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Page 2 about
Moving Your Fish
 
This page contains Customer Comments and our Replies about How to Move Fish. Click here to go back to the first page in this discussion about Moving Fish.
 
 

Customer Comments

 
Just had to let you know that I just moved a dozen of my fish and followed your directions- thank you so much for the Web site! My fish lived in two coolers lined with trash bags for six, yes SIX, days.
 
All I did was alternate the heater each day between the coolers. I had plants in with them and was at my wits end trying to get the pump up and running and finally bought a new one for my 70 gallon tank. It took four coolers in all to move 80% of the water.
 
Thank you again!
John
 
 
 
Reply. Hello John. Thank you for your email. We're glad to know you were able to successfully move your 70-gallon aquarium and your fish.
 
Lets see 4-coolers, so each cooler contained about 1/4th of the 70 gallons of water, which is about 17-gallons. I just looked at my cooler which is labeled as 80-quarts, which is 20-gallons, so it will hold 17-gallons when filled an inch or two from the top.
 
It's probably better to have more than an inch or two, so the fish won't hop out, and the water won't slosh out over the edge.
 
We're glad to know it worked for you! Thanks again.
 
 
 
 

Customer Comments

 
I would like to thank you for all the great information you've provided! I had to move my fish home because school's almost out. I read your instructions and followed them as best I could. All of my fish made it home safely! (they spent 6 hours in a cooler)
 
And the 'recommended treatment' really works! Mr tiger barb has grown half of his tail back!
 
Thanks again!
~Steph
Iowa State University Student
 
 
 
Reply. Hello Steph. Thank you for your comments. We're glad to read that our advice about how to move fish helped you successfully move your fish home.

We're also glad to read that you used the Recommended  Treatment to save Mr. Tiger Barb. Click here for more  information about the Recommended Treatment.

 
 

Customer Comments

 
WE ARE MOVING 1700 MILES. WE ANTICIPATE THAT THE FISH WILL BE IN THEIR MOVING CONTAINERS ABOUT 3 DAYS BEFORE BEING PLACE BACK INTO THEIR AQUARIUM.
 
I THOUGHT I WOULD PLACE THEM IN FOOD COOLERS AND USE BATTERY OPERATED AIR PUMPS WITH JUST AN AIR STONE IN EACH COOLER AND THEN USE HEATERS POWERED BY AC CONVERTER INTO MY CIGARETTE LIGHTER IN MY CAR.
 
I HAVE 2 FULL SIZED OSCARS I WOULD PUT IN ONE CONTAINER WITH ABOUT 4 GALLONS OF WATER AND THEN 2 BALAS, 2 GURAMIS, A PLACO AND A LARGE SILVER DOLLAR IN ANOTHER COOLER WITH ABOUT 4 GALLONS ALSO.
 
DOES THIS SOUND LIKE IT WILL WORK TO YOU? IT DOUBT I WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE ALL OR MOST OF THE AQUARIUM WATER WITH ME SO I THOUGHT I WOULD JUST EMPTY THE TANKS DOWN TO THE SURFACE OF THE ROCKS TO MAINTAIN SOME GOOD BACTERIA.
 
THEN I WOULD FLOAT THEIR FILTERS IN THE WATER JUST TO KEEP THE BIOLOGICAL STUFF IN THEIR MOVING CONTAINER WATER. I LEAVE IN 9 DAYS. IF YOU CAN RESPOND BEFORE THEN, IT WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED AS I REALLY LOVE MY FISH AND HAVE RAISED THEM SINCE BABIES. SOME I HAVE HAD A FEW YEARS.
 
THANKS,
SUSAN
 
 
 
Reply. Hello Susan. First you should study the information about moving fish that is given on a special page on this web site about how to move fish. Click here to read that page now.

Your plan sounds good. I would add four comments.

(1) Be sure you do not feed your fish for 48 hours before you put them in the coolers. This will clean them out, so they will not foul the water in the coolers during the trip.

(2) Do not feed your fish while they are in the coolers. This means they will go five days without food, which will be stressful but better than foul water.

(3) Some coolers are translucent. It is important that your fish be in total darkness with no light. Put your coolers inside large black plastic trash bags to keep the light out.

(4) Try to take all the water from your aquarium with you. You can put aquarium water in a cardboard box with doubled plastic trash bags inside. When you set your aquarium back up, discard the water with the fish, and pour the water from the cardboard boxes without fish into your aquarium, then add at most 20% fresh tap water to your newly set up aquarium.

Good luck moving your fish.

