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Moving Day!


  1. Moving saga (long)
    by "TOM PRICE" <TPRICE/Civil.MsState.Edu> ( Sun, 25 Jan 1998)
  2. (F, M and B, too) MOVING YOUR FISH - How I do it
    by CCPHIL/UMCVMB.MISSOURI.EDU (Phil Leith) (3 Apr 92)
  3. Moving homes with an aquarium
    by "K & D martin" <martndk/> (Mon, 12 Oct 1998)
  4. Moving homes with an aquarium
    by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/> (Mon, 12 Oct 1998)
  5. One casualty...
    by "Fbethea" <francinebethea/> (Thu, 04 Nov 1999)
  6. Moving
    by "Richard J. Sexton" <richard/> (Sat, 1 Jan 2000)

Moving saga (long)

by "TOM PRICE" <TPRICE/Civil.MsState.Edu>
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998
To: apisto/

Hello, everyone,

  I recently had the pleasure of moving from Seattle to Starkville, 
MS in order to pursue employment.  I learned a lot from my moving 
experience.  So I can benefit from this experience in the future, 
I've made a journal.  This is mostly for my own benefit, but I was 
thinking the list members might find it helpful.

  Because of the length of the move, I had professional movers ship 
my household goods.  I had them move the tanks.  For my fish and 
aquarium plants, I had a good friend keep them for a while, until I 
could get some tanks set up in my new digs.  After about 6 weeks, I 
returned to Seattle, at which time I packed up my fish and plants and 
moved them as my carry-on luggage with Delta.

- Dealing with the movers.

  First, I gave away all of the fish I had gotten tired of, or knew 
that I could get locally.  This meant I got rid of the adult 
angelfish and marble hatchet fish I had had for a while, but had tired 
of.  The remainder of my fish (the breeding pairs of N. Anomola, the 
pairs of rams, the cories, the farlowella, etc. ) I planned to bring.  I 
pulled out the plants and drained the tank as much as I could.  
Because I have a lot of plants and have spent some time on the 
substrate, I kept the gravel in the tanks.

Packing the tanks involved taping the lids on securely and wrapping 
the glass surfaces with bubble wrap.  
This part of the move went pretty well.  Movers are accustomed to 
dealing with glass-sided furniture, so the tanks weren't damaged.  I 
do wish I had enjoined them to carry the tanks RIGHT-SIDE-UP, 
however.  It seems obvious, but one mover complained bitterly about 
the water leaking out of my 30gallong tank as he carried it on end 
into my kitchen.  Needless to say, this made a mess of the substrate.

- Prior to flying.

  The maximum dimensions of carry-on baggage are 24Lx16Wx10H.  I 
found a box close to this side that opened on top.  I also got 
several large fish bags.  I was planning to double-bag the fish, so I 
got plenty.  I had to pay $1 apiece for these at the fish store!  
Actually, I don't mind paying for them, but the employee told me the 
owner wanted them to charge$3 a bag.  This is outrageous.

The carry-on information was for Delta.  It's probably standard but a 
really good idea to check.  I also should have called the national 
800 number to verify their procedures for carrying live fish.  When 
it's time to fly, Delta Airlines will _be_ the annoyed, 
irritated employee standing in front of you interpreting their 
policy.  If he/she decides to jerk you 
around, it's good to have the facts.

Stop feeding the fish at least 3 days prior to the move.

- Moving day.

  Plan to spend a couple of hours bagging the fish.  Leave plenty of 
air in the bags and use Amquel or equivalent.  Bag the fish securely. 
 We double-bagged the fish by filling and sealing the first bag, then 
putting it in the second upside-down.  In retrospect, this wasn't the 
best idea.  Because of the pressure loss on the plane, the bags will 
leak out a little during the flight.  If the top of the inner bag is 
up, you won't lose any water.  Be sure the bags are FULL of air when you 

Pack around the bags with foam peanuts or crumpled newspaper.  If 
possible, also place a layer of peanuts or paper on the bottom of the 
box.  Since the overhead compartments are directly over the AC ducts, 
the bottom of the box could get a little chilly.
 The packing will reduce the jostling of the bags and add thermal 

  Don't seal the box too well at this point.  You will 
probably need to open it at some point.  Seal it prior to boarding 
your first plane.

- Flying

  At the airport, check in at the counter, even if you don't need to 
check any bags with them.  Verify with the airline rep that it's ok 
to bring the live fish on.  Remember her/his name.  (More on this in 
a minute).

