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Old 05-15-2006, 10:11 AM   #1
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Long Distance Move

Hi everyone,

I've been in the hobby for ages (about 35 years), but I've never tried this before. Actually, I never considered it practical for the average hobbyist...

I may be moving across the country this fall. I have a 55-gallon fresh tank, well stocked. How practical is it to move these fish cross-country in my van with my furkids (3 Shelties and an old cat, all crated)?

One of the local dealers told me that it's easily done (depends on your definition of 'easy,' I suppose) by using styro boxes lined with plastic bags and an air pump hooked up to the lighter plug in the dash. (I haven't found any of those on the Web yet, btw. Just pumps that are incredibly noisy and run on 2 D-cells). Has anyone tried this? Any advice, pro or con?

If I'm taking big risks with my fish, I'll sell them off and restock when I get to the other end. I have a few large fish (Ghost Knife and Arowana) that I'd just as soon not part with if I don't have to.
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Old 05-15-2006, 10:42 AM   #2
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What about having your local LFS board the fish until you move and then have them ship them to you once your tank is set up? Overnight shipping would be a lot less time in transit for the fish, and a lot less stress for you. Only drawback would be the cost.
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Old 05-15-2006, 11:40 AM   #3
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Welcome to AA, GreggB!
Quote:
One of the local dealers told me that it's easily done (depends on your definition of 'easy,' I suppose) by using styro boxes lined with plastic bags and an air pump hooked up to the lighter plug in the dash. (I haven't found any of those on the Web yet, btw. Just pumps that are incredibly noisy and run on 2 D-cells). Has anyone tried this?
Piece of cake! (Find the power converters at a Home Depot and use air pumps that normally plug into the wall.)
Perhaps my husband and I have too much experience moving fish, last minute complications and still having a great survival rate. I have moved with my fish (at one time 6 tanks from 10-80 gallons), 4 rodents, 2 birds and 3 cats back and forth from Canada and then across the state in both freezing temps and springtime. 3000 miles is longer, but very doable.

Keep the fish in a lined cooler with airstone and have your dechlor handy, as you will be doing PWC nightly. The pumps are a bit noisy--mostly due to vibration; however, when wrapped in a towel, they are much quieter! Only fill the cooler half way—you don’t water splashing about. You may also want a small heater (I used the visitherm stealths which have no glass), but if it’s warm enough, that will not be a problem (we only used the heaters in the motel). You want to keep the water on the cooler side (70-72F), which reduces metabolic rates and less waste is produced. We did not feed the fish for 3 days leading up to the move nor during the move. When you take the gravel out put it in a Rubbermaid and it will remain moist through the move. It was impossible for us to keep any tank water during our moves since the truck was very full and I wasn’t about to take buckets of water through Canadian customs. Make sure your Master Test kit is handy to monitor water values for the first week+ after the move. I have not had to recycle a tank; the bacteria are more resistant that people give it credit for. Keep the filter media wet (in its own container with tank water), and the agitation of the water that occurs while driving will do plenty keep it aerated. Do not clean the filter in the weeks leading up to the move and the tank should be fine.
I have never moved in the hot summer months, which would add new challenges, but with the large coolers the LFS use, the fish should remain cool. (*edit: I see you're moving in the fall )

Here’s some pics—if we could do it, so can you!

Some of the fish boxes at the motel


Checking in on our friends


Car packed up the next morning. We used an adapter to hook up the 2-3 air pumps and used splitters to get an air line to each tank.


Setting back up--as you can see, Squirrel had been very busy that day


Quote:
What about having your local LFS board the fish until you move and then have them ship them to you once your tank is set up? Overnight shipping would be a lot less time in transit for the fish, and a lot less stress for you. Only drawback would be the cost.
This is a great idea, but I don’t know of any LFS that will board fish.
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Old 05-15-2006, 12:13 PM   #4
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Mine would, but I guess it depends on the LFS and how much they know you. It's worth asking to see if it's an option.
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Old 05-15-2006, 12:39 PM   #5
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how big a fish are you moving?
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Old 05-18-2006, 08:02 PM   #6
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Thank you, everyone!
I'd be moving a 6 inch Arowana (baby!), a 9 inch Ghost Knife, and an assortment of smaller fish. It sounds doable, but then, so does having someone ship them to me overnight...As it is, I'll have 4 fur kids to deal with...!
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