 
 

Customer Comments

Hi,
 
I wanted to let you know an alternate method of traveling with your fish. I moved from San Francisco to Detroit, traveling by car, with two dogs and my tropical fish. I have 2 Angelfish, quite large, 4 Neon Dwarf Goramis, 3 Gold Barbs, 2 Emerald Corys, and 4 Clown Loaches. I have a large Eclipse tank.
 
Just prior to moving, I got a large new 10 gallon water jug with a sealable lid, such as you'd see on a construction site. I drilled two holes in the sealable lid. Through one hole, I dropped in an air hose, with an air stone attached. Through the other hole, I dropped in a medium sized heater and attached it to the side of the plastic jug with rubber suction cups. I had purchased a convverter, at an RV store, so I could run the air pump and the heater off of the 12 volt outlet in the car's dash.
 
The day I left SF, I drained part of the fishes tank water into the jug. I filled the jug the rest of the way with new fresh water. I treated the water just as though it were in a tank. I then carefully caught all of the fish and transferred them into the plastic jug (the air pump and heater had been working for about 30 minutes). Once the fish were transferred, I emptyed the tank completely and cleaned it with fresh water. I put the filter into a sealed plastic bag and set it back into the tank. I loaded the tank into the car, then put the sealed jug into the passenger footwell, plugging the air pump and heater into the converter and turning them on. I then started on my trip.
 
Each evening when I arrived at a hotel, I would take the sealed jug into the hotel's bathroom, plug the air pump and heater into the wall outlet, take the lid off so the fish had light, and do a partial water change (because there was no filter running, and this kept the nitrate levels down). The next morning I'd replace the lid on the jug, take it back out to the car and plug into the converter, and away we'd go again. I didn't lose one fish. Once I arrived in detroit, I immediately setup my tank, let it run for three hours, and transferred the fish into the tank. So far, I still have all of my fish that I had in SF, and it's 6 weeks later.
 
Perhaps my experience can help someone else doing a long move.
 
regards,
EllisonX
 
 
 
Reply. Hello and thank you for the details about how you moved your fish. Your methods sound like a reasonable alternative to the methods that we described.
 
 

Customer Comments

Howdy Folks,
 
I utilized your moving instructions from SF to Colorado Springs and was completely successful; zero losses!!!
 
PetCo of Redwood City gave me two shipping boxes and I bought two battery pumps and a bunch of D cells.
 
I couldn?t find any official hot packs, but did test out some medical back heat packs and decided they were ok to use from Walgreens?.
 
In Elko, Nevada, I realized one box was wet. It seemed the bags were leaking. I had used cheapy 30 gallon bags that I already had at home.
 
Clearly that didn?t fly. So instead of getting mad, I got Glad?. I did the switch over in the motel room bathroom and that made all the difference for the rest of the trip of almost 3 days.
 
My fianc? let the biowheel go dry; I could swear she knew better!!! It used to be her tank!
 
I used some drops to refresh it before putting it all back together and let it run for 4 hours before placing the fish back into the 30 gallon acrylic tank.
 
I had a bunch of the old water and that prevented new tank syndrome.
 
My stock: 
 
6 Large Neon Tetras
4 Blood Tetras
4 Large & Crazy Gold Gouramis
3 Red Rasboras
2 Large Clown Loaches
1 Sleek Leopard Cat
1 Monster Sailfin Plec measuring 15? long!
 
All my fish are happy and I?m ready to do the first cleaning!
 
Thanks so much for the tips!!!
John M.
 
 
 
Reply. Hello John. Thanks for emailing us the interesting details about moving your fish from San Francisco, CA, to Colorado Springs, CO. We're glad they all made it safely, and we're glad that we could help you.
 
 

Customer Comments

Hello,
 
I read your article on transporting fish when you have to move. I will be moving soon to a location only about 4 hours away so I hope to be fairly successful using your methods. One thing I didn't see mentioned in the article is how to transport the biofilter to keep from killing off the bacteria. Is there any way of doing this?
  
Thanks,
Kathy M.
Livermore, CA
 
 
 
Reply. Hello Kathy. Good question. First, as you freshen your aquarium in the days leading up to your move, clean the excess crud off your bio-filter. So it is fresh too, but don't overdo it and damage the beneficial bacteria living in the filter.
 
Put the entire filter in a large plastic bag. Be sure there are a couple of tablespoons of aquarium water in the bag with the filter, so it won't dry out. Then seal the bag, so it won't leak.

The bacteria in the bio-filter will remain active for about 48 hours. So they'll hardly notice your 4-hour trip. After you arrive at your destination, you should refill your aquarium and get the filter running as soon as possible. Let it run for an hour or two to clear the water, then unpack your fish.
 
Good luck on your move.

 
 
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This page was updated on October 16, 2014.