Advice for moving fish on 2-day road trip

reblandon

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I am moving a 20-gallon planted freshwater tank from Colorado to Texas. The total drive is about 17 hours and we will stay in a hotel one night. We have 2 adult tetras, 2 adult platy fish (one male, one female) and 6 baby platy fish (about 2 months old). What is the safest way to transport them over this distance? Can anyone make recommendations based on their own experience? Product recommendations would be appreciated as well.

At the moment, my plan is to keep as much of the water as possible in gallon jugs, keep the substrate, plants, and filters wet, and transport the fish in a bucket with an air stone. But I don't know what size the bucket should be or if I should separate the adults and the babies.
 
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kattiq

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I haven't moved fish that far, but you have the right idea with your plans so far!
I'm not 100% sure what temp platys need so you might want to take that into consideration if they need to have water heated?
You could probably put them in a storage tub with higher sides so you don't risk spilling instead of a bucket and then there would be enough room for all of them. It might be easier to keep the adults separate, not sure how big the fry are though.
 

jake37

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Here is what i did on my 2 day move:
put 27 gallon container (I think it was 27 might have been smaller - not home right now to check) that i picked up for like $8 at target - they might be cheaper at walmart - measure the area in your car behind the passenger seat - i put around 15 gallon of water in it - be careful water is HEAVY - hook up small 50 watt heater and airpump to this battery:

(you can get a cheaper dc/ac converter for your lighter socket if you want)
--
I ended up plugging that into the cig lighter but not sure i had to - it had a lot of juice - i drove 12 hours each day.
-
when i got to the hotel i siphon 5 gallon out of the container so i could lift the container out of the car - (be sure to bring a couple of clean 5 gallon pails with you - they are like $3 at home depot, lowes, walmart, ...) and aquarium hose for siphoning.
--
bring the mess into the hotel - plug the heater/airpump in and put pail water back in tank (airpump drives a sponge filter and air tube - you wan to to cover the top to keep fishes from jumping out - i put holes in my top and check the fishes at rest stops (allowing fresh air in).
-
anyway everyone made it - some cardinals, female bn, swordtails, few guppies, ...bunch of plants.
-
swordtails and cardinals are still alive a year later female bn died last week :(
----
btw smart people would bag the fishes and pretend they are shipping them - a whole lot easier than what idid but i'm not smart.
 
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reblandon

reblandon

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kattiq said:
I haven't moved fish that far, but you have the right idea with your plans so far!
I'm not 100% sure what temp platys need so you might want to take that into consideration if they need to have water heated?
You could probably put them in a storage tub with higher sides so you don't risk spilling instead of a bucket and then there would be enough room for all of them. It might be easier to keep the adults separate, not sure how big the fry are though.
Hey, thanks for your response! I keep my fish at 76F in my tank. Since I'm traveling during the Summer, I can try to keep the car at a constant temperature for them. I like the idea of a storage tub instead! The fry are about 2 cm and I expect them to get larger by the time we leave (July 31st).

jake37 said:
Here is what i did on my 2 day move:
put 27 gallon container (I think it was 27 might have been smaller - not home right now to check) that i picked up for like $8 at target - they might be cheaper at walmart - measure the area in your car behind the passenger seat - i put around 15 gallon of water in it - be careful water is HEAVY - hook up small 50 watt heater and airpump to this battery:

(you can get a cheaper dc/ac converter for your lighter socket if you want)
--
I ended up plugging that into the cig lighter but not sure i had to - it had a lot of juice - i drove 12 hours each day.
-
when i got to the hotel i siphon 5 gallon out of the container so i could lift the container out of the car - (be sure to bring a couple of clean 5 gallon pails with you - they are like $3 at home depot, lowes, walmart, ...) and aquarium hose for siphoning.
--
bring the mess into the hotel - plug the heater/airpump in and put pail water back in tank (airpump drives a sponge filter and air tube - you wan to to cover the top to keep fishes from jumping out - i put holes in my top and check the fishes at rest stops (allowing fresh air in).
-
anyway everyone made it - some cardinals, female bn, swordtails, few guppies, ...bunch of plants.
-
swordtails and cardinals are still alive a year later female bn died last week :(
----
btw smart people would bag the fishes and pretend they are shipping them - a whole lot easier than what idid but i'm not smart.
I appreciate all of the details you provided! I didn't think about some of the things you mentioned, so I will definitely be aware of those problems as I'm traveling. Could you recommend the 50 watt heater you were using? I've read horror stories, and I'm afraid of frying my fish accidentally.

jake37 said:
Here is what i did on my 2 day move:
put 27 gallon container (I think it was 27 might have been smaller - not home right now to check) that i picked up for like $8 at target - they might be cheaper at walmart - measure the area in your car behind the passenger seat - i put around 15 gallon of water in it - be careful water is HEAVY - hook up small 50 watt heater and airpump to this battery:

(you can get a cheaper dc/ac converter for your lighter socket if you want)
--
I ended up plugging that into the cig lighter but not sure i had to - it had a lot of juice - i drove 12 hours each day.
-
when i got to the hotel i siphon 5 gallon out of the container so i could lift the container out of the car - (be sure to bring a couple of clean 5 gallon pails with you - they are like $3 at home depot, lowes, walmart, ...) and aquarium hose for siphoning.
--
bring the mess into the hotel - plug the heater/airpump in and put pail water back in tank (airpump drives a sponge filter and air tube - you wan to to cover the top to keep fishes from jumping out - i put holes in my top and check the fishes at rest stops (allowing fresh air in).
-
anyway everyone made it - some cardinals, female bn, swordtails, few guppies, ...bunch of plants.
-
swordtails and cardinals are still alive a year later female bn died last week :(
----
btw smart people would bag the fishes and pretend they are shipping them - a whole lot easier than what idid but i'm not smart.
Also, sorry about your bn. :(
 

ginkgomw

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I've done a similar trip a couple times! Granted it was with fewer fish but still. I recommend bagging like you would ship (enough water, LOTS of air) then pack everyone tightly in a cooler. It'll keep your temps stable. When I did it, I didn't do anything with air or filtration, which in hindsight would have helped keep everyone happier. I did open the bags every couple hours, like at bathroom breaks and gas stops, to air everyone out a little and check to make sure everyone was okay. Looking back and knowing now what that can do to the ammonia toxicity, probably wouldn't air out again, just check on everyone without poisoning them... At least I never lost anyone along the way! Also if you go the bagging route, DEFINITELY double bag. I think Solid Gold has a video on traveling with fish and recommended the "like shipping" method but I'm not totally sure.
 

AvalancheDave

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Fish are shipped in bags because it's the cheapest method not because it's the best method. It's the pet industry we're talking about.

The "ammonia instantly becomes toxic when you open the bag" thing is a myth, BTW. It takes almost a day for CO2 to diffuse out of water. CO2 that you wouldn't even have if you didn't cut your fish off from the atmosphere by bagging it.
 

jake37

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Your platy are pretty flexible with temp so you might not require a heater but i used this one:



--
I also use it whenever i have to stick a fish in a 5 gallon pail (btw a 5 gallon pail might be large enough for your fishes since you don't have very many). My move was 14 months ago - this heater seems ok but all heaters these days are a luck of the draw. When i moved i had a few more fishes then i mentioned - 4 or 5 kuhli; a few other small fishes. I think a couple of otto.

reblandon said:
I appreciate all of the details you provided! I didn't think about some of the things you mentioned, so I will definitely be aware of those problems as I'm traveling. Could you recommend the 50 watt heater you were using? I've read horror stories, and I'm afraid of frying my fish accidentally.


Also, sorry about your bn. :(
 

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