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Re: NFC: Shipping.

I'd like to add my two cents on the shipping of fish.

Joshua L Wiegert wrote:

>   Shipping, therefore, is a rather important part of this.  UNless you
> hire a courier, you're going to likely use US Mail, UPS, or FedEx.

Before you ship with FedEx, give them a call.  I've heard conflicting reports
about their handling of live animals.  Some places will and some will not.
Today we just received a box of fish shipped FedEx.  Go figure.

> These
> were shipped, just as I ship my fish, US Mail Priority Express.  This has
> the advantage of being cheap, easy to deal with, and reliable.  Its not a
> mistake to ship fish this way, just be sure to makr the outside of the
> container as containing live specimens.

USPS is definitely the most economical.  Be careful of their shipping times.
They usually don't guarantee a delivery unless you pay for it and it is
expensive.  I sent some fish (I think it was to Robert Rice); they were
supposed to arrive Fri or Sat at the latest.  They got there Mon or maybe Tue;
they sat in some post office over the weekend.  They were bagged for at least
6 days and I think there was only one mortality (Robert, correct me if I'm
wrong).  I now ship fish at the end of the week so they are in transit over
the weekend.  Fewer headaches.  This has worked for me; maybe others have had
different experiences.

>   When filling bags for fish -- which includes ANY kind of transportation,
> especially shipping, its everyone's first instinct to give the fish lots
> and lots of water.  They need the water to breath and swim, right?  Wrong.
> When I fill bags for shipping, I fill them so that the fish is covered in
> water no matter how I hold the bag - it may get jostled during shipping.
> The water will dissolve the air -- fish breath air (oxygen) not water.

Lots of air and a little water like Josh states is the way to do it.  Also,
less expensive to ship air than water.  Remember 1 gal = 8#.

> As t organic wastes and such dissolving in the water, don't worry about
> it.  The fish won't be putting out enough waste materiel to matter for 2-3
> days.  If its a real concern, dont' feed the fish the day before you ship
> them.

If I have the time to really prep the fish, I will not feed them for at least
3 days prior to shipping.  By then, they are excreting very little waste
products and there is less of a chance to pollute the bags.  If for some
reason I don't have 3 days, I will put less fish in a bag.

>    NExt... ever hear the expression don't put all your eggs in one basket?
> Well, don't put all your fish in one bag.  First off, this reduces
> crowding, possible bickering, and so forth.  Second, if something goes
> wrong with/in one of the bag,s theres always the other.  If the box gets
> dropped, poked, etc. and one bag bursts, you only loose some of them.  If
> one bag experiences a high level of NH4, you still have the other.

Absolutely,  split the fish into more bags.  Another saying, you don't want
one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch.  You may also want to consider double
bagging.  This may help prevent leakage.

>   Last... always always always put something around the bag when shipping.
> Crushed newspapers, styrofoam peaunuts, plastic bags, anything.  Aside
> from adding some insulation for haeting problems (which may be signifigant
> in a small container) this will have two other big advantages.  If water
> leaks out, this will absorb it.  Your package will still likely get there.
> (Packages which water will usually not be delivered... Iv'e only had a
> leaky package delivered once.)  If the box gets dropped, kicked,
> drop-kicked, etc., the materiel will absorb the shock.  And, lastly, the
> bag won't slosh around in the box.

The very best box to ship your fish in is the box that your LFS gets their
fish shipped in.  Befriend your local owner and maybe he will give you a
couple of his boxes.  It's a styrofoam box that fits inside a cardboard box.
Get a large bag, a thick trash can liner would do, open the bag and place this
inside the styrofoam box.   As you double bag your fish, place the finished
bags inside the larger bag.  When you have added your last bag, use the
newspaper, etc to fill in the gaps.  This way if the box is inverted (and it
will be)  the bags won't tumble around as much (I was sending some fish via
USPS; I had the box labeled live fish and which side was up and right in front
of me the clerk at the post office stands the box on its end to weigh it.
Excuse me, but can you weigh the box a different way?  Oh, well no damage
done).  Close off the larger bag with rubber bands or some other method; tape
the cover of the styrofoam box and then seal the cardboard box.  You should be
set.  If something leaks, the water will have to get through the double bags,
the larger bag and the styrofoam box before it will soak the cardboard box.
This is no guarantee because I see it happen frequently.

Good luck with your shipping efforts.  Usually, it's a matter of experience
and it's always better to err on the side of being conserative to make sure
the fish get there alive.


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