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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Any moving advice?

I will be moving across town into a new apartment, and I have taken a week off to do this.

Part of this is moving a small 10 gallon tank, though. I have never moved with fish before!

I'm looking for any advice on how to move my tanks occupants (3 harlequin rasboras, 4 neon tetras, 2 ADFs, and a nerite snail) and the plants (Too many water wisteria, a handful of amazon swords, two java ferns attached to a piece of driftwood, and an anubias).

My plan was moving the majority of my furniture first and find them a home, and than coming back for the buggers.

I have a five gallon bucket I intend to fill with their tank water, and than move the plants, fish and frogs in there and throw a lid on it, and than drain as much water from the tank as possible to lessen the weight and than move it over to the apartment (no more than a two minute drive at most). Once I have it set back up again, I'd replant the tank, and get the water back into the tank with the occupants, and than top off with bottled water, seeing as I don't know what the water quality is there yet.

It seems to me to be sound reasoning, however, should I stop feeding the little buggers a day before? Water changes? Any and all advice will be welcomed!

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Litheyum; 10-30-2011 at 06:54 PM. Reason: Draining water from where?! The tank.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 08:56 PM
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Moving a tank;
1. If you can, get as much of the tank water and transfer it to the new location along with the tank. If you are getting/transferring fish use the tank water and put it, and fish, in a bag/container with either an oxygen-releasing stone or be sure to leave enough air in container/bag so that the fish can still breathe. NOTE: Do not leave fish this way for any amount of time and do not subject to harsh conditions such as jarring and direct sunlight! Once you get to the new place, hook up a filter to your fish bucket IMMEDIATELY!! Your plants would be housed fine in here as they would help oxygenate your fish during the move.
2. Remove as much of the water from the tank that you possibly can as a small amount of water can cause the bottom to crack. You should also remove any big/heavy rocks/decorations. Even if the weight of them do not crack the tank, a sudden jarring coupled with one of these coming down on the glass the wrong way could result in breakage. Also, on larger tanks, remove the substrate as the weight of it can cause the bottom to crack as well.
3. If you can, it is always advised to go to the new place and start seeding some water there so that it will be available to you when you will need it. This should be done 48hrs in advance, ideally, but atleast 24hrs in advance.
4. Clean everything with a clean rag and water.
5. Install the equipment.
6. Install substrate, plants, and/or decorations.
7. Use the reclaimed tank water and put it in your tank.
8. Add your fish along with the remaining water. Top tank off with seeded water. If using mostly tap water to top off, I recommend a minimum fishless runtime of 12hrs to assure all the chlorine etc has been gassed off, and also to allow the plants/substrate etc to replace the good bacteria the chlorine will kill off. For less sensitive fish, just allowing the water to come to temperature is sufficient provided you are using your seeded filter and media (which is recommended you do regardless).


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, sir, this is very much appreciated! I have about months time left to worry about this and I'll start working into that now ( Arranging to have a couple buckets read with aged/seeded water, gravel, etc).
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 02:17 AM
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We moved my daughter's planted 10 gallon tank 400 miles after removing most of the water and carrying it on a flat plank of wood to limit strain on the tank seams. I don't know that we even caught the fish, a few guppies. We did cover the tank on the inside with bubble wrap to minimize splashing and keep the plants moist. The HOB filter was emptied of water and wrapped in plastic to keep moist. I don't think we carried tank water with us but perhaps we did. Within 10 hours the tank was powered up and the filter media was just fine. Unless your new location has a different water source there isn't any need to save water and even if the water is different you can probably change half of it to the new water without any problem. A 10 gallon tank only weighs about 100 pounds full, 1/4 full it is about 25-30 pounds and the tank is plenty strong enough to move with substrate, plants and some water. If you disturb the substrate then you will end up recycling the tank, leave it alone.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 06:00 AM
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Kathyy is right, with that small of a tank you will not have to do near as much as if it were bigger. I just posted a write-up I did on my website for people wanting to move tanks. For you, just drain as much of the water as you can out and either save it or seed some new water at the new place for refilling. Everything else can stay in the tank as long as you can handle moving it like that. If you can't, or don't think you can, make sure you have some help or you can always break it all the way down like I suggested in my post earlier. Placing it on plywood or something works well, just make sure you get some help carrying it. Also, if you leave everything in there and the substrate gets disturbed too much, prepare to do some water changes. It's always good to have some seed water ready anyway, so I would suggest having some ready just in case.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 04:58 PM
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Honestly, if you keep the tank clean and fresh and do an extra water change or two before the move, you will not need to bother hauling water on the move. I move a lot and never bring water or lose fish. Do or don't, I'm just saying. Bacteria is not swimming in the water and that keeping the water keeps the cycle is a fallacy - some bacteria is in the gravel, and the most important thing to preserve is the filter media - this is where most bacteria resides.

