Give me advice on moving my aquarium

I’m going to be moving a 55 gallon aquarium from the second floor of my house to the main floor. What is the easiest way to do this without harming my fish? Do I have to take out all the gravel before moving the tank, or can I leave a little in? I’m also going to be redoing the interior of the tank in the near future. Can I do this when I move the tank, or will this be stressful on the fish?

i’d do a complete drain of the tank, mainly because a 55 is too narrow to safely support the weight shifts of a partially filled tank, if you move the tank with a small amount of water and the gravel in it, you run the risk of cracking the tank, or at the very least, stressing the silicone sealant

when i moved from my old apartment to the new one, i had to move my tanks with water in them, mainly because i have a heavily planted 20 Long with 2 Dwarf Puffers, 2 Bristlenose Plecos, 4 Khuli loaches and 2 Siamese Algae Eaters in it, the Khulis would be difficult to catch in the dwarf saggitaria “lawn”, and the SAE’s are incredibly fast, the DP’s being only an inch long each, have numerous hiding places, and it would take far too long to replant all the plants, the remaining 10 gallon betta tanks were also drained

i drained off 90% of the water, left just enough to cover the plants and moved the tank, it went just fine, no tank damage, and the fish felt safe hiding in the plants

i wouldn’t plan on moving any tank larger than a 20 Long/29 gallon with water in it, too risky

I say drain the tank as well. Too much water or rocks, a slight twist to the tank, and you’ve got yourself a leaking tank.

Everyone with a tank should own a bucket that has never been used with soap. Just pick up a new rubbermaid type bucket with a handle and only use it for fish stuff. Drain some water into the bucket, put fish in bucket. Drop an airstone in the bucket. That should hold the fish for many hours as long as the temp holds.

Empty tank, scoop out most the rocks. Move tank. Fill with water. Get water, Ph and temp up too speed, get filters running, make tank look pretty. Make sure the ph and temp in the bucket and tank are the same,… move fish into new home.

I’ve gone this route many times and have never lost a fish in the move.

I even had a case where I pulled the plants out along with my banjo catfish. The little guy sat in the bowl with only plants in it for over an hour. No water. You can imagine my suprise when I found him later.

I dropped him in the water thinking he wasn’t going to make it, but he lived another 2 years after that.

another tool every aquariast should own is the Python siphon system, i just picked up one yesterday, and was able to do a drain-and-fill on all 5 of my tanks in a little under a half hour, no more bucket water changes for me, the Python is damn cool…

basically, you install a special “pump” valve on your faucet, connect the siphon to the valve and move the switch to “drain”, turn on the water a the faucet (use both hot and cold at their full blast setting for maximum suction, put the siphon in the tank and it primes and drains the tank

you have a flow control valve so you can control the speed of the drain/refill and you can also stop the siphon if you suck up a fish or invert

once the tank has been partially drained for a water change (or fully drained for moving, let the suction clear all the water from the hose, close the valve, go back to the faucet, adjust the temperature of the water, and move the switch to “fill”, go back to the tank and open the flow control valve and refill the tank with the siphon tube, the aeration of the water as it refills the tank will drive off some chlorine, but you’ll still need to add dechlorinator to the tank at some point (either before you fill or after, it really shouldn’t make much difference)

it took me about 10 minutes to do a 50% water change on my 20 long, no more buckets for me :slight_smile:

We did several moves of a 55gal tank. The worst was from a 3rd floor apartment to a 3rd floor apartment 15 miles away.

Anyway… We owned several 5 gallon buckets that were specifically for fish tank use. We would fill several of them about 80% fill with aquarium water, and add all the fish to on of those. Then we would fill another with gravel, still wet and unrinsed. We wanted to keep some of that lovely sludge we had been growing, as a starter. Clean everything else out of the tank, except the undergravel filter and a little water, and move.

When you get to your new place, put the gravel in, and the saved water, except the bucket with the fish. Let this settle for a little while. Then add the fish and water slowly, to not stir things up. We had mostly small fish, so this left them enough room to move around. Now we could add replacement water gradually, so as not to shock the system to badly.

The above advice is OK as long as you are talking about a fresh water set-up. I always preferred bagging the fish instead of transporting in 5 gallon buckets. Less chance of accidental disaster and less of a chance of injury to the fish. However, seeing as how you are just moving from upstairs to downstairs, that shouldn’t be an issue.

I agree with MacTech, if you are on a chlorinated water system, take care to remove or neutralize the chlorine. I used to work in a fish shop many years ago and we carried a roduct called Start Right which helped with this. I don’t know if it is still around, if not I’m sure there is some type of replacement. I’ve been on a well system for years so I haven’t had to worry about that.