How to Move Your Houseplants and Fish Tanks

By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman 

moving plants and fishProfessional movers will do everything they can to help you move specialty items, from fine art to delicate electronics. No matter the size, weight, or awkwardness to carry, your movers can probably handle the job. However, there are some things that movers are not legally allowed to move, and for good reason. Moving trucks are dark, not temperature-controlled, and the inside of the truck can go unmonitored for days to more than a week during the moving process. This is why movers cannot handle anything living for you, including furniture-like living things like your houseplants and fish tanks.
 

However, just because items can't go in the truck doesn't mean we can't help you take care of them. Specialty item moving is a tricky job and we're here to assist you every step of the way. Even with things that will need to be moved in your own vehicle.

How to Move Houseplants

Check the Regulations

If you're moving across state lines, make sure all your plant species are allowed in. Some states have strict laws about introducing new plant types.

Re-Pot in Light Plastic Pots

Large, heavy, and ceramic pots are not convenient for moving. They are harder to lift and more likely to break by accident during the move. Repot your houseplants in lightweight plastic pots if possible to make them easier to move quickly and efficiently.

Pack the Soil with Damp Paper

To keep the soil from spilling, pack the top of your pot with damp paper. This will prevent the soil from drying out and from spilling all over your car.

Place in Roomy Boxes with Air Holes

Your houseplants need protection and a passable growing environment during the move. Consider tall boxes like wardrobe boxes for larger plants. Make sure to pack the pot tightly in the bottom to avoid sliding while leaving plenty of room for the leaves and stems. You may consider cutting your plants down for the move so they are easier to transport.

Traveling with Your Plants

If you have only a few plants, securing them in your backseat is the ideal solution. Otherwise, consider a small trailer for a large collection of plants. Make sure to keep the inside of the car a supportive neutral temperature and do not water them unless they get very dry. Watch out for extreme temperatures. If you stop along the way, bring the plants inside and open them up to get some light.

Consider Taking Cuttings Instead

If moving your plants seems like an enormous amount of work but you still want them in your new home, consider taking small cuttings to restart with and gifting your current potted collection to friends or even selling them for a little extra moving cash.

How to Move a Fish Tank

Pack in Their Own Water

As you already know, the water in a fish tank is carefully balanced for healthy fish which means your fish are best transported in their own water. To make sure this water is properly balanced but also as clean as possible, replace about 20% of the tank water each day for 5 days before the trip and stop feeding your fish for 1 day before the trip. This will reduce waste in the water and make your fish healthier on the move. Fish can survive for about a week without food if well-fed before the move.

For Few Fish, Transport in sturdy Plastic Bags

If you only have a small number of fish in a small aquarium, you can pack them in one or two sturdy plastic bags. Make sure the bags are filled with water from your tank. This is how fish come home from the pet store and it should be safe for your little swimming pets on the way to your new home.

For Many Fish, Separate into 5 Gallon Containers

If you have a vast collection of fish in a large tank, pick up several 5-gallon containers with lids that seal firmly. Fill the containers with tank water and space out your fish between them, being sure not to crowd the fish too much in any one container.

Transporting Your Fish

Fish in bags can be packed in Styrofoam in boxes. Fish in containers should be secured in your backseat where they will shake the least. Be careful about transportation temperature, especially if traveling in the summer or winter. Take your fish inside with you if you stop at hotels along the way.

Consider Working with a Pet Store

Some pet stores will actually help you to transport and even board your fish. This can be the ideal solution if it will take you some time to get their aquarium set back up again in your new residence.

Aquarium with You or the Movers

Finally, decide what you want to do with the aquarium. Fully emptied and thoroughly cleaned, your movers can manage it as specialty item moving in the truck itself. However, if you might get to your new home before the moving company, you may want to pack the aquarium in your trunk instead.

Ready to start planning your move, including your plants and fish? Click here to find out how A-1 Freeman Moving Group can help!