Shipping Live Fish

This article was gleaned from posts on the Message Board

The question: How do you ship live fish?

depends on what type of fish they are. Here’s a pretty decent “how-to” for you: although I do things a little differently.

Example, instead of using newspaper to insulate (which doesn’t protect the box from water and doesn’t really do too much in the way of actually insulating), I buy sheets of styrofoam at a home improvement store and cut them to fit the box I’m shipping in (so basically you’re making a home-made “cooler” for the fish). I’ll then put styrofoam peanuts or crumbled bits of the styrofoam sheets in the box between the bags.

Also, how you bag the fish will be different depending on what type of fish you’re shipping. Smaller gill-breathing fish seem to do very well using “breather bags” – you don’t have to have this giant bag filled mostly with air, you just bag water and the oxygen comes through the bag itself. For labyrinth fish (bettas, gouramis, paradise fish), you’ll want to not use breather bags, and fill the bag with just enough water to cover the fish no matter what way the bag is tipped, and then fill the other 2/3 or so of the bag with oxygen (again, don’t blow into the bag, pratice until you can close the bag quickly enough to catch atmospheric oxygen).

If the weather is cold you’ll want to add heat packs and probably ship overnight or express. If the weather is hot you definately want to ship overnight. if the weather is alright and the fish are pretty hardy, sometimes priority mail is fine but there’s always a risk that it’ll take longer than 2-3 days with priority, or that the fish will be left somewhere hot/cold while enroute. Priority is the cheapest way to go by far (it would usually cost me between $3.85 to $10 to ship up to 8 bettas) but it’s also the most risky.
Posted By: Mushi

It is a betta
Posted By: Loretta

Ok, you’ll want to buy some 4″ or 6″ bags (longer ones work better, but you don’t want the bags to be so big that you have to use a lot of water – more water weighs more and will cost more to ship). you’ll put about 2-3″ of water in the bag, add the betta, then close the top of the bag quickly so you can trap air, and then i like to tie my bag tops off (you can use rubberbands if it’s easier). you want about 4-6″ of air on top of the water. take the bag and lay it on it’s side and make sure that no matter how you turn the bag, the fish can’t get trapped out of water and that the water covers him no matter what way you turn the bag. i then tip the bag upside down (with the tied-off part facing the floor) and put it into another bag. tie this bag off as well (double-bagging will help incase the first bag starts to leak).

insulate a box the way I described above, put the betta in so that the first bag is pointing down, and fill the rest of the box with styrofoam peanuts. i like to put a piece of paper with the name and address of the person i’m shipping to inside the box as well, in case the outer label gets damaged. tape the box up, address it and ship immediately, don’t let the fish sit around in those boxes any longer than they already have to.

you also don’t want to feed the betta for a day or two before shipping, this will cut down on the amount of waste they’re putting off in that limited amount of water.

let the person you’re mailing to know after you’ve shipped the fish when the post office says to expect delivery, and make sure they’re going to be home to accept it (you don’t want the betta sitting in a box on the porch boiling in the sun).
Posted By: Mushi

a good formula to go with is 2 parts air, 1 part water. the air really is important, but theyre fish so the water is important too. lol the air will help keep the water oxygenated.
also. if you want to practice your “technique” you can aswell. just leave them in the bag in a dark place or in the box and see how you do. ofcourse you dont want to practice with the fish your going to be shipping cause shipping is pretty stressful, add that to the stress already caused from being in the bag while you practiced and itll turn out bad.

also. probably the biggest tip, DONT BREATHE INTO THE BAG to inflate it. its a nono and it will kill the fish. what you want to do is either inflate with an air pump or practice your bagging technique, go to a pet shop near you and ask them to show you how to do it. pretty easy. open the bag up then quickly grab it from the top so no air gets out then tie.

you can also take the fish to the store and have them bag it for you if you want. if they add o2 to the bag then thats a big plus.
Posted By: Ealvarez