Ship Fish Across the Country How Do I

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish and Invertebrates' started by Dom90, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    So I finally had someone buy a fish on Aquabid, how do I do this? I dont want the fish to die on the way. Anybody have past experience shipping a fish? I know its priority one-day shipping. Do I just put him in a bag full of oxygen, put it in a tightly sealed box and that's it?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  2. jay275475

    jay275475Valued MemberMember

    Well... I've never personally shipped fish but from research this is what I gathered.

    You need one of those bags that are meant for shipping like Breather Bags
    Your going to need to insulate the box with like Styrofoam
    If the Fish is Cold water your going to need one of those fish shipping packs to keep box cold or if its Warm water fish you just get warm shipment packs.

    Also you need to put pure oxygen into the bag, people generally use an Oxygen tank.

    Someone can correct me or add to me if I forgot something.

    Not sure but this place looks to have good fish shipping supplies
  3. BDpups

    BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    Depending on the size of fish, you will want a bag that is big enough to filled a 1/3 of the way with water. If you can get oxygen to fill it up the rest of the way, I would do that. And if not, compressed air will work. I would also double bag it. You will need to line the box with Styrofoam and you may also want to pack newspaper in there too. This time of year hot and cold packs probably are not necessary, but I would check the weather to make sure.
  4. OP

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Ok thanks for the tips guys!

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  5. shuwae

    shuwaeValued MemberMember

    First, decide which shipping company to use. USPS is cheaper, most of the time. Then it will depend on which local post office will ship it. The PO down the street from where I live, will not ship any live animals since it is a small PO and they need more workers to handle anything live. I have to drive 30+ minutes, one way, to the PO on the other side of town where all the mail in town goes to.

    What do you plan to use as insulation? Styrofoam that you cut out or the box ones will work. Best to ship using styrofoam than without it.

    Have bags (poly or breather bags depending on the fish), cold or heat packs depending on the weather. I use newspaper to help keep the bags in place so they do not move. Less stress for the fish. Double bags for poly bags. Single is okay for breather bags.

    I buy the shipping label online as it is cheaper than paying at the PO.
  6. EricV

    EricVFishlore VIPMember

    You have some contradictions there.

    If you're using breather bags you aren't going to be adding oxygen to the bag. In fact you don't want any air at all in a breather bag.

    Also it's july. If you put a heat pack in your box this time of year you're just going to cook the fish.

    Now back to Dom90

    Shipping is actually really easy in the summer. No need to use 1 day shipping unless your fish is ultra sensitive. 2-3 day priority mail is fine. I've had fish I've sent out disappear into the mail system for a week and still come out fine on the other end.

    Lots of people use styrofoam to line their shipping boxes but I prefer to use 1/2" insulation boards. Much higher R-value than regular styrofoam.

    Kordon breather bags are great. No need to add O2 or any of that nonsense, and because the bags don't contain air there is much less sloshing around during transit which cuts down on stress immensely.

    Don't feed the fish for at least a day prior to shipping, put it in clean water in the bag, add a drop of prime and your good to go. If you have it kordon fish protector and seachem stability are good additions to the water as well although not strictly necessary.

    Make sure the bag is packed securely in the box. I use packing peanuts but newspaper will do in a pinch. You don't want the bag moving around in the box.

    shuwae why does your post office even know you're shipping live animals? Marking the box as such isn't going to get it treated any better and from my experience they usually show up in far worse shape than unmarked boxes. Just let them treat it like any other box.
  7. OP

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Ok guys, I forgot to mention its a paradise fish, if it changes anything.
  8. junebug

    junebugFishlore LegendMember

    Paradise fish are labyrinth fish. So no breather bag. Get some good shipping bags, just the regular plastic sort. Get one only a little wider than the fish itself. I get mine from MVP aquatics on Aquabid personally.

    Use your air pump and a bit of airline tubing to fill the bag with air when you're ready. An oxygen tank is not necessary and generally it's illegal to own without a prescription.

