Aquarism is an amazing hobby and fish make excellent pets for many people. When you buy a fish, you imagine that you are going to put it in the aquarium and never need to move it again. However, if you're on the move, you don't have to send the fish away. It is possible to take them with you safely: just put them in a suitable container and reintroduce them to the aquarium as soon as possible.
Method 1 of 4: Ensuring Fish Safety Before Transport
Step 1. Plan fish transport
Unlike other pets, you can't just put the tank in your car and take it with you on your trip. It is necessary to find a way to transport the fish. Most of them can survive about 48 hours of travel, but after that time the risk of death increases.
- If you make an overnight sleepover, you'll need to take them with you. Do not leave fish in the car or truck.
- If you need to take a flight with them, please contact the airline to find out what the requirements are for carrying them.
Step 2. Change the water a few days before the change
A part of the aquarium water must be changed a few days before transport. Change 20% of the water for five days before taking the aquarium on the trip.
Step 3. Avoid feeding fish a day or two before moving
During the trip, it's good to avoid making them dirty in the water more than necessary. Do not feed them a day or two before transporting them.
Step 4. Wait until the last moment to catch the fish
Only do this when you're ready to leave. Fish should not be stored and kept waiting for transport. This moment in transit should be as brief as possible.
Take them out of the shipping container as soon as they arrive at their destination. They should be the first thing to unpack
Step 5. Avoid unnecessary trips with fish
They are not easy animals to transport. You shouldn't take them on vacation or drive around the aquarium just for fun. Fish are fragile creatures and should only be transported when extremely necessary.
Method 2 of 4: Choosing the Container for Shipping
Step 1. Place fish in plastic bags
That's one way to take them. You can purchase a plastic fish transport bag at a pet store. Fill the bag with aquarium water. Then put each fish in an individual bag. Don't put multiple fish in it.
- Place this bag inside another bag for added protection, which helps in case of leaks.
- Use a rubber band to close the bag so that water and fish don't come out.
- If you're going to keep the fish in the plastic bag for more than an hour, buy some pure oxygen from the pet store and put it in the water.
Step 2. Transport the fish in a bucket with a lid
A 30 liter food bucket can easily transport several fish at the same time. Buy a new one just for this purpose and don't use any chemicals in it. If the bucket is left with product residue, the fish can die. Close it very tightly with the lid.
Fill it with aquarium water
Step 3. Place the fish in a container with a lid
Another way to transport them is in a sturdy container with a lid. Fill the container with aquarium water and make sure the lid closes well so that the fish don't fall and the water doesn't leak.
This can be a good alternative for carrying fish with sharp fins or that can pierce a plastic bag
Step 4. Transport them in the aquarium itself if it is small
Small aquariums can be loaded with fish and water inside, but a large aquarium should never be moved. If you want to take the aquarium with water and fish, remember to remove all objects from it. Remove stones, decorative elements and filters. They can be displaced and end up injuring animals. You should also remove some of the water to lessen the chances that it will spill, as well as reducing the fish harvesting area.
- However, it is difficult to transport even a small aquarium. It tends to be very heavy and very fragile. If accidentally dropped and breaks, you could lose all the fish.
- When the aquarium is transported with water, it is more likely to chip or crack.
Step 5. Transport the fish in a safe, thermal container
If you place each fish in a plastic bag or small bowl, you should protect them with a safe transport material. Place bubble wrap between the containers or bags and see if it is firmly secured so that nothing moves out of place, which could injure the animals.
If you have a cooler, transport the fish there. A picnic cooler or a Styrofoam box can be great options
Step 6. Choose a container where all the fish will fit
Whatever the option for transporting them, the container must be large enough for the fish to swim a little. It doesn't have to be a huge space, but it has to be comfortable. Also make sure it's big enough so the water has enough oxygen for the pet.
Fill it with water to 1/3 full capacity. The rest must be free for oxygen circulation
Step 7. Place the plants in a plastic bag
If there are live plants, you should put them in plastic bags with the aquarium water. Thus, the conditions are similar, preserving the essential bacteria alive in the plants.
Method 3 of 4: Keeping Fish Safe While Traveling
Step 1. Fill the containers with water from the top of the aquarium
Fish should be in aquarium water, not tap water. Remove water from the top as it is cleaner. If you take the one from the bottom, you'll put debris and dirt in the small container, exposing the fish to possible bacteria that have settled there.
Step 2. Avoid putting items together with fish
You must not put stones, ornaments and plants in the same bowl. Fish should be the only things carried in the bucket, apart from the aquarium water. Any additional element can move and end up injuring the animals.
Step 3. Control the temperature
The water temperature must remain the same as usual. Any variation can make them sick. Try to keep it balanced while traveling. That is, place the container in a location in the car that is close to the air conditioner or heater.
- You can also use a thermos container, which helps to regulate the water temperature.
- Check the temperature on the way to make sure it's not too cold or too hot.
Step 4. Place the container in a dark place
Fish can be less stressed if transported in a dark place. They are active and awake during the day, with the external light. At night, this activity decreases. Put something to cover the container, keeping out light.
For example, use a sheet or a mat
Step 5. Avoid feeding them during the ride
The trip is very stressful for the animal, so don't do anything else to add to the stress. Don't worry about having to open the container to feed the fish. Thus, the animal's need to evacuate is reduced, preventing the water from becoming dirty during the journey.
Step 6. Return the fish to the aquarium when you arrive
If they are in a bucket with a lid, it is possible to pour the water directly into the aquarium. Another option is to use a net to remove each fish from the bucket and place it in the aquarium.
If they are in plastic bags, let them float in the aquarium to balance the temperature of the water inside the bag. When the two temperatures are equal, you can now return the fish to the aquarium
Method 4 of 4: Carrying the Aquarium Safely
Step 1. Empty the aquarium, moving the water and fish into safe containers
After safely stowing the fish and plants, place 80% of the aquarium water in a bucket with a lid or a bag. This water must be removed from the top and not near the bottom so as not to catch the waste deposited there.
Step 2. Make a place for the aquarium decoration
If there are stones and other decorations, place them in bags filled with aquarium water to preserve the beneficial bacteria that have developed on the ornaments.
Do not transport these things in the aquarium. It can crack if it has items inside
Step 3. Pack the filter properly
The best way to transport the filter depends on the distance of travel. For short trips, place the filter in a clean, sealed container free from chemicals. Don't clean it.
On long journeys, you can clean the filter to reinsert it when you get to the location. Another option is to throw it away and buy a new one
Step 4. Reassemble the aquarium
When you reach your destination, set up the aquarium as it was before the trip. Return the decoration and stones and fill it with the water that was removed. Replace filter, heaters and pumps. Then put the live plants back and the fish.