I always bag the fish (like the fish shop does with water and air, in proper fish bags)and put the bags in a cooler - this makes the fish easy to move and the cooler stabilizes the temperature and keeps them less stressed in the dark. Bags also make it very easy to acclimate the fish again, as you can float them and do the things you normally do.

I always bag the filter media like I do the fish - this way the bacteria stays alive and healthy. Keep the filter intact and you have no cycle issues, it is that simple.

I always move and set up the tank first, that way it can run and aerate and stabilize and heat up while I do the rest of the move - then at the end of the night after the move I introduce the fish to a safe tank.

I don't feed the fish for the last 3 days up to the move, so they keep the bags clean.

Even for a small tank I recommend emptying and bagging - more time at first, but easier and safer in all then lugging a heavy tank of water- Keep just enough water in the tank to keep the gravel wet. In larger tanks I throw the gravel in buckets.

Good luck
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all very much, I appreciate the advice! I'm really looking forward to moving out and getting out on my own two feet, and I don't want to have to leave these guys here because I didn't know how to ask a question!

I've already started warning my help that a tank is involved and once I get the furniture moved, my top priority is this fish tank. I should have plenty of good strong guys to help me move the tank.

Again, thank you all!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 11:03 PM
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I just moved my 10gallon last July and it went very well. One thing I can suggest is that I had a piece of lumber that I used to pick the tank up. It still had about a gallon or so of water and one fish I could not catch. This eliminated the stress of picking the tank up directly. Lowes has 5 gallon pails for under $3.00. I transferred a couple of gallons for the fish and tossed the water afterward and used another 5 gallon for the water I recycled back into the tank. No fish lost and didnt end up with the stress I thought I would of.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 01:06 AM
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I agree with previous posters about sliding the tank onto a strong piece of plywood or a plank. I fill a rinsed, clean Rubbermaid tub (that has not been used for soap or detergent, etc) with tank water, put the inhabitants into that, & pop on the lid (with a few air holes). You can even hook up a hob filter onto the tub, along with a heater if needed (they don't melt the plastic) and keep the fish in that when you get to your new place until your tank is set up. My daughter kept her fish in a Rubbermaid tub set up like that for several days during her last move and they did just fine.

The tank is moved with the substrate in the bottom. Keep the filter media moist during the move. The plants can stay in place in the substrate. Remove any pieces of wood or rocks that could move around and damage the tank.

Moving a small tank isn't nearly as difficult as a big one! Good luck
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-28-2011, 08:46 PM
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What about if you're moving long distances (e.g., you'll be on a plane). Is the only answer selling most or all of your stuff and starting anew? Has anyone shipped fish to themselves? I'm not sure how that would work out since no one would be on the other end to receive the fish...

What about plants? Can you bring them with you on an airplane as carry-on baggage (domestic flight)?
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-29-2011, 04:42 AM
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I moved my 10.5 gallon tank a few months ago. I took out as much water as I could into a 5 gallon bucket. I put as much saran wrap as I could on top of the bucket so it wouldn't spill when in the car (try to put it so the saran wrap sinks and then put a blanket on top so the water will hit the sunken saran wrap instead of hitting the top and spilling over). I removed the larger rocks in the sink, the floating plants, but really that was it. I had too many plants and it would have taken a long time to catch the fish/shrimp in there. I also used a wooden board to move the tank... I put it in the front seat (with the same saran wrap method on top) and all the fish and shrimp survived.

If you could take out the fish and other creatures it would be good but I've moved a few tanks and usually just keep the inhabitants in there... just make sure there's enough water so they don't get trapped. Also, this goes without saying, but drive super slow on turns because you don't want the substrate to move a lot and bury and of the little guys.
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