How to Move An Aquarium


How To Move An Aquarium?

Moving an aquarium poses not only a large risk to the aquarium but more importantly to your fish. It can be a focus point of a move and will require special attention and planning.


First of all make sure you choose a professional moving company that has experience in moving aquariums as well as the proper tools and equipment. If you are performing the move yourself, make sure you have sufficient help on hand as well as the proper tools and equipment.

Most professional moving companies such as Highland Moving & Storage will not transport the fish. You will have to remove the fish and water from the tank and transport them yourself, or hire a 3rd party pet relocation company to do so. The moving company will transport the aquarium and any components and décor that go with it.

Removing water and fish from an aquarium is quite a task. Some of the necessary equipment required will be:

  • A fish net.
  • Rubber bands.
  • A fish transportation bag or box depending on length of journey and amount of fish.
  • De-chlorinator.
  • Containers to transport water (for local short distance relocations)
    Carton(s) to pack and transport decor.
  • Battery powered air pump or hose for siphoning.
  • Towels/blankets.
  • Test kits.
  • Bubble wrap or moving blankets to wrap the aquarium.
  • Something to transport the aquarium in (box or crate).

When you remove fish from their established environment it can cause a lot of stress. Make the container you are transporting them in as similar to their regular environment as possible. Use the water from the established tank and put in a few plants that they will recognize.

If you are performing a local or short distance move, ready the aquarium’s new location. Clear the destination area, make sure the surface is level, check on the availability of power outlets, and have an extension cord on hand. If you are performing a long distance move, this will have to be done at destination. In either situation it is a good idea to make sure the surface the aquarium will be sitting on, as well as the aquarium itself be one of the first items to come off of the moving truck so you can get it set up as soon as possible.



Siphon off a sufficient amount of water from your tank into the transportation container. Transfer a few plants from the tank to the holding container. This will help reduce the shock the fish will experience in their temporary habitat.

Gently and carefully catch the fish with the net, and transfer them to the transportation container. You may want to provide aeration to the transportation container to ensure that the fish have enough oxygen while their new home is being set up.

Unplug and remove all external attachments that may fall off or get in the way when you are moving the tank.

In a local or short distance move continue to siphon off as much of the water as you can from the tank to the buckets you have prepared for transporting the water to the new location.

Drain the tank and remove everything inside. Pack the plants, gravel and components into a carton that is well marked “Aquarium”. This should also be on of the first items to come off the moving truck at destination.

At this point the aquarium will need to be wrapped in bubble wrap and/or a moving blanket. It is then ideal to wrap it in cardboard for pack it into a carton if possible. Most professional moving companies will professionally pack small aquariums and crate the larger ones.


Bring the water containers to the new site, and refill the relocated tank by siphoning the water back in. Add new water as necessary to fill the tank to its ideal water level.

Reinstall the external attachments you had removed, and plug in the heaters, lights, and aerator pumps.

Test the water’s integrity (temperature, pH, and chlorine/ammonia content), and adjust it as necessary. You can also add a normal dose of a stress-reducing product for fish that are available at pet stores.

As soon as the tank’s conditions are back to normal, gently return the fish to the tank using your fishnet. You can dispose of the water in the holding container.

Enjoy your new home! It is beneficial that you do some homework on the area you now live in to ensure the local pet stores carry everything that you need moving forward.

Contact Us to Request Your FREE Moving Estimate!