Best advice for moving multiple aquariums
I did a search through these forums and found some topics covering this issue. However, I was looking for the best advice in relation to my situation. I will be moving from my current apartment to a newer apartment this Friday. Fortunately, the new apartment is just right down the street from my current one. I have four fish tanks: a 50 gal, a 30 gal, a 10 gal, and a 5 gal. The 50 gal is a community tank that is pictured under aquariums. The 30 gal has only three but fairly unique fish: a elephant nose fish, a white spotted talking catfish, and a South American Leaf Fish. The 10 gal contains the Leaf Fish's live food, and the 5 gal has shrimp in it. I have purchased one large sized bucket with a handle. I have two others that I use to change the water with but are fairly smaller. I plan on purchasing a second one this week.
Here is my situation: I have one day to move. The movers will come at 9 pm and will start to load their moving van. However, they are unable to move my aquariums which is fine since I planned to do it myself. As soon as all of my stuff is out of the apartment, I have to give my landlord the keys to it. I also have to be at the new apartment to direct where I want stuff to be placed.
Here is my plan: Friday morning, I will begin to empty out the fish tanks. First, I will place my rock and wood into a separate container and the live plants into a bucket where I will place the fish. I will place the water from the tanks into the buckets I am using so the fish don't go too much into shock with the new water. I will then begin transporting fish from the tank to the buckets. What is the best way to net the fish and put them into the buckets without stressing them out too much?
The buckets don't come with lids and the buckets I found that do would run me $30 a pop. So I plan to take clear wrap and secure it to the lid so fish don't jump out. Once all the fish are in buckets, I plan to empty out the rest of the tanks. They all have gravel save for the 50 gal which has a mix of sand and gravel. Should I attempt to remove the substrate? As for the 5, I plan on just putting clear wrap around the top since it is fairly light with no gravel or sand.
I then plan on taking the aquariums to the new apartment in my car. However, I have to time it with the movers since they will be moving my aquarium stands. After I get the stands where I want, I plan to get working on setting up the tanks and adding back my fish.
A lot of depends on how well I can time everything with the movers. As well, they preferred if I remove the aquariums beforehand since it gives them time to work.
So I have several questions:
1) What is the best way to transport fish that isn't that stressful or harmful to the fish. I have to take my limited budget into account as well. I can't afford to purchase high-end equipment to hold my fish in.
2) What is the maximum time the fish can be in a bucket? In all, this might take 3 hours but, like I said, it depends entirely how I time it with the movers. Is that too long for the fish?
3) Should I remove the substrate before I move it?
4) For my 50 gal and my 30 gal, what is the best way to transport the tanks without breaking them, cracking them, etc. Most of my friends will be at work but my supervisor, who will be helping me move, said he can help transport them.
5) I have two nets, one small and one big. What is the best way to remove the fish and to place them into the buckets and vice versa?
I am sorry for the long winded explanations and the questions but any type of advice would be helpful.
Congrats on the new apartment!
I have moved several times and usually devote a day to just fish/tanks but I understand your situation!
Here are some pointers.
I usually catch my fish after I have reduced most of the water in their tank... less chasing involved. You can corner them much easier! Put them into their bucket, cover with the wrap. Get a pump and air stone with each bucket of fish if you can. They can easily stay in there over night if you don't get set up till the next morning. I would set up the tank with the most fish in one bucket first, or anything delicate in nature. Don't feed anything the night before or morning of the bucket transfer... less poop in bucket that way.
If you don't have one... spend the money on a Python hose with multiple adapters so that you can drain at old and new apt. Buckets work too but it is worth the $30 to $50 if you can. Drain some of the water the night before if you can.
You can also hang your heater in the buckets if needed. tie it on the handle if you have to.
If you have to buy anything i.e. storage totes, buy something you will use after. Make it dual purpose.
If you can lift the weight of it, I would not disturb the substrate. If it all needs cleaning, get some extra buckets, they can stay as fish buckets after the move. We have $1 stores here where you can buy really cheap stuff, try to find stuff really cheap.
When you can't be in 2 places at once... make sure every box or item has the Destination room written on it... bedroom, living room, kitchen etc. Furniture can have a strip of tape advising the destination room in black marker. Advise your moving staff to read all labels and place in the destination room. That will take some of the stress off if you can get them on side. Rather than packing clothes in closets or removing hangers, if you don't have a clothes hanging box, lay a bed sheet on your bed, (this should be dismantled 2-3 days before) and lay the clothes on the sheet in a stack. Wrap/fold over and cart to the truck (like a body lol). Stack them in the truck if more than one.
Good luck... let me know how it goes. If I think of anything else I will let you know.
To the queston on the substrate...remove everything including the substrate from the 50g and 30g definitely. Lifting these sized tanks with gravel or sand in them could easily bend the frame and break the seal or crack the glass. The 10g and 5g would be best completely emptied if you can, but with these you could move them with the substrate (only) left in if you can slide them onto a piece of plywood. I have moved small tanks like this around the house. The plywood ensures the tank frame is remaining level without pressure. But I would not leave any water in them other than what little will be under the substrate.
I second removing substrate, I've got a 72 gallon bow obtained for free, previous owner moved it with gravel & a bit of water. It also has a cracked center brace, now reinforced with a metal one, but I'll never trust it anywhere but in my basement with a concrete floor & a drain.
Depending on how fast you can move them, i would recommend moving one at a time, getting it set back up then moving the next.
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