How To Move A Fish Tank Across The Room?

How to Move a Fish Tank Across Room or to Another Room_Fishkeepup_com

Moving a fish tank is not an easy task: Smaller models might not be that much of a hassle, but even then there must be planning involved.

You should be careful and follow a set of simple but fundamental steps since just unplugging it and moving it around in one go will only ensure you end up with a mess on your hands.

How do you move a fish tank, either across the room or to another room?

  • start moving process 48 hours before actually moving the tank:
  • Stop feeding your fish around this mark, to ensure their waste has passed.
  • Place smaller fishes in plastic bags filled with water; bigger ones must be moved into water-filled buckets. 
  • Remember not to place more than two or three fishes in each bucket, and make sure the receptacle is well-washed before you complete the previous step
  • Unplug the tank and remove every plant and accessory. You will have to store the plans in buckets with water from the tank and clean each item thoroughly.
  • Remove and pack all equipment, including the filter and lights.
  • Drain the water from the tank. If you have a larger model, a siphon hose (link to AMAZON) will be necessary and also handy since pouring out its content will be tricky with heavier tanks.
  • Move the tank carefully, with the lid off. If it’s too heavy, you might need help from friends or even hand truck, if necessary.
  • Once the tank is in its new location, put back everything you removed including plants, accessories, and equipment, except your fish.
  • Fill the tank again, carefully calibrating the temperature, pH balanced, and chlorine level to ensure it’s adequate for your fish. 
  • Only once the water conditions are back to what they were before the move, you can add your fish back in their habitat. 
  • If you placed your fish in bags, you should keep the bag inside the tank for a while before placing them in the water to adjust to the temperature.

These are the basic steps to follow to ensure your fish remain healthy and none of the elements in the fish tank – of the fish tank itself – are damaged while you transport them.

There are many other elements to take into account depending on the fish you own and the type of fish tank you purchased for your pets, and we will discuss these issues further in this article.

Further steps to consider while transporting a fish tank into another room

Fish Safety And Health Is A Priority

It’s key to remember fish health is the priority while transporting them, so this process can be time-consuming: Don’t rush it.

Always Move It Empty

It’s fundamental that you never move a tank filled or even half-filled with water. Even small movements will cause the water to shift around and might make you lose your balance.

This might end with you getting hurt or the fish tank getting broken. Remember you are carrying a sturdy but delicate object around.

Watch For Glass and Seals

Also keep in mind the seals of your fish tank are designed to withstand stress but not uneven pressure being applied on a single corner, which might occur when the water swishes around.

The worst part of damaging the seals is that you won’t be able to notice it occurred until the tank is being filled back with water, and it will leak all over the floor, indicating the tank is effectively broken.

Avoided Warranty

Most manufacturers will void all warranty should you transport your tank inadequately, which means replacing it will indeed be costly.

Fish Tank Fill Back

For shorter periods, you can reutilize the same water you removed during the first few steps and making sure it’s safe for your fish is quick and easy. 

However, if you will take up to several hours to finish the task, you might want to use new water and this will involve carefully calibrating every level from scratch. 

How to transport your fish tank when moving into a new house?

The precautions needed to move your tank into a new house or apartment instead of merely into another room within your home will naturally be greater. 

Pack Your Fish Tank

First of all, it’s fundamental that you store every item carefully: The tank, being the most delicate element to consider, must be placed in a large box with no wiggling room. 

If the box is much bigger than the tank, you should fill the empty space with bubble wrap, old towels or other similar materials. 

The equipment, such as lights and air pump, must be cleaned properly and rinsed, then stored properly for transportation, wrapping each element individually. 

Regretfully, if you are considering a long-distance move, you will have to acquire new filters. 


It is vital to consider the wellbeing of plants you might have in your tank: They must be placed in buckets filled with the water removed from the tank, and the container they will remain in should not be shaken unnecessarily. 

Remember that even though they are plants, these are living organisms.


The fish, either placed in plastic bags or buckets, depending on their size, should never be introduced into new water at once, as it can result in them going into shock. 

The water should be the same they have been submerged in the tank with. 

If you own marine fishes, remember that using the existing salt water will allow your pets to remain healthy during and after the move. 

Filling Back Your Fish Tank

Your priority when reinstalling the tank in your new home should be to make sure all the water levels are in order and placing only the fundamental decor and plants back in the aquarium.

Your fish should not remain in the bags or buckets for longer than necessary: this can cause further stress and lead to illness or death of your pets. 

