How to Move an Aquarium – How to Move With Fish

Kent how to move an aquarium - how to move with fish image
how to move an aquarium – how to move with fish

Moving house with pets is never easy, but fish pose a unique challenge. We breathe air, they breathe water, and unless you’re moving to Atlantis, your fish are going to need some special care and consideration when you’re thinking about how to move with fish. An aquarium is delicate and expensive equipment, so if you’re wondering how to move an aquarium, read on.

How To Move an Aquarium

Step 1: Take out fish

Step 2: Take out decor

Step 3: Take out plants

Step 4: Take out pump

Step 5: Empty water

Step 6: Clean aquarium

Step 7: Prepare to move the tank

Step 8: Pack Aquarium

Step 9: Unpack Aquarium

Step 10: Re-establish fish


Step 1: Take Out Fish

The first step of how to transport fish when moving house is to take the fish out of the tank. Put them in appropriately sized containers with clean water, and pack them carefully in the car when you’re ready to leave. Remember, time is of the essence when you’re moving an aquarium – don’t leave your fish sitting anywhere too long, especially not in direct sunlight or a stuffy car.

If you’re wondering how to move a fish tank without emptying it, it’s an extremely risky prospect and not at all recommended. But if you’re determined to risk the lives of your fish, you’ll need to think about portable electricity for the pond pump, how you’ll wrap and protect the glass for a journey on potentially bumpy roads, and how you’ll lift and move a full aquarium. Water is heavy, and it’s very likely the aquarium will burst under the pressure.

Step 2: Take Out Decor

After the fish are out of your tank, the next step of how to move an aquarium and how to move with fish is to take out any decorations and plants and rocks you might have. This is a good opportunity to clean these too. Clean them carefully, with no harsh chemicals, and make sure they’re well rinsed and completely dry before you pack them. Pack according to size, shape, and weight – put the heaviest things at the bottom of a box, and wrap everything in bubble wrap and extra padding so that any outcroppings won’t break off. Remember to label everything! You don’t want to lose your fish’s favourite treasure chest.

Step 3: Take Out Plants

Plants are alive too, unless they’re fake, so don’t pack them in bags or boxes, unless you leave the top open. They should sit somewhere snug in the car so they won’t be smothered, and you can water them as necessary. Transporting them in a smaller container filled with clean water is another good option for how to move an aquarium plant.

Step 4: Take Out Pump

The pump is a delicate piece of equipment, vital to the life of your fish. When thinking about how to move with fish, packing and protecting the pump should be one of your top concerns. Unplug it, remove it, take it apart, and gently clean it. Don’t use any harsh chemicals, and make sure you thoroughly rinse it and allow it to dry before you pack it. Pack the pump as though it’s a fragile item – use bubble wrap and an appropriately sized box. Make sure the pump is secure in place before sealing the box, and labelling it. Treat the box as fragile when you transport it.

Step 5: Empty Water

The last step before you’re ready to actually think about how to move an aquarium itself is to take out the water. You can use buckets to empty the water, but don’t let it all go down the drain – it’ll help with the re-establishment of your tank if you have a sample of the original water and biome. Get a sealed container of some of the water and pack it along with your decor, pump, and plants.

Step 6: Clean Aquarium

When the water is out, it’s a good opportunity to clean your aquarium. If it’s well kept, this shouldn’t be too difficult, but just remember to be careful and not to use any harsh chemicals that could hurt your fish later. It’s important for how to move an aquarium that it should be completely dry before you pack it.

Step 7: Prepare to Move the Tank

Now your aquarium is free of fish and water, it’s ready to be packed. Depending on the size and design of your aquarium, you may be able to dismantle it. Take it apart as much as you can. Put a large X on every glass surface with sticky tape to help the structure stay together. For how to move an aquarium, you might need help. Getting some friends to help you lift it will make it much easier to solve the problem of how to move with fish.

Step 8: Pack Aquarium

Wrap the aquarium in padded materials, place the aquarium in a box, and fill every space with bubble wrap or scrunched up paper. When the aquarium is secure in the box, label the box and mark it as fragile. When you’re thinking about how to move an aquarium, remember to transport it carefully. If it’s too big to fit in the car, make sure the movers know to secure it properly as a fragile item.

Step 9: Unpack Aquarium

Now you’re in your new house and you’ve solved the problem of how to transport fish when moving house, and you’re wondering how to transport aquarium fish from their containers back into the tank, there is a lot you have to do first.

Unpack the tank, decor, plants, and pump. Depending on the length of your move, you might be able to put it all straight back in, but if your fish have been away from your tank for several hours, you might have to start over from scratch.

Step 10: Re-establish Fish

Put the rocks, decor, plants, and pump back in the tank with clean water and a sample of the previous water. Leave it to work for either a few minutes if it was a quick move, or at least a week if it took more than a few hours, before you put your fish back into the tank.


Keep an eye on your fish for a while to make sure they handled the move well, and that’s it, you’ve done it, you now know how to move with fish. For more moving tips, read our other blogs.