If you want to sell live fish beyond your local area, you must learn how to bag and ship them.It is essential that you get the proper supplies, prepare the fish for travel, bag and box, and arrange for a careful but fast shipment and pickup.The majority of your fish will be in good health if you follow the process the right way.
Step 1: Buy boxes for fish transport.
The bags should have flat bottoms when filled and be at least 3 mils thick.Fish shipping containers have sturdy cardboard outer boxes and inner Styrofoam boxes that fit inside perfectly.These can be ordered online from companies that sell exotic fish supplies.They can be found in fish supply or pet stores.There are different sizes of the bags and boxes.The safest way to put a single fish in each bag is to use bags that are 3 times as wide as your fish breed’s average length.The box size is determined by the number of bags you want to ship at a time.If you want to get your fish to their destination, your best bet is to use bags and boxes from your chosen shipper.
Step 2: If you don’t want to feed your fish, place them in an isolation tank.
Move the fish you intend to ship to a separate tank that is set at their ideal water temperature.The water should be clean, oxygen-rich, and conditioned according to the fish breed.Don’t feed the fish while they’re alone.You want them to create as little waste as possible.Since you don’t want to ship out sick fish to a paying customer, check for signs of disease during this time.
Step 3: Slowly decrease the water temperature to your fish breed’s lower limit.
The water temperature should be reduced from the ideal to the lower healthy limit during the 48 hour isolation period.The tank should be turned down a little more every few hours to check the progress.They will consume less oxygen and produce less carbon dioxide and waste as a result of this process.You might think you should increase the temperature to make up for heat loss during shipping, but the box’s insulation will take care of that.
Step 4: Add the fish to the bag after filling it with less than half of the water.
You want to fill the bag with just enough water to sustain the fish for their journey, and leave as much room for oxygenated air as possible.Scoop up the fish from the aquarium fish net and put it in the bag.If filling them halfway doesn’t provide enough water to cover the fish and allow them some amount of free movement, then get bigger bags.Bring the scoop up from beneath the fish, then corral them into a corner of the tank.The fish might be frightened by jerking motions.Shippers know how many fish they can fit into a single bag.It is much better to only have one fish in a bag.You can put multiple bags in the box.
Step 5: Pure oxygen can be added to the bag.
If you have access to a canister of oxygen, inflate the bag after you add water and fish.The water and fish will have more oxygen over the course of their journey.If that’s the case, use a hand pump to fill the bag.This is enough to sustain the fish for a few days.The bag should not be inflated by exhaling into it.The fish won’t survive the journey if you fill it with carbon dioxide.
Step 6: Wrap the bag tightly with rubber bands.
Wrap and twist a rubber band over the folded flap as many times as you can.Adding a second or third rubber band adds security.You can add some insurance by double, triple, or even quadruple bagging the fish.After you sealed the primary bag, secure the tops of the extra bags.
Step 7: The bag of fish should be placed in a Styrofoam box.
The bottom of the box should be lined with crumpled newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam packing peanuts.Put the bag or bags in the Styrofoam box and fill the rest of the open spaces with crumpled newspaper.The packing material surrounding the bag, along with the Styrofoam box itself, provides protection during transport and helps insulate and maintain the temperature of the water inside.
Step 8: Wrap heat/cold packs in newspaper.
If you want the heat packs to be just slightly below the current water temperature, cool them or heat them.Wrap them in newspaper and place them around the bag of fish.The water temperature should be maintained with the help of the insulation material and Styrofoam.If the shipping process will take more than one day, or if the fish are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, add a few heat or cold packs.Set a bag with fish on a heat/cold pack.A small fish shipping box needs two heat/cold packs.
Step 9: Place the Styrofoam box in the cardboard box.
The Styrofoam box should hold the lid securely.Wrap packing tape around the seam of the lid.Once again, it should be a very snug fit when you slide the Styrofoam inner box into the cardboard outer box.After placing the Styrofoam box inside the cardboard box, use packing tape to seal it up.
Step 10: “fragile,” “live fish,” and “this side up” can be added to the box.
Most boxes are labeled on the outside.It’s always a good idea to grab a marker and add more labels.If your outer box isn’t pre-labeled, add a prominent “live fish,” “this side up,” and “fragile” notation to each side.Block lettering is easy to read.
Step 11: The box needs to be addressed.
Write the recipient’s address on the center of the box and include the return address in the upper left corner.Fix any shipping labels that are needed.
Step 12: Live animal shipments can be accepted by a shipper.
In order to save money, don’t try to sneak an unlabeled box past a shipping company.If you use a company that knows how to deal with live animal shipping, you will get better results.The U.S. is an example.If you follow their packaging and labeling requirements, the Postal Service will accept live fish shipments.If you give them proper notification, they will most likely ship live fish.FedEx does not ship live fish as part of their regular service.
Step 13: If possible, pay for overnight/express shipping.
The shorter the shipping time, the better.The fish have a better chance of arriving in good health if they are shipped overnight.If you can, arrange for as few transfers and layovers as possible.If the fish will be shipped via air for at least part of the journey, try to arrange for climate-controlled storage.The results will usually be good if you can get your fish to the recipient within 24 hours.48 hours is usually ok.Longer shipping times are dicey.
Step 14: The box should be coordinated with the shipping company and the recipient.
Make sure that the recipient is ready to receive the fish when it arrives.They should be able to accept the package from the delivery person.They can open the box and begin acclimating the fish to their new home right away.