Fish Tank Lights

The lights should be turned off during this process, to minimize the added stress and you should allow the bags they were placed in to float on the surface for at least 45 minutes, mixing small quantities of the new water every 10 minutes. 

Fish Tank Heaters

It’s highly recommended you wait a few hours before turning the heaters on, as the temperature in the water should equalize the room temperature before you take this step.

Feeding After Fish Tank Moving

It is essential not to be tempted to feed your fish during this day, as the filters will have lost some of the bacteria it had stored and it might not cope well with the new waste produced by your fish. Proceed as usual on the day after the transportation process is completed. 

One last thing to keep in mind: As the chances of survival of your fish depend on them remaining stress-free as long as possible, be time-conscious about how long the move will take.

Be sure that the tank is the very last item you pack and the first priority when you arrive at your new place. 

Fish are delicate pets and need special care you should consider before beginning the move into a new location. 

What to do after moving the fish tank?

Though we have spoken through this article about the different measures to take after moving the tank, there are further elements to keep in mind.

These will allow for the stress your fish are being put through to be minimized, and their new habitat will be just as healthy and comfortable for them as it was in their old home. 

  • Remember to level the surface you are placing the fish tank on: Unnecessary pressure on the corners of the tank might produce a leakage over time. 
  • Check the room carefully for heating sources. The temperature might not be right in the spot where the fish tank looks the prettiest, so you must always ensure the temperature levels are ideal for your fish tank’s new location.
  • If possible, transport with you the discarded water: It’s best to keep at least most of it, if not all, in the new location. 
  • If you need to use brand new water for whatever reason, make sure all the levels are correct before introducing the fish into their new habitat. 
  • You should wait a day or two to introduce most of the decor and plants in the aquarium, only placing the fundamental before placing your fish back in their habitat.
  • Making sure the fish are adequately acclimated will ensure the whole process affects your pets as little as possible, thus avoiding any potential health issues. 
  • The landscaping is not a priority: you will have time the following days to make it look pretty inside your fish’s new home. 
  • Remember to keep checking the water levels during at least a few more weeks to check for any odd variations.
  • The filter will need readjusting every few days and you should keep an eye on the ammonia and nitrite levels.
  • If for whatever reason the oxygen, ammonia or nitrite levels are above zero, do not feed your fish for a while, this might be detrimental to their health.
  • Be prepared to make adjustments over the following month: Small water alterations might be necessary.
  • It might be a good idea to already have a pet store expert in mind so you can consult them should you encounter any unforeseen problems, especially is the moving process is lengthy.

Keep An Eye On Your Fish’ Behavior

First of all, let’s discuss what to keep in mind before the actual move:

You should use common sense to decide how many fish should be placed in the same bucket or bag. Too many or aggressive fishes in the same small spot might cause unnecessary troubles.

Remember to leave room for air in the bags, and never blow into the bags, this will add oxygen-deprived air into their temporary habitat.

Don’t forget to check behind and inside decorative objects: Fish can be sneaky and they could remain hidden without you noticing it. 

It’s imperative to take notice if your fish are displaying unusual new patterns they didn’t show before the move. This might be due to stress. Consulting your vet is the best way to go in these cases. 

In this section, we’ll discuss in more detail what you should keep in mind regarding your fish’s health, their behavior and a few more tips to ensure they remain as stress-free as possible during this whole process. 

  • Consider feeding your fish only every other day during the first few weeks after the move.
  • pH and temperature fluctuations are usually the leading cause of stress on certain species of fish, such as the betta. 
  • Hiding places are fundamental for your fish, always remember to offer them several good spots and plants to keep them happy!
  • Though it’s good to offer them decor and vegetation overstocking your aquarium will lead to lower oxygen levels and poor quality of the water. 
  • The general rule of thumb to ensure your pets are happy and comfortable is to ensure there is a full gallon of water per fish in the aquarium. 

Easy signs to notice your fish are stressed are hiding for unusual periods of time, swimming frantically or bumping their bodies against the sides of the tank. 

It’s also worrisome if your fish begin to gasp for air at the surface, as this indicates low oxygens level, you should calibrate it as soon as possible. 

Physical changes may also occur, and these can manifest themselves as sudden alterations of their coloration, white spots appearing on their bodies, as well as red streaks on their fins.

Since these changes might alter their behavior, keep in mind you might have to separate fish that display new-found aggressive attitudes in a separate tank, at least for a while. 

If you have freshwater fish, remember they tend to be quite sensitive to changes in their environment, so keep a close check on them to ensure they are eating during the following days. 

Recent Posts