  Don't put the fish through the security x-ray machine.  It probably 
won't kill the fish, but I was worried that it might affect the 
fecundity of my breeding fish.  Ask for them to inspect the fish.  To 
my surprise, this was the only hitch in the process.  The security 
guard wanted to know who I had checked with at Delta, was this ok, 
who had I spoken to, etc.  This is where the airline rep's name comes 
in handy.  You don't want to go adding other people with their 
varying interpretation of the regulation to the mix.  The more 
people, the more likely you'll get someone who thinks the regulations 
tell you not to do this.

  Once you clear security, seal the box up tight.  At this point, you 
should be ok  with the airline.  The 
flight attendants couldn't care less what's in the box, so long as it 
fits in a compartment and the bags don't start leaking.  Because of 
the AC ducts in the bottom of the overhead compartment, try to 
position a blanket under the box (see above).

- getting home

  Get out of the airport and home ASAP, and get those bags floating!

  I had a pretty good experience, losing only two rams.  One was dead 
in the bag when I arrived, and the other was in obvious distress.  
>From the symptoms, it looked like ram #2 had swim bladder damage 
(difficulty staying off the bottom, difficulty staying upright).  I 
think this happened on the plane, caused by the pressure drop that 
makes your ears pop.  It could have also have been injury due to all 
the jostling from carrying the box or simple ammonia poisoning, 
however.  I'm not sure what I could have done differently to improve 
their odds.

Thanks for your time, and I hope this is helpful to someone.

 Work Phone: (601)-325-7191             Physical Mail: Box 9546
 Fax:        (601)-325-7189                            Mississippi State, MS
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(F, M and B, too) MOVING YOUR FISH - How I do it

Date: 3 Apr 92

           How I Move My Fish When Changing Residences

I have an 18 gallon Rubbermaid container (with lid) I picked up at Walmart
for $9.  I bought it and have used it for nothing but fish purposes.

The side of the 18 gallon is such that I can hang my 300 gph hang-on filter,
and I can also hang the heater that I normally use in one of the 20 gallon
tanks.  This setup can be easily modified to use a canister filter, if
that's what you have - but if it's powerful I'd reccomend a sponge filter
sponge over the intake.  Some fritz-zyme and or some bio-filter seeding
additive will help insure at least some amount of ammonia filtration if the
stay in the buckets is going to be more than a day or so.  I put both my 20
gallon populations in the same container.  If you're paranoid, or if you
have a ton of fish you might use one for each tank.  If you've got fish that
might eat each other or at least chew each other to pieces, some sort of
divider will of course be needed for the contiainer if you're going to keep
them in the same one.  Keep in mind that if this is going to be more than a
few hours, you'll need filtration and heat for each container.

I remove all of the artificial and real plants from the tank, and any
driftwood and rocks.  Then I take my trusty siphen hose and start siphening
water from the tank (looking out for fish, of course) into the 18 gallon
bucket.  I keep the end of the hose away from the bottom to avoid pulling
any solid waste in.  I drain it down to less than half, then I get out my
big net and start fishin'.  The lower water level and lack of obstacles
makes fish catching faster and easier, both for you and your fish.  Of
course, the fish go in to the Rubbermaid container, too.

Drain the rest of the water down to the gravel without sucking in solid
waste in to the container with the fish.  Then dump the rest of the water
outside somewhere and rinse the gravel well.  The 18 gallon container should
be full enough by now.  It doesn't need to be up to the top, just high
enough so your hang on filter is effective, but not so full that you (and
probably somebody else) can't carry it.  I think mine was within a few
inches of the top.  If you have another tank of critters who live in the
same kind of water, you might use some of that water to finish filling the
containter.  Otherwise, dechlorinate some tap water and finish the job.

Ok, decision time.  Are you going to go right over to your new place and set
the tanks up?  Or is it going to be all day?  Reccomendation: Worry about
getting everything (furniture, silverware, undies) over to the new place
first, set up your furniture, and decide where your tanks are going to go
over the next few days.  Problem: all that wonderful life support equipment
you bought for your fish is now detatched from your fish's new environment.
Solution: Hook enough of it up to your fish's new environment to keep a
reasonably livable environment for your fish.  They need three basic things:
heat, oxygen, and waste removal.  Notice I didn't mention food.  We'll get
to that later.

