Moving tanks/fish? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Moving tanks/fish?

Hello all. I will more than likely be moving in the next month or so. I currently have a 33 long setup with lots of plants and fish. I plan on taking the entire setup with me. What is the best way to make it easier and safe for the fish? Because I obviously I will not be setting up the tank immediately. I was thinking of transporting them either in a bucket or huge plastic tub, and keeping them in one or the either until I setup the tank. It's mostly guppies along with nine glowlight tetras, though the tetras I am not entirely sure if I will be keeping or not.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 12:29 PM
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5 gallon buckets with lids! Get some of your water from your tank and into the 5 gallon buckets and add some prime. If distance you'll need to move the fish isn't much then you should be fine. Leave a few inches off the top for some 'breathing room'. If at all possible, do these last so you can set your tank up in your new home and then add the fish back in. Good luck and let us know how everything goes!
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7.5 Cube - shrimp tank
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like a good idea. I am actually moving only a little bit over 20 minutes away, so not very far.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-21-2020, 06:39 PM
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Sounds like a good idea. I am actually moving only a little bit over 20 minutes away, so not very far.
Nice. Thats less time than some fish have to go through just coming from a local petshop.
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7.5 Cube - shrimp tank
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Yep! I have driven farther away to pick up fish. Half hour to the LFS to pick them up, then half hour back.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 02:09 PM
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Is this a one-day move (have to be out of the old place same day moving into new)? Or do you have some overlap?

When we moved recently I was able to setup a temporary tank at the new house. Prepped by cycling an extra sponge filter in the main tank. Then setup an old 20G at new house, barebones with just the filter and heater, sitting on the floor. You could use a plastic bin in a pinch. Brought the fish over into the temp tank, and then was able to move the permanent setup without stress and rushing. Also if something unforeseen happens during the move (tank gets cracked, filter gets broken, etc) you are covered and aren't scrambling to figure out a temporary setup.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 03:44 PM
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Moving is a time of stress and doing things carelessly can double the stress, so it is worth considering doing it right!
For a short move like under a couple hours, a plastic bag laid on the seat next to you is good enough as we all take fish home from the shop that way. All you need to consider then is how many and what type fish for each bag and double bag them to avoid them getting stuck in the corners of the bag. To do the double bag, put them in one bag, close it and then turn it over to put in another bag as this makes rounded corners rather than killer points.
But if you are going long distance, do it like the folks who ship fish! Buckets and lids are killers if you have one of those "panic stops" and the bucket turns over as the lid pops off really easy and fish die quick when you don't have water!
To keep the fish aline as well as cut your stress, get a surplu styro shipping box from a LFS and do it like they would. A big plastic bag with enough water to let the fish swim but mostly full of air, sealed well and then into a cardboard box will survive even if thrown in the floor during a wreck.
Don't be wookie and do it right for the best trip. But it always does better if you adapt to what the situation needs.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Is this a one-day move (have to be out of the old place same day moving into new)? Or do you have some overlap?

When we moved recently I was able to setup a temporary tank at the new house. Prepped by cycling an extra sponge filter in the main tank. Then setup an old 20G at new house, barebones with just the filter and heater, sitting on the floor. You could use a plastic bin in a pinch. Brought the fish over into the temp tank, and then was able to move the permanent setup without stress and rushing. Also if something unforeseen happens during the move (tank gets cracked, filter gets broken, etc) you are covered and aren't scrambling to figure out a temporary setup.
We are not entirely sure but I think this will be done over the process of a weekend. I would like to just transport the fish to the new house, put them in a huge tub filled with existing tank water/temps, and then bring the tank to the new house, setup, then add the fish.

