How To Pack and Move a Fish Tank

If you have a fish tank full of your favorite aquatic animals, moving them may seem like too difficult a task. However, you can learn how to pack and move a fish tank just like a professional aquarium mover. It takes meticulous work, but it will keep your fish happy and healthy in their new home.

As far as pets go, fish are some of the easiest to take care of…

Unless you’re moving.

That’s when fish get complicated.

Fortunately, you can successfully pack and move your fish tank stress-free with this guide.

But before we get into anything a quick piece of advice.

Fish tanks are commonly cited as one of the most difficult items to move. To have the best experience possible, book a reliable moving company.

Alright, now let’s get into it.

How to Pack a Fish Tank

Before you can even think about moving a fish tank, you need to know how to pack one. Once you have all the right supplies, you can pack each piece efficiently.

1. Gather Necessary Packing Supplies

The number of aquarium moving supplies you’ll need depends on how large your tank is and how many fish, plants, and decorations it houses. However, the basic list is the same for each person that wants to learn how to pack and move a fish tank. You’ll need the following items:

  • Fishnet
  • Siphon hose
  • 5-gallon buckets and lids
  • Plastic fish bags
  • Packing tape
  • Packing paper, foam, and bubble wrap
  • Moving boxes

2. Move the Fish

Before transporting your fish to their temporary homes during the move…

1. Do not feed them for 24 hours.

This will keep the water in the containers clean during the move. Don’t worry about not feeding them because healthy fish can go for several days without food.

It’s also important to wait until the last possible moment before moving the fish to their container because fish can experience a great amount of stress when you change their environment.

To start moving them…

2. Siphon water from the tank into your 5-gallon buckets or plastic bags.

3. Be sure to leave air at the top.

This will mimic the environment they’re used to. You can also ask your local pet store to provide pure oxygen for fish in the plastic bags.

4. Next, use the fishnet to move your fish to their containers.

Limit the number of fish per bag to one and the number of fish per bucket to three or four.

5. Place the lids on the buckets and secure them with duct tape.

3. Pack the Small Pieces

Your next step in learning how to pack and move a fish tank is to pack the small items in the tank.

1. Siphon as much of the aquarium water as you can into additional buckets.

The goal is to keep about 80 percent of the water so your fish adjust to their new location quickly.

2. Place live plants into a bucket of fish tank water.

3. Dry off the decorations and wrap them in packing paper or bubble wrap, and place them in a box or other dry container.

4. Strain the sand or pebbles of water and seal them in a container.

5. Be sure to handle the fish tank equipment, including the pump, light, and heater with care.

6. Carefully wrap and pack them. You can dry them off, but keep the filter damp and in a sealed container.

7. After this, discard any remaining water from the tank, clean it, and dry it off.

4. Pad the Tank

Once the fish tank is dry, you’re ready to pack it.

1. Wrap it in blankets and bubble wrap, and place it in a moving box. The box should be large enough to fit the tank but not so large that the tank can move around and break.

2. Fill the space between the tank and box with packing foam and paper.

Additionally, putting towels or blankets inside the tank provides extra padding.

3. Close the box and label it so you know which side is the top. This will prevent anyone from placing the tank upside down or on its side, which could cause it to break.

Ideally, you’ll move the fish tank in your own vehicle or the cab of the moving truck to keep it safe.

5. Move the Fish Tank to Your New Home

Knowing how to pack a fish tank is the hardest part.

The act of moving the tank, fish, and supplies is the easiest part.

1. Move all of your fish, plants, decorations, and water in your own vehicle. Place them securely so that they won’t tip over or move around.

2. By placing the fish in your vehicle, you can better control the temperature.

This is especially important if you’re moving in extreme heat or cold.

3. If you’re moving the fish in plastic bags, place the bags in an insulated styrofoam container.

6. After the Move

Once you arrive at your new home…

1. Assemble your fish tank as soon as possible. This means you’ll ignore any other unpacking until after you care for your fish.

2. Once you get the aquarium set up, add the sand or pebbles, plants, and decorations.

3. Set up the equipment, and start adding the tank water you brought with you.

4. Let the water run through the filtration system until all of the levels are back to normal.

5. Don’t turn on the pump and heater until the water has settled to room temperature, which will likely take a few hours.

6. Then, reintroduce your fish to the tank.

7. Don’t feed them for another 24 hours and watch for signs of sickness and stress. After a while, your fish should be back to normal.

No One Will Go Belly-up If You Know How to Pack and Move a Fish Tank

If you know how to pack and move a fish tank properly, you have nothing to worry about. Your fish may be a little stressed, but they’ll return to their happy, healthy selves in no time.

You’ll then be able to enjoy the calmness in your home that owning an aquarium brings.

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