How Long Can Fish Survive In Store Bag?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by EMazurk, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. EMazurkNew MemberMember

    Sorry for such a rookie question that has probably been asked several times on this forum, but I couldn't seem to find a consistent answer. I am buying fish for an aquarium I have at my job (I teach) and there's no pet store in the town I work at. I have to buy them from my local pet store which is almost an hour away from my school. Therefore, I'd be buying them after work, holding onto them, and introducing them into a cycled tank the next day. Do you think they'll be okay in the bag for about 12-15 hours? Thanks!

  2. jreinhartValued MemberMember

    Someone else may be able to speak more authoritatively about this. In my opinion that is much too long for the fish to be kept in the bag. Some fish stores can add extra oxygen to the bag if you have a long drive home. There's a fish store 45 minutes from me, with traffic it can be 60-90 minutes, and I always ask them to add Oxygen to the bag.

    Even then I go straight home, float the bag, and add the fish to the tank as soon as is safe.

    I would not wait 12-15 hours with the fish in the bag. Is there any way that you could buy the fish on the way to your school?

  3. aquatic1Well Known MemberMember

    Get a container with a lid that has some hole, pop in an airstone (they have portable battery operated pumps) and it would really help to have a mini heater in there too, or some heat packs surrounding the container.

  4. smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    No sorry after 12hrs the build up of co2 amonia and every thing else will cause a ph swing when you open the bag
  5. frampyWell Known MemberMember

    Breather bags can hold fish for up to 7 days! It all depends on the type of bags they use. You could always take the fish out and put it in a bowl over night and put it back in in the morning.
  6. plecodragonWell Known MemberMember

    I have had fish shipped to me and they survived 2 full days in the mail. I don't know if the fish shop added oxygen or not. I have also gone to fish auctions where the fish are usually bagged the night before or hours before the auction and then I have transported them for more then 4hrs by car and then set them up in their new homes and just about all have survived. You have to remember that fish are transported over great distances before they are even in a store mostly by bag and then are rebagged for your trip home.
    It would be best if you got some oxygen added if available or as stated above added an airstone to the container or even the bag.

    Have to ask what kind of fish are wanting to get? and how many? If you want more then say six small fish(per bag) ask for them to be bagged separately. If getting larger fish ask for them to be bagged separately this minimizes the chance that they will attack each other (which causes damage that can become infected). Good luck with your new fish.
  7. EMazurkNew MemberMember

    I am looking to get about 3 tetras...they're going to be my first fish for a newly set up 30G tank.

    Unfortunately there is no way for me to get to the store on my way to work, I get there at 630am. Is the main concern the Oxygen? I can always put them in a bowl overnight, my biggest concern was waste buildup over that period of time. I am hoping that when I go there, this is not an uncommon concern and they'll have practical solutions.

    Thanks for your continued input, everyone!
  8. ScoutsfishWell Known MemberMember

    This is just what I would do..

    Bring home a large container of tank water from school. After you get fish, put each into their own container(the larger the better). Get 3 air stones and one air pump. Then use a (no clue what real name is) multi check valve thingy and airline tubing. Set up the air stone/bubbler in each container and keep the water around 76°F(whether you heater your house, that room/put small heater near it, put 3 containers in larger container with water and heater, it shouldn't matter). When you go to leave the next morning, put each fish into a mason jar with fresh tank water and drive to school. Acclimate when ready.(note, you may need a hole in mason jar lid for oxygen. This can also be done using just 1 container, but in my opinion, the amount of waste will be less if in 3 separate. If using bubblers, prime will also help a lot here.)

    When I got my 29 gal, she had 11 guppies and 1 harlequin rasbora. I put them in 1 solid/not clear container with bubbler and prime while we took tank down then drove home and put back into tank. This took about 6 or so hours, only had bubbler in for about 4 hrs(1 hour off, 3 or so on, 1 off, 1 on) hope this helps!! Good luck!!!
  9. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    Maybe I'll sound like the odd man out, but if fish can be shipped in a plastic baggy and spend three days in the mail, arrive alive, acclimate, and show no signs of illness when added to a tank, there is no reason at all you can't keep a fish in a bag overnight. If you're concerned, open the bag when you get home, then tie it up before you leave for work the next morning.
  10. DolfanFishlore VIPMember

    Usually when people ship fish they use kordon breather bags. These have been specially designed to allow oxygen to enter the bag and CO2 to exit. Most fish stores do not use these bags as they are more expensive. So the bag will need to be opened somehow. I would also suggest putting a few drops of Prime in the bag once you got home and again in the morning, this would help bind the ammonia until you can get them situated. Some of the other ideas about temporary homes would probably be ideal, but the OP may not have access to all the equipment that would entail. Maybe transfer them into a clean and rinsed Tupperware so you can remove the lid easily to allow the oxygen exchange at surface of water.
  11. TeishokueWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, a fish can withstand being in a "store" (vinyl) bag for up to 3 days+. But the fish must be prepared before hand. It must not consume food prior to bagging for 2 days in advance and then new water must be swapped with aged aquarium water. But if you are purchasing from a store, most likely they have poor water quality before hand and the fish would be over fed.

    Best way to transport fish would be a battery operated bubbler in a closed bucket and not be left out.
  12. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Cant you just go in on a Saturday or Sunday or other off from school day?
  13. XifexValued MemberMember

    Several months ago i bought 5 cichilds. 3 yellow ones and 2 blue ones.

    All three yellow fish died while aclimating while i was at class for 4 hours. I never try to kill fish but i've had close to 10 die even though my cichild tank is thriving.

    From now on i'm using the drip method along with bubbler and heater. The bag metthod seems to stress my fined friends out to much.
  14. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    Something else to consider is the water temperature. If you are purchasing Tropical fish, then the water needs to be kept warm. I would recommend adding the fish into a cooler to help maintain the water temperature and set it in a nice warm place. Add a battery powered air stone/supply.

    Hope for the best! Add a dose of Prime.


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