Buying or selling your home is one of the largest financial transactions you will ever make, and one of the most stressful. If you're planning on moving home, we have advise on researching the area you want to live in, finding a home that's right for you and within your price bracket, instructing a conveyancer or solicitor, and every step of the way through to moving in. Even after you've moved in we have tips and advice on how to reduce your utility bills and improve your carbon footprint.
Moving home is stressful anyway, but when you also have to move an aquarium at the same time it can be doubly stressful for both you and your fish. The following guide covers the key areas you need to consider when moving your aquarium and fish to their new home.
Preparing to move
We recommend that you don’t feed your fish for between 36 and 48 hours before physically moving them. Going without any food for two days won’t cause your fish any harm, but will reduce the amount of feces there will be in whatever you transport your fish in. Too much feces lefty in a small fish container can harm your fish.
Safe transfer of your fish
Fish bags are ideal for transporting fish. These can be purchased from most aquatic retailers. Ideally you should only have two or three fish at most in each carrier. The carriers should only be one third filled with your existing tank water (it’s important to use as much of the existing water from the tank as possible). This is to allow as much of an air gap as possible. As long as there is enough water to swim in freely, your fish will be okay. The large air gap will make available extra oxygen which will dissolve into the water as it’s used by the fish. When using bags, be sure to seal them at the very top to allow as big an air gap as possible. The fish bags should then be placed into white polystyrene boxes, again sourced from your local aquatic centre. The boxes will not only help preserve water at the same temperature, but will also provide added protection for the journey.
Before attempting to catch the fish, remove all of the décor from the tank such as rocks, wood or plants. These should be stored in a bucket with a small amount of tank water to keep them moist. This will help protect the build up of bacteria that you find in most mature tanks. Now the tank is empty of any obstructions, you should find it easier to catch your fish.
Next is the filter. As the most important component of any tank, it’s imperative that your filter is well looked after. The main aim must be to keep as much of the bacteria that helps make up your filter alive for as long as possible while you move. Depending upon which type of filter you have, we recommend that you first remove the filter media from the filter and transport it in a bucket of existing tank water. During the move it’s advisable, if possible, to oxygenate the water at regular intervals with the help of a battery powered air pump. This will help keep as many of the aerobic bacteria alive as possible.
Allow your tank time to cool down before emptying by turning off the heater 20 minutes or so before. Some heaters have been know to crack when moved if they haven’t been cooled beforehand. Tanks should never be transported with water or sand in them, so ensure they are totally empty before moving.
If you are using a removal company, arrange for them to pack the tank and fish last so that they come out first at the other end. That way they will be back in their normal environment as quickly as possible.
Setting up in your new home
In an ideal world, you will already have decided where you are going to put your tank in your new home. If not, we advise your pick somewhere with moderate sunlight and a constant temperature. Getting your tank set up and filter running should be your first priority upon arrival at your new home. The sooner your fish are back in the tank the better it is for them.
Fill half of the tank with conditioned/dechlorinated water. This allows enough space for the mature water that you have used during transportation. Once the filter is fully operational, and the water the correct temperature, start to re-establish the fish in exactly the same way you would when introducing new fish. Float the bags for no less than twenty minutes to allow the water temperature in the bags adjust to the water temperature in the tank. After twenty minutes you can start opening the bags by rolling down the sides and allowing some of the new water to merge with the mature water. This process will help the fish to acclimatise to the change in water climate. Do not put on the aquarium lights until 6-7 hours after the fish have been re-introduced into the tank.
Keep an eye on your fish during this time, if all seems well and the fish seem to have acclimatised, then you can liberate them into their new environment. Don’t be surprised if them immediately hide or swim straight to the bottom. This is normal.
For the next week or so, we recommend you monitor your fish regularly, checking the filter, water temperature and ammonia and nitrate levels. Allow your fish a full 24 hours to acclimatise before feeding them again. Over the next few days, closely observe you fish to see that they are feeding as normal and not exhibiting any unusual behaviour. If you are concerned in any way at any time, we recommend that you speak to your local aquatic retailer for advice.