Aquarium Setup • Fish Transportation

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Fish Transportation

Postby Fishy_Cichlid » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:57 am

I intend to transfer some fish (size : 1.5-2") from a friend. I have the following questions :

1. Recommended no of fish packed in one plastic bag ?
2. Size of Plastic Bags ?
3. % of water in each bag ?
4. Any other recommendations ?

If fish are starved from 2 days ahead of journey, how long will the fish survive ? I have calculated an estimated time of 28 Hours from time of packing to transfer to my tank.

Another question : Will it be better if I change water & Oxygen after around 23 hours and then the fish is transported for the remaining 4-5 Hours ? Can the water be just my tank water or should I add some bottled liquid bacteria like StressZyme ?

Thanks guys and let me know so that I can inform my friend.
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Re: Fish Transportation

Postby Fatal » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:58 am

Fishy_Cichlid wrote:I intend to transfer some fish (size : 1.5-2") from a friend. I have the following questions :

1. Recommended no of fish packed in one plastic bag ?
2. Size of Plastic Bags ?
3. % of water in each bag ?
4. Any other recommendations ?

If fish are starved from 2 days ahead of journey, how long will the fish survive ? I have calculated an estimated time of 28 Hours from time of packing to transfer to my tank.

Another question : Will it be better if I change water & Oxygen after around 23 hours and then the fish is transported for the remaining 4-5 Hours ? Can the water be just my tank water or should I add some bottled liquid bacteria like StressZyme ?

Thanks guys and let me know so that I can inform my friend.


Are you saying they will be in a bag for 2 days? If so don't use a bag, use a larger plastic container or an esky. This way it's more stable and more oxygen. If they're going to be in holding for less than 5hours then use a bag.
Make sure it's firm plastic bags and not plastic bin bags. Try use a proper bag that the store uses. Fill about 30% of the bag with water, depending on how many fish and how long they will be in there. More fish requires more water, long travel times require more oxygen. If you have more than 8 fish at 1.5-2" use 2 bags. Size of plastic bags, as long as it can only about 2L of water should be fine, even though you won’t be putting that much water in I'm just using the volume to give you an idea of how big.
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Postby Fishy_Cichlid » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:36 am

My friend will stop giving food to the fish in his tank, 2 days before start of journey. From time of packing at my friends place to transfer of the fish to my tank is maximum 28 hrs. The actual time the fish will be in the bag is around 25 hours (maximum - 28 hours).

Realistic transportation time and breaks :
Transfer by taxi to airport + flight time + transfer by taxi = 6-7 hours
Packets will then remain for 10 hours (no transportation, at warehouse)
Transfer of packet by Road to my tank = 5 hours

Temperature is not a issue, will vary from 22-28 deg C (local outdoor temperature). The bags will be packed in foam cover.
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Postby Fishy_Cichlid » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:53 am

Some more information :

1. One fish per packing

2. Double plastic bag/packet

3. the plastic bags/packets will be further packed inside 1 foam box

I will have the option of oxygenating the bags again before the final leg of journey i.e. 20 hours after being first packed by my friend. And the final leg of journey by road will be 4-5 hrs max. But should I oxygenate the bags again ? How long can the fish survive on the Oxygen & water in the plastic packets ?
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Postby Sub-Mariner » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:26 am

Fishy_Cichlid wrote:From time of packing at my friends place to transfer of the fish to my tank is maximum 28 hrs. The actual time the fish will be in the bag is around 25 hours (maximum - 28 hours).


Stick them in bags with added oxygen if you want. 28hrs isnt that long. People ship fish all the time 2-3 day and they arrive just fine. And theyll be fine not eating for 2 days....female fish go almost a month of not eating when theyre holding, 2 days is not a big deal.

Also Id bag each fish individually.
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Postby Fishy_Cichlid » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:42 am

The person who is bringing in the fish has a tank of his own. But I want to avoid the transfer of the fish after the 1st, 6-7 hrs leg of the journey cause I am not sure if his tank is properly cycled and whether the tank contains any parasites/bacteria.

