fish tank

How to Transport Fish When Moving: Follow These Tips From Expert Movers

If you are wondering how to transport fish in a safe way, there are a few different ways you can do so. Transporting your fish properly, whether for a short or long distance move, is important to ensure your fish does not suffocate or become overly stressed out. Knowing what to pack first when moving is difficult enough as it is, especially when packing fish is included. Let’s look more into how to move a fish to a new house in the best ways possible.

How to Travel With Fish in a Car 

Knowing how to transport fish in a car is not as difficult as you might think. However, if you don’t do it properly, you are taking the risk of killing your fish. It is important to remember that it doesn’t take much for fish to become stressed, especially when they are inside a moving car for a long period of time. 

If you are planning on bringing your fish along with you for a long distance drive, there is a high chance that your fish might not make it to your destination. If you want to give your fish the best chances at survival in the car, consider these suggestions on how to best transport your fish in a car.

how to bag fish for transport

Keeping Your Fish in the Aquarium

Moving an aquarium with the fish inside is not the best form of transporting your fish, but it can work. If your fish is in a glass aquarium, it is necessary to use extra caution when transporting your fish in the car. Glass aquariums are difficult to travel with, as the water inside the aquarium moves around a lot and they really cannot be secured. 

If you plan on keeping your fish in the aquarium when you travel, be sure to remove enough water so it is not super full, but it should be full enough for your fish to have room. Learning how to move a fish tank can be difficult, so it is important to take the right steps to move it properly. Make sure to take out any decorations or objects inside the aquarium or tank that can move around easily so your aquarium does not become cracked. 

Try Not to Use a Bucket

Using a bucket to transport your fish is definitely not the best idea. This is because there is a high chance of the bucket spilling in the car if you need to hit your brakes quickly or you need to make a sharp turn. If that happens, your fish are going to spill out of the bucket and can die.

It is highly recommended to not use a bucket when transporting your fish, but if you have no other means of transportation for your fish it can be done. Be sure not to fill the bucket up too much and have a passenger securely hold the bucket when in the car to help it from moving around too much. 

Use a Plastic Bag

This is the best way of transporting your fish in the car. All you need to do is fill up a clear and strong plastic bag halfway with water from your fish tank. Once you do that, place your fish in the bag. It is important to use the same water your fish has been living in from its tank or aquarium since it has the right specifications to help keep your fish alive while outside of its normal home. 

Your fish can only survive in a plastic bag for about an hour due to a limited oxygen supply. If you need to keep your fish in a bag for longer than an hour, you will need to get pure oxygen to put in the bag from your nearest pet store or aquarium store. Check out this video to demonstrate how to properly travel with your fish in a plastic bag.

How to Take Fish on a Plane

Traveling with your fish on a plane can be stressful, for both you and your fish. It is possible to travel with your fish on a plane if you are moving. Fish are allowed as a carry-on item on an airplane but need to be inside clear plastic bags. If you need help packing for your move, check out a moving app like Agoyu to help locate the best movers in your area so you can get the help you might need when packing. If you are not hiring a moving company, take note of these steps to help prepare you for traveling with your fish.

Prepare for Transport

You will need to start preparing to move your fish about five days before you move.  Regularly clean their tank to make sure it doesn’t change color or get dirty. You will need to make sure your fish’s water has the right elements. You can do this by not feeding your fish for one to two days before you are going to move so the water does not become polluted or cloudy.

how to transport goldfish

Pack Up Your Fish

As previously mentioned, use a clear and strong plastic bag to transport your fish.  Make sure to not overfill the bag. You definitely should check in with your local aquarium or pet store to make sure your fish gets extra oxygen in their bag so they don’t suffocate. A pet store can add pure oxygen to your bag to ensure your fish is prepared to stay put in the bag for your trip.

If you have tropical fish, you will need to insulate the bag to keep the water at the right temperature. Goldfish, for example, will do fine without insulation. You can purchase insulated travel bags for your fish at a pet store. Getting your fish through the Transportation Security Administration at the airport can be complicated. Check out this video to learn how to safely get your fish through security and keep your fish as a carry-on item on the plane.

Reintroduce Your Fish to The Aquarium

You can safely reintroduce your fish to their aquarium a couple of different ways. You can pour your fish with the water from the plastic bag directly into the aquarium. Or you can keep them in a smaller tank temporarily until you can see that your fish is not visibly stressed out before putting them back in the aquarium. 

As soon as you arrive at your destination, make sure your fish is the first thing you unpack. The last one is normally the first one you should bring out.

5 Tips for Transporting Fish

If you want to be sure your fish are transported safely throughout your moving process, follow these 5 tips for transporting fish.

1. Have Your Supplies Ready Early

You will need to have everything planned out for transporting your fish tank. It is important to pack your aquarium with care, just like you would pack any glasses for moving.

Everything inside the tank will need to be moved, such as your fish, decorations, plants, and any equipment. To make this happen, be sure to have all your supplies ready. 

  • Plastic bags for your fish to travel in
  • Buckets with water in them to transport any pants from the tank (they need to be submerged in water when transporting them)
  • Packing tape for securing lids on any containers
  • A fishnet to move your fish to the plastic bag
  • Siphon hose to remove water from inside the tank
  • Any other packing supplies you need to pack up the rest of the tank

2. Place Your Fish in Their Container for Transport

This could be a plastic bag, the aquarium, or in a bucket. Be extra cautious when transporting your fish and make sure the water is right.

3. Secure Your Fish

Make sure your fish are secure and all of the belongings from their tank are secured as well. Be sure the tank is completely dry when transporting it and remove the filter.

4. Pack Up The Tank

Handle your fish tank with care as they are very fragile. Wrap the tank in bubble wrap or packing paper to ensure it does not break or crack.

5. Everything is Ready to Be Loaded Up

Load up your fish tank, accessories, and fish gently until you arrive at your destination.

Final Thoughts 

Knowing how to transport fish can be a difficult task, but it isn’t impossible. If you need help packing your fish tank when moving, contact Agoyu to help get a free moving quote today. 

Bill Mulholland

Bill Mulholland is the owner of ARC Relocation, a company that relocates thousands of employees annually, to every state in the United States, and more than 90 foreign countries, for organizations like DHL,, GNC, and the U.S. Government. Bill also owns a real estate brokerage and title company in Virginia.