How To Transport Fish Easily And Safely

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If you are moving from one location to another and you want to take your aquarium fish with you, there is a safer way that you can do to minimize stress on your fish while maximizing its survival rate. Moving to a new home with your fish is quite challenging. Every aquarium has its own unique ecosystem that will keep your fish happy and healthy.

The aquarium must be empty before transporting because it may break, aside from being heavy, while in transit. A safer way is to transfer the fish to another container (smaller) and then refill it at your new home, while you take the aquarium with you without the water. This article will help you on how to transport fish easily and safely without harming the fish. Consequently, we have 3 basic steps on how to do it, read along.

What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial

These are the few things that you will need when you go on transporting your fish to another home. Following this tutorial, there is no elaborate tools needed. Just these 3 tools will do, and add some enthusiasm and lots of caution.

Step By Step Instructions

Transporting fish in short distances that will take only less than an hour does not require them to be out of the tank. But for journeys that will take more than an hour, they are supposed to be out of the tank while the tank must be empty. Here are the safest ways to transport fish easily and keep them alive and happy along the way.

Before Moving: Preparing The Aquarium And The Fish

Plan ahead before you move. Do these following activities prior to your move:

  • Replace 20% of the water in your aquarium 5 days before your expected move.
  • Feeding your fish 24 to 48 hours before the actual date of moving is a big no-no, but be sure that the fish are well-fed prior to moving. Don’t be afraid, fish can survive a couple of days without food.

Just an important reminder: In case your journey would last a week or longer, you should contact your pet store and let them make the transport for your fish. Make a signed agreement stating the pet store’s responsibilities on transporting your fish. Other pet stores will transport your fish by air-shipping them to your new home.

On The Day Of Moving: Measures To Take In Protecting Your Fish While Moving

  • Transfer the fish to your prepared fish bags. You can buy these bags from your pet store or any aquarium supplies store like Amazon. Fill a third of a bag and use the water from the tank, so that the chemistry of the water is still intact and other remaining food is present. Don’t forget to allow enough air in the bag to give the fish enough oxygen during the trip.
  • Take also enough plants from the tank and put them inside the bag together with the fish. This will make good bacteria in the bag alive.
  • Empty the tank of water and remove the remaining devices, substrate, decorations and other ornaments. Then clean the tank with scrubbing pad (without soap or detergent). Place these other ornaments in plastic bags filled with water also from the tank to keep the beneficial bacteria that has grown on the decorations. Make sure that the tank is free from any hard objects that may damage it during transit.
  • If your move will take only about a couple of hours, do not clean the filter, just put it in a container (pail or bucket), also filled with water from the tank. For long moves, clean it by using running water and a scrubbing pad. While packing the heater, pump, and other add-on and treat them like you are packing fragile items.
  • It is better to move the tank while it is empty to avoid breaking. Do not either attempt to put any object in the tank while in transit.

Arriving At Your Destination: Setting Up The Tank

It is only proper that you set up the tank as the same way you have done when you first set it up. It is essential for the fish’s survival and their acclimation with their new environment. Follow these simple steps to assure of happy and healthy fish.

  • Return carefully all decorations and ornaments inside the aquarium.
  • Pour the water you have saved prior to your moving.
  • Set up properly (on the same spot) your devices (heaters, pumps, filters).
  • Place the alive plants inside the tank.
  • In adding the fish from the plastic bag, let the bag float for a while inside the tank to balance the temperature between the water in the tank and in the bag. At the moment the water temperature is on the proper range, you can now pour the fish and the water it used to swim to.


Did you enjoy this tutorial? Learning the basic knowledge in moving fish will save their lives, as the proper steps on how to transport fish is very crucial for their survival. Write to us about your comments if you find this tutorial very interesting, like and share this article with your friends and love ones, especially those who often move to another place of residence, you can surely help them to keep their fish alive and well.

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