Moving Cross Country - Tips for Transporting Fish? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-19-2020, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Moving Cross Country - Tips for Transporting Fish?

Hi All - I'm going to be moving from California to Connecticut.
I currently have a 20G and a 29G both glass tanks.

I'm thinking of buying a 75G or 100G acrylic tank and keep it half full and keep battery operated heaters and air filters working through sponge filters. The tank will need to go in a trailer because I'll have two large dogs in my Jeep.

I'm planning for 5 days/4 night. I can do the drive in 4 days/3 nights but I think that will be a lot of rough on the dogs.

Does this sound like a solid way to do? Any other ideas and/or tips and advice?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-19-2020, 02:19 AM
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Would multiple small tanks not be better than one big one in terms of preventing water sloshing around? Would you not be concerned about trailer stability with that much water potentially sloshing side to side in the back?

When they ship / import fish, they use those styrofoam white boxes with lids which would help to regulate temperature better than a normal tank. Could that be a way to go?

Good luck! =)
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-19-2020, 11:24 AM
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What fish do you have? I'd honestly go with buckets that have snap-on lids instead of a large tank. As long as air's moving throughout the day, you can get away with not heating the fish unless they're super delicate ones like discus. At night, you can do close to 100% water changes using water conditioner and the tap water available and just let the buckets bubble in the bathroom. Aforementioned 5 gallon buckets fit well in the gaps between seats, so you can worry less about the fish being in a non-climate controlled trailer vs your jeep.
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So many fish/plants/inverts to keep, not enough aquaria.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-19-2020, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by en7jos View Post
Would multiple small tanks not be better than one big one in terms of preventing water sloshing around? Would you not be concerned about trailer stability with that much water potentially sloshing side to side in the back?

When they ship / import fish, they use those styrofoam white boxes with lids which would help to regulate temperature better than a normal tank. Could that be a way to go?

Good luck! =)
Oooh. Insulated styrofoam boxes is a great idea.

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Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
What fish do you have? I'd honestly go with buckets that have snap-on lids instead of a large tank. As long as air's moving throughout the day, you can get away with not heating the fish unless they're super delicate ones like discus. At night, you can do close to 100% water changes using water conditioner and the tap water available and just let the buckets bubble in the bathroom. Aforementioned 5 gallon buckets fit well in the gaps between seats, so you can worry less about the fish being in a non-climate controlled trailer vs your jeep.
Ah, very good suggestions.
I will definitely be re-evaluating my approach.

I have bolivian rams, tetras, cories, rasboras, danios a BN pleco and a bunch of amano shrimp.

Definitely going to be a challenge getting fish and two akitas in the 4 door jeep.

I'm liking the styrofoam boxes mentioned above and perhaps I'll build a platform so the boxes can sit on the floor and the platform will be over the fish boxes and strong enough to hold an Akita...

What a move this is going to be!
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-20-2020, 03:33 AM
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What a move this is going to be!
Good luck!


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-20-2020, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ichthyogeek View Post
What fish do you have? I'd honestly go with buckets that have snap-on lids instead of a large tank. As long as air's moving throughout the day, you can get away with not heating the fish unless they're super delicate ones like discus. At night, you can do close to 100% water changes using water conditioner and the tap water available and just let the buckets bubble in the bathroom. Aforementioned 5 gallon buckets fit well in the gaps between seats, so you can worry less about the fish being in a non-climate controlled trailer vs your jeep.
I agree. Buckets with lids (washed well as they can contain chemicals), a plethora of seasoned sponge filters (I have a few that are USB and work well in a car). I transported wuite a few fish and plants that way, however I did bring a couple gallons of my own water to ensure there was a not a massive spike in Ph (mixed it during water changes).



I felt more comfortable with the USB access in case we were stuck in traffic, or delayed. Three buckets, everyone made it safe and sound

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-21-2020, 03:56 AM
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Imo your best bet if to just get rid of the fish and just buy new when you get to the new house and settled. It doesn’t sound like you have any fish that are too rare and dealing with fish every day is just going to make a stressful trip even worse.