    All you need to do is a big water change on your tank, then add about 1/4-1/3 the bag volume of water. Fill the rest with air after you've added your fish. The fish should not be able to move too much in the bag, and the bag should not be able to move when packed in the box. I like to tie a knot in the top of my bag rather than rubberband, but that's up to you. Just make sure you get a bag tall enough for what you want. Always double bag. Do not mark your box "Live fish" in any way - this causes delays in the mail depending on the contract carrier, and people tend to throw those boxes around.
  9. shuwae

    shuwaeValued MemberMember

    One of the workers there, shakes the box. If it feels like water (in the box), she will not ship it. Pretty obvious it is water if I use poly bags. Telling her it is a water sample does not work also. I never mark my boxes as "live animals." In the past, this PO did ship live animals but it changed 6 or so years back. I asked and was told they did not have enough workers (usually only one or two people in the building) or machine to handle the live animals.
  10. BDpups

    BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    Welders do not go to their doctor to get a prescription for their oxygen bottles. They can be found at any welding supply store. No RX required. ;)
  11. EricV

    EricVFishlore VIPMember

    I have a oxygen tank from a blowtorch in my garage right now. Pretty sure I got it at Walmart. Definitely no prescription.

    There should be no difference in how the package is handled regardless. My gf works for the post office and I assure you it takes the same number of people to put a box on the truck if there's a fish in it or a shoe.

    Also youre allowed to ship water though the USPSso really she has no basis to deny you shipping it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2015
  12. Tolak

    TolakWell Known MemberMember

    Have to toss in the site shipping link;
    EricV Pretty much hit all of them. Check the weather between where you're shipping from, the shipping destination, and in between. This will determine the amount of insulation, any heat or cool packs, as well as how long the fish will be able to survive the shipping process. Expect the shipper to kick boxes, throw them overhand for more than a dozen feet & such; pack accordingly. At least double if not triple bag, insert one bag into another inverted. For spiny fish such as cats that like to spike bags a clean wide mouth plastic beverage bottle can't be beat for shipping.

    I always add an extra fish or two when shipping multiples, or a dry food sample the fish has been eating, sometimes several feet of air line, that sort of thing, it's nice to get surprises. White boxes work better in warm weather, the reflect heat, the opposite applies to cold weather & brown boxes. Don't mark it as being fish or live animals, people are mean, you risk unneeded shaking, tossing & such.
  13. BDpups

    BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    You could ship it in a wet paper towel then. The fish just can't dry out.
  14. junebug

    junebugFishlore LegendMember

    Not a good suggestion for someone who's obviously shipping fish for the first time....

    The fish should be shipped in a poly bag with just enough water and mostly filled with air. I wouldn't even ship a domestic betta in a paper towel, and they're much better able to breathe surface air than paradise fish.
  15. shuwae

    shuwaeValued MemberMember

    I know but since she works the counter, I just have to deal with it. Nothing I can do as she is the "manager" at that PO. She even called the PO that ships the live animals and they said for me to drop it off at the far one.

    Dom90, also make sure to check the weather. You do not want to ship when it is too hot. Hold for pickup at your buyer's PO might work but I like to ship when the weather is okay on my end and the buyers.
  16. OP

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Will keep that in mind. Boy, looks like I got my work cut out for me lol.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  17. BDpups

    BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    Shipping in a wet paper towel is done all the time with labyrinth fish. It's the easiest way to do it. They actually ship them all the way from Thailand this way...
  18. junebug

    junebugFishlore LegendMember

    It is actually considered inhumane by most as it is not safe for the fish. Their fins and gils can become damaged, the fins in particular.

    If you're talking about bettas shipped from Thailand, bettas rely more on their labyrinth organ for breathing than most labyrinth fish. I've seen a few photos of fish shipped like this. They arrive stressed and often injured, and the practice is not common anyway. I've ordered probably 20-30 bettas from Thailand, none has ever come in a wet paper towel. They're shipped in small bags with a little water and a lot of air. Bettas shipped in from Thai breeders to the distributors for big box stores usually arrive in similar fashion, in small bags with a little water and full of air.
  19. OP

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Well I'm gonna read this thread in more detail tomorrow so I do this right. The fish can't even go out till Monday at the earliest because of the weekend.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  20. BDpups

    BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    I have ordered paradise fish from Thailand. I have also gotten betta from there. Mind you this was years ago. But, they were always shipped in wet towels. Now, I belong to a local fish club and a lot of the members are into betta. They get them shipped from the states, but also Thailand. They are often shipped in paper towels. Not always, but quite often. It is a perfectly acceptable method of shipping these fish. To most people at least. It does not sound like the OP is shipping his fish this way. So it would probably be best of you to move on, or start your own thread about this. Thanks :)

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