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How to Move an Aquarium (7 Easy Steps)

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By Lindsey Stanton


Moving established aquariums can be tricky. The majority are bulky and extremely heavy after being decorated and filled with water, making it nearly impossible for the average aquarist to move their aquarium.

Holding or moving the tank wrong during the moving process can crack the seal, leading to a leak and an unusable aquarium. It is important to always be careful when moving an aquarium. Learning how to hold and move an aquarium properly is essential in avoiding costly mistakes.

Thankfully, this article hopes to help you to successfully move your aquarium!

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How to Hold an Aquarium

You may need help with the larger aquariums, as they are longer than our general arm span. Moving small to medium-sized aquariums can be done by yourself.

Image By: Alexander Geiger, Shutterstock

Aquariums should be held from the bottom, both your hands should be placed underneath the length of the aquarium. Support the aquarium with both hands and hold it close to your chest for extra support. Do not twist or hold the aquarium directly from the glass panels. One small move in the wrong direction and the seal can break.

If you have a larger aquarium, it is best to get two other people to help you. Each person holds underneath the ends of the aquarium while you support the middle of the aquarium.

Where Should You Place Your Inhabitants When You Move Your Aquarium?

Before you move your aquarium, it is recommended it remove your inhabitants first. This way, if an accident such as dropping the aquarium or breaking the seal occurs, your inhabitants will not be harmed.

You can place your inhabitants in an extra tank, bucket, or container of their old aquarium water. They will require an air stone for oxygen control and tropical fish will need their heater. It is essential to make sure this process is as stress-free for your inhabitants as possible.

  • Note: Always place your aquarium close to an electrical outlet. This enables you to plug-in filters and other necessary aquarium equipment.
How to Move Your Aquarium in 7 simple steps
  • Step 1- Remove your inhabitants from the aquarium.
  • Step 2- Use a large bucket and siphon to remove 70% of the water in the aquarium. This makes it lighter and easier to move. This should be similar to how you would do a water change.
  • Step 3- Keep the last bucket of water to add back into the aquarium. It helps minimize water chemistry shock for your inhabitants.
  • Step 4- Start removing some of the heavy decorations. They will add extra weight to the aquarium. Place them in the leftover bucket of aquarium water to preserve the beneficial bacteria.
  • Step 5- Unplug the filters and electrical equipment. Ensure the filter is always submerged in dechlorinated water.
  • Step 6- Hold the aquarium at each end and press it towards your chest. Place it down in the new space. Larger aquariums will require a few extra pairs of arms!
  • Step 7- Add the heavy decorations back into the aquarium. Fill the aquarium with a bucket of old tank water and the rest with new dechlorinated water. Add the filter and air stone back in alongside a heater for tropical aquariums. Add the inhabitants back inside after the aquarium has settled.

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Although moving your aquarium can be a lengthy process, following the right steps with precautions will make the move a lot smoother. Always watch your step when moving your aquarium and make sure you can hold the aquarium’s weight.

We hope this article has shown you a simple yet effective method on how you can safely move your aquarium.

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Featured Photo Credit: Sergiy Akhundov, Shutterstock

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