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Moving Your Tank


  1. (F, M and B, too) MOVING YOUR FISH - How I do it
    by CCPHIL-at-UMCVMB.MISSOURI.EDU (Phil Leith) (3 Apr 92)
  2. Moving with fish? (not in FAQ)
    by (Erica Dubad) (4 Sep 1995)

(F, M and B, too) MOVING YOUR FISH - How I do it

Date: 3 Apr 92
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

           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 with fish? (not in FAQ)

by (Erica Dubad)
Date: 4 Sep 1995
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria

I've moved my 20 gal (UG, community with Placo, barbs, zebra danios, 
mollies..) about eight times, and a few times over 200 Miles.

What I've learned:

- Get a strong friend to help you.
- Buy a couple of those 2 gal distilled water jugs and fill them with
  water from the aquarium you're moving.
- Siphon about 50 of the water from the tank, rinsing the gravel
  as you do.
- Catch the fish, put them in a cooler (works wonders for temperature 
  control). Mine is about 5 gal.  
- Use your air pump to keep the water in the cooler aerated until you're
  ready to move. (I usually have the cover hold the tube in and keep the
  fish in). The fish will do fine with no air for a few hours.
- Remove decorations (rocks and stuff).
- Siphon as much water out of the tank as you can, but still leaving
  the plants covered. 
- Cover the whole thing with a clear wrap if you're worried about splashes.
- Have your friend help you carry the tank and the sealed cooler to the 
  back of your car. (rear seatbelts work nicely to secure). 
- Reassembles in the new place in no time, and since you have a good amount
  of the "old" water, the fish will not be too shocked at the whole move.

Good luck!

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