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Re: Shipping fish

> Date: Sun, 22 Sep 2002 16:27:03 -0400
> From: Amy Ayukawa <amy.ayukawa at verizon_net>
> Subject: Shipping fish
> My apologies for the somewhat off-topic post, but I don't know where else to
> turn for help. 

Try: http://www.sfbaka.net/shipit.htm as one starting point.

> I want to ship some sensitive catfish fry to a friend by overnight delivery.
> I did this once before and the hardier fish made it but the more sensitive
> ones didn't. This time I would like to get 100% survival.
> I've learned some things such as to use air breathing bags, crimp the
> corners, put about 25% water in the bag and leave 1-2 inches of slack, keep
> the fish in darkness, use styrofoam to pad the cardboard box, etc.

Breather bags *must* be full, with no air at all, as the only significant 
gas transfer is from air to water through the plastic. Air inside cuts the 
transfer area significantly. Don't even use them unless you understand all 
the nuances, and there are many. Air breathers like Cories and Bettas are 
a special case. Neither *have* to have air, but can suffocate if you don't 
have full air space between the bags, etc.

Regular 1.5mil fish bags breathe well in the air-to-air region, so they 
should have only enough water to keep the fish wet and lots of air.

You don't "pad" the cardboard box with styro, you must use a molded (or 
seam-sealed) styro box for insulation, inside a cardboard box for 
strength. [Can't tell you how many boxes of fish got crushed when shipped 
in a bare styro.] 80-90% of shipping deaths are related to temperature. 
Good insulation is vital.

> What I don't know much about is what chemicals to add (or not add) to the
> water. Last time I added only a squirt of Amquel. I've heard that in
> addition the professionals add sedatives (to calm the fish and reduce O2
> consumption), methylene blue (as an oxygen scavenger), antibiotics (not sure
> why) and sometimes salt (again, not sure why). What is the "best practice"?
> What are some of the brands of sedatives and antibiotics used? What exact
> dosages should be used? Any other advice?

A lot less than a "squirt" of "Amquel" o/e is needed. Starving the fish 
for at least 24 hrs and using fresh tds-matched water is vital. Make up 
shipping water in bulk amounts that let you dose Amquel at about 2-3 times 
regular tank strength. Then use that water for the inch or so you need in 
each bag. [Use salt or RO to match the tds of your tank water.]

Don't even think of emulating commercial practice, where they know how to 
use thicker bags (no oxygen permeability) and dosing with oxygen, etc. You 
are bound to fail if you try to use part of their methods, without 
understanding all of them.

Read the article, based on a half-century of experience among killy folks 
who have to ship to have any fish at all.

While off topic, there are some good clues in that note about shipping that
might apply to plants, too. Less water is good, for example.


Wright Huntley -- 209 521-0557 -- 731 Loletta Ave, Modesto CA 95351

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