How to move an aquarium

how to move an aquarium, fish, pets

How to move an aquarium to a new home

Pets often become like family, so whenever we need to move somewhere new, it’s only natural that we want to take care of them. We’ve covered moving with pets in this blog, so we’d recommend checking that out if you haven’t already. Today we’re going to be expanding on that topic and focusing specifically on moving aquariums. You might know people in the Metro Vancouver area who love fish…but have you ever thought of what happens when they need to relocate? Sounds like a tough job! So we figured we’d offer some tips on how to move an aquarium.

Step 1: Before moving an aquarium, first, take care of your fish

  • recommends you start by changing “20 per cent of the water in the fish tank each day for five days.” This will help ensure the water is fresh when you move. Do NOT change the water all at once — you risk killing the fish from temperature shock if you do so. Also, do not feed your fish for about 24 to 48 hours before your move. says fish can survive for a few days without food, but may die if they are bagged with water that is filled with waste.

  • Before you move your aquarium, the above article also suggests bagging ornaments that were inside with some of the water in the tank. The goal is to preserve beneficial bacteria, which you can research more by checking out this article. This will be useful for when you reintroduce the fish to the aquarium when you’ve finished moving.

  • says you should fill fish bags to the ¼ mark with water from the tank. You can get fish bags at most pet stores. Make sure there is as much air as possible in the bags — you want to ensure your fish have plenty of oxygen.

Step 2: Now, take care of the aquarium and prep it for moving day

  • recommends you “save as much of the water as you can.” If you have followed the previous instructions from the article, you will have been changing the water for the last five days, so it should not be too dirty. It is important to reintroduce your fish in this water (keep it the same temperature) to prevent them from going into shock. This is especially important when dealing with certain kinds of tropical fish. You will put the water back into the tank once you’ve finished moving.

  • Remove rocks and any other materials in the tank. Dispose of the remaining 20 per cent of water, which will likely be filled with waste.

  • Disassemble your aquarium if possible. This will vary depending on the tank’s design. If possible, try consulting the owner’s manual or visit the store you bought it from for tips. A disassembled tank will make for an easier move.

  • If you need to clean your aquarium any further, DO NOT use soap. This is toxic for the fish, and can kill them. Instead, rinse and scrub with water.

Step 3: Reintroduce the fish after you have moved to your new home

Put the saved water back in the tank. Afterwards, place the fish (while they are still in their individual bags) in the water. Once the temperature of the water in the bag is equal to the tank water, let the fish out. Feed them lightly and avoid stressing the fish for the next few days.

Keep in mind that at Ferguson, we have plenty of experience moving delicate items, such as aquariums. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us! We will be more than happy to help advise you on your move!

Call Ferguson Moving & Storage

At Ferguson Moving and Storage, we have a lot of experience assisting people who are moving into or designing their new dream homes. With almost a century of moving folks in the Vancouver area behind us, we’ve picked up a lot of tips that can help you on your move. Call us and we can at the very least provide referrals to good local contractors. We may even be able to assist with moving and transporting building materials!

For all your moving & storage needs, whether you’re moving within Vancouver or moving abroad, contact Ferguson Moving and Storage at 604-922-2212 and find out more about us online!


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