How to Safely Move an Aquarium?

Things that you will need are: 

• A siphon pipe 

• A water pump that you can attach to the siphon pipe 

• Enough foam boxes to hold the fish, corals, plants, gravel and rocks that you have in the tank. 

• Enough 20lt hand drums to carry at least half the volume of the water in the aquarium. 

• Battery-powered air pump 

• Bacteria product 

• Water ager and Easy-Life 

• Large fish nets 

• Flat plastic spade 

• Stand levelers 

1. First of all get an eskie or foam box, which is to be half filled with water siphoned from the aquarium, which you can place the fish into for the trip. If you have plants or corals then they can go in a separate box to the fish. Don’t put too many fish per box, it is better to have more boxes than less. As long as the room is a comfortable temperature you should not need to place a heater in the box. If you do need to place a heater in the box then ensure that it does not touch the side of the box as it may melt the plastic. Easy-life is an amazing product which will ensure that the water quality and oxygen level remains high during the whole moving process. This product will massively reduce the chance of fish stress. 

2. Remove the aerator from the main tank and introduce it to the foam box to give the fish oxygen during this process. Don’t leave the fish without oxygen or they will not last too long. 

3. Get another foam box and remove the rocks and any decorations out of the tank into the box, ready to be moved to the next location. 

4. Once the tank is empty it will be easy to remove the fish and place them into their foam box. Use many large nets to make the job easy, never try to catch the fish with one small net or you will stress them and yourself out. When you are moving the boxes with the fish in them you can use a battery-powered air pump to ensure they don’t run out of air during the move. The small price of this pump is worth it to ensure that you don’t lose the fish. 

5. Drain as much of the tank as you can into 20lt hand drums which can be moved. 

6. Remove the substrate using a flat plastic spade and wash it. It is actually best not to wash the gravel in tap water, but sometimes it is so dirty that this is not possible. Expect to loose some bacterial capacity in the gravel if you do wash it in tap water. 

7. Once there is nothing left in the tank it can be disassembled and moved to the new location. Don’t move it with any gravel in the tank! 

8. Once in the new location you need to ensure that the tank is level in the new spot. This can be done by checking each leg is securely on the float, checking the empty tank isn’t able to be rocked easily and the surface is level. To check it is level place 1cm of water into the bottom of the tank and measure the water level in each of the 4 corners. If they are not equal then you can place packers in the corners with more than 1cm of water. 

9. Next add the gravel and fill the tank with the water that you brought to be added from the old tank. Add the rocks and decorations then place the fish straight into the tank which at this stage should be at least half full. If possible run all the filters now. 

10. Have a drum next to the tank which you can fill with water, add ager and bacteria and ensure the temperature, pH and salt level is the same in the drum as the main tank. Once the water is correct pump it into the tank and refill the drum and repeat this process until the tank is full and the move is complete.

11. It is important to overdose water ager when you re-establish the tank and introduce a bacteria product to reduce the chance of ammonia after the move. 

12. Keep the feeding low for the next 2 weeks, test your water regularly after you move the tank and do not introduce new fish for the next month. Good luck and enjoy. 

Paul Talbot