The other option is if you know someone that would be willing to keep the fish for you while you travel and just have them ship them to you. You could just give the fish to them in a big sterilite type tub with some filter media to control the ammonia. Just have to order some breather bags unless they have access to O2 for the bags.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-21-2020, 06:31 AM
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Imo your best bet if to just get rid of the fish and just buy new when you get to the new house and settled. It doesn’t sound like you have any fish that are too rare and dealing with fish every day is just going to make a stressful trip even worse.
Exactly what I'd do. I don't see much of a point in lugging staple tropical fish cross country, but I know things can be personal. That's a ton to have to worry about, especially with dogs as well. But good luck OP!
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-21-2020, 12:08 PM
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I moved a fully stocked, heavily planted 75 gal from Louisiana to Ohio without any fish loss.
I got 5 home Depot buckets, and seperated the media into 5 mesh bags.then I found 5 battery powers air pumps. They are the size of a paperback book. Fisherman use them regularly, so they are available out there. Anyway, I taped the air pump to the top of each bucket, drilled an air tube size hole threw the lid, with an air stone in the water and distributed my fish & plants between the 5 buckets. I didn't feed the them for 2 days before, and not at all during the 3 day drive. Then they still stayed in their buckets for another 3 days while I was moving into my new house. It all worked perfectly. The hardest part was catching the little buggers from the planted aquarium!!
Hope this helps.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-21-2020, 05:41 PM
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There are always risk takers and then there are those who have taken the risk and now know better!
Buckets sound great but look at what folks do who ship fish often to see what they do, as it is much the same as what you are doing. Buckets are okay-IF things always good right, so what level of risk do you feel right for the fish you have? do you feel okay if the trailer hits a big pothole (good chance) and the load shifts enough to tip a bucket or two over where the lids pop off? Or do you feel better going to a store, getting the leftover shipping boxes they often throw out and doing it like you were a pro and shipping fish?
Buckets in trailers tend to heat up fast and hot water kills quick as it has less O2. Styro boxes insulate.
Bags of fish with just enough water for them to swim and the rest air, tied and sealed then boxed and taped will be fine if they tip over, fall in the floor or most anything that doesn't crush the box! Preferred in the car with moderate temps but in the trailer if you must.
Rookie or pro level?
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-25-2020, 07:18 PM
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I just moved from CT to VA.

I'd transport the fish in one of two ways.

Either bag them up 1-2 per bag like they do at the pet store (you can buy pet store bags from the pet store for this). Or use a 5 gallon bucket with bubbler and lid to keep them from sloshing around.

Do NOT transport them in a fish tank. The sloshing back and forth grinds up fish if there is anything inside tank like gravel/plants/etc

If you transport fish in bags be sure to open them up once a day to get fresh air.

I wouldn't use heaters. Fish can handle being in 70F temperatures for a while and I've personally seen heaters malfunction and boil fish when being plugged into the car charger adapters. I think the power drawn from the car isn't quite right and it over heats them. I've had much better luck with the bucket/bubbler/ no heater method than any other.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-25-2020, 09:37 PM
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I'd use breather bags . 1 or 2 fish per bag . Don't feed the fish for a day or 2 before moving . Put the bags in a foam cooler or fish box from a LFS , if you have one nearby . Place 2 or 3 layers of newspaper or paper towels ,or a layer of corrugated cardboard ,or t-shirts ,something fairly porous , between each bag to ensure a bit of air circulation between bags . Don't pack the bags too tightly in the box . Close up the box(es) and go . Take a couple of gallons of your current water just in case , along with some extra bags . Bring the boxes into wherever you're staying overnight .
I'd open the boxes overnight just to get the temperatures down a bit .
Think I'd try to get the fish box(s) in the Jeep if at all possible , just to manage the temps a bit .
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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I still haven't made the move but this is all good food for thought. I've moved/driven cross country six times now (maybe seven, who keeps track) so it's not really all that stressful.
If I can pick a time where I'm not battling outside temperatures too much it doesn't seem like too much of a hassle.

I'm liking the styrofoam idea, or perhaps I'll just use one of my big coolers and drill a small hole in it for an airtube. I should be able to fit one behind the passenger seat in my jeep meaning I can get both dogs and the fish in the jeep.

As far is making the trip with or without fish, I enjoy challenges.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
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Oooh. Insulated styrofoam boxes is a great idea.

Bump:

Ah, very good suggestions.
I will definitely be re-evaluating my approach.

I have bolivian rams, tetras, cories, rasboras, danios a BN pleco and a bunch of amano shrimp.

Definitely going to be a challenge getting fish and two akitas in the 4 door jeep.

I'm liking the styrofoam boxes mentioned above and perhaps I'll build a platform so the boxes can sit on the floor and the platform will be over the fish boxes and strong enough to hold an Akita...

What a move this is going to be!
Not to stray too far off topic, but Akitas are the best breed ever. I'm jealous. I grew up with Akitas until my early 20's and look forward to the days where I can enjoy one's company again.


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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 12:42 AM
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Okay, the situation has changed a lot since mid summer when the question first came up! There is no way to get from the ther to there at this time of year without meeting major temperature changes along the way, so being prepped for the worst is going to get much more important!
Part of the question will be how prepared you are for winter. Are you a Southern Ca person or a Conn. person at heart?
Big difference in general experience level and it can get critical when deciding if you can make it over a pass ahead of a storm or should wait it out. It isn't always whether you can make it but it also matters whether the folks in front know how to keep moving and the guy behind knows how to stop!!
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