Start Tank If You Know You'll Be Moving?

Would you set up a fish tank in these circumstances?

  • Yes

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    Votes: 3 13.0%

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r_e_g

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I'll cut to the chase: I am about 99% sure that I'll be moving in 2.5-3 years, possibly a little bit longer, and while I'd very much like to set up a new fish tank, I'm afraid I'll regret it once it's time to move. What do you think?

Background: I've kept at least 1 freshwater tank nearly continuously since I was 11, so close to two decades now, but for the past ~6 years it's been crayfish or shrimp, no fish. Recently, I rescued a juvenile oscar from a pond and while I turned him over to my LFS because I couldn't commit to a fish that would grow to that size, the week I had him really made me want fish again. I currently have red cherry shrimp and I love them but they aren't aware of life outside the tank the way fish are. 40 gallon tanks are currently on sale at Petco so I bought one but now I'm debating if I really should get fish again.

My S.O. will be finishing their PhD in ~2.5 years, so we'll hopefully be moving to a different state somewhat shortly after that. I've been researching what it's like to move with fish and it sounds like the options are ship them ($$$), drive with them (stressful in a car packed with other animals on a trip that could take days), or give them away (which would make me sad-plus what if no one will take them?). I'd feel really bad if I decided to ship them/drive with them and then a bunch died in the process, so rehoming might be a kinder option, but it feels icky to me to buy fish now if I know I won't be keeping them. Would the moving process be so awful for me and the fish that I'm better off just not getting any? For years, I've wanted to set up a nice big tank and held off because I know there are several more moves in the next decade for us, but waiting to be settled into a home permanently could leave me waiting for a really long time. For the record, when I say fish, I'm considering hardy tetras, rasboras, small catfish, and/or dwarf cichlids, but nothing large or especially sensitive.

If it seems like moving with fish would be too much of a headache, I have thought of a few other options for my 40 gallon. I could aquascape it and then put in more shrimp. I could always set up one of our spare 10 gallons for a betta, which I've kept before and loved but I really want multiple fish this time. I'm very interested in Geosesarma, so I could set up a lush planted crabitat. It seems like it would be easier to move them since they're terrestrial. Fiddler crabs would be another option (though that would be a very different setup from the freshwater planted tank I'm currently envisioning).

So in a nutshell, do you think 2.5 years would be long enough to make it worth it to go ahead and get started on this tank? We want to get a couple more shrimp tanks up and running so it's very likely that we'll be moving some aquatic pets; it's just a question of if I add fish to that. Thanks!
 

lizcateyes

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My 2 cents: When I last moved I had a 29gal, 6gal, and managed to re-home a 10gal. It was a move that was only 3 hours away, but most of the corydoras catfish I had did not make it, a betta died a few weeks later, and the only fish that "survived" in the sense that they have a steady population now were my Endlers. Had I known it would be so devastating to the fish, I would have avoided until I knew I would be somewhere more "settled" personally.
 

Fanatic

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Well, smaller tanks are easier to move, so I would just go with your best judgement, or preferences.
 
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r_e_g

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I'm so sorry to hear that. I'd feel so bad if that happened to me. Thank you.
 

smee82

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Ive moved with fish a few times with no losses the longest they spent in buckets was 2 days to no ill affects
 

mattgirl

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In my humble opinion life is too short to wait to do something that will bring joy today. 'nuff said.
 

Lunnietic

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Depending on the fish you would put in the tank, some may only live up to 3 years.

I have moved with fish, it isn't easy and you can expect losses in most cases. I will be moving my 20 gallon high within 2 weeks. (Luckily it will only be about a 10 minute or so drive to the new place).

I would go for it. Because who knows, maybe your "move" will be just a couple towns over or even in the town you are currently in. A lot can happen within 2-3 years.
 

123

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I will be moving latest in half a year ... knowing that, I set up an 8 gallon and already even upgraded it to 15 gallon However, I think I will be just moving within the city.
 

arichier

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I moved on Friday with 14 Fancy Goldfish, 5 Apple Snails, 25 Nerite snails, 2 Giant African Land Snails and a Tortoise. Between them I had 3 40 gallon tanks, 1 20 gallon tank, 2 x 10 gallon tanks and a Tortoise table. I started a year ago with 2 Fancy Goldfish I bought on impulse (I know on reflection this shouldn't be done but I was ignorant and naïve at the time). I've since somewhat got carried away with myself.

All I can say is that as long as you a thoroughly prepared it is doable, I overcompensated with everything I needed and made sure my fish were left alone until I had to bag them up. It is one of those tasks that you can never fully appreciate until you have to do it.

My advice would be to set up the tank, you have two and a half years to enjoy it before you move (without sounding grim you never know what else can happen in those two years).

Be prepared for a lot of work and a lot of sweat and maybe a couple of tears, you may lose some in the process but with good preparation you can put everything in place to try and avoid it.
 

