Moving your fish tank to a new place might be challenging when moving house. Because the average individual moves several times over their lives, most fish keepers will confront this issue sooner or later. You should be able to transfer the tank without too many issues if you plan correctly.

We would recommend you set aside several items for the task

These are as follows:

  1. One or two nets
  2. Fish bags
  3. Rubber bands
  4. A Maidenhead Aquatics Transportation Bag or an insulated polystyrene fish transporting box
  5. Dechlorinators
  6. Containers to transport water
  7. Containers to transport decor
  8. Battery-powered air pump
  9. A scoop or plastic measuring jug
  10. Bubble wrap/old towels/old blankets
  11. Test kits

Moving your aquarium should be done on a separate day if at all possible. It will be far too stressful for you and your fish to move it on the same day as the rest of your belongings. As soon as you arrive, you’ll need to focus on swiftly putting up the tank in its new location.

6 Easy Steps To Be Followed To Move A Fish Tank

STEP 1 – Clean The Tank

Before cleaning, remove any tank decorations and aquarium plants. It’s important to inspect crevices, as some fish might be hiding there. Most fish will swim out if you gently lift the item above the water’s surface; avoid shaking it. If they resist leaving their hiding spot, you can place it inside a large fish bag, filled about one-third with aquarium water, and seal it tightly with a rubber band.

When dealing with aquarium plants, carefully place them in plastic fish bags and secure them with elastic bands to prevent drying out. For the remaining items, use waterproof receptacles like buckets or plastic storage boxes. Since rocks can be heavy, distributing the weight among multiple containers is advisable.

STEP 2 – Catch All The Fish You Have In Your Aquarium

At this moment, you can begin catching your fish. However, removing (and saving) part of the water from your tank will make this task accessible since there will be less room for the fish to swim and elude your net/s.

You should save as much water as possible from your tank to minimize drastic changes in water conditions at the other end, which could stress your fish. We recommend starting a siphon with a length of hose running into a plastic container (such as the ones we sell for R.O. water) while being careful not to harm the fish. 

The number of containers you’ll need depends on the size of your tank. Remove around 3/4 of the water from the tank before you start catching fish. Before putting your fish bags away, fill them 1/3 full with aquarium water. The rest of the space will be filled with air (air holds much more oxygen than water). When possible, transport most fish individually because some species emit poisons when stressed, which could kill your other fish. 

Other fish species may have incredibly sharp spines that could hurt other fish if transported in the same bag. Certain animals can be outright vicious toward others in small spaces. Many gentle tropical tetras and live-bearing species will be fine-bagged in groups of their kind as an exception to this rule. Loaches, catfish, sharks, puffers, cichlids, and other marine and tropical species should always be kept in distinct bags.

The actual catching of the fish is now underway. If you have someone to assist or help you, they can use their net to gently ‘herd’ the fish towards your net. Slow movements will prove to be far more beneficial than frenetic ones. More giant nets will be far more effective if you have a huge aquarium, and two nets are usually preferable to one!

STEP 3 – Remove Extra Equipment

Remove any additional equipment you have, such as heaters, filters, pumps, etc. The filter should be wet to keep as many beneficial bacteria as possible. The best method is to place the filter media in fish bags partially filled with aquarium water in the same way as the fish are packaged. 

Suppose the voyage is longer than an hour or so. In that case, it’s a good idea to utilize a battery-powered air pump to keep the beneficial bacteria alive by creating a flow of oxygen in the filter media bag.

Filter media should not be exposed to temperature extremes; therefore, keep it in a cool, dry place. Heaters should be tightly packaged to minimize breaking (heater glass is very delicate, and you may not know where the nearest aquatic center is to your new location in an emergency).

Drain the leftover tank water into your water containers, which you’ll want to store to avoid having to do significant water changes at the other end. The preponderance of the substrate (e.g., sand, gravel, etc.) must be scooped out and placed in plastic buckets.

