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Advice for moving tank

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Hi y’all, so I need some advice. 

I have a fully planted 15g community tank and an empty 6g quarantine tank in my bedroom, but I’ll be redecorating & rearranging the room at some point in the next few months and I’m not sure how I’ll safely move the fish to another room while the work is done. We don’t have a garage or a spare room or a shed, so I’m not sure yet where I’ll be putting the tanks yet - that’s an issue for later. 

How would I go about emptying and transporting the tanks without causing any damage to the plants or fish? The quarantine tank will hopefully remain empty, so my biggest concern is the community tank. 

• Do I buy large buckets and place all of the fish, water, plants & equipment in them? 
• Do I risk moving the tank with the substrate in it or should it be stripped bare? 
• Do I keep all of the fish together or have a bucket for each species? The betta could probably go into the 6g, but I’m unsure about what to do with the danios & corycats. 
• If I’m placing the fish into multiple buckets or tubs, I suppose I’ll need to have filters (or even just air stones?) for each bucket - should I buy & establish those filters now? I’d probably get away with leaving the zebrafish without a heater for a few days, if they’re in a warm room. 

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With a 15 gallon tank I would think you could just take water down pretty low then hand carry it with two people. I had to temporarily move a couple of 29 gallon tanks a while back.  I took the water down low and used a hand truck that folds down into a little four wheel cart. Placed a small cabinet I had on the cart then pulled the tank onto it which was about the same height. Worked like a charm with two people. Just went slow and careful. 

Edited by Errk25
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Hey @Bobbie, I've only done a similar move with a 10g and don't have a great sense of how easy a 15g is to handle. In my case I just drained all but 2-3" of the water out into a couple of buckets. I unplugged and removed the filter and heater and moved the tank as gently as possible to the new location with all the fish and plants in place. I then put the water, heater and filter back and was good to go. I was able to do that on my own but with a 15g maybe you'd want help carrying it. 

I'm sure the move was stressful for the fish but at least the whole thing only took about an hour and then everything was back to normal. In your case, of course, you'd have to repeat the process whenever you were ready to move the tank back to your bedroom but at least you wouldn't have to worry about your fish or rush the re-decorating process. 

Good luck!


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I’m also in camp, “Just do it”.  It can be more stressful to try to catch the fish, especially in a planted tank, than just draining the tank down very low.  Unplug filter and heater.  Save about half of your water with no substrate vacuuming so it’s nice and clean and have fresh water mixed and ready.

Drain down to within about an inch or 2 of water above the substrate (you could carefully, superficially substrate vacuum for this part but the idea is minimal disturbance of mulm), move as gently as possible with the least amount of sloshing you can manage.

Set up where wanted, refill with old, clean water, then finish filling with new, conditioned water.  Plug everything back in and sit back with a sigh of relief.  You’re done.

Now here’s the really important part.  Don’t stress if everybody, or half of them, are stressed and hiding for a few days.  They just went through a 8 or so on the Richter scale so it would make sense they might be shaken up.  Don’t go right back to feeding the normal amount.  Do a tiny bit and see what everybody does.  If they eat, great, go for it.  If they don’t, try again the next day and see how they do.  But I would feed light for a couple days until everybody is settled.

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I moved a 20g 3 times grrr. I put fish in buckets with used tank water and airstone how many buckets is dependent on species drained it as far as i could left everything else in moved it put 50 % same water back 50% clean. The fush were none the worse bi was afraid if something did go wrong then id only lose the tank and not my fish. I feared them getting injured in the tank from sloshing objects. 

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