How to Move Fish when you Move Home

One of the things I was really worried about when moving home was moving our two fish tanks. We have one large tank with two big goldfish in and one smaller tropical fish tank.

I’ve done quite a bit of research into how to move the fish tanks so I thought I would share it with you so you can safely move fish when you move home.

How to move fish…

Make sure that you have everything that you will need…

Fish nets

plastic bags to keep fish in

box / strong bag to hold fish

rubber bands

tubs to hold tank water

water siphon pump

  • The day before you are due to move your fish don’t feed them.
  • The day of the move turn off any heaters for 30 minutes before you want to move them so the heater can cool down.
  • Empty some of the water of the tank into tubs to take with you.
  • The fish will be easier to catch when the tank is half empty. Slowly and carefully transfer your fish into strong plastic bags. Try to keep fish separately – one per bag.
  • Make sure there is plenty of air in the bag – it should be at least half air. Tie securely with a knot or rubber band.
  • If you are moving far store the bags of fish in an insulated bag. Make sure they can’t roll around. If you are moving locally a sturdy box should do.
  • If you are moving far you will want to empty the tank and securely pack it up. Make sure you pack the filter pads in a bag with some of the tank water. The same goes for any gravel. If you are moving locally as we are we left some of the water in the tank so we didn’t need to move the gravel and filter. I sat the tank carefully on my lap while my husband drove to the new house.
  • When you get to the new house, set your tank up straight away. Refill it with the water you took with you and top up with any fresh water (treated in the usual way). Place the fish in their bags in the water in the same way you would when you buy new fish to let them acclimatise. Slowly add water from the tank to the bag and finally move the fish into the tank.
  • Let the fish settle with the room darkened and don’t turn on the aquarium light. Don’t feed until the next day. You will want to keep an eye on ammonia and nitrate levels for the first month or so and treat accordingly.

Moving our fish is was of the most daunting parts of our move but some forward planning and making sure you have all the right bits and pieces to hand should help ease the process.


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  1. February 9, 2016 / 11:00 pm

    I thought moving home with a cat and dog was bad but never considered how complicated it would be to move with fish!

  2. February 9, 2016 / 11:00 pm

    Wow I’ve never thought about this being an issue and I own fish myself! An excellent post that I am positive I’d be googling for whenever the time comes to move! X

  3. February 9, 2016 / 11:04 pm

    This is really interesting to know, we have been considering getting fish and obviously if we were to move this is something we need to consider.

  4. February 10, 2016 / 12:12 am

    I found this very interesting – I am thinking about getting two goldfish and I had no idea this much was involved in moving fish. Thanks for sharing

  5. February 10, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    My foster mum has fish and it takes a lot of time to maintain them so I imagine that it would be the same trying to move them. This is a list to keep in mind!

  6. February 10, 2016 / 2:01 pm

    I didn’t realise how complicated that it would be to move house with a fish. We used to have loads of them when we were a kid and we moved having four goldfish! x

  7. February 10, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    oh we don’t have fish but we do have terrapins thanks for the tips may come in useful although I am not planning on moving anytime soon

  8. February 10, 2016 / 7:37 pm

    Having an aquarium is something we have thought about doing. I never realised that there’s a lot more to it then popping them in a tank!

    • February 10, 2016 / 10:01 pm

      I wasn’t aware before we got our first fish either – I had some serious learning to do very quickly!

  9. February 10, 2016 / 11:24 pm

    This is so helpful! We used to get so worried when we had to clean and change tanks.

  10. February 11, 2016 / 8:38 am

    Some great tips here! We don’t have any fish, but I would like to get a tank.

  11. February 11, 2016 / 10:46 am

    I have no any pet as of the moment and I will prefer fish if ever I wanted to. This sounds interesting and helpful. 🙂

  12. February 11, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    I didn’t realise moving fish was so difficult and needed so much care.

  13. February 11, 2016 / 1:49 pm

    This is such a good idea for a post and probably very necessary but I bet there isn’t a helpful post like this elsewhere!

  14. February 11, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    Oh wow, this was interesting. Something I would never think of when moving home! x

  15. February 11, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    Very helpful! I have often wondered about this actually.. it seems like quite a hassle to move home when you have pets – fish or otherwise! Great post 🙂

  16. February 11, 2016 / 2:31 pm

    Its a very insightful post, I didn’t realise there was so much to think about when moving fish!

  17. February 11, 2016 / 4:45 pm

    Haha this is such a random, but insightful, post!

  18. Jessica
    February 11, 2016 / 5:59 pm

    This is such a good post. There’s so much that goes into looking after a pet fish and a lot of people don’t realise it. I’ve kept many fish in the past – tropical and coldwater and they can be hard work. x

  19. nicol
    February 11, 2016 / 9:51 pm

    growing up, we’ve always had fish in our home and i use to watch my dad to this whenever we moved homes

  20. February 12, 2016 / 12:30 pm

    Such a great post and useful for those in a similar situation. Thanks for sharing all of your research #MakingHome

  21. February 12, 2016 / 8:27 pm

    I have an aquarium and should we ever move, this is the one job I am not looking forward to completing x

  22. February 12, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    I have fish too and I have never thought about this! Thanks for sharing, it will definitely come in handy. 🙂 x

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