Fishkeeping remains a popular pastime, and many Americans appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of an aquarium at home. Unfortunately, a glass aquarium is one of the most difficult objects to move safely, especially when you need to make sure the fish inside make it safely to your new home. If you need to move your prized aquarium, avoid the following mishaps that could prove dangerous to your fish.
No fish inventory
It's easy to keep track of one goldfish in a single glass bowl, but if your aquarium is home to multiple species and specimens, it's important to take every possible step to make sure every fish makes it safely through the move.
For larger collections, a fish inventory is vital. A list of all the specimens in your aquarium is crucial at all stages during the move, from when you take the fish out of the tank right through to putting them back in your new home. If you keep rare or tropical fish, compile the inventory ahead of the move, and consult your local specialist for advice about the species you have. For example, some species of fish exude a toxin when stressed that could kill other fish in a confined space, which means you need to segregate these species in transit.
Throwing away all the water
It's pretty difficult to carry an aquarium that's full of water, fish and ornaments. As such, owners will need to carefully empty out the contents to a manageable level. However, even if you can't carry the water in the tank, it's important to hold on to this precious resource.
Dramatic changes in water chemistry can quickly kill fish. In fact, on an ongoing basis, experts don't recommend that you replace more than 10 to 15 percent of the water in the tank in one go. If you throw all the water away, your fish will have to submerge in clean water at the other end, which can easily kill them.
Take as much of the water in the tank with you as possible, even if you decant the fluid into other containers. What's more, when you transport the fish, keep them in a container filled with the old water, or you may find that the creatures are dead before you reach your destination.
Allowing things to dry out
It's not just the fish in your tank that need to stay constantly wet. Other items in the aquarium also need a constant supply of moisture. For example, any plants that grow underwater are unlikely to survive once the root system dries out, so you need to find a way to keep the plants moist in transit.
The bacteria in the filter of a fish tank take some time to settle and grow to the right level. In doing so, these bacteria can process waste in the water. Any change in temperature or water chemistry can easily kill these precious bacteria, so it's also important to make sure the filter doesn't dry out. Package the filter for the move in a bag of tank water with plenty of air space. This will allow bacteria in the filter to survive the journey.
Refilling the tank without thinking where it really needs to go
To urgently get their prized fish back into the aquarium, many homeowners rush to refill the tank as a top priority when they reach their new destination. While a sense of urgency is admirable, you won't help the situation if you fill up the aquarium in the wrong spot in the house. For example, you'll need to put the aquarium in reach of a power supply, and you'll regret your haste if you suddenly realise you need to empty and refill the tank because it's not near the plug socket.
Remember that your fish need time to adjust, so it's generally a good idea to leave the fish in the tank alone for the first day or so. Don't turn on the lights, and don't feed the fish. Slowly increase feeding each day, and continually check the tank for ammonia and nitrite levels. It may take several weeks before the tank is back to normal, so you'll need to stay vigilant throughout that period.
An aquarium is one of the hardest objects to move, and you'll need to take care to look after the tank and its contents in transit. Talk to a movers specialist in your area for more information and advice.