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Shipping fishes

                        Shipping 101
  A beginners guide to sending fish to new homes in far away
                          places !
                         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. Not the ziplock kind  but  the
cheap  old  reguar freezer bags.You also 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 purchase some 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 are heading home with the right stuff  in
your  car  and a grinding fear in your heart about  shipping
those  fish. You wonder how can fish survive in this  little
box for the long trip to Oregon. A tear wells up in your eye
when you think "I could be sending my babies to there DOOM ,
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
and  never  any more. Then I blow the bags up to  a  squishy
soft consistency. If you are lucky and have bottled O2 or  a
tire  pump  use  that instead of blowing  em  up  with  your
mouth.  When you exhale it adds a bit of CO2 to the air  mix
wich is not good. If not your air is better than no air. Now
be carefull, if you blow your plastic bags up too much , 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   "  Ma'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.  See those postal service coffee breaks are  good  for

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.  You think you might want to trade again and  dig  out
your trading post again. Yes 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.

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