Moving Your Fish
When You Move from Here to
This page discusses how to
move your fish. Several people have sent emails
saying that they were moving and want to take their
fish with them. Most folks wrote that they'd never
moved their fish before and needed some advice about
how to do it.
Disclaimer! We consider the
information on this page to be good advice. But
we do not guarantee it will work for you, and we
disclaim all responsibility for any losses, direct
or consequential, arising from the use of this information.
here to read our complete disclaimer dealing
with the information on this website.
here to listen to a Special
Pet Fish Show hosted by The Bailey Brothers
about Moving Your Fish and your aquarium
from one room to another, or across town,
or across the country.
1. Here's What
You'll Need ... a container, some trash
bags, and some rubber bands. Here are more details.
(1) The container. It should
be the right size. Not too small, or it will cramp
the fish and not contain enough air. Not too big,
or you may not have enough water to cover the fish.
It's best, if the container is insulated. You might
be able to get a box with a Styrofoam liner from
your local fish store. Actually an insulated plastic
picnic cooler, like the ones used by people to keep
food cool, is ideal.
(2) Some plastic trash bags. Get
several bags. Make sure they are big enough to fill
the container, when you inflate them. Thirty-five
gallon black trash bags will usually work. The translucent
trash bags are better because they allow you to
see a little bit about what is going on inside the
bag. Of course, these trash bags should be new and
not used trash bags with a lot of old coffee grounds
inside that will pollute the shipping water.
(3) Some 1/4" thick rubber bands.
You'll need these rubber bands to seal the bags.
2. Change 20%
of the Water ...
in your aquarium each day for several days before
you move. Click
for more about changing water. You can clean your
fish's home too. Click
for more about cleaning. But don't do too much at
one time. Click
here for more about that. Be patient and do
a little bit each day for several days before you
move your fish.
3. Don't Feed Your Fish ...
anything for the last 48 hours, before you put them
in the shipping container. Make sure there is no
left over food of any kind in their home. We want
their stomachs empty, when they go into the bag.
Do not feed your
fish, while they are traveling. We want the water
to stay as clean as possible.
4. Put One of the Plastic Bags ...
inside the container. Then put another bag inside
the first, so you have a double bag. that way if
the first bag leaks, the second will hold the water.
You might want to add a third bag inside the other
Get a ruler or tape measure and measure
the distance inside the container from the bottom
of the container to the top. Lets say it's 12 inches.
You want to fill the container with 1/4 to 1/3 water
leaving 3/4 to 2/3 for air. So if you measured 12"
then you'd fill it with 3 or 4 inches of water and
leave 8 or 9 inches for air.
Get a clean pan, cup, or ladle
and scoop water off the surface of your fish's home
and pour it into the plastic bags inside the container.
Be careful not to scoop water off the bottom that
may be contaminated with waste from the gravel.
Do not use tap water from the faucet. Use good clear
water from the surface.
Move the fish from their home into
the container. Large or aggressive fish should be
packed one fish to a container. Don't crowd the
fish. Less crowding will mean more surviving.
Set the container with the
plastic bags, water, and fish on a table. Bunch
the top edges of the bags. Try to get all of the
air out from between the bags. It's good if there
is air inside the inner-most bag, but try not to
trap air between the layers of bags. Squeeze the
top edges of the bags together in your hands. Now
lessen the pressure and maybe gently poke a finger
in the opening so it's about 1" in diameter.
Keep your mouth about 12 inches
from this opening and blow air into the bag. Don't
put your mouth right on the opening, because the
air from your lungs contains excess carbon dioxide.
You should be blowing the air between your mouth
and the opening into the inner most bag.
Fill the bag with air and then
twist the top and fold it over. Put at least two
rubber bands tightly around the top, making several
loops to tightly seal the bags. Make sure the sealed
bag will fit into the container, so you can close
the container. Also make sure the bags fill most
of the space inside the container.
Close the container. It is
best if there is no light inside the container during
the trip. The fish will be less active in the dark.
It is very difficult to say how long
the fish can survive in this container. Using similar
methods we have had fish survive for 48 hours. You
should try to minimize the time the fish are in
the container. Under no circumstances should you
feed the fish in the container. Wait until they
are released into their new home after the move
before feeding them.
Be sure to keep the container warm
but not hot during the trip. About 72 to 75 degrees
F. would be ideal for most Tropical Fish during
the trip. Cool water fish like goldfish might do
better between 65 and 70 degrees F.
Cooler water will slow the fish's
metabolism, so the fish will produce less waste
and keep the water cleaner. But of course the water
cannot be too cool or that will harm the fish.
5. Keep 80% of
the Water ...
from your fish's home when you move. Discard the
last few inches of water in the bottom.
Of course this will not be practical
with a 1500 gallon pond! But you could do it with
a 40-gallon aquarium. You'd need to take 32 gallons
of the water with you, which would require several
containers. Some of the containers will have water
with fish, and some containers might have water
After your move, set the aquarium
back up. don't open the containers with the fish.
But open the containers that have the extra water
without any fish. Pour that water back into the
aquarium, and let the aquarium's filter run for
a couple of hours. Open the containers with fish.
Pour the water and the fish into the aquarium,
and top the aquarium up with at most 20% fresh tap
The airlines are not enthusiastic
about accepting boxes of fish packed by novices.
The information on this page is not intended for
packing fish that will go on airplanes, because
there are many other considerations, such as the
pressurization in the planes, that make it more
difficult to pack fish going on planes. If you must
ship your fish on a plane, get a professional fish
person to help you pack your fish.
here now to go to another page in this web
site that contains Customer Comments and our Replies
about How to Move Fish.
How to Customize this Page
If this web page looks too small or too
narrow, hold down the keyboard key marked
"Ctrl" then press down on the key marked +,
and this web page should get bigger. If you
overdo it, and this page gets too big, hold
down the same "Ctrl" key and press down on
the key marked - to make this page smaller.
IMPORTANT: Your use of this
here to read our Disclaimer, and click
here to read our Privacy Agreement.
here for our street address, phone number, fax, and email address.
here for information about advertising on this website.
is not affiliated with AquariumFish.com.