extra does that cost? Here we show you the cost of packing for average sized homes.

Here is a list of UK websites dedicated to fish keeping and aquatics that you may find useful:

Although as previously mentioned most removal companies will not transport your live fish, nor the tank water, it will make a lot of sense to hire a good removal company to move all your remaining household items.

It takes time and effort to prepare your fish for the home move, and once at the new home you will want to get the tank set up, and the fish acquainted to their new home, as quickly as possible.

There are going to be a million and one things to do on moving day, so leave those tasks to the professionals whilst you concentrate on the safe relocation of your fish.

Good full-service removal companies can represent outstanding value for money, they will take most of the stress out of your home move, and ensure your home move is carried out in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.

You may like to read: What is a Full-Service Home Move?  Full-Service removal companies offer a hist of additional services which will make your home move easier, here we look at what services a full-service removal company offer.

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Good luck with your home move and the relocation of your aquarium.

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