Hook whatever handy-dandy filtration you have available to the tank.  A bit
of Zeolite (ammo-chips) will help out with fresh water ammonia problems at
least... I don't know if something else will work for salt water - so far
I'm strictly a freshwater man.  If you have saltwater and your filtration is
all one big unit (you can probably do without a protien skimmer for a few
days unless you've got REALLY flakey critters - if you do, you're on your
own.  This story is how I move my freshwater fish.)  then this oughta be no
more difficult.

Hook a heater up, too.  Plop a thermometer in the container to keep track of
the temp.  Put in whatever additives you feel comfortable with.  If your
filtration doesn't stir up the surface much, you might want to add an
airstone with an air pump.  (uh, just the airstone in the water - pump
outside the water).

(loosely, so that there is some air circulation.  They still gotta breathe.)

Now concentrate on moving everything else.  Tanks, beds, couches, and
powertools.  Everything.  The fish will be fine.  Check on them from time to
time, but otherwise, don't worry about them. I move the fish last (after
cleaning the place up, even) and set them up in a corner somewhere at the
new place in their temporary home.  When you go to carry the fish, take the
filters and heaters out (unplugging both) and put the lid on tight now.
Unless you've got a really good back and really strong muscles, have someone
help you carry the fish.  Drive carefully.

Once the fish are moved, hook the filtration and heat back up, and maybe put
some driftwood or rocks back in for the shy ones to hide around.  Set up
your house, eat pizza, drink beer or wine, and talk to all your friends/
family who helped you move about how you hate moving and you hope you don't
have to do it again any time soon.

If you feed your fish, remember that your filtration is really limited for
the amount of water/fish you have, so do it sparringly -- be even more
careful than normal.  I know it's not nice, but most fish can go for a week
without eating - easily.   My fish spent about 3 or 4 days in such a setup.
My brother once left his in that type of setup for a month.

I used a 6 gallon plastic (fish purposes only) trash can to move my 10
gallon brackish fish.  My Mono got really stressed out, but he survived.
He's a flakey bugger, but I like him ;-)

I did this at the end of November and again at the beginning of January
without so much as a sick fish.

Don't forget to use this opportunity to clean your tanks and gravel, and
definitely use as much of the old water as you can when setting up your new
tanks unless it's really polluted.

Set up your tanks when you're ready and you're sure you know where they're
going to go.

Good luck.  Happy moving.

!~~~~~~~~o~~~~~/~~~~~~~ Phil Leith, Meteorologist & Tropical Fish Hobbyist~~~~!
!        o    / \                                                             !
!         o /    \   /                                                        !
!          <  )   =-{         Bitnet     : CCPHIL-at-UMCVMB.BITNET               !
!           \    /   \        Internet   : CCPHIL-at-UMCVMB.MISSOURI.EDU         !
!             \ /                                                             !

Moving homes with an aquarium

by "K & D martin" <martndk/>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998
To: <apisto/>

I recently moved from N. C. to Texas, about 1400 miles with 4 tanks of large
cichlids and kribs and smaller community fish.  I only had one die on me,
one night when i put the coolers up and hooked up the filters, the largest
guy, a jack dempsey, took a header in the middle of the night.  I think i
stressed more about it than the fish did, altho the bag/cooler with the
larger cichlids did get a large ammonia spike.  Problem was all the
different waters i had to add, each seemed different/harder.  I tore down my
filters (i have over the back ones, about 5 of them now) and put the media
(all of it - bags, sponges, carbon, etc) into a rubbermaid with some tank
water and a battery operated air stone (cheap! but effective) that ran all
the time.  It used D cell batteries and lasted quite a few days running all
day long (at night i put the media back in the filters and the filters went
on the side of the styrofoam coolers).  I double bagged the fish and thank
goodness for that since 2 of the 3 cooler bags leaked.  We also moved during
the hottest time of the year, it was frequently at 100 F so i used freezer
bags of ice in the coolers with the fish and all around them to keep them
cool when we'd stop for lunch or other during the day.  Worked well with the
cat too - put ice bags under his towel in his carrier and on all sides and
top.  I also went to a home store and bought a couple of those digital
thermometers that tell you the outside temp and the inside temp.  Helped me
to monitor the temp.  SHouldn't be a problem now tho.  If you have any
questions, let me know.


