Transporting Fish: Four Methods

2023-01-08 05:53:42 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.
  1. 1

    Think about how you'll get your fish there. Transporting a fish tank or fish bowl isn't as easy as transporting other pets. Instead, you should plan out how you'll get them there. Most fish can endure a trip of up to 48 hours without dying, but after that, their chances of survival drastically decrease. [1]

    • Keep in mind that you'll need to bring the fish with you when you stop for the night. Never abandon them in parked vehicles or trailers.
    • Contact the airline in advance to learn their policies on transporting fish if you need to fly with them.
  2. 2

    Before you pack up and move, it's a good idea to replace the water in your aquarium While packing up your aquarium for transport, you should change out at least some of the water. The purity of the tank's water is aided by this. Before transporting an aquarium, it is recommended to empty out 20% of the water each day for 5 days. [2]


  3. 3

    In the days leading up to a move, don't feed your fish. You don't want your fish to make any more of a mess than they already are when you're on the road. Fish can go without food for about a week, so don't worry about them during the move. Keep them from eating for at least 24 to 48 hours before being transported. [3]

  4. 4

    Don't bother putting the fish in the cooler until the last minute. Don't cram the fish into the cooler until you're ready to leave. There's no reason for them to be boxed up and ready for shipping at this time. Transporting fish quickly and efficiently is a priority. [4]

    • Fish should be unpacked and prepared for consumption as soon as you arrive at your destination. They need to be the first thing you take out of the box.
  5. 5

    Don't take your fish on unnecessary trips. Fish don't make good pocket pets because they're not lightweight. Do not transport them in a car or take them on a trip as a novelty. Moving is one of the few times it's acceptable to transport fish, as their fragility makes them a liability. [5]


  1. 1

    Put the fish in the bags. Putting fish in plastic bags is one option for transport. Plastic fish bags can be purchased from any pet store. A third of the way up, fill the bag with aquarium water. Then, give each person a bag with a single fish inside. Put only one fish in each bag. [6]

    • When you want to double the security of a bag, you put another bag on top of it. If the bag does end up leaking, this will help.
    • Put a rubber band around the bags to keep the fish and water inside.
    • If the fish will be in the bags for more than an hour, you should purchase some pure oxygen from a pet store and add it to the bags.
  2. 2

    Five-gallon buckets are used to transport the fish. To conveniently transport a number of fish at once, a five-gallon bucket is a practical option. Don't reuse a bucket that's previously held chemicals; instead, go out and buy a new one. There may be lingering chemicals in the bucket that will harm or kill your fish. A watertight lid should be placed on the bucket. [7]

    • Pour some water from your tank into the bucket.
  3. 3

    Scoop the fish into the holding tank. A sturdy container with a lid is another option for transporting your fish. Water from the tank, please fill the container. It's important to keep your fish safe from escaping and water from leaking by ensuring the lid is tightly closed. [8]

    • Fish with sharp fins or those who can escape a plastic bag may benefit from this.
  4. 4

    Small aquariums may be easily transported. Fish and water in small tanks can be relocated easily. A group of heavy tanks should never be relocated at once. Be sure to empty the aquarium of all other contents before moving it. Get rid of the rocks and the decorations and the filters. Your fish could be harmed if these come loose. Take out some of the water, too. This lessens the chance of spillage and provides less space for your fish to move around in during transport. [9]

    • On the other hand, transporting any tank, no matter how small, can be challenging. They weigh a ton and are prone to breaking easily. All of your fish could be killed if the tank gets dropped and broken.
    • Damage to water-filled tanks during transport is more likely.
  5. 5

    Please use a secure, insulated container to transport your fish. Fish that have been placed in a bag or other small container should be transported in a safe carrier. Use bubble wrap as a barrier between the fish bag and the container or other bags of fish. Check their durability to ensure they won't roll away. Your fish may suffer as a result of this. [10]

    • There is a significant temperature difference between the outside and the inside of the aquarium, so it is recommended that you transport your fish in an insulated This is the perfect use for a picnic cooler or styrofoam cooler.
  6. 6

    Pick a bowl that's big enough for your fish to swim around in comfortably. Regardless of the type, the fish tank you select should be big enough to allow the fish to swim freely. There is no need to give them a huge space, but they should be able to move around easily and in ease. Moreover, the fish will need plenty of oxygen, so make sure the container is big enough. [11]

    • The container shouldn't be filled more than a third of the way. The remaining area of the container needs to be ventilated.
  7. 7

    Wrap each plant individually in plastic. A good way to transport live plants from your aquarium is in plastic bags saturated with tank water. This will maintain conditions similar to those in the tank, which is important for sustaining the life of beneficial bacteria on the plants. [12]


  1. 1

    Put water from the tank's top into the containers. Your fish should only be put into tank water, not water straight from the sink. Water should be added all the way to the top of your storage tank before you transport it. Cleaner water cannot be found. Putting trash in a small container where water has settled at the bottom where bacteria may be lurking is a bad idea. [13]

  2. 2

    Do not risk harming your fish by putting unnecessary items in the tank. Don't put your fish in the container with their favorite rock or plant. The fish and tank water are all that should be in the bucket. Fish tanks are delicate environments, and any movable debris could cause serious harm to your aquatic pets. [14]

  3. 3

    Manage the temperature [15] Maintaining the ideal temperature for fish is essential. Your fish are vulnerable to illness if the water temperature ever changes. If you can, replicate the temperature of your fish's regular aquarium. In other words, move them to the climate-controlled compartment before setting out on your journey. [16]