This waterlogged substrate will be incredibly heavy, so pack it in multiple containers to distribute the weight. This task is best accomplished with a new (detergent-free) plastic measuring jug or a child’s plastic toy scoop. Do not wash your filter or gravel, as this will remove or destroy the beneficial bacteria.

STEP 4 – Start The Packing And Loading Of Your Aquarium

To move a fish tank, you’ll have to load everything into your vehicle for the trip. To help protect the aquarium, wrap it with bubble wrap, old towels, or blankets. Make sure it’s in a safe place where it can’t move around too much; you don’t want it flying forward if you have to break suddenly.

STEP 5 – Unpack And Set Up As Soon As Possible 

Upon arriving at your new address, prioritize the unpacking of the aquarium. Begin by repositioning the tank and carefully placing the substrate back in. Refill the aquarium using the old water you stored in plastic containers.

Next, reassemble your filters, heaters, pumps, and other equipment, and turn them back on. At this point, reintroduce only some of the decorations, as you don’t want to delay the process of returning the fish to their home for too long.

Keep in mind that the water may have become slightly cloudy, making it difficult to see the exact placement. However, ensuring the fish have hiding spots upon their return is important. Save the actual ‘aquascaping’ for later, once the fish have had a chance to settle in; your current focus is on acclimating the fish.

To add the fish back into the tank, follow a similar process as you would when purchasing new fish from a store. Allow the bags to float on the surface for 45 minutes, periodically mixing in a small amount of aquarium water every 10 minutes. During this period and afterward, keep the lights off to reduce stress for the fish.

After the allotted time, gently release the fish into the tank while keeping the lights off for a few more hours. Even though the temptation to observe your fish in their new environment may be strong, it’s best to wait.

You can then replenish the tank with dechlorinated tap water or R.O. water, performing a partial water change to some extent since a majority of the previous water can still be used.

STEP 6 – Set Up The Aquarium At The New Address

In this crucial step, it’s time to introduce your fish to their new aquatic abode. Begin by gently releasing the fish into the tank, a process that is best done with the lights off for the initial few hours. This dim environment helps reduce stress on the fish as they acclimate to their new surroundings.

Next, enhance the water quality by adding dechlorinated water to the tank. This step not only provides a fresh and safe environment for your fish but also aids in maintaining stable water conditions during the transition. Consider performing a partial water change to improve water quality further, ensuring that your fish enjoy a clean and pristine habitat.

While it might be tempting to offer a meal to your fish on their first day in their new home, it’s advisable to refrain from feeding them. This cautious approach is essential to prevent unnecessary stress on the filter system. The filter might experience a temporary disruption during the move, and abstaining from feeding helps prevent an overload of waste production. Your fish will appreciate this brief fasting period as they settle into their new environment.


Moving a fish tank is a task that requires a combination of preparation, patience, and attention to detail. As a responsible fish owner, it’s your duty to guarantee the well-being of your aquatic pets throughout the moving process. By following the comprehensive steps provided in this guide and considering the option of professional assistance, you can confidently relocate your fish tank to your new home.

Remember, the safety and happiness of your fish should be your top priority. Take the time to plan, prepare, and execute the move with care. With the right approach and strategy, you can minimize stress and provide a seamless transition for your fish into their new aquatic environment. As you go on this exciting journey of moving house, rest assured that your well-prepared efforts will lead to a successful relocation for you and your cherished aquatic companions, and if you need help, hire the best house movers without thinking twice.

Professional Assistance and Contact Information

If you’re struggling to move your fish tank, consider seeking professional assistance. At Team Removals, we specialize in handling delicate and fragile items like aquariums. Hiring experienced movers can give you peace of mind, knowing that your beloved fish and tank are in capable hands.

Team Removals is a trusted name for Canadian residents in packing and unpacking services. With a dedicated team and a focus on customer satisfaction, we offer expert guidance and support in moving delicate items like fish tanks. We understand the intricacies involved in relocating your aquatic pets and will ensure a smooth transition to your new home.

Contact Team Removals through:

Call: +1-6479322202