Moving Aquarium 480 Miles
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  1. #1
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    Moving Aquarium 480 Miles

    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).

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    Registered User mrwwrm's Avatar
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    I have never moved a tank that far, but can pass on some tips I have read on here before.

    *Those cheap styrofoam coolers are good for keeping your bagged fish from getting too hot or cold during the move.

    *Fish are bagged for more than an hour or two when they are shipped to the store, so as long as they go into clean water and have lots of air space to keep the water oxygenated, a longer bagged time is okay.

    *Since it is a long trip, bag them last and the unpack them first.

    *There may well be differences in the water hardness from one location to the other, so taking water along for them to start out in would be a good idea if you can.

    I hope that helps some. Posting in the tropical fish sub-forum, at the top of the forum list, may get you more answers as it is more well read than this sub-forum is.
    Last edited by mrwwrm; 07-05-2013 at 12:41 PM. Reason: spelling
    Maureen

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    Super Moderator billcstf40's Avatar
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    Thumbs up moving fish

    Last time I did something similar I took 3 Oscars and a large Plecostomus from the Miami area to Tampa. I used Maureen's suggestion of using a Styrofoam cooler and I put heavy black garbage bags in them and then added the water from the tank. The reason for the black bags is that I have found that when fish are in a new situation they are calmer if they cannot see around them. The only issue I had was keeping waves from building up in the bags. I had some experience so what I did was fill the bags totally and seal the bags carefully. After 3 hours I stopped and opened the bags and ran a pump aerating the bagged water. I then sealed them back up and proceeded the rest of the way, about an hour and a half. No fatalities or even much stress so that scheme seems to have worked.
    Bill
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    I'm moving in a week, only 150 miles but I have a 600l tank to take! I'm actually using a boarding company who will hold my fish for a couple of weeks. However this is probably an unnecessary stage for a tank of that size.

    As for 2 hours...... plenty of fish that people buy have been shipped in bags from australia or south america but they probably had oxygen in there with them. Maybe you could get a local shop to bag them with oxygen and then just chuck them in a poly-box. Should be fine.

    BUT! I'm not sure how long filter media bacteria remains alive, maybe someone else could advise on this? I do know that you can get battery airpumps that could help with circulation.

    Good luck.

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    Super Moderator billcstf40's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Interzone View Post
    BUT! I'm not sure how long filter media bacteria remains alive, maybe someone else could advise on this? I do know that you can get battery airpumps that could help with circulation.

    Good luck.
    They do start to die off as soon as water and nutrients stop circulating, however, in my experience if it is not more than a day the filter will be up and running very quickly, just do not do anything silly like adding nitro lock.
    bill
    Illegitimatus non Carborundum; "A friend who cannot at a pinch remember a thing or two that never happened is as bad as one who does not know how to forget." "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" "Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature." George Bernard Shaw

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    Mods n Rockers Curly's Avatar
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    psst Bill, this thread is almost a year old. I suspect the o/p has moved his tank already.

    however to answer interzone's question, there was a link to new research posted about 2 years ago which detailed that the bacteria actually takes a very long time to die. It goes dormant first and the longer it's been dormant the longer it takes to wake up again, however where we used to assume hours and days, it's now been shown to be days and weeks.
    The only way to go on is to go on. To say "I can do this" even when you know you can't.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Curly View Post
    psst Bill, this thread is almost a year old. I suspect the o/p has moved his tank already.
    Ha ha. Like me he probably assumed all threads were new!


    Quote Originally Posted by Curly View Post
    however to answer interzone's question, there was a link to new research posted about 2 years ago which detailed that the bacteria actually takes a very long time to die. It goes dormant first and the longer it's been dormant the longer it takes to wake up again, however where we used to assume hours and days, it's now been shown to be days and weeks.
    Interesting. Maybe I should have just boxed them up and moved them with the tank. I must say that (many years ago) I left a (the only on that tank) filter off after a water change for about 24h. I emptied it out, turned it back on, reprimed and had zero problems.

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    Woof! Lawrence22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curly View Post
    psst Bill, this thread is almost a year old. I suspect the o/p has moved his tank already.

    however to answer interzone's question, there was a link to new research posted about 2 years ago which detailed that the bacteria actually takes a very long time to die. It goes dormant first and the longer it's been dormant the longer it takes to wake up again, however where we used to assume hours and days, it's now been shown to be days and weeks.
    This makes sense to me. I used to have a tank in my office at work. One July I had readied the tank for the holidays dissolving fish feeders in place and off I went. Last person out for reasons unknown to me decided to cut the power to all the sockets. When I returned a week later I was amazed the fish survived. I did a massive water change and restarted the electricals, amazingly I only lost one fish.
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    IBP53 IBP53's Avatar
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    Hi
    I moved 3 large, old goldfish of mum and dads over 250 miles by car. I used plastic buckets with strong black bin liners in. I then used the water from the tank in the buckets. Put the fish, one in each due to size (6inches +) dismantled the tank and filter put it in the at first. When ready to go I closed the bags with zip ties. Leaving plenty of air space. By the time we arrived and set the tank up it was easily 6 hours or more. All fish arrived safe and happy and because of the water they were transported in was put in the tank the transition from soft to hard water was minimised.
    Hope this helps.
    Curly likes this.

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    Mods n Rockers Curly's Avatar
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    heres the thread talking about the original article on bacteria death and decay posted by KarlT back in 2009

    Nitrifying bacteria death and decay
    The only way to go on is to go on. To say "I can do this" even when you know you can't.


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    Super Moderator billcstf40's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks, Curly I noticed that I had read it originally and so was right in the not to worry part of my post but I had totally forgotten the details
    Nice to get refreshed
    bill
    Illegitimatus non Carborundum; "A friend who cannot at a pinch remember a thing or two that never happened is as bad as one who does not know how to forget." "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" "Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature." George Bernard Shaw

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