Moving a goldfish into a new house?
December 10, 2007 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Tips for moving your pet fish to a new house?

We have Chegwin, our eight-inch (counting the tail) pet goldfish.

We're in the process of moving house, and one of the things we're going to be doing is setting up a new and bigger tank for him, prepping it a few days before we move him over, and then taking the plunge (so to speak) and moving one fish 3/4 of a mile into his new home.

Everything I've found on Google relates to smaller fish, and this isn't like the last time he moved, when he was able to fit into a litre container and still have swimming room.

So what can we do to make this a rather smooth and easy-going trip for us and this great big beast of a goldfish?
posted by Katemonkey to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The last time I moved such a large fish was my prized 9" Gold Severum. The tank was literally the last thing moved. I filled a big rubbermaid container with about 20 gallons of water (from the tank itself), put the top on, and moved him that way. A little stress, but I think leaving him in his own water was best. Dumped him into the half full tank a few hours later and he didn't have any problems.
posted by sanka at 2:57 PM on December 10, 2007

I moved my 2 8-10in. koi in a 5-gallon bucket once. I made a lid out of plastic held to the rim with a rubber band. They were fine.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:57 PM on December 10, 2007

Best answer: Chegwin is lovely! Does he recognize you?

The way I moved my fish (when I had fish to move) was putting them in a big Rubbermaid bin full of water from their tank. I'd strip the tank down, set it back up, fill it about halfway, and then when I added the fish I also added the tank water back. (Of course, they were hybrid rainbow fish and probably could've survived a plunge into a gin and tonic, but they handled it fine. Did the same with my goldfish when I had to move their tank across the house. Oh that sucked.) I kept all the old and gunked-up filter media, and kept it wet, so all the good bacteria survived the trip too.

Make sure the temporary container has a lid. Goldfish are very good at jumping out, but horrible at jumping back in.
posted by cmyk at 3:05 PM on December 10, 2007

I moved a 55 gallon tank (with smaller fish than yours) last year. I got a bunch of 5 gallon buckets with lids from the hardware store, punched holes in one of the lids for the fish, and moved all the water from the tank with me. Given how short the distance you are moving, Chegwin ought to be OK in a 5 gallon bucket.

Also: this excellent AskMe comment on moving fishtanks.
posted by ambrosia at 3:08 PM on December 10, 2007

If you don't have a bucket, what I did during a recent complete tank clean out was to put my fish in large cooking pots. I used stainless steel, aluminum coated with teflon, and enameled steel pots.
posted by ShooBoo at 3:22 PM on December 10, 2007

Hi to your finny guy - Since Goldfish are really prolific on the output, I'd suggest using household ammonia and a handfull of previous setup gravel to kick-start the nitrogen cycle in the new tank - Don't move him in until the Nitrogen level has dropped off the radar. I put about a half-cup of ammonia into a 45 gallon tank when I moved my guys across town - It took two-three days for the tank to normalize, then my squad of black moors moved over without problems and lived five or six more years.
posted by Orb2069 at 3:41 PM on December 10, 2007

Best answer: What I did when I moved my two large fish (a plecostomus and a black ghost knife, both around 8"), I bought two of those styrofoam beer coolers from the grocery store, and used those as shipping containers, filled about a third of the way with tank water. Since they come with lids, I put a few holes in those and we were good to go. Mind you, these fish were moving 160 miles. The nice thing about the coolers is that they're soft enough you don't have to worry about the fish getting thrown around too much, and they help keep any temperature shock from happening. You won't need a bubbler, or anything, either, since the jostling of the cooler will create enough surface agitation to keep the water oxygenated, and Chegwin should be pretty calm since it'll be nice and dark.

Just seed the new tank's filter with filter media from the old one to prevent a new cycle, and you should be fine. Goldfish are pretty darn hardy. If you're worried about new tank shock, too, you can do the usual slow mixture of water in the new tank and the cooler before finally tossing him in, as well.

Good luck!
posted by internet!Hannah at 4:00 PM on December 10, 2007

I moved my 30 gallon cold saltwater aquarium a few months ago with no losses, and I have nudibranchs as well as ochre sea stars, any number of aggregating anemones, hermit crabs, etc.

My key? I waited until literally the aquarium was the ONLY thing in the house that wasn't packed up. I keep my tank chilled to 50 degrees F which was well below the 80 degree weather we were experiencing- so I unplugged the chiller 45 minutes before we left (it took all that time to disassemble the tank).

I put the rocks with life on them (e.g. anemones and plants and visable fungi) in one huge cooler, the rocks and sand and debris that didn't have life in 5 gallon buckets. The little guys all went into another cooler that was filled up with water and straight into the moving van. I bubbled air through all of the water-filled vessles and set up a portable chiller (floated ice in three consecutive plastic encasements so I wouldn't dilute the saltwater). We made sure they were a little hungry- e.g. no extra nitrates in the tank that stirring up all the sand would release into the water- and fed them a day after moving.

The aquarium was the first thing up the stairs at the new place and I immediately set it up. I put everyone straight into the tank using my conditioned water as soon as we arrived- I think that's critical, using your seasoned water. Nothing new! (Except we did discard 5 gallons as a water change)

I don't have any super-big critters, but a buddy who does just fills up his enormous cooler, sticks the critter in, and then transports it like that. Has worked well with tidal octopi and eels of the size of your fish (neither of which I'd want in MY tank) shudder. . .
posted by arnicae at 5:47 PM on December 10, 2007

Response by poster: Just an update -- the move went fantastically.

We used a bucket (orange, so we had INVISIBLE GOLDFISH), filled with his water, and the transition just went as smooth as you can imagine.

He's so happy right now in his new tank, it's awesome.

Thanks to everyone who calmed me down with their answers!
posted by Katemonkey at 6:46 AM on January 11, 2008

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