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gottamakeart's avatar

Moving a Large fish-tank, how to keep fish safe DURING the process?

Asked by gottamakeart (1318 points ) August 2nd, 2011

I can easily drain and move the tank itself. along with the cabinet it goes on. However, I need to place the fish in something to transport them to their new location ( down a flight of stairs) I was thinking of using a food-cooler since it is big enough,can hold water, and has handles. Along with the added benefit of a closing lid to keep fish from jumping out- or my cats from getting a live snack.

Do I need to wash out the cooler with a special kind of soap or other method so the fish will be OK? OR- do I need another approach altogether?

I could really use some technically-sound advice so my pets survive my re-decorating.

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7 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

We always throw our fish in buckets when we move tanks or make drastic changes. If it is a short term thing, I don’t see why a cooler wouldn’t be okay.
They advise against using soaps or cleansers for washing things that you’ll be keeping fish in, because it’s very likely that it will leave a residue regardless of how well you rinse.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Get one or two of the cheap styrofoam coolers and use that to transport the fish. My bait minnows seem to keep longer in the cheap styrofoam buckets than in most of the plastic or metal ones available.

woodcutter's avatar

I have heard of some people using a large waste basket or trash barrels. Use the same water that the fish are currently in and even put a filter pump on the edge of the container. You won’t have to struggle with the ph and ammonia levels if their home water is good. It might depend how long you plan on keeping the fish away from their original tank.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Use a new, clean Styrofoam cooler for the fish and as much of the water they were in as possible. Your local pet store can sell you something to add to the water to raise or maintain the oxygen supply in the cooler, while they are out of their aquarium. Remember to conserve the tank water and reuse it – its what they are adapted to living in.

snowberry's avatar

All of these are options, but your biggest concern (other than shock), IMO is sudden temperature change and exposure to cleaning chemicals in the container you use. To avoid chemicals, use a new one, and rinse it (don’t clean it out). Then get going. @Dr_Lawrence also gives good tips.

Hibernate's avatar

@snowberry has a point here. When you move them be sure to take water from the fish tank you kept them in. Anyway they will be stressed while you move them but don’t worry since it will pass soon.

gottamakeart's avatar

UPDATE: the move went well, the tank is now in the finished portion of the basement where sunlight will not aggravate an algae problem. We used a large plastic cooler with handles (most of the goldfish are getting Koi-sized) they made the trip safelf with no cat-attacks. The concrete subfloor also provides a much surer footing for the cabinet too.

I will try to post a picture soon once the wall above the tank is decorated to complete the “look” for that space.

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