How to Move a Planted Aquarium

Moving an aquarium can be incredibly stressful. After all, they are typically very heavy and very fragile. You are also probably worried about your plants being able to survive the move.

However, moving your planted aquarium does not have to be a difficult, anxiety-inducing event. Planning and preparing are the most important things to do beforehand. In this article, we’ll discuss the several steps that are necessary to ensure that you move your planted aquarium smoothly and safely. 

How to Move a Planted Aquarium?

There are two ways to move a planted aquarium. You can either keep the plants in the tank, or you can temporarily remove them from the water.

I will go into more detail on both methods below.

Keeping the plants in the tank

This is definitely the easiest way to move a planted aquarium. You should start by removing the majority of the water in the tank. Ideally you will keep a small amount of water in the tank in order to keep the nutrients in the water balanced.

If the tank is too heavy to carry with a little water in it, you can drain all of the water and your plants will be fine. Most aquatic plants can easily survive a day or two outside of water. However, after a couple days, it might dry out so it’s important to return to water as soon as you can.

Now if you have a larger tank that is too heavy to carry with the substrate, you will have to remove the plants.

Removing plants from the water

Removing aquatic plants from your aquarium is pretty easy. Gently remove the substrate around the roots, and slowly pull it up.

Try your best to make sure the roots don’t get stuck in the substrate. Next, you should put your plants into small little cups like the ones below. You should put a little bit of your substrate in the cups to give the plants’ roots something to hold onto.

Once your aquarium reaches it’s destination, you should first put the substrate back into the tank. Once the substrate has been put back into the tank, make a small indention in the substrate and put your plant inside of it.

Lastly, fill the aquarium back up with water.

Adding C02

If you are adding new water to your aquarium, I suggest that you put some plant fertilizer in it. This will help your plants grow and stay healthy by providing carbon dioxide into the water. A low C02 level is one of the main reasons why aquarium plants don’t grow.

Also, if you have a turtle tank, you should check out my article on the best plants for a turtle tank.

If you need more tips on how to move the whole aquarium, keep reading below.


Preparation and planning are very important when moving your aquarium. It is important to plan out the steps before executing the move to make sure that it goes smoothly.

The first thing that you need to do is to make sure you are moving your planted aquarium to the right spot. This may seem simple enough, but there are some important things to consider.

Make sure there are an adequate amount of outlets and electrical sources near the new location. The last thing you want to do is move your aquarium to a place where you can’t plug in your aquarium lights.

Make sure you have a stable, flat place to put your aquarium. A slanted, unstable location will be your downfall.

You also need to make sure that you plan out the journey itself. Take into consideration the amount of distance that you are transporting your aquarium over. Make sure that you have the proper tools or help that you need to move it. This may be in the form of other people if you are only moving it a small distance, or a mode of transportation for larger distances. 

Preparing for the Move 

Now that you’ve planned out the move and figured out the logistics of moving your planted aquarium, it is time to prepare the tank to be moved.

There are several important steps that you need to take to ensure that the aquarium and its contents do not get damaged while you moved them.

If you have live fish or a turtle, you should transport them into a bucket or container.

Preparing the Aquarium 

Depending on how far you are moving your tank, you may need to completely disassemble it. The first step is to drain most of the water out of the tank as water is very heavy.

It will make your tank much lighter and easier to transport if it is not full of water. Next, you need to make sure that the walls are secure. You can bubble wrap and glue solutions to secure the walls and prevent damage to it and the tank. This can also help prevent stuff from getting caught on your aquarium trim.

Moving the Planted Aquarium 

Now that you’ve secured the aquarium and its inhabitants, it is time to actually move it. Make sure that the tank is well-supported at all times. This can be done by placing a support board or plank underneath the aquarium when moving it.

You should secure the tank by adding buffers to the sides and on top. This will make sure that it is not bumping against its surroundings but is instead stable and secure. You can wrap it in blankets, pillows, or other soft materials to protect it from scratches.

You also need to make sure that the inhabitants of the tank are transported with care. Make sure not to move them around too much, and ensure that their needs are met. 

Final Thoughts 

Moving your planted aquarium can be very stressful. However, it doesn’t have to be! If you prepare and adequately plan for the move, you can ensure that your aquarium is safely transported. Furthermore, being careful is very important.

Make sure that your tank is protected and secured at all times to limit the amount of damage it endures on the journey. If you follow the steps outlined in this article, you should have a significantly easier time transporting your tank.