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NFC: Fw: Fwd: shipping tips

In a message dated 12/30/98 9:40:51 AM Central Standard Time, Theduuz

                       SHIPPING SUGGESTIONS
 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
            proof marker.
 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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