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So I'm moving 750 miles in about three weeks and will be taking my tanks with me.
I've got a planted, low-tech ten gallon community with a five rasboras, two otos, and a dwarf rainbow (submersed filter busted and I didn't realize it until everyone else died); a baby oscar (3 inches) in a 5 gallon; and two bettas in two one gallons.
I realize the oscar is over-sized for his current tank, but he is getting a much larger one, 50 gallons until I can upgrade again, at the destination.

I was wondering how people have moved cross-country with their fish and what kind of survival you've had. I know I can put the fish into individual breather bags and essentially "ship" them home in a cooler in the back of my car, and I know I can put them in buckets of water with battery operated air pumps, but I was wondering if anyone's ever tried either method, or if you've tried both, which have you had more success with?

Also, with the buckets of water, how does that work? Wouldn't the fish slosh around?

The drive will be done over two days and will see me going from 7000 feet to sea level. Will this re-pressurization be an issue for the fish?

Thanks!
 

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So let me get this straight. If you move these fish will there tank be set up and ready to go when you get there? If so do you know the water conditions at both sites? If it was me I would take the fish back to the store and replace them in your new location. If not how about friend holding the fish and then shipping them to you after your ready. I have read of people transferring fish more than one day in there car but it's got be very stressful to the fish.
 

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If you drive with the fish you will be chained to the car your entire trip. The car warms up very fast, so being able to stop and eat/use restroom/stretch your legs will be very limited. I've made this sort of move before with betta fish (empty large yogurt containers 3/4 filled with water and holes poke in lid all in a Styrofoam cooler). You also have to remember that you must be prepared to immediately set up tanks for your more sensitive fish (the bettas can chill in the small containers for a bit). Ideally, someone could hold them and ship to you when you're set up.
 

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I move large cichlids, either to move with me or to auctions. You can go the bucket route and "maybe" get by if you don't need to stop or do any sudden moves. Lids pop off when buckets tip over so keep in mind the water is going the same speed as the car and when the car stops suddenly, the water doesn't!
I do them much as if I were shipping. Cheap styro coolers for a couple bucks if I don't have shipping boxes handy. Use as large size bags as practical. Trash bags work for really big folks. Water volume and insulation maintain the temp. Put the fish on no food a couple days before moving. That holds down waste but add any type ammonia removal that is on hand. Ammo-chips, Chloram-x, etc. will be good insurance. Fill one bag with enough water for that fish to swim upright and then trap as much air as you can in the bag when sealing it. Turn that bag over inside another bag to double bag. If you have catfish, triple bag is not out of the question due to the fins. Double bagging does away with one big hazard fro fish that get head down in the corners where they may die. The second bag removes the corner fold in the first bag. Tape the box shut and you are likely to be good for more than two days. Put the styro where you would be comfortable. Not in the floor where exhaust heat comes up? No air pump, etc. needed as sloshing will make water movement. O2 is nice but not totally needed but keep in mind that they need air more than more water. Big guys separated from small guys.
Do whatever is needed to keep the sudden change down but forget the sweat about different water? My fish come from out of state and we sure don't try to match the water if they come from Africa or South America.
Admit defeat up front or do the best you can and hope it works out. Your fish are a whole lot easier to deal than the wife and kids.
 

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With imported fish, they come in bags with zeolite, may have been sedated in the bag, have extra O2 pumped in etc.
Its almost pointless trying to test the water. As they always say, where possible, adjust the fish to your water, rather than the other way around.

Heck some people even put in antibiotics.
 

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I moved 1400 miles last October with three Goldies, a guppie (hitchhiker in my glass shrimp purchase lol), a few Nerites, two frogs and a toad.

For the aquatic guys, I just put the snails in a breather bag with water and called it a day (changed it every night and then in the morning to aerate the water), the fish I put in the biggest bag I could get for transporting fish, bought one of those battery powered air stones, stuck the tube in and rubberbanded the Heck out of it then put them all in a breathable Styrofoam container (ask your LFS, chances are they will just give you one like mind did). I used bottled water to change out some water every day for the fish and didn't feed them the entire time (3 days). I had 100% survival with all my animals.

Bump: On second thought I didn't rubber band it, because then the bag would have exploded from the air being pumped in, don't do that lol. For the fish, I remember now, the bag was so big it fit in the cooler really snug and I remember rolling up the excess plastic at the top to make it more rigid and just left it open. I supported the bag on three sides with the cooler and on the other with the snail bag so it couldn't roll over and spill. It worked very well.
 

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Here is the thing. You only have 8 fish. Unless I'm missing something, there is nothing rare or difficult to replace. I'd take them all to your LFS or give them away to friends, drain the tanks, and pack them for the move.

As pointed out by others, you are really tied to looking after the fish during the trip. Also your moving too, and you'll need to devote your attention to that. Why also worry about your fish?

Yea, you can move them as described by others, but it going to add a lot more problems and considerations to your move.
 

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When I moved from NY to Florida I put all the fish into a Coleman cooler and latched it closed. It was the old metal cooler. Every time I stopped I stirred up the water with my hand then added a bit of hydrogen peroxide to the cooler. Every fish made it. When I got to FL I had no tank ready. Bought a wading pool, filled it with water added dechlor and then all the fish and the water in the cooler. Water changes every other day until I had the tank setup.

If I had to do it today I'd put them into bags then into the cooler.
 
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So the question is not HOW to do the job but IF? If the fish are old friends, keep them and move them is not at all a real problem. But if they have no real value, ditch them and start over? The difference is in what value they have to you, personally. If they are expendable, look at them as if they were the bait you took fishing. If they have far more value, take them along as the prize! Either way it should not be a big trauma compared to all the other decisions you will be making. When I last moved from the St.Louis area to the Austin area, I brought the fish as the grandkids expected me to do it. We did a two day trip and the box just set on the rear seat without making a peep! I packed them and looked at it as a whole lot less difficult than shipping them somewhere. No setting on the hot cargo dock, no laying in the unheated cargo hold of a plane. Nobody even threw the box!
 

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I've never moved fish that far, but in a 3 hours drive from Salisbury, MD to Rockville, MD the buckets didn't hold heat. I'd highly recommend coolers or Styrofoam. I ended up losing about 4 out of 30 rasboras due to temp. All my other fish were not happy either and I'm surprised I didn't lose more. No buckets for me after that trip.
 
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