I would like to just empty out the water out of the tank down to the substrate and see if I can move it like that, but I don't know if that's advisable lol but it would be nice if it would work because I wouldn't have to do anything except fill up the tank with water, no rescaping adding plants back into the right places or anything like that.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 06:07 PM
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On moving the tank itself, it is a risk and I do often take that risk but I do some things to cut the risk. One thing to keep in mind is how heavy wet sand or dirt can be and how much danger there is in not being ready for the weight! We can often just about lift it, so we go for two guys to do the job! NOT good as that leaves you no hands free to open the door, hold the door again the wind and all those little things that get real big if one guy makes one small slipup!
Biggest danger in moving tanks with stuff in them is twisting, so I add safety by tipping one end up, sliding something that won't twist underneath that also sticks out to give good handles to avoid those slips. A 2X 12 a bit longer than the tank often works well for me.
And having a wife, girlfriend, kids, etc. around just for opening and holding doors or other small unforeseen things can really help a lot!
On planning how long the fish need to stay in "storage" has to figure in how much the sub will stir while moving and refilling with water and that is almost certain to require keeping them out of the tank for overnight or more, so I set up to let them stay as long as it takes. One reason I like the boxes is that they hold the temp well as well as giving a pretty reasonable amount of space for water for everybody. A styro box with a plastic trashcan liner can make a good "tank" for several days if needed.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 06:20 PM
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On moving the tank itself, it is a risk and I do often take that risk but I do some things to cut the risk. One thing to keep in mind is how heavy wet sand or dirt can be and how much danger there is in not being ready for the weight! We can often just about lift it, so we go for two guys to do the job! NOT good as that leaves you no hands free to open the door, hold the door again the wind and all those little things that get real big if one guy makes one small slipup!
Biggest danger in moving tanks with stuff in them is twisting, so I add safety by tipping one end up, sliding something that won't twist underneath that also sticks out to give good handles to avoid those slips. A 2X 12 a bit longer than the tank often works well for me.
And having a wife, girlfriend, kids, etc. around just for opening and holding doors or other small unforeseen things can really help a lot!
On planning how long the fish need to stay in "storage" has to figure in how much the sub will stir while moving and refilling with water and that is almost certain to require keeping them out of the tank for overnight or more, so I set up to let them stay as long as it takes. One reason I like the boxes is that they hold the temp well as well as giving a pretty reasonable amount of space for water for everybody. A styro box with a plastic trashcan liner can make a good "tank" for several days if needed.
Nice. Sounds like its not your first nor second rodeo!


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7.5 Cube - shrimp tank
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 06:50 PM
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Just chiming in with a few ideas- I think it's a good idea to have a small sponge filter or just airstone on a pump (usb pumps are nice and quiet I've discovered) to keep water circulating when the fishes are waiting in the tub. As much plants/hardscape/established filter media you could put in the tub w/them will help keep water params stable. Small partial wc once or twice a day will also help.

I would be really leery of moving my 33 w/the substrate and plants in it, honestly. If you're going to try that, have something very flat and sturdy you can slide it onto? and carry by that board underneath. If you just pick it up by the frame w/weight inside seems risky the bottom glass might break. The only tanks I've moved drained down to substrate were my 1.5 gal and 10g. Anything larger I empty it all the way.


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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 10:17 PM
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The problem with moving the tank without something solid underneath is that twisting is what we want to avoid and it is really nearly impossible for two guys to lift in an exact uniform way. Even one guy will have one arm stronger than the other and tend to lift that side a bit more, so when we look at two guys moving up and down and around things, it gets nearly impossible for both to be lifting the same at all times and tanks don't give us any warning when they are feeling the stress. The first notice is the big "pop" we get when a panel cracks!
Glass is just not meant to take bending and a big solid board underneath is one way to cut that hazard. Plus it certainly gives a lot more to hang onto. We are taking a chance when we move it with stuff in the tank but we can at least do a little extra to cut that risk.
I have done some fish moving in living in six states and then I moved a lot of fish when going to fish auctions at ACA conventions! I've killed more fish than the law allowed--- but I'm getting better!
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 12:07 AM
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Remove everything. a 33 long is a 4' long tank not built with really thick glass as it's only 12" tall. Twisting is a real concern. Just take the extra step of pulling the substrate out of it.... You will regret the aftermath if you try to shortcut it. I once moved a 10gal from my home to my office that was drained except for the residual water in the substrate. Hooked back up.... filled it water.... 8 hours later 10 gallons of water on the floor. I had managed to comprimise the seal between two panes moving it with the weight of the gravel....

Peter
learning never stops...
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I probably won't try that route of moving it with substrate in it. I don't want to pay another 150 plus dollars for a new 33 long. An expense I don't need right now lol
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 02:39 PM
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If it is going to be a shorter move over multiple days to a week, I'd plan on moving the livestock first with the heater and filter into a temporary arrangement (maybe a tote) to a place that will be out of the way at the new place. That gives you more time to move your plants, substrate and hardscape to buckets, move the tank, and get everything all set back up before you move the livestock, filter and heater back into the tank.

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