How to pack an aquarium

An aquarium is easy to manage until you need to relocate it. Relocating your aquatic friends can be a little bit tricky. Some parts need to be detached from the tank. And aquariums are usually full of different decorations like gravel, rocks, or figurines. The plants and fish in the aquarium must remain alive and safe during transport. Depending on the duration of the move, you may need to ensure that the contents of the aquarium are safe for several hours until the new location. The fish can survive for a maximum of 48 hours during the move, anything beyond that’s a risk. It’s important to plan step by step how to pack an aquarium and safely transport it. You can opt for packing services NH and make your relocation easier. Here are some that will help you get your aquatic pets safely to their new home.

Before you start packing an aquarium, make sure you have all the necessary packing materials

Moving your aquarium means emptying it, packing it, transporting it safely, and reassembling it. Your first task is to get all the materials you need for the move. We’re sure you already have some of these things at home. How much material is needed for moving and packing also depends on the size of the tank and the number of fish, plants, and decorations it contains.

  • Plastic bags, buckets, or containers for fish. You can transport small fish in plastic bags tied tightly at the top (this applies to short distances). For longer distances, you can use plastic containers with lids. For larger fish, you need clean buckets with lids that hold at least 5 gallons.
  • Aquarium fishnet – to move the fish from the aquarium to the transport containers.
  • The siphon hose – with which you’ll empty the water from the tank.
  • Buckets for water and plants. Soak the plants in water during the move.
  • Packaging paper
  • Bubble wrap or blankets or similar padding
  •  Foam
  • Moving boxes
  • Travel cooler
  • Packing tape – to fix the lid of buckets containing fish and plants
  • Anti-slip paper sheets to prevent your slick aquarium to slide into the moving truck
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Dollies
box filled with Styrofoam
Get all the necessary supplies to pack an aquarium and prepare it for relocation

Also, consider that you’ll need to pack food, a table or similar surface for the aquarium to sit on, and the equipment you’ll use to maintain the aquarium. If you have any extra items to store, storage units North Hampton NH will safely and securely store your belongings until the next use.

Prepare your fish for the move

There are a few preparations you should make when considering packing and moving an aquarium to minimize the risk of over-stressing your fish by removing them from their usual environment. Starting with the cancellation of feeding is the first step in your preparation. Stop feeding your fish 24 hours before the move to allow your filters to purify the water and collect as much waste as possible. Before moving, check to ensure that the ground is level at the new location and can support the weight of a tank. It is also necessary to have an electrical connection nearby. Also check the water quality in the new location to compare the pH, and alkalinity of the water with the previous values.

Large aquariums require more time and assistance during the move. Make sure you have enough help and a suitable transport vehicle. Also, check particular doors and walkways are wide enough to provide access to the aquarium. Movers Manchester NH can always give you experienced advice or organize and carry out your move in your best interest. Also, check particular doors and walkways are wide enough to provide access to the aquarium. Moreover, monitor the weather forecast on moving day. It is recommended not to move the aquarium with the fish when temperatures are extremely high or low.

The next step is the moving method you will use to pack and transport the fish. This depends on how long you are moving. If you are moving locally, your local movers NH can complete your move in a few hours. So, transporting your fish is not going to be too risky. The problems start when you are moving your fish long-distance.

A person holding a goldfish in a plastic bag knows how to pack an aquarium
For a local move, you can use plastic fish bags that you can fill with oxygen

Packing your fish for a short-distance move

If you’re moving your fish locally, you’ll be able to transport them in an hour or two. In this situation, you can use your aquarium fish net to catch your water friends and put them in plastic bags. Just be sure to fill your bags up to one-third with the water from the aquarium. If you think your move might be a bit prolonged, go to your local pet store and ask if they can add some oxygen to allow your fish to spend more time in a plastic bag without risking suffocation. Just be sure to put aggressive species in separate bags. Put your bags in a travel cooler and fill them with bubble wrap to give them extra protection.

Aquarium with small fishes
When moving long distances, use 5-gallon buckets with lids to transport the fish

Prepare your fish for a long-distance move

One solution when you need to pack an aquarium for a long-distance move with movers in NH is to give fish to someone who has an aquarium. You can buy new ones when you move. If this is not an option, follow these tips.

When you’re moving long-distance, moving your fish in a plastic bag is not the solution. Your fish can survive in a plastic bag only for a few hours. Any more than that and they will surely suffocate. For long-distance travel, you should transport your fish in 5-gallon buckets. Just make sure that the buckets are clean and that they were never used for keeping anything besides water. It would be best if you just buy new ones, so you don’t have to risk with your old buckets.

Load the buckets with water from the tank till they are half full, then use the dip net to put 3 or 4 fish in the container. Seal the lid with packing tape and make sure that you don’t tumble them too much. If you are transporting an aquarium with large fish over long distances, you will need a battery-powered pump.

Remember that moving services NH usually do not include transportation of live pets. Nevertheless, you should ask anyway. They could maybe make an exception with fish packed this way.

