I moved my tank from Washington State to Kentucky. Did not loose any fish either. I put tank water into a ice chest with the fish. I put my canister filter hoses down into the water and plugged it into a ac/dc converter in my SUV along with the heater. I put all my plants into a bucket with tank water. I put all the substrate into another bucket with only enough water to keep it moist.
The good part of this is when you put your substrate back into your tank, it will get a good cleaning by getting all mixed up and rid of a lot of junk that has built up in it.
When I replanted, my plants exploded with growth for quit a while.
Put the fish in the tank with 1/2 of original water and fill it up from the tap. The next day, do another 50% water change due to the fish being stressed and dirtying the water.
Everything went well.
I agree, empty the tank completely.
10 gallon hospital tank.
29 & 50 gallon - High Tech C02 enriched.
50 gallon Pond - Natural.