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Re: NFC: shipping fishes

Great article, Robert.

I would add a couple of things that I have found to be vital for success
(having not done them right, in the past).

Starve the fish for at least 24 hours before bagging, so they can eliminate
most of the ammonia they produce, and not contaminate that small dab of
water. Empty gut = cleaner water.

Use a triple-strength dose of "Amquel" in *fresh* shipping water, to absorb
any remaining ammonia. ("Prime," "Ammo-lock 2," etc. will work, too.)
[Never, ever use tank water for shipping, BTW. It is almost certain disaster
for higher metabolism rate fish]

These first two suggestions are the vital ones. I consider them a "must do"
for repeated success. Other things I find helpful are as follows.

I always double-bag in 1.5mil fish bags. They actually breathe a bit, and
freezer bags are specifically designed *not* to breathe (that's how they
prevent freezer burn). If not available locally, my local packaging supplier
can provide 4X18" and 6X18" long bags in 1.5 mil poly. [1-800-750-PACK] Two
4s fit perfectly in one 6, for shipping pairs or using only three bags to
double-bag any 2 fish.

The Packaging Store also has medical shippers (fitted styros in cardboard
boxes in various sizes, wine shippers, and lots of other neat stuff). The
name is unfortunate as they are *not* a "Packaging Store," the chain of
local UPS shippers that will wrap your package for you.

Using long skinny bags lets you tie a knot in the end, rather than risk
breaking rubber bands. Way safer, IMHO. If you *must* use rubber bands, at
least double them by putting a second right on top of the first. Lowered air
pressure, aloft, seems to pop them long before it will burst a good fish

Extra insurance: I always line the styro box with a thin kitchen garbage
bag, and put any fillers like popcorn, newspaper, etc. *outside* that liner
bag. If a fish bag leaks, it will keep some water if laying in a puddle. If
there's a wick to draw water away, it will empty, for sure.

Never ship plants in the same bag with fish. In the dark, plants switch to
respiration rather than photosynthesis, and eat oxygen fast while emitting

I realize you were trying to use the KISS principle in your note, but
suggest adding at least the first two of my suggestions to it in some
fashion. Ammonia kills more fish in transit than either cold or heat, IME.




Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

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