Moving fish and plants

Once you have made all the preparations for transport, it is time to move the fish, plants, and reef dwellers into the transport containers. The best solution is to transport as much water as possible from the aquarium with your fish, which you will pour into buckets. Ideally, about 80% of the water should come from the aquarium. This way, you will minimize the stress level of the aquarium inhabitants and they will quickly establish a biological balance in their new environment.

As mentioned earlier, you will need 5-gallon buckets with lids to transport the fish. Using a siphon, pour the water into buckets or plastic fish bags. The large fish should be moved in buckets, coolers, or tubs. Small and medium-sized fish can be moved in plastic bags placed in cooler bags or in Styrofoam containers to maintain the temperature. Fill plastic fish bags with 1/3 water and 2/3 air or 50% water and 50% oxygen. If you don’t know where to get oxygen, local fish stores can pack the fish for you. Finally, plants can be transported in buckets with the rest of the water from the tank.

Choose the best and safest mode of transportation. If you need help with transportation, movers Portsmouth NH will meet you professionally. Transporting fish with items from your home will not be possible for safety reasons. If the move is local, it is best to do this task in your vehicle. For longer distances, always ask the moving companies for advice. For multi-day moves, check with local pet retailers. It is also possible to ship fish and send them by airmail.

 a person removing the fish from the aquarium using a bowl
Check with your local pet retailers if they can help you transport your fish

How to prepare an aquarium before packing it

Once you’ve packed your aquatic friends from the aquarium, it’s time to move on to the next step, packing the tank.  First, you need to unplug all the aquarium equipment, heaters, filters, and lights. Be sure to wash them in hot water and dry them before packing them in a plastic box. After unplugging all electrical appliances from the aquarium, you can put your hands inside and safely remove the plants.

Place the live plants in a bucket with water from the aquarium. You can then drain the water using a drain hose. Siphon as much water as possible from the aquarium into extra buckets. This step is important because you need to keep about 80% of the water so that your fish can adapt to their new environment as quickly and stress-free as possible.

After draining the water, remove the gravel and ornaments from the tank. Wash them in hot water and dry them before putting them in plastic bags or bubble wrap. Pack them in a separate box or container. Place the shale and sand from the bottom of the aquarium in a bucket or similar container. Wipe and dry all aquarium equipment and pack it securely. Filters should be kept wet until the next use. Finally, clean and dry the aquarium.

Label each box that has aquarium items to make it easier to assemble your aquarium when you move to your new home with the help of the movers Londonderry NH. While reliable movers are moving your belongings, you take care of the next step.

How to safely pack an aquarium

Safely packing the aquarium during the move is another challenge that requires careful handling. Glass objects need to be properly secured. Any cracks in the sides of the aquarium mean it’s no longer usable. When packing an aquarium for the move, ensure it’s well protected. If your aquarium is not too large, you can pack it in a moving box. Remove the lid and insert sheets of protective foam between the glass and the box, on all sides, and fill the empty spaces with bubble wrap or packing paper. And be sure not to put anything on top.

Large aquariums usually won’t fit in standard moving boxes, so protect it enough from the outside to avoid any possible damage. You can cover it with a foam sheet and wrap it in bubble wrap or moving blankets. Fill the inside of the tank with blankets or pillows and see where it sits once it’s on the moving truck. Add sheets of non-slip paper under the tank to keep it from sliding around in the moving truck.

Mark the packed tank so that it is visible which side is on top. This way the movers will know which side to load it on and place it in the moving track. You can move the aquarium yourself or with the assistance of movers Nashua NH who will meet your moving needs.

Don’t move your fish if you don’t really have to

Moving live aquarium fish is not the safest thing to do. Fish are very sensitive creatures, especially aquarium fish. Sometimes the best decision for the aquatic friends themselves is not to move them. If you are aware of the danger of long trips, you should decide to give your fish to someone and get new ones when you move into your new home. In case this isn’t an option for you, know that moving companies Maine can quickly pack and move your aquarium and the equipment that follows, but you will be responsible for transporting your fish safely.

fish tank on the table next to the Rubik's cube
When you move the aquarium to a new location, leave the fish without light for a few hours so they can get used to their new environment

Reassemble your aquarium in your new home

After you pack an aquarium, once you arrive at your new home, you will need to assemble your aquarium. You will start by adding gravel and sand. Pour the water you moved in the buckets back into the aquarium about halfway through, adding it a little at a time so as not to disturb the gravel and sand. Return the plants and decor to the tank. Then add the rest of the water. Put back the equipment: filters, heater, pump, and lighting. Check the pH balance, temperature, chlorine, and ammonia levels.

Now it’s time for your fish to swim in a familiar aquatic environment again. Put the lid back on but leave the light off for a few hours to allow the aquarium staff to adapt to their new environment. Also, do not feed them for 24 hours after the move. They may refuse to eat at first, but they have also had different experiences during the move, you are not the only one.

And that’s how you pack an aquarium properly. Just make sure to follow our tips and you will successfully accomplish this task. Good luck moving!