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please forward to the group ...shipping fishies

                        Shipping 101
  A beginners guide to sending fish to new homes in far away
                         Robert Rice
                    2213 Prytania Circle
                      Navarre Fl 32566
Ok, OK you have done it .You have just collected the hidden,
secret  spot of your favorite fish  and shockingly have  too
many  excellent  fish. Maybe you have done even  better  and
your  favorite fish has spawned and you have fry coming  out
your  ears. Great , at first you panic then you  dig  out  a
NANFA  trading  post and decide I want to send  my  fish  to
Miss.  Jones in Portland Oregon ! Sounds good so far.  Miss.
Jones  being a trusting sort sends you a box full of aquatic
plants  that you have wanted for years. You are in heaven  !
Suddenly you realize you have a problem you owe Miss.  Jones
some  fish but do not have the foggiest idea how to get them
to her ! Relax your friendly host (me) will walk you through
the whole thing.

You need to ship fish ? Well first off you need to get a box
and  some bags. Here is the place where a friendly pet store
owner  can  make your life easier. Let's say  you  ask  your
local pet store owner Hans "Sir, do you have any extra boxes
or  bags  I  need to ship some fish". Hans looks at  you  in
disgust  and says " Why do you need to ship fish, you  don't
buy  fish  here so where did they come from? You are  a  bad
person get out of my store." So you slink away vowing  never
to return. On your way home you get a brainstorm and stop at
the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store and purchase a box  of
Glad  freezer bags for $1.29. You notice CHEAP styro coolers
for $1.99 and snag one of those too.On your way out you talk
them  into giving you a cardboard box that once held Pampers
diapers. OK , fine you are in business.

Or what if instead old Hans had said "Boxes ? You want Boxes
?  Yeah  I got a pile of them in the back help yourself  and
buy  something will ya? " So you do a purchase bags from him
at  a  nickel a piece and vow to buy all your hardware  from
your  new  buddy Hans. Who by the way loves to collect,  and
tries to talk you into taking him with him next time you  go
(that is a different story though !).

So  either way you heading home with the right stuff in your
car  and  fear in your heart about shipping those fish.  You
wonder  how can fish survive in this little box for  a  long
trip  to Oregon. A tear wells up in your eye when you  think
"I  could  be sending my babies to there DOOM , oh  whoa  is
me."  Relax fish are not people and they can tolerate a  box
very easily and with little stress.

You have picked your fish out and are ready to start packing
.  First  rule of packing is less water equals more  fish  !
that  means put the absolute minimum amount of water in each
bag.  Fish do not breath water they breath air. If your  bag
is  full of water and not air you will have a very heavy box
of  stinky  water arriving in Oregon and a very angry  Miss.
Jones  opening them. So put about an inch of water  in  each
bag  sometimes more sometimes less depending on the size  of
the fish. I like to put just enough to fully cover each fish
.  Never any more. Then I blow the bags up to a squishy soft
consistency.  If  you blow them up too  hard,  the  pressure
change  while on an airplane can burst the bags open .  Rule
number  two is, more bags equals more fish. What this  means
is  it  is far better to have 15 small bags with 1  fish  in
them than two large bags with 8 fish in them. If a fish dies
you will limit the damage to his buddies if they are not  in
the bag with him !

So  now  you have packed up these fish just so and have  all
these  cute little bags on the floor what now? Simple, place
them  in  the  Styrofoam box and put a bit of  newspaper  in
there  to cover any gaps and tape the box closed.  I  use  2
inch  wide packing tape as it adds support to the box.  Then
place the whole thing inside a suitably sized cardboard  box
with a bit of newspaper to cover the gaps label it and write
live fish on the sides of this box. Tape it shut and you are
ready  to  go  to  the post office. Maybe Hans  gave  you  a
cardboard and styro all in one if so skip a step and head to
the post office!

The  post office you say ! Why not UPS, Fed Ex or one of the
other carriers? Because they often do not allow the shipping
of  live animals and they are always more expensive. So  you
lug  your  large ugly box up there all labeled  up  and  the
postal  clerk says " I am sorry but we can't ship LIVE  fish
."  You however have read this article and are prepared  and
reply  " M'am in the domestic mail manual section 124.632 it
states  you  can ship non venomous cold blooded animals  via
the post office." "Oh "she says, looks it up and says "Never
mind  !" and your fish are on their way. Wait you say,  what
if I was shipping to another country, say London  England is
that  legal? You would recite the same sentence  except  add
".....the international mail manual states in section  139.1
that  the  shipment  of non........" You  get  the  picture.
Anyway  she says oh and ask "how would you like it shipped?"
The correct answer is priority mail. Most packages are there
in 2 days and it is so cheap you can't beat it. So you cough
up  about  10-12  dollars and head home and wait.  The  best
thing  is next time you ship fish the postal employees  will
all know you are the fish person and will be glad to help.

Two  days  later you get a call from Miss. Jones  in  Oregon
thanking  you  for your cool fish and all is well.  You  are
happy, your fish are happy and Miss. Jones is happy. Life is
good. I have used the same setup to send fish all around the
world  with waits as long as 14 days with a higher that  80%
survival rate. So do not be afraid to ship fish , be  afraid
of  taxes  ,  death , environmental apathy but not  shipping
fish. Until next time good luck and good fishing.