Moving a fish tank is one of the biggest challenges of moving into a new home.

One wrong mistake and you may crack the glass, pour out water and fish or even scare the fish to death – literally!

But you love your fish and you want make sure that they travel safely with minimal to zero losses.

Here is a step-by-step guide to moving a fish tank on moving day:

1. Safely Remove Fish from the Tank

Yes, this seems like the first obvious step, but there are precautions that people easily overlook.

First, you will need to scoop some water from the tank into a small cup or container. Secondly, soak the fish net into water for 10 minutes. This will make it easier on the fish. Once the time has passed, gently pick up your fish from the tank and place them into the container you set aside.

Have rags readily available to wipe any spills that may occur. You can also minimize spills ahead of time by setting up newspaper on the floor.

If you use leak-proof fish bags, make sure there is as much air as possible near the top. Then close off the top with tightly-wrapped rubber bands.

2. Unplug and Drain

Before commencing the cleaning process, you must first unplug any electrical wires that are connected to your fish tank.

In part of regular maintenance, you should already be draining 10% of the fish tank water every week or 20% every two weeks. We recommend doing this with a siphon hose. If you don’t already have one, you can purchase a siphon hose online at

3. Clean Gravel & Accessories

Clean out excess food, waste, algae, and debris with a gravel vacuum.

If you decide not to purchase a gravel vacuum, you can use the siphon hose as an alternative Also, you can use an algae scrubber to scrub off the algae from the glass, rocks, and decorations.

For tough-to-clean decorations, scoop them out of the tank and soak them into a water-bleach solution for 15-20 minutes. Then, pour boiling water over them and let them air dry.

Pro tip: Excessive algae may be an indicator that you need to feed your fish less or change the fish tank water less frequently.

Move plants and their roots in Ziploc bags with water in them. You can reposition them once you move into your new home.

Also, rinse and scrub your filter cartridge with a sponge. Replace every 3-4 months or whenever the filter pad is falling apart.

4. Disassembling the Fish Tank

For this process, we recommend grabbing the following equipment first:

  • Protective gloves
  • Protective googles
  • Razor blade/scraper
  • 50 lb. fishing line
  • Soft mallet
  • Towels/blankets

Place the empty tank over towels or blankets to minimize the mess.

Begin by removing the trim, or the plastic surrounding the top and bottom of the fish tank. The mallet can help with loosing this. However, be careful not to strike or shake too hard as you may break the glass.

Scape as much of the silicone as possible with a razor blade or scraper. Do the same for the bottom trim, so you can remove the bottom panel.

While gently pressing the opposite corners, use the razor blade or fishing line down the corners of the tank. One at a time, you will be able to safely pop out these panels.

Use the scraper again to remove excess silicone. You should now be well on your way to move the fish tank, panel by panel.

Reference to the owner’s manual if you are having a hard time to disassemble or reassemble the fish tank.

Woman Moving a Fish Tank

5. Packing the Fish Tank

Wrap the glass panels securely in a couple layers of wrapping paper and heavy-grade bubble wrap.

You can store the accessories into a separate moving box. Hold on tight to your fish though! It’s best to have them on your lap than have them bounce around in the moving truck.

Moving a fish tank may seem like a hassle at first, but you will be happy knowing that you were able to securely transport your fish into their new home.


Allow West Coast Moving & Storage to safely handle your beloved fish.

Our team of friendly moving professionals can help you during every step of the moving process, from the initial free consultation to the unpacking and re-assembling your belongings in your new home.

Contact us today for a free moving or storage estimate!