How to move a 75g cross country? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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How to move a 75g cross country?

Has anyone ever moved a large aquarium, with fish, across the country? How did you do it?

So right now I live in Maryland. In a couple months, my wife is beginning the first part of our 4 part move to California. She is going to be out there for about 2 months, and she is taking our 100lb mutt with her. The mutt will be staying at a friends house, and my wife will be staying at a different friend's house. After she is there for roughly 2 months, our five year old son is going to move out there with her. Once I'm all alone (aside from the fish, and the cat) I am going to try to get our house sold, while my wife works on finding a job. Once the house is sold, and my wife has a new job, I'll be quitting mine, and we will be moving out that way. But how on earth do I get my fish out there?

I've been pondering the different ways to go about getting the fish out to CA, but the main issue that I have is that nobody I know in CA keeps fish.


I thought about having my mother set up a rubber maid container with a couple hobs running on it, and plop 2 or 3 feeder goldfish in the container. Then I could ship my fish out there, she could return the goldfish to the fish store, and they would have a cycled tank ready for them. But I feel a bit bad asking my mom to do all that.

I also considered purchasing an inverter to run a couple heaters in the 75 gallon, and have the fish in the back of the moving truck... for a week... yeah... because that sounds like a FLAWLESS plan.

Any advice will be appreciated. Heck, even sarcasm will be appreciated at this point.

The tank is a 75 gallon.

Fauna: 2 angelfish, 2 german blue rams, 10 bloodfin tetras, 3 bristle nosed plecos, 15 kuhli loaches, and ~30 ghost shrimp.

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 05:13 AM
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If you succeed

EDIT: for some reason I thought this was a reef THAT would have been nearly impossible. Hope someone tunes in to help you out. GL!

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 05:24 AM
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Your best chances are to turn a full size beer cooler into a temporary aquarium. Toss some plants in there...airstone...small heater and fish (use their own water if possible). If you can run the airstone with a sponge off an inverter while you travel that's good. If not, lug them into the hotel (motel where you can pull the whip up to the door) each night and turn them "on". It's gonna be tough, you might lose a couple due to shock alone, maybe...but as far as I see it this is your only viable option. The cooler will alllow you to use like a 50 watt cheapo need for 200 watts in an insulated cooler.

That or donate them to a LFS you trust and buy some new ones once you arrive. I understand this may not be possible if you (or the kiddo) are attached.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 05:33 AM
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Have them shipped overnight?
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 05:53 AM
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This is something I think about all the time also for when I move out.

With the great distance that you have to cover though, I dont think you have any other option but to have them start some sort of temp tank there, ship your fish, break down your 75G tank, move it there, set it up, cycle, move fish in.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 05:56 AM
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sell your fish....honestly is it the best way. you dont seem to have anything too spectacular to absolutely have to keep forever. it's exciting to start a new tank anyway.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 06:08 AM
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What part of California?

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 06:09 AM
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I moved cross canada a few years back and just found homes for the livestock, more expensive sure, but sooo much easier, and it was fun replanning and restocking from scratch again.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 07:06 AM
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Ship them overnight. I would recommend giving away the ones you arent very attached to. Sending that many fish to a new tank will bring you all kinds of problems.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 07:17 AM
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well first off is the back of the truck going to have power for the filter/heater? if not ur sol or have to put up front and get a inverter. if that doesnt work ur not going to have any type of easy way unless u ship them and have someone take care of them till u get there. this is very possible but dont really know ur situation so cant really help much further.. might try an get on scape an see if one of those members can lend a hand if need be..
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 07:39 AM
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I did this, heck I still got the T-shirt!!! Come see IT!!!!

Back when I was too young to actually work I spent summers with my brother at his manufacturing facility for his company. Well working for family blows so to teach me a lesson he brokered my services to a friend of his who owned a wholesale fish and coral company.

Since I was too young to collect a pay check I was paid in credit. First call on every shipment of corals that came in during the two months I worked there. I had some amazing corals for a 12 year old kid. To show my age this is when blue mushroms were the it thing. My brother helped me build a 29 gallon reef tank while I was there. Complete with Skimmer Metal Hilide etc.


At the end of my journey I had to get it all home. Fish Corals and inverts. We tried to drive straight through but we couldnt make it. Texas was just too dang far from California. When we stoped we pulled all of it out after it had been packed in bags just like a fish store would. ( Double baged with news paper inbetween) It was the middle of summer so we put some water and ice in the tub to float it all over night. Then when I got to where I was going I simply set it all back up again. My loss was less then 10%. Hope you can do better.

In your case I would set everything up except the rock and decor once you get there. That way when you want to move it again you can.

Alex R.

P.S We totaled 3 tickets hope you do better.

I should also mentioned I juged the aquarium water in 10 gallon jugs and used it when I started the tank again, In your case I would also house any filter elements in water to keep the beneficial bacteria alive.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 07:40 AM
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I would sell the fish and buy new ones it's just too much worked. I have move 3 times in the last year, I had to move my 72 brackish, my 54 high tech, my 55 low tech, and my 15 low tech the only reason I kept the fish is because I have mature roselines, green spotted puffers, and a 9 yr old axolotle. I only had to move 5 miles at the most I lost 3 roselines and one green spotted puffer. I will never move fish again, it's just not worth it chances are you will lose them anyway. Its also a pain to find enough containers to hold 75% of your water if you don't have a cycled tank waiting for them.
If you really want to keep your fish though I would suggest getting the power inverter and some tubs like you said. I would cycle the tubs first then put your fish in them and send the tank out before so it's cycled and ready to go when you get there I would also recommend lots of oxygen and no light while your moving them to keep the fish as happy as possible.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 12:40 PM
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The beer cooler is a great idea, would hold temperatures for quite some time. Not four days but you could use emergency plans like we would for a long term power outage, float bottles of hot water or ice bottles depending on the weather, possibly.??

As for oxygen that is the biggest thing. What about one of the emergency backup air pumps. They run on batteries, according to the ones I've seen on several sites they can last up to 48 hours on 2 D cell batteries. Can get them for less than $20. Don't feed the fish obviously, they'll make it fine for several days without food.

Let us know how it works, I'm very interested in this.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 01:19 PM
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5g buckets are nice because you can seal them. They don't have the insulation beer coolers do, but a quick stop won't slosh water all over the place. And they're much easier to lug into a motel room if full.

Not necessarily a recommendation, but a thought.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 02:21 PM
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I'd say your best option would be to sell or give away your existing fish and plants and other livestock. Then move the tank empty and dry. That way you are in no hurry to do anything. Your going to be quite busy with normal household items for awhile, just because of the move.

If you really can't bear to give up your livestock, set up a new aquarium at your new home, and then ship all your fish and plants via overnight express. Then move the old tank empty and dry.

People have moved aquariums long distances and done it successfully, but it's a lot of work that needs to be done on a very precise schedule.
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