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NFC: Article for TFH BY Robert Rice (fwd)

J. L. Wiegert
 Dubotchugh yIpummoH.                      bI'IQchugh Yivang!
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 17:45:21 EST
From: Ellasoma at aol_com
To: editor at tfh_com,
    nfc at actwin_com
Subject: Article for TFH BY Robert Rice

Shipping 101: A Beginner's Guide To Sending Fish To New Homes In Far Away
by Robert Rice
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 something.

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 NANFA 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.