-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: Monday, October 12, 1998 9:34 AM
Subject: Moving homes with an aquarium

:Has anyone had the experience of moving places with an aquarium? (Would be
:to go from Cambridge (UK) to London).
:The tank is 130 liters and is rather crowded. When you have to reinstall
:it, I guess that it's like starting from zero again. What about the
:bacteria (no possibility that I spare the aquarium water; I'll have to
:replace it by new water)? I've got a canister filter. Do you think that
:bacteria may survive if I keep the water inside with closed valves (no
:oxygen)? What about the fish? A polystyrene box is the best way to keep the
:temperature warm?   The water should be supplemented with a high dose of
:stress-coat (or similar products)? Please give any advise you think of.
:This is the apistogramma mailing list,
:For instructions on how to subscribe or unsubscribe or get help,
:Search for "Apistogramma Mailing List

This is the apistogramma mailing list,
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Moving homes with an aquarium

by Mike & Diane Wise <apistowise/>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998
To: apisto/


Don't get too paranoid about moving the short distance between Cambridge &
London. It shouldn't stress your fish too much if they aren't too large (under
4"/10cm). I once moved my fish from Oregon to Colorado (about 1500 mi/2400km) in
the dead of winter. I saved about 10% of the water in plastic water/milk jugs.
Since I was driving an open bed pick-up truck, the tanks and water were packed
unheated. The fish of course were packed in a couple of styrofoam boxes and kept
in the heated cab of the truck. It took 2 days to travel this distance (the fish
were kept in a motel for the first night). When I got to Colorado I brought the
fish in along with two tanks and jugs of ICE! I waited overnight for the ice to
melt and used hot tap water (conditioned, of course) to bring up the temperature.
Only then did I open the fish boxes, acclimate the fish, and release them. The
only fish I lost was my first (and last) Chinese Algae Eater. The fish suctioned
itself to the bag and was thrown, unseen, into the trash in an unheated garage.
By the time I found it missing, it was frozen stiff. A month after this I moved
the same fish and tanks to Missouri (another 600 mi/1000km) with no problems, but
that was only a 1 day trip.

I'd recommend not feeding your fish for 2 or 3 days before the move. This allows
them time to eliminate all their waste before being bagged. If you have a lot of
small peaceful community fish and they are all healthy looking, I'd bag them all
together in a large box bag (a trash bag will do). Any fish that looks like it
might not handle the trip should be bagged individually. Fill the bag 1/3 with
water & 2/3 with air. Larger, more aggressive (like my algae eater), or spiny
fish may have to be bagged separately, too. Just remember that these fish need
more air than water. Don't remove the gravel from your tanks, but drain off as
much water as possible. Do remove live plants and anything that might tip or
slide and break a glass pane. Drain the water out of you canister filter, too.
The bacteria is more likely to survive if surround by the damp air in the
canister than in one with stagnant water. The same is true for bacteria in damp
aquarium gravel. Even after my tanks' gravel had frozen, when thawed and the fish
added there were no ammonia spikes. These bacteria seem to be able to handle
freezing and thawing. Once you arrive in London set up the tanks first - don't
even look at the fish. Once the tank is up and running then acclimate your fish
like would when purchasing them from a shop. Don't throw away the bags' water,
'though. Use it to top off you tank.

Good luck on you move. Hope this helps.

Mike Wise wrote:

> Hi,
> Has anyone had the experience of moving places with an aquarium? (Would be
> to go from Cambridge (UK) to London).
> The tank is 130 liters and is rather crowded. When you have to reinstall
> it, I guess that it's like starting from zero again. What about the
> bacteria (no possibility that I spare the aquarium water; I'll have to
> replace it by new water)? I've got a canister filter. Do you think that
> bacteria may survive if I keep the water inside with closed valves (no
> oxygen)? What about the fish? A polystyrene box is the best way to keep the
> temperature warm?   The water should be supplemented with a high dose of
> stress-coat (or similar products)? Please give any advise you think of.
> Cheers,
> Guillaume.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is the apistogramma mailing list,
> For instructions on how to subscribe or unsubscribe or get help,
> email
> Search for "Apistogramma Mailing List Archives"!

This is the apistogramma mailing list,
For instructions on how to subscribe or unsubscribe or get help,
Search for "Apistogramma Mailing List Archives"!

One casualty...

by "Fbethea" <francinebethea/>
Date: Thu, 04 Nov 1999
To: apisto/

Hi everyone,

I would like to thank all of you who assisted me with suggestions on how to
expedite the move of all my tanks.  The move is complete and the tanks are
all up and running.  

