Relocating your fish between houses can be stressful for both us and the fish. It's important to move your fish and their aquarium as quickly as possible to reduce as much anxiety as possible for your beloved aqua pets. Here are some tips and recommendations for a successful move.
It is important to remember that you will need to move the aquarium before your fish and should be either be the very first or the very last thing you move when moving house, as it is important to establish a new permanent spot for your aquarium, so you are not having to move it again. Find a suitable position that fits in with your furniture, not in direct sunlight but in a spot that is in moderate and natural light with a consistent temperature.
Before you move, make sure your removalist has access and that the tank can fit through the doorways, lifts up stairwells. If you're moving to an apartment or moving office on an upper floor make sure your removalist has access to a service lift. Also make sure the tank doesn't exceed the weight limit of the floor nothing worse than having your fish tank go through the floor into your new neighbor's apartment.
Step one before moving: You will have to remove your fish from the tank. If you don't already have any on hand, your local aquatic and aquarium shop should have either bags or poly boxes. The poly boxes are essential for larger fish or fish that require a warm environment, like tropical or marine fish. If you are using a bag, make sure you fill the bag with 25% water, making sure to leave as much oxygen in the bag as possible. Close and tie up the bag with a rubber band or similar so you can easier re-open the bag without disturbing your fish too much. It is also important to keep as much existing tank water as possible, RO water containers will also be available from your local marine shop.
Don't forget about your filter system. The tanks filter is the heart of your aquarium and have have their own little eco-systems made up of good bacteria that are essential to the quality of water in the tank and to your fish's health. So it's a good idea to keep as many of these bacteria's alive for as long as possible during your move. In order to have the best outcome, place your filter media (carbon, sponges etc) in a bucket or container of the existing tank water and if possible keep the water oxygenated with a battery powered oxygen pump, this will ensure as many as possible of the bacteria will stay alive during the move. Make sure you have removed all water and decorations to avoid any cracking of the tank due to heavy weight.
Now you are ready to safely move your aquarium tank and cabinets to your new home. This is where being prepared with a professional removalist will save your back and ensure your tank arrives safely. Instead of playing russian roulette with it on the back of a ute or trailer, remember it might only take one big bump or stray stone to compromise your fish tank. So a covered moving company truck is a much safer option.
Once you have set up your aquarium in it's new position, it's time to add the preserved water back into the tank. Depending on how much water you saved will depend on how quickly you can re-introduced your fish back into their tank. Once the water is back in the tank you can then add any electrical equipment, ornament, stones etc As soon as this is done, you can set up your filter in tank. Now you can start to re-fill the tank. It's a good idea to turn up your heater 2-3 degrees to help warm the water so you are able to get your fish back in the tank quicker. DO NOT FORGET TO TURN IT BACK DOWN! It's also advisable to add a dechlorinating agent to the water.
Once the water is at its desired temperature (and you have turned the heater back to it's set temperature) You are now ready to re-introduce your fish back to their aquarium. Be careful to slowly lift the lid on the poly box and slowly allowing more and more light into the box over about a 15 minute period. Too much light too quickly will likely stress your fish as they are photosensitive like us.
When your tank is at the correct temperature and filters and pumps are turned on and working, it's time to introduce your fish back into their aquarium. For bagged fish, float them in their bags for around 15-20 minutes, then carefully undo the bags and roll down the sides to allow the new tank water to gently enter the bag, this will allow the fish to adjust to the new water and temperature. Keep and eye on them and once they have adjusted, you can fully release then and remove the bags. It's a good idea to leave any lights off for around 4-6 hours during the period of reintroduction. Some fish will swim straight to the bottom or hide behind rocks etc this is normal while they get used to their new surroundings.
Now your fish are in their new home, be sure to keep a watchful eye for any distress. Feeding can begin after about 24 hours.
Always make sure to monitor your fish, their aquarium and filters and pumps to make sure everything is running as it should after the move.