    • Insulation of the storage container is another viable option. This can be used as a temperature regulator.
    • Make sure the fish does not overheat or chill by monitoring its temperature.
  4. 4

    Get your fish someplace dim. Fish can be less stressed during transport if they are kept in a dark environment. Fish are most awake and active when the sun is out. They tend to be less active after dark. If the fish are in a container during the day, make sure to cover it. [17]

    • Putting a sheet or rug over the container is one option.
  5. 5

    While on the road, don't bother feeding your fish. You don't want to add any additional stress to the already-difficult situation of transporting your fish. Don't bother cutting open bags or containers of fish food. The need for elimination, which can contaminate the water it's swimming in, is thus reduced. [18]

  6. 6

    When you arrive, put the fish back in the tank. It is possible to simply pour the fish and water from the bucket into the tank. To transfer the fish from the bucket to the tank, you could use a net. [19]

    • In the event that your fish were transported in bags, you should release them on the surface of the water. The temperature of the water inside the bags is more easily controlled in this way. When the water temperatures in both containers are the same, the fish can be transferred.


  1. 1

    Remove the water from the tank and place it in an appropriate container for the fish. Having placed the fish and vegetation in a safe location, remove 80% of the tank water and place it in a bucket or bags that are suitable for fish. This fluid is best obtained from the tank's uppermost level. As a result, you'll have less trash to carry home. [20]

  2. 2

    Put ornaments in the fish tank's water. Put the rocks and other tank ornaments in a plastic bag with some of the tank water. With this method, the ornaments' naturally occurring good bacteria will be protected. [21]

    • It's not a good idea to put these in the tank for transport. If the tank is moved while its contents are still inside, they may break.
  3. 3

    Make sure your filter media is properly packed. How far you'll be traveling can determine how you pack your filter media. Place the filter media in a clean, chemical-free, sealed container for short moves in which the tank will not be separated for long. Avoid washing it. [22]

    • When moving a long distance, you can remove the filter, clean it, and then put it back in place. Also, you could just get rid of it and buy a new one.
  4. 4

    Reconstruct your fish tank. You should reassemble your tank to its original state when you get there. Fill the tank with the water you saved from the tank, then add decorations and rocks. It's time to get a new filter, heater, and pump. The aquarium's live vegetation is then returned. [23]


Click Here To Ask A New Question
  • Question

    A long-distance relocation is defined as:

    Dieyun Ding

    When the travel time between the starting point and the destination is more than one hour, we call that a long-distance move. Of course, that's only for the purposes of this article.

  • Question

    As a result, we're transporting fish from a very cold environment to a much warmer one. I was wondering if you might offer some advice.

    Community Answer

    In their natural environment, most fish are able to adapt. As you're transporting them, they'll be experiencing a temperature change anyway. Tank heaters will have to work less to keep your home at a constant temperature if you keep it warmer throughout.

  • Question

    If fish are kept in a bag, how long is the minimum time allowed before they must be transferred to a tank?

    Community Answer

    Never more than a couple of days

Find out more explanations

The Question-Asking Game


Doug Ludemann

Doug Ludemann contributed to the writing of this article. Doug Ludemann runs Fish Geeks, LLC out of Minneapolis, and it's an aquarium service business. Doug has been an aquarist in the industry for over 20 years, during which time he has worked at the Minnesota Zoo and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. At the University of Minnesota, he studied ecology, evolution, and behavior and graduated with a BS. A total of 405,434 people have visited this page!

Co-authors: 16

Updated: Friday, September 6, 2022

Views:  405,434

Categories: Fishing

It has been read 405,434 times thanks to the efforts of this page's authors.
  • Randall King
    You showed me how to use a five-gallon bucket. I plan to stock my 26-gallon aquarium with about 12 fish. the 15 gallon a covered bucket To prevent excessive splashing, it will be placed in the truck's passenger foot space. And the temperature will be under my control. " " more
Be Heard!
  • The Ultimate Guide: Optimal Dress Packing Method - Rolling vs. Folding
    The Ultimate Guide: Optimal Dress Packing Method - Rolling vs. Folding 2023-07-04 00:22:41

    Ensure you bring along a flawless dress devoid of any unsightly folds or creases by employing the correct packing technique – Image by Tamara Bellis (via Unsplash). In the course of preparing for your travels, it becomes necessary to allocate time for the task of packing. Though it may appear

  • Top Destinations for Solo Female Travelers: The Safest Places
    Top Destinations for Solo Female Travelers: The Safest Places 2023-07-04 00:06:38

    by Mia Taylor Most recent update: 2:05 PM ET, Fri April 28, 2023Over the past decade, the number of women traveling solo has experienced tremendous growth. According to data from the Solo Female Travelers Club, searches for the term "solo female travel" increased six times in the four years leading up

  • Top 8 Destinations Worldwide for Adventurous Trips with Friends
    Top 8 Destinations Worldwide for Adventurous Trips with Friends 2023-07-03 00:18:46

    A vacation with friends offers the perfect opportunity to escape the obligations often associated with romantic getaways, family vacations, and business trips.True friendships often last a lifetime and deserve a celebration of the highest order: embarking on a special trip together.No matter if your

  • The 8 Caribbean Beach Getaways with Maximum Safety
    The 8 Caribbean Beach Getaways with Maximum Safety 2023-07-03 00:04:05

    Updated Two Weeks AgoIn the moments leading up to 5 pm on a typical workday, we often find ourselves daydreaming about a luxurious getaway to the Caribbean.Imagine pristine waters that are so clear they sparkle, soft white sand that feels like silk beneath your feet, and a refreshing tropical beverage

Showing page 1 of 13