This may be a bit long-winded, but only my fishy friends can relate.  My
other friends think I'm crazy to have so many tanks of fish. While lugging
equipment and tanks, I questioned my sanity as well.

The worse part of the whole ordeal was carrying half the water of each tank.
Those six gallon filtered water bottles are heavy and have a tendancy to
roll away when you hit a bump with the dolly.  

Another thing that I dreaded was ripping out my beautifully planted tanks.
The tanks were gorgeous and know I have bags and bags of plants to replant.

In the thirty gallon tank there is a slate background that I made.  The
slate is siliconed to a 1/8 sheet of plexy.  This backround has lots of
knooks and crannies that the cacatuoide fry used to hide from me. I took the
backgound out and put it on the floor.  Four of the fry started flipping out
of the background.  I had already sealed the bag and all I had left was a
ziplock freezer bag.  That's where I put them.
I moved all 18 tanks, fish,fishwater, gravel, lights, and stands down a
flight of steps, down the long driveway on a dolly to the car. I then loaded
the car and drove for 35 minutes just to reverse the process. I did this
everyday for a week after work.   BY MYSELF.  There were times that I could
barely get out of the car.  

After the car was unloaded, the setting up of each tank was done right away.
However, as the week went by, the setting up of a tank was done for the fish
brought in the previous night.  Meaning that the fish stayed in the bags for
at least 24 hours.

Last night I set up the last of the tanks and was dissapointed to find that
my female pelvicachromis T. dehane had died.  She was the only fish I lost
in the whole ordeal.  Everyone seems happy and healthy.  God I love dwarf

Things that I have learned:
Keep fish in alkaline water until ready to breed.
Give away and sell as many fish as possible before the move.
Never move into any dwelling that has more than two steps.

Francine in MD
Fish - photography - genealogy

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by "Richard J. Sexton" <richard/>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2000

>Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 15:09:44 -0600 (CST)
>From: Greg D Pillar <>
>Subject: Moving
>Hi all,
>  I'm going to be moving from Minnesota to Kansas soon for graduate
>school.  I have 3 tanks I have to move and one of them is a plant
>tank.  Any advice on how I should pack my plants (and fish)?  Feel free to
>send advice directly to me at
>Thanks in advance for the help
>Greg Pillar

Well, if you want to do it right, and frankly if you don't you
may as well just pack everything in boxes for a month, then there's
a few things you need to do.

1) IMO the most important thing is to have the new area ready
anf have the time to do it. Fishtanks end up getting a REAL
low priority when you can't find food and have to hook up
sewage or water, so you have to be really ready and able
and have the time to do it.

2) drain as much watr out of the tanks as you can. An inch
of water left is is good. Most tanks, unless they're huge
or have massive rockwork can be safey moved like this. 
In general youcan move tanks with 1/3 water but people here
tend to use a lot of substrare so I'd stick with 1" or less.

3) Clean the glass on the inside throroughly.

4) drape newspaper (no color ink) on top of the plants.

5) Tale some polastic to the insode to seal all this. You
don't strictly need to do this and getting tape that will
work (duct tape) that won't leave a residue behind that
has to be cleaned carefully with lighter fluid may be
tough to do.

6) Move the tank. You need to keep it flat and level or
you'll have bloody awful mess. 3/4" plywood works wonders here.

7) Fish should be packed in double bags with eough watr to come
to an INCH above the tops of their bodies, no more. Fish breath
AIR not WATER and you're sealing them up so give them lots. 

8) Pack these bags in fish shipping styros than you can get
from any decent fish store. Get the cardboard box they
came in too, it makes carting them around much much easier.

9) Once you get to the new place and you have somewhere to
put the tanks, power and water then just put it all back together.

If you look over at a tank or plant and say to yourself "I'll
get to that later" you may as well just throw it inthe trash right
there. So many unexpected surprises come up when moving and you're
so out of the "fish routine" and exploring your new suyrroundings
with new enthusiasm that it's tough to move fishtanks right.

I have a very imnpressive list of rare fish and plants i've killed
in my last two moves, but in my defense I had a lot of tanks. We
bought out fist house 3 years ago and I don't expect to move agion!

- --
Richard J. Sexton                               
Maitland House, Bannockburn, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1Y0       +1 (613) 473 1719

Up to Miscellany <- The Krib This page was last updated 30 July 2000