Shipping Fish For Dummies

Posted in DIY

Just kidding about the dummy part but a recent thread got me to thinking about how clueless I was the first time and how many times I've seen people post wanting to get rid of a fish but not know how to ship it. Well, here is a quick rundown of what you need and a good site to get the supplies from.

First you need a box and some styrofoam. Size will depend on how large the fish or how many you plan to ship. Once you decide that and pick out the appropriate sized box, cut the styrofoam to fit tightly inside the box.

Next you'll need to decide what type of bag to use. There are two types of bags you can use. The regular polybags like you'd bring your fish home from the store in (these come in many, many sizes) or specialty breather bags that allow O2 and CO2 to be exchanged from inside the bag.

Another advantage to the breather bags is that you do not have to (and shouldn't) trap air inside the bag. Not having the air pocket in the bag really cuts down on the sloshing factor and cuts down on stress as well as the potential of fin punture holes in the bag.

Triple bagging is a must but also must be done correctly to be efficient. First, you should fill the bag with the amount of water you need for the fish. Less is best I've found for cost and space in the box. Once you've filled the bag, you should dissolve some fish tranquilizer in the water. I know if you've ever bought fish online you've wondered what the blue stuff in the water was.

Getting the fish inside the bag will be much easier if you have the bag inside some type of dark container. If he can see out when you put him in the bag, he will thrash and probably puncture the bag. Once you have him in there and he's calmed down, tie the bag off. Remove it from the container, gently turn it upside down and put it inside the second bag. Having it upside down is very important because you are trying to eliminate the corners from the bag. If you are using breather bags, you want no air in the bag first bag. If you are using polybags you want no more than 50% of the bag full of water since the air will be needed for the fish to breath. I still strongly recommend breather bags. Now turn your double bagged bag upside down and triple bag it.

Depending on what time of year you are shipping and what part of the country you live in or are shipping to, you may need a heat pack. If you do use one, make sure you put newspaper in between the bag and the heat pack just to be safe. Never put the heat pack inside of plastic or anything that air can't get though because it needs the O2 to work. I usually put the heat pack in the bottom of the box, newspaper and then the bagged fish. Use packing peanuts to fill any remaining space in the box and then put your precut styrofoam lid in. Everything should fix very tight but not tight enough to put too much stress on the bag.

Once it's done, tape it up and ship it. You can ship UPS, FEDEX or USPS. 2 day ground is usually sufficient, there is no real need to overnight if you use all the correct components including the fish tranq. Well, that's pretty much it. If I missed anything, feel free to ask. Very Happy

Oh yeah, the good site to get supplies from.


- Submitted by Theobald Brooks