Your Questions: Is there a special way of moving fish?

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The Independent Online

Q. We are moving in about a week and everything is ready. We have movers coming but I'm in a panic because I've forgotten about our fish. Is there a special way of moving them? Help! Bene, Kilburn

A. Moving is a very stressful time and can be made more stressful if you have to move with pets. As you haven't got much time now, you need to be very organised. Never, under any circumstances, move the fish tank with its inhabitants in it. This can be disastrous. If the tank gets damaged, not only will your fish die but you will have water everywhere.

Go to your new home and decide where your fish tank is going to live. This should be in a moderately sunny spot, not in direct sunlight because this will encourage algae production. Be sure that the place you choose is also aesthetically pleasing for you – we should enjoy the beauty of fish and not just stick them in a corner where they cannot be seen. Do not make the mistake that many people do by forgetting that you need power points close by for the filter and light.

You'll need to get strong polythene bags and poly boxes from your pet shop, in which your fish will be moved. Decide whether they will be moved first or last. It's better if you do it yourself to prevent any accidents. On the day, have some containers prepared so that you can take the old tank water with you. This will help the fish enter their new environment quickly and safely.

Place the fish in the polythene bag with about 25 per cent tank water and the rest air, and secure with rubber bands. Then, place the bags in the poly boxes – these will regulate their temperature. They should be safe there for about 12 hours.

Decant the tank water into the containers, place any live plants in plastic bags with the tank water. In your new home, set up the tank as quickly as possible and slowly introduce light to your fish. When you have done this, place them in the bag on the surface of the full tank and after about 20 minutes, release them from the bags and let them enjoy their new home.

Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort an early visit to the vet is always recommended