I'm about to move an aquarium 480 miles (from SC to PA) and, being that I've never taken an active setup on a trip this long, need some pointers.
First, a bit about my current setup. I have a 5 gallon one-piece Aqueon unit. Currently, I have 4 fish and a dwarf frog plus two plants. The bottom does have gravel but the only other decoration I have is a rock. This aquarium has an integrated filter system; the only "extra" is the heater.
I always have heard it's not a good idea to keep fish in bags for more than 2 hours, so this, right away, is a concern.
I'll be returning to the current location of the tank during the summer, but it wouldn't be for at least a few weeks, more likely a month or more, and I'd rather have the fish with me. I've done self-feeding cubes before when I've gone on vacation, but I'd prefer to tend to the fish.
Next is the actual transportation of the unit. I drive a Honda Civic, so space is at a premium. The car will be fairly loaded when I move the setup (I'll have a desk, possibly a wooden book cubby, and a chair all taken apart plus clothes, a computer setup, a trombone, a toolbox, a microwave, a toaster, an alarm clock, a set of dumbbells, other miscellany sporting gear, and some books; I'll also have a bike on the back of the car--basically taking everything I've got except a bed and a TV, both of which will be waiting for me where I'm heading; my tank goes on top of the wooden book cubby).
My current thought is to drain the water and put it on the floor of the front passenger seat (it should fit). It's not a glass tank, although I'll probably wrap it in some of my beach towels (the original box is gone).
Questions that remain:
1. Is this the best way to transport the aquarium? (The car should be full enough that it won't slide around).
2. Should I consider saving some of the current water to ease the transition for the fish? I don't do full water changes on my tanks since I feel this is worse for the fish.
3. How do I transport the plants for 8 hours?
4. For the fish--what type of bag is best? I have gallon Ziplocks at my disposal right now but could pick something else up when I get groceries. Keep in mind they'll be in a bag for over 8 hours since I'll have to get them out of the tank before I leave. (I'll probably drain some of the water to move it to the floor temporarily since I'll want to pack the cubby--my largest item when taken apart--in the car first).
I have five weeks until I move it. Also, for what it's worth, I don't have another aquarium in PA and need to bring the entire setup (plus food, the pH kit, my net, etc).