Mom2some

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2.5 years is a Long time. As the spouse of a former academic, i would not put life on hold for academic life. 2.5 years for PhD can turn into 3, or 4.
 

dwarfpufferlover

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Lol I’m moving in less than 2 months and I just started my shrimp tank.....


And may have just gotten a Betta


Moving with fish is easier than people make it out to be. Most of the problems probably retain to different water parameters after being moved.
 

Mcasella

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Just acclimate the fish when you move, make the tank medium sized so it is easier to move and the fish won't be as big (harder to move bigger fish). I just helped my sister move my on loan 58 gallon, I currently have all the fish hanging out in my tanks or holding containers with filters (everyone made the move just fine and will make the move back to their big home once it is setup again), that is 14 tetras, 2 rams, 2 bn plecos, 9 kuhli loaches, and 2 mystery snails as well as assorted live plants.
Make sure you Prime the tank when you get it setup again and just keep it healthy until that point. 2.5 years is a long time to ponder a tank and a long time to not go ahead with it.
 

DuaneV

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Among the 7 tanks and hundreds of fish we moved all together, I moved a 125 with a 20 inch Oscar 6 hours across state. We didnt lose a single fish.

Personally, Im not much on looking ahead 3 years. If I want fish, Im getting fish. Who knows what will happen tonight, let alone in 3 years.
 

pugletfan

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I would say go for it. A 40 is such a nice sized tank. The great people here at Fishlore can talk you through the move. I had 3 aquariums when I was in grad school (two 10's and a 20 long). I enjoyed them very much. I chose to give away my fish when we moved because I had no idea how to move them and I didn't know about Fishlore (did Fishlore even exist in the late 80's?? Lol!). Anyway, I didn't have the support of knowledgeable people to help me move my fish. Best wishes in whatever you decide!! Fishlore is such a helpful site!
 

ystrout

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I would get some if I were in your position. 2.5 years is a long time and moving with fish really isn't that hard.

A pain ? Yes
Hard to keep the fish healthy? No

I move to a new apartment every year. I have moved 3 times since I've been keeping fish and I've never lost a fish from moving. I only move to different parts of San Diego based on roommate situations, but moving to another state wouldn't be different since it requires the same process. The only difference is you need to fill their bags with oxygen and package the fish very well to keep them safe. I just put my fish (in their bags) in a brown grocery bag in the front seat next to me while I travel. I wouldn't do that on a 24 hour drive!
 

JLeeM

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We were planning on moving to a bigger place somewhere local after New Year's. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I was waiting to set up my own 40B until after, and it's still not set up. We're still wanting to move asap, and I'm still thinking about setting it up before. If I knew I wasn't moving for 2-3 years, you better believe I would go ahead and set it up.
 
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r_e_g

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arichier said:
without sounding grim you never know what else can happen in those two years
To be honest, that's part of the reason why I don't want to wait until that nebulous date when we theoretically settle down somewhere "permanently." It may never happen. And I'd hate to get ill or old and realize it's too late to have the tank(s) I always knew I wanted.

Mom2some said:
2.5 years is a Long time. As the spouse of a former academic, i would not put life on hold for academic life. 2.5 years for PhD can turn into 3, or 4.
Thank you for this. You're right, 2.5 years until we move is the bare minimum. One of his labmates was supposed to defend a year ago...and it still hasn't happened. And it's not like I'd just be waiting until our next move-I know it won't be the last in the near-ish future.

DuaneV said:
Among the 7 tanks and hundreds of fish we moved all together, I moved a 125 with a 20 inch Oscar 6 hours across state. We didnt lose a single fish.

Personally, Im not much on looking ahead 3 years. If I want fish, Im getting fish. Who knows what will happen tonight, let alone in 3 years.
I'm so glad to hear that you've been so successful with this! That gives me a lot of hope.
 

shiv234

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GO FOR IT. 2 years is alot. Get something hardy like goldfish maybe and when transporting is easy. I transported baby discus about 3-4 weeks old about 24 hours away over boat during a stormyish day. All survived.
If you want to know about how i ship then pm me
 
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r_e_g

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Lunnietic said:
Depending on the fish you would put in the tank, some may only live up to 3 years.
Ha! That's true, but you never know...my first fish were feeder zebra danios that started off in a bucket in the backyard (my dad's idea). The 9 of them quickly moved from there into a 2 gallon unheated critter keeper. I was a preteen at the time and once I did my research, I argued for a larger tank, but the fish were doing well and my parents were worried that if we upgraded them, it could very well kill them. Anyway, one of those suckers ended up living over 5 years! He even survived a brief period of time with a red clawed crab in the tank (unlike my favorite long finned golden female).

shiv234 said:
GO FOR IT. 2 years is alot. Get something hardy like goldfish maybe and when transporting is easy. I transported baby discus about 3-4 weeks old about 24 hours away over boat during a stormyish day. All survived.
If you want to know about how i ship then pm me
Goldfish get too big and are too messy but yes, I agree with hardy! I'm debating between a tetra tank and a rasbora tank but that's for another thread
 
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