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Fish Shipping


Basics of Shipping Fish

By Carl Strohmeyer
Updated 10/15/13


This article is intended for shipping by bag, not moving an Aquarium.
For aquarium and containers shipping, please this Aquarium Answers article:
Aquarium Answers; Tank Moving

The primary purpose of this article is not to point out a right or wrong way to ship fish, rather to outline what the primary problems are and ways to avoid them.
As well, to provide different options as to products that may help in shipping of fish (such as from sales of fish on eBay or AquaBid).

Some of the basics are rather obvious, however I will point them out:


Here are a few of the major problems encountered in shipping to avoid as well as suggestions for these problems:

Useful Fish Shipping Products:

Kordon Methylene Blue
Once your Fish Arrive:

Please read this article section for "A Healthy Aquarium; Disease Prevention" as to the best way to acclimate your fish once they arrive:


As I hope the reader gathered from this article (which I will surely update as I gather more information, new products/methods), or simply for better clarity; I have not necessarily recommended any one method as there are many options.
Shipping larger volumes of fish involves different practices than single or a few fish (which is why Breather Bags can be a good or bad choice).
Also a large crazy fish such as some Arowana can require different handling and products to add or use.

I will comment on the method that has worked best for me for shipping via bags (it also works for containers in tank moving as well).
That is Methylene Blue along with Wonder Shell fragments and of course following the other tips as well such as withholding feedings, slow drip, etc. Use of these products addresses some of the most dangerous and important aspects of shipping.
You can also combine Methylene Blue and Wonder Shells with products such as “Aqua-Derm” or “Fish Protector” for even more potential benefits, although “Bag Buddies” should not be combined with Aqua-Derm, Fish Protector, AquaCalm, or Methylene Blue as they overlap too much in what they do to the fish.

I do disagree with one sided statements/opinions that I have heard that AquaDerm or similar products are best. This is quite bluntly comparing apples to oranges and leaves out the dangers of ammonia poisoning or pH shock that other products do address.
Unfortunately these persons that state this are not only ignoring the major killers of shipped fish, but by such bold statements are ignoring the many variables that go into shipping.

Other Suggested Resources, Products

*Aquarium Information including fish shipping
Well researched and up to date aquarium and pond answers, help, and links

How Aquarium Medications Work

UV Sterilization

This article covers many aspects of Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilization from how, why, facts, myths, and maintenance including the importance of changing UV Bulbs regularly.

UV Bulbs; Page 1

As noted above, changing these PREMIUM bulbs/lamps every 6-12 months is essential for a properly functioning UV Sterilizer

*Aquarium Silicone Sealant; USDA 100% Fish Safe
100% Fish Safe, USDA & Agricultre Canada approved.
The same CANNOT be said for Hardware Store brands!!

AquaMaster ULTRA PREMIUM Mini Tropical Fish Foods

Dual-color slow-sinking crumbles specially designed for small tropical fish to enhance palatability and feeding rate.
Includes Probiotics added to help digestion and to reduce nitrates & water pollution.

Aquarium Lighting

The above referenced article is easily the most in depth and regularly updated on the subject of Aquarium Lighting to be found ANYWHERE on the Internet!

*Columnaris in Aquarium Fish (also Fungus)
As with the "Aquarium Lighting " article, this is easily the most in depth and regularly updated on the subject of Columnaris and Fish Fungus to be found ANYWHERE on the Internet!

