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How to safely move a fish tank

author avatar Written by Aaron Steed

Preparing for a move can be stressful, especially if you have a fish tank you’re looking to move into a new home. Since over 11.5 million households in the U.S. own a fish tank, we wanted to provide some insight into how you can safely move your fish tank hassle-free. While Meathead Movers cannot actually move your pets, we can move an empty and well packed fish tank. Rest assured that all of our Meathead Movers have gone through our rigorous Meathead University training regime, where they learned how to properly handle all of your most fragile belongings.

Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process we created to help guide you through the steps and deliver a stress-free experience, the Meathead Mover way.

Grab your needed supplies

Before you start to make the move, we recommend making sure you have everything you need on hand and ready to go.

Here are a few things we recommend grabbing before getting started:

  • A fishnet
  • Transportation buckets for the fish, equipment, and rocks
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Black printed newspaper or bubble wrap
  • Buckets
  • Siphon

One of the moving services we provide is professional packing supplies to help you do the packing needed to move a fish tank.

Learn how to safely move a fish tank

Prepare your fish

It’s time to prepare your fish for moving day. We understand ensuring the safety of your fish is the most important part of this task. Once you are ready to start preparing your fish tank for the move, you will want to transport your fish into the containers you wish to move them in.

Use water from your fish tank in the transportation buckets and only try transporting them into one container that you can move to your new home. Once your fish are safely in their transportation container, repeat the process with any plants you may have.

Drain the water and clean out the fish tank

This part can get a little tricky but your fish will thank you in the end. You’ll want to siphon the water out of the tank into buckets and try transporting as much fish tank water as possible. Utilizing the same original tank water can help your fish and plants acclimate to their environment and feel comfortable after the move is complete.

You can then remove, clean, and dry off any other decorative items you had in the tank. If there are any fragile items, you can wrap them in bubble wrap and carefully place them in a moving box. We recommend using professional packing supplies to help ensure none of your belongings break in the moving process.

Once you have removed all of the items from your fish tank, you can carefully remove the equipment, dry it off and safely pack it away into a moving box as well. The only piece of equipment you will not want to dry off is the water filter. Try to keep this as damp as possible. We recommend fully removing everything out of the fish tank to prevent any cracks or breaks in the glass from occurring.

After you empty everything from the tank, take the opportunity to clean your fish tank before bringing it into your new home. Start by giving everything a good scrub, wiping down the glass, and making sure everything is clean and ready to be packed into your moving truck.

Packing and preparing the fish tank

Alright, we’re halfway there. Let’s dive into how to move a fish tank and keep your fish’s home safe during the move.

First, remove the lid from the fish tank and wrap it in individual bubble wrap. Things can happen and move around a lot during a move, so you won’t want to keep the lid on or inside the fish tank. When packing and preparing to move a fish tank, feel free to review our curated list of packing and moving tips so you can use them to ensure your fish tank is moved safely.

  • Wrap your tank in black print newspaper or bubble wrap
  • Or wrap the tank in blankets or any other protective material
  • Clearly label all fish tank boxes and write FRAGILE on any that might be prone to breaking

Our Packing Experts recommend moving a fish tank into your transportation last and not stacking anything on top of the glass. This can ensure that it won’t break and you can start setting it back up.

Here are a few tips we recommend for safely transporting your fish:

  • Keep the fish and plants out of the sunlight
  • Don’t feed your fish 24 hours before the move
  • Make sure they are safe and secure in the vehicle before leaving

As you continue to pack up your belongings consider utilizing our Moving Checklist. Whether you’re doing local moving or long distance moving, this resource will make sure you are all packed and ready to go.

Setting up your fish tank

If you got this far without any trouble, you’re doing great! Before you start bringing too many boxes in, you’ll want to reassemble the tank and get your fish situated. Make sure you have a place in mind where you’ll want to move a fish tank and try to set it up there, you won’t want to move it too much and cause your fish any more stress.

Inspect the tank for cracks and chips before refilling it with water. If everything looks good to go, you can start adding everything that was in your fish tank back in starting with the rocks, decorative items, and equipment.

You will want to start adding in the water you transported first, if you think you need to add in any new water, make sure that water is dechlorinated before adding it into your fish’s environment. Next, you’ll want to carefully add your fish back into the fish tank using a fishnet, you can then add the water they were transported in into the tank as well. Wait an hour or two before turning on your water pump or heater, this will help the water acclimate to the room temperature and give you time to see if your fish show any signs of stress or trauma.

We hope this guide helped give you the confidence needed to safely move a fish tank into your new home.

At Meathead Movers, we understand that having a stress-free move is important to you. As you plan to safely move your fish tank into your new home, keep in mind that our Move Concierge can connect you with the pros if you have an aquarium, or prefer to leave your fish in the water. Otherwise, Meathead can handle the family fish tank.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for an extra hand then our talented team of athlete movers are always here to help with any of your local moving or long distance moving.

Let’s get to packing now.

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