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NFC: Fw: Fwd: shipping tips
In a message dated 12/30/98 9:40:51 AM Central Standard Time, Theduuz
<< NORTH AMERICAN FISH BREEDERS GUILD
This document has been written to give you ideas on how
to prepare and ship live fish. There are few set laws
in this area, and you are left the freedom to make your
own decisions and conclusions from this text. If you
are really hesitant about shipping fish, have someone
ship fish to you and observe how they do it. Remember,
healthy fish are a lot stronger than you think. With
proper precautions, there should be no losses.
Fish Ship only healthy strong fish, with well
filled out bodies. Do not feed fish for 24
hours before shipping. This will allow the
fish to pass most of its waste before being
bagged, and will minimize water fouling during
transit. If you maintain your fish is a large
tank, it is advisable to catch them the day
prior to bagging, and put them in an aerated
bucket or small tank. This way you won't have
to chase the fish around just before they are
bagged, and add unnecessary stress on both you
and the fish.
Bags Use strong water tight plastic bags that is at
least 1.5 mil thick for smaller fish, and 3.0
mils thick for larger fish, and fish with
strong sharp fins (Corydoras for instance).
Bags can be found in the Guild Store.
Bagging With the exception of fry, try to bag one fish
per bag. This eliminates the problem of
damaging to fish due to fighting in their
small quarters. Use a bag size that
corresponds with the size of the fish to be
shipped. If you're using oxygen, you can put
more than one fish (commercial shippers put
1000 Cardinal Teras in a large bag in a styro)
but be cautious. Put only enough water in the
bag to cover the fish, but not much more. The
volume of air above the water should be at
least 4 times more than the volume of water,
especially when using atmospheric air.
After the fish is in the bag, hold the bag
with one hand underneath, and grab it with
your other hand around its neck, thus trapping
air in the bag. Another way to fill the bag is
to run an airline from a pump into the bag.
This is a little slower, but much easier.
Never breath into the bag to fill it. The
added carbon dioxide will increase the
respiratory rate of the fish, and add stress.
Always double bag your fish. Tie the first bag
in a knot to seal it, or use a strong rubber
band. Once you have sealed the first bag, put
it into another bag of identical dimensions,
but with the tied end in first. This prevents
the fish from getting stuck in the corners of
the bag by eliminating them. Professionals
use shipping bags that have no corners, but
always double bag fish in case of leakage.
Air Atmospheric air is most commonly used by
hobbyists, and is sufficient in most cases.
Oxygen is better, but is not readily at hand
for most hobbyists. Oxygen will tend to
dissipate from the bag in a few days, however,
as long as the fish arrive in good shape,
receiving a slightly deflated bag is no major
concern. As mentioned earlier, never blow into
a bag with your breath to inflate it.
Water Use clean, slightly aged water that hasn't
had fish in it. If using tap water, aerate it
at least overnight in an open bucket to remove
the chlorine. Also add any water conditioners
(optional) to it so it has time to stabilize.
Optional Skin conditioners and electrolytes,such as
Additives Stress Coat or Novaqua, are highly recommended
when shipping fish. They help the fish
regenerate it's important slime skin.
An ammonia absorbent (Amquel or Stress Coat)
is also recommended to absorb toxic wastes
from the fish.
Acriflavine slows the development of fungal
infection and Velvet.
Methylene Blue also slows fungal infections,
and promotes oxygen absorption. This is very
popular when shipping eggs.
Salt (Sodium Chloride) is a good electrolyte
and helps prevent Shimmy in Livebearers.
Tranquilizers, such as Hypno, and Trance, are
an excellent aid when shipping large or
nervous fish.It slows down their metabolism
considerably, and when the recommended dosage
is used, no ill side effects are suffered when
the fish is released into its new home. They
perk right up when put into fresh water.
Protec is another good product that not only
adds electrolytes, but also contains an
antibiotic and an anti-bacterial agent.
There are many more chemicals that you can
add to the water, but it is not necessary. It
is advised that a skin conditioner and an
ammonia absorbent be used. Add others to taste
and personal conviction and experience, but
don't get carried away. Too much prevention is
often worse than none. Every shipper has their
own ideas and preferences. Luckily fish are
pretty tough and give us this room for play.
Labelling Always properly mark each bag with the fish's
full species name, and gender, with a water
The Box Either buy a styrofoam box from the Guild
Store, a pet shop or a supplier, or you can
make your own. If you make your own, you have
several choices. Take a strong card board box
and tightly line the insides with styrofoam
pieces cut to a snug size, or fiberglass wool.
If there is extra space after the bags are
added, crumple up newspaper, or better yet,
use styrofoam peanuts. After you put the bags
in the box, tape it shut with a quality tape.
Some Post Offices insist on you using
reinforced tape on the exterior of the box.
This is for your protection. Always write on
the box "LIVE TROPICAL FISH". Hopefully extra
care will be taken during transit.
When to Pack fish immediately prior to shipping if
Pack and possible. Be sure to call the recipient if
Ship you haven't already set an exact ship date.
It is best to ship early in the week, and no
later than Wednesday morning. Don't ship
during extreme cold or heat. Both will
jeopardize the well being of your fish.
Transportation There are a number of options that you
have. The most common are listed below.
1) Airport to airport by plane. This is the
best way to ship fish, if you and the
recipient live near an airport. Set a date,
and time, for shipment and use any airline.
The fish will only have to suffer for a few
hours. This is also recommended for very rare
and sensitive fish for obvious reasons.
2) Bus. If the recipient lives within 400 miles
of you, you can use Trailways or Greyhound to
ship your fish. Several pet shops in North
Florida do this weekly to get their stuff from
Miami. Again, be sure to set a shipping date
and time, otherwise your fish may sit in a bus
station over night, or longer.
3) Express Mail. The US Postal Service can
guarantee your fish to reach its destination
within two days, or your money back. This is
a very good way to ship fish, and is commonly
used among most hobbyists. The Post Office
is pretty reliable.
4) Priority Mail. This method is as good as
Express Mail, especially if you pack your
fish properly. Three days is usually tops for
your fish to get to the other party, and it
is cheaper than Express Mail. Three days is
not a long time for most fish.
5) UPS, Federal Express, Purolator, etc.
Policy varies within these companies from
region to region. Sometimes they will ship
livestock, sometimes they won't. Check first.
All have next day service.
International It is advisable to do this direct from
Deal airport to airport. Make sure you have
clearance from Fish and Wildlife. If you live
near a "non-designated airport", you will
have to obtain a "non-designated airport
export permit". Other methods of shipping
outside of the US are unlawful, though
commonly used. Always declare all species by
scientific name when shipping overseas.
Shipping Ship eggs in a water tight plastic or small
Eggs glass vial, with a little water and a drop of
Methylene Blue or Acriflavine. Some hobbyists
use a piece of air line tubing tied at both
ends. Another option is to put eggs in moist
peat moss, in a good plastic bag. Pack in a
small insulated box, and ship using any of
the above methods. Not all eggs can be
shipped. Killies and Rainbows are common.
Shipping Pull plants from substrate and wash roots
Plants thoroughly. Remove all dead parts (root
pieces or leaf matter). Put one plant in a
plastic bag, and fill with air. It's okay to
blow into a bag with plants. Another option
is to wrap the plant in wet newspaper before
putting plant in plastic bag to prevent the
leaves from drying out. It is NOT good to
fill the bag with water because the plant
will tend to decay faster.
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