Originally Posted by Andy Sager
You have a few options:
#1) you can put your fish in a bucket or cooler with a battery operated airpump (usually can be bought in a bait and tackle store for live bait) and this will keep the water aerated for your trip. ( drive carefully so you don't spill the water
#2) You can take your fish to a local pet store and ask if they would bag the fish and use oxygen in the bag for your transit. ( The fish then should have about 48 hours to be in the bag(s).
#3) You can put the fish in a bucket or cooler with no air pump and haul butt to your new place and if the fish start to look stressed or are coming up to the surface for air, use your hand and splash the water surface to help reoxygenate the water for the fish.
Any one of these 3 choices will work. I would just make sure that the fish tank is set up and running for a day or so in the new location to make sure it doesn't leak from the relocation before adding the fish back in. (This is why I prefer the pump method.)
FYI: I am about to embark on driving fish from NJ to FL. I did it before just reoxing the bags every few hours so I know this method works for a 3 day trip so you should have no problem with 3 hours.
Update: If you are wondering how long the fish can go in transit, my trip consisted of purchasing fish at 4 stores between NJ and VA. None of these stores used oxygen to blow up the bags so I was using options #1 & #3. At each store I asked them to over size the bag and to give me a large bag of extra water. I had brought along an air pump, airline, valves and airstones and each night I opened each bag and placed an airstone in the bags. I did partial water changes before closing the bags for the follow day's trip. The NJ fish were in a bag for 7 days and the VA fish were in for 3. During traveling days, I stopped every 3-4 hours to open the bags and reclose them after exchanging their air for good clean atmosphere air
I even had to do total water changes on a couple of bags in transit. Once I arrived home, I tested the water in the tanks I previously set up for these fish prior to my trip, only to find that my water parameters were too far apart from these fish's to chance just a quick acclimation so they stayed in their air pump oxygenated bags another 2 days while I fixed things. My end result: 12 fish arrived and survived the trip, 1 died prior to the return trip from NJ and 1 died once back in FL. ( This fish died however because the other 2 fish in the bag kinda beat him up a bit. Not a transportation issue? )
Anyway, the point is, with proper planning and supplies ( I also added PRIME to the extra water to make sure ammonia was not an issue during transit) fish can be transported a long distance with no harm.
Glad to hear of the OP's moving success as well