Moving Cross Country with our fish... - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-03-2011, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Moving Cross Country with our fish...

My husband and I are moving to Phoenix in 5-6 months, from Western NY. We have a 50 gallon aquarium full of fish that we'd, in a perfect world, like to take with us. They are primarily various tetra species, with two Blue Rams thrown in for good measure.

I realize the chances of transporting them cross country over what we're hoping to turn into a 2 day straight trip, is next to impossible. The aquarium will be on the moving truck and we will be driving our pets.

Is there a viable way for the fish to survive transport? I would likely arrange to have a slightly smaller set up at the house waiting for us for them to live in until we get our aquarium set back up.

We don't have a LFS that would board/ship for us, nor do we know anyone who would be able to do so. I realize the best/easiest thing to do is seek new homes for the fish... my husband is pretty attached (impressive for the man who argued with me about how we did NOT need an aquarium!) to them so if there's a way, I'd definitely like to try.

Edit: We also have to male bettas that will be traveling with us. I've moved with a single betta before and found that to be pretty easy. Any tips/tricks for this would be most welcome.

Last edited by melissag; 05-03-2011 at 09:53 AM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-03-2011, 09:59 AM
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My best suggestion would be to fast them for a couple of days and then double bag them. Get as much air as you can in there - if you can get a LFS to let you put some oxygen in, that would be better. Then you need to pack them in foam boxes with heat packs. They should travel fine for two days that way.

I buy fish online a fair bit, and it takes 48 hours from the supplier to me. I've never had one DOA.

You will have to bag them and pack them at the last min, so if you can set up some buckets and a couple of sponge filters that you've matured, it will allow you to break down your main tank. You might also like to put some duckweed in the bags.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-03-2011, 10:03 AM
First off, welcome to the forum!

Secondly, what is your exact fish stock?

Moving a tank of that size on a truck is extremely risky, you will have to drain it and take out all the decorations and equipment and store those in a separate container, the bouncing of the truck can crack your tank, and having things inside will increase the chances that damage can occur

Depending on how many fish you have, you will need to bag them, pump the bags full of air and seal the top. A couple of fish of the same species per bag, separate the rams. You will need to open up the top of the bags to allow fresh air in every 8-12 hrs and change the water. Avoid feeding before bagging, and only feed once during the trip with a full water change right after. If you can get some, there is a blue liquid, forget what its called, that you can buy that will reduce the stress the fish takes on during travel.

However, this method will only work with the hardier fish, fish like Neon Tetras might be better off donated or put up for adoption since the trip and uncycled tank in your new place will probably kill them. Not sure what your stocking is, but if you post it, we may be able to tell you which fish will probably make the journey and which ones may not.
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-03-2011, 05:53 PM
I agree with the first method. I don't see the point of changing the water every 12 hours if they have been fasted a day or too. Certainly do not feed them at all during the trip. A bagged fish is very unlikely to eat anyway. As said less fish per bag the better. Generally 1/3 water 2/3 air. I would add a drop of prime to each bag. Get some heat packs for the rams. The longer lasting the better. 24 hour will be fine if you replace them halfway through. Wrap the heat packs in newspaper so they do no directly touch the bags.

Ask your LFS for a styrofoam box and lid. This is what most fish come shipped in. Use it to put you bags it will keep them warm and dark. IMO resist checking on them too much. Best luck for them is to stay warm and dark. Bring a few gallons of your dechlorinated tap water just incase some fish look like they need help.

I have never dealt with shipping more sensitive fish like GBR and neons. But have bought fish that get shipped priority 2-4 days in the mail.
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-03-2011, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone for the suggestions so far. The tank itself is acrylic, and I think it'll be fine. We have professional movers to pack/transport, and they have plenty of experience with tanks. And if all else fails, the insurance will buy us a nice new one. :) If we weren't moving what seems like half of a zoo's worth of animals already (dogs, cats, birds, a ferret, the fish...) I'd just try to bring it with us but there will definitely not be space.

I honestly don't have an exact list of who inhabits our tank. We have probably a dozen neon tetras, 3 glo fish, the rams, a few Harlequin Rasboras, and probably 10 more assorted tetras as well as two. I'd estimate there are probably 30 fish total.

Is there a good source to purchase the bags, without having to purchase significantly more than I need? I don't foresee our LFS selling us/giving us any - they're privately owned, but way more stringent with everything than the corporate type pet stores! I can easily obtain the foam boxes.

Is there any benefit to bagging each fish individually?
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-03-2011, 08:13 PM
They don't need to be bagged individually.... it really all comes down to how long they are in the bag, how big the bag is and what kinda fish are going in the bag... It has a lot of bearing actually. It can be the reason the fish survive the trip or not.

We do need more information though. Are fish going on truck or with you and everything else in the car? I couldn't quite figure out which...

I would not worry about the tank on the truck either. I mean they have to get from the manufacturer to the store some how... and it usually involves a truck.

As far as bags you can get them off something not mentioned is you need to double bag each bag. This is encase anything leaks. When all is said and done you are going to have a lot of bags and they will take up more room then you expect. I would use the regular plastic bags, not the Kordon breather bags... though some people love them I have had nothing but bad experiences with them. Normal plastic bags have never killed my fish.

You need to bag your mature media too. Pretend it is a fish, but IMO add a LITTLE bit of fish food to the bag to keep it going. If you can bag it and get to where you are going in 3 days it should be fine. If possible I would keep it out of the heated styro box to slow down the bacterias metabolism. At new place add it to your tank/bins filter and hope that it sustained itself during the trip. It should be mostly fine. I would prepare for the worst though and watch the tank/bin for a minicycle. Feed the fish very lightly till you are sure everything is fine. If you want to do a fail safe you can start fishless cycling a filter on a large bucket a month before the trip. Then ship this new mature media as well, that way even if some dies you should be able to avoid any issues at the new place with all the extra bacteria you have. Another forum I use has a list of members that will ship mature media to help beginners. So shipping the media does work just fine.

Since your are new here, IDK what stuff you already know. If you have no idea what I am talking about please let me know. Especially with the mature media and the nitrogen cycle in a aquarium. I would rather cover stuff you already know then skip something you didn't...

.... I'm probably drunk.

This is how I lurk

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post #7 of 7 Old 05-04-2011, 02:39 AM
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The amount of waste each species produces is a big factor as to how many per bag. Small tetras such as neons can be more densly packed than say cichlids. Use common sense! :) Its better to have more bags with less fish per bag. :)

Like I said, putting some duckweed in each bag isn't going to hurt, either.

Packing mature media is a good idea that I forgot to mention.

When you get to the new place, don't forget to acclimatise the fish to the new water. It's going to be like setting up all over again, so maybe you can run a few small qt tanks and slowly restock your main tank.
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