However, I could pack plastic bags of water from my ready and empty cycled tank, transfer the fish into separate bags & oxygenate the bags for the last 4-5 hrs of the journey. But will it be more stressful for the fish in new but clean cycled water or should I just oxygenate the existing plastic bags. My friend says fish will be fine for 24-26 hrs.

Normally, how long can fish remain fine with initial water & oxygen ?
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Postby PfunMo » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:58 am

Most can go several days but it does depend some on temperature, size of fish. Large fish are somewhat more trouble. Sounds like you should be good without the water change.

In ordering fish at Christmas, I found six days was tooo long. :(
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Postby Fishy_Cichlid » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:22 pm

PfunMo, the fish I am getting are less than 2" in size. The actual flight time i.e. the time the fish will be airborne is around 1:45 - 2.00Hrs and I dont know how much the temperature is maintained in the luggage bay. Other times, the temperature will be minimum 18-21 deg C at night and around 26-28 deg C during the day. The fish will be packed, one each in each plastic bag and all the plastic bags will be put inside a foam box.

I am just worried if the Ammonia shoots up inside the individual bags though the fish will be starved 2 days before start of journey.

I wonder how live-fish is exported from Africa to the US.... that must be quite a distance/time. How are they packed, how many in each pack and the total duration between start of packing to transfer inside the importers tank.
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Postby PfunMo » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:36 pm

I've never got any directly from Africa but in general, I'm sure it is the same process as some of the cheaper shipping within the US. If one does not pay the higher cost, shipping can take several days. In bags, inside insulated boxes, inside cardboard boxes is pretty standard and works most of the time. Will you be adding pure O2 gas as the bag is closed? That can help a lot. For a day or two I would think you are fine. Many fish are shipped that long. Six days during the holiday shipping rush---- Too long!
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Postby Fishy_Cichlid » Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:48 pm

Yes, the bags will be packed with pure oxygen. This problem is arising because the flight lands at around 11pm and I have to wait till morning, sometime around 10am to pick it up. By the way, does adding extra Prime during packing help or can there be a problem if too much Prime is added to the water whilst packing ?
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Postby PfunMo » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:35 pm

If I remember correctly Prime states that it is safe to over dose but I don't remember to what amount. Maybe somebody with a jug in hand can tell us? Since chlorine or chloramine varies so much, I'm sure there is a wide margin built in for safe use.
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Postby Fishy_Cichlid » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:43 pm

The fish are pretty small, around 1.5-2" and then each plastic bag will only contain 1 fish with 1/3rd filled with water & 2/3rd Pure Oxygen. The actual transportation meaning during flight and in car will be actually around 1.5 hours & 4.5 hourse respectively. However, its the intervening period i.e. when fish will be in cargo bay and finally the house of the person bring them along which will be more. Maybe movement of the plastic packet stresses out the fish more.
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Postby Fishy_Cichlid » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:37 pm

This is what I found out about safe transport :

1. Keep the bags in a dark container whilst transport (Platic bag inside a dark foam bag)
2. Keep temperature low and as stable as possible
3. Keep sufficient Oxygen, 2/3rds.
4. DeChlorinator, Ammonia locking products to be used in water
5. Do not add salt to the water
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Re: Fish Transportation

Postby DJRansome » Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:03 am

Plastic bag filled 1/3 with water and then inflate (breath is sufficient) and quickly twist the top to capture the air and create a hard cylinder. Double bag. 28 hours is OK but you want them in the tank after 28 hours.

One fish/bag is ideal.

Use a cooler to keep the bags in and a heat pak if necessary to keep the bags as close to 78 degrees as possible.
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Re: Fish Transportation

Postby DJRansome » Wed Apr 29, 2020 10:58 am

Pure oxygen is not necessary.
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