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NFC: Re: Shipping of fish

> Problem with that is the fish go in non-pressurized holds and explode.  Has 
>  happened to me a couple of times.  I think we should wright fragile, please 
>  put in pressurized hold (or something like that)...Thanks, 
>  Chris Perry

No regular air freight normally goes in unpressurized aircraft, and
particularly no USPS mail. Some air-freight companies do not provide any
*heat*, though. For larger aircraft, I think the pressurization is an
essential part of the structural strength, but there are no big aircraft
(other than military) that I know of without mandatory pressurization.

The heat problem is worst on polar flights, so I label those boxes
"Please do not deck load." Even in a heated cargo area, the skin can get
mighty cold over Greenland. 1" plus of bottom flat newspaper is a pretty
good idea, too.

The cabin pressure (freight or people) is allowed to go up to around
4000-5000 ft equivalent. Overfilled bags will often explode when that
happens. [We easily see the problem driving across the Sierras with full
potato-chip bags.] Don't pack tight, like the lfs does, or you will
surely lose them.

The clue is to *always* double bag to remove any corner traps and to
leave the bags a little bit soft to allow for that expansion. Use long
bags that you can tie off, avoiding rubber bands if possible. Use only
enough water to barely cover the fish and as much air as possible (3:1
or more). The larger air volume is good for the fish and cushions the
bag when expanded so it may even be a bit more resistant to blowing out.

"Breather" bags need no air, but must be packed so they don't touch, and
usually in material that will wick water away if they leak. They require
far more water for adequate surface area, too. At least they don't burst
from air expansion. I will not use them, but some folks swear by them.
YMMV. [Most useless for fish with spines, like J. floridae, madtoms,
cichlids, etc.]

I prefer 1.5 mil (0.0015"thick) 4"X18" bags for small individual fish.
They fit perfectly in pairs inside a 1.5 mil 6X18 bag. They can be tied
off to be about 6-7" long and a *lot* will fit in a small styro inside a
fitted cardboard box. [Avoid bare styros. Can't tell you how many I have
received crushed in and wet with the last of the fish water leaking
out.] An outer thin kitchen garbage bag can catch any small leakage
water and keep the leaking bag from completely emptying. Never, ever,
pack the bags against anything absorbent, like newspaper or even plastic
popcorn. Fish in a puddle may survive, but not if dried out.

1.5 mil fish bags have been known to keep a small killy alive for up to
a month, so they *do* breathe a bit, BTW. They just don't have some of
the problems that come with regular "breather" bags.

That's my US$0.02


650 856-4245 879 Clara Dr., Palo Alto, CA 94303. jwwiii at pacbell_net

Don't question authority. It rarely has good answers.