Fish as Pets with articles & commentary of Interest to the Aquarium Hobby

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In Chronological order of writing with the newest at the top
  1. Lighting Theory of a Planted Aquarium- RQE, PFY, PAS, & PUR
  2. Aquarium or Pond Bio Load
  3. Tuberculosis in Fish
  4. PUR vs PAR in Aquarium Lighting
  5. Head Pressure in Aquarium and Pond Water Pumps
  6. Betta Fin Rot
  7. Angelfish Virus/Aids
  8. Activated Carbon
  9. Fish Baths/Dips as an aid to treatment
  10. Streptococcus gram positive bacterium in aquariums, Eye Infections
  11. Hydrogen Sulfide
    production in anaerobic De-Nitrification for Aquarium/Ponds
  12. Fish Shipping
  13. Aquarium Size, Fish Stunting
  14. Aquarium Algae,
    BBA & Brown Algae in particular
  15. Aquarium Salt (Sodium chloride) in Freshwater Aquariums
  16. Betta Habitat; Wild Bettas to Domestic Betta environment parameters
  17. HITH; Hole in the Head Disease
  18. Aquarium Protein Skimmers, Ozonizers
  19. Power Head/ Water Pump Review
  20. Molly Disease/ Mollies in an Aquarium
  21. Basic Fish Anatomy, Fin Identification
  22. Aquarium Moving/ Power Failures
  23. Octopus as Aquarium Pets
  24. Aquarium Nitrates
  25. Ichthyophonus protists, fungus in fish
  26. Aquarium and Pond Filter Media
    Types; Mechanical, Bio, Chemical
  27. Aquarium Water Conditioners (also Pond)
  28. Fish Parasites; Trematodes & Monogeneans; Annelids and Nematodes;
    Flukes, internal worms, Detritus Worms (often confused with Planaria), Micro Worms
  29. Aquarium Silicone Application;
    DIY Aquarium Repair & Glass thickness
  30. Pond Veggie Filters; DIY Bog Filter
  31. The difference between Plaster of Paris and Aquarium Products such a Wonder Shells:
    Identification, prevention & Treatment
  33. AQUARIUM TEST KITS; Use & Importance
  34. SEXING FISH; Basics
  35. Chocolate Chip, Knobby and Fromia Starfish
  36. Freshwater Velvet & Costia
  37. Usnic Acid as a Fish Remedy
  38. Aquarium Heaters; Types, information
  39. The Lateral Line in Fish, Lateral Line Disease
    or Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE)
  40. Tap Water use in Aquarium; Chloramines, Chlorine
  41. Can Black Ghost Knife fish give an electric shock?
  42. Bio Wheel Review; Do Bio-Wheels really work?
  43. How do Fish Drink?
    Use of RO Water
  44. Cyclops, and Predatory Damselfly larvae
  45. Betta with Dropsy;
    Treatment and Prevention of DROPSY in all fish
  46. pH and KH problems in African Cichlid Aquarium
  47. Aquarium Gravel, which size?
  48. Blue green algae, Cyanobacteria in Ponds/Aquariums

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Recommended Related Information Sites & Products from our family of PROFESSIONAL aquarium and pond websites:

TMC V2 RO Filter systems; the very best you can buy with TDS meter:
Reverse Osmosis Aquarium Water Filter, TDSReverse Osmosis Aquarium Water Filters; with TDS Meter

A good compliment to RO water or for any freshwater aquarium to add ESSENTIAL Mineral Ions:
*Wonder Shells, Mineral Block

For help with your Aquarium Chemistry:
Aquarium Chemistry; In Depth Information

World Class Aquarium Information
For unique aquatic products (most professionally tested) and information;
*American Aquarium

Free Shipping AAP

Including the best in Quartz, Under gravel, and Titanium Submersible Heaters:
*Aquarium Heaters
*Hydor Undergravel Heaters

for the LATEST technology in Aquarium LED lighting:
LED Aquarium Lights
As well as a Premium simple "screw-in" LEDs for Aquariums or Hydroponics:
*PAR 38 LEDs

For economy HOB Filters that deliver the same or better results over filters often twice the price:
*Economy Aquarium Power Filters

*SunSun Reliable Submersible Power Head Aquarium Water Circulation PumpAquarium Power Head Pumps
Superior to Hagen or Marineland, yet more economical.

Sponge Filters that far outperform all other brands or DIY:
*Patented Lustar Hydro Sponge Aquarium Filters

UV Replacement Bulbs/Lamps:
UV Replacement bulbs for Tetra Mini, Cyprio Vorton, Bioforce, moreG23 & G11 UV Replacement Bulbs (PLL & PLS)
*Standard Straight Tube UV Lamps
*UV Bulbs directory

The Best in Value UV Sterilizers:
*Aquarium & Pond UV-C Sterilizers/Clarifiers
Compact Aquarium and Pond UV Sterilizer, better value than Tetra, Turbo TwistCOMPACT UV STERILIZERS, Terminator 7 watt to 36 watt
*TMC PREMIUM High Dwell Time Pond/Aquarium UV Sterilizers

For Aquarium Treatment Products

*Aquarium & Pond Treatments
*Furan 2

Proper Pond Filtration, Cleaning, care, chemistry & Basics for maintaining a beautiful garden pond:
*A CLEAR POND; Care & Information

Fish Food Information:

Premium Canister Aquarium Filters:
Rena Filstar High Performance Canister Filters

Aquarium Decorations, Decorative Coral, Driftwood, DeCoral, PlantsDecorative Coral
Aquarium Decorations such as

*Plastic Aquarium Plants

*Aquarium Driftwood

*Aquarium & Pond UV Sterilizer Use Articles
-Unique articles such as unique UV ideas as well as dispelling myths

*Directions/ Instructions/Downloads; Aquarium Pond Products

A unique web site with great insights:
Aquarium LED Information

#eBay Community Forum & Bullying, Customer Service

For Website Building/Hosting and who Aquarium Answers recommends (& uses for sister websites):
Website Hosting, powerful web site maker, ecommerce
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