How to move aquarium

Forums Fish Talk I need help! How to move aquarium

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    Errol Reiss

    Hello 4A friends– I’m planning to move to another home about 20 mi away. Here are my questions related to moving an aquarium
    1. How to move a 50 gallon planted tank including approximately 20 fish pets?
    2. When I do a large water change I get a small amount of seepage from the bottom seam of this all glass tank. So in the move is there a way to re-caulk such a tank?
    Thanks for any advice you can provide!

    Jeremy Caswell

    Don’t feed the fish for a few days prior to the bagging.

    Bag or Bucket the Fish. If it is small and from a temperate zone, you got 48 hours. As little water as possible, as much air as possible in the bag. Don’t blow into it with your mouth, you want O2. The more delicate the fish, the less time they can spend in the bags. Just know, this act starts the timer. Temps still matter, but most are fish fine at room temp in a bag for 24 hours or so.

    Bag or Bucket the Plants. The good news is they can all go together and they don’t need much water. They DO have to be kept moist…. some wet paper towels work well between clusters of small plants, or wrapped around bigger ones.

    If you can keep the canister filter upright, you don’t have to drain it. Garbage bag for the filter, garbage bag for the hoses keeps most things (and car interiors) clean and dry. If not, or if you have a HOB, throw the filter media into a ziploc and pack the filter.

    Drain the water, as much as possible, then drain it some more. Moving Weight destroys tanks. Consider dumping the existing substrate outside and getting new. Pool filter sand and blasting media will cover the bottom for less than $10. If you bought EcoComplete, get a plastic cup and another bucket.

    Move the stand to the new location. Level it. Check the level again. Remember to check it front/back, left/right, and diagonal.

    Place tank. Check the level again.

    Place several old towels around the bottom of the stand, then quarter fill the tank with water. Wait an hour, check the levels. Check to see if the slightly popped seem is now a rushing stream. It probably is. If not, and it not leaking, add substrate, plants, filter, and refill with water as close to room temp as possible. Dechlorinate, and add fish.

    ((The fish have spent the last several hours, at least, at room temp. Putting them back into the tank full of room temp water keeps you having to float bags and gets them out of the bags faster. And, of course, if the water is of vastly different chemistry, you will have to drip acclimate.))

    Errol Reiss

    thank you for this most detailed and useful information!

    Kirsten Eidsmoe

    Two years ago, I moved two planted tanks – 40g and 55g two miles. It was an entire day’s work, and I had my husband and two friends to do the heavy stuff. But I learned a lot, and it was successful, so I’ll share what we did.

    Draining: On the 55, I removed the fish and driftwood and put them in buckets; on the 40, I removed nothing (it had only inverts and bottom dwellers I couldn’t net out). I drained the tanks as low as I dared, and saved about half the water in buckets from Home Depot. Covered the plants (still in the tank) with wet paper towels.

    Moving: We moved each tank in a separate trip. I bought a sturdy board that was larger than the largest tank’s footprint, and borrowed a wheeled cart that we could transport the tanks on. The board went on the cart, the tank went on the board. Wheeled out of the house with the help of ramps rented from Home Depot. Lifted the tank using the board, and slid it into the back of a rented van. That way it could be slid back out again, shifted onto the cart, transported into the new house the same way. The board kept weight distributed as equally as possible for the entire journey so the tank was minimally stressed.

    Refilling: I was refilling mostly old water from buckets, so I rested that board I’d bought on top of the tank’s lip, put each bucket on top of the board one at a time, and siphoned the water in slowly on top of the wet paper towels to avoid disturbing the substrate and plants. (I would not normally have saved as much water as I did, but our new house was under a boil water advisory at the time, so it was in an abundance of caution.)

    So it IS possible to move a tank without destroying your aquascape… but all that said, if your tank is leaking? I’d probably take the chance to totally break it down and fix or replace.

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