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Congrats on your first fish swap event!!

What I do when I tank my fish to local fish club meetings or auctions is:
1) Do not feed the fish I'm bringing for 2 days prior to the event, unless they are tiny.

2) Prepare fresh new water by using an appropriate amount of water conditioner for a 5 gallon bucket of water, bring it up to normal tank temperature or a couple degrees cooler and IF you have different tank parameters such as pH or others, adjust it in the 5G bucket.

3) Use appropriate size bags for the fish you will be taking. Don't crowd the fish in the bags especially if they will be bagged for more than 12 hours.

4) Use 1/3 water and 2/3 air space in your bag, or enough water to cover the fish when the bag is upright.

5) Double bag all fish, especially those that are spiny such as cichlids. Bag the fish normally then place inside a second bag inverted. I use rubber bands to fasten each bag securely.

6) Label the genus and species, quantity of fish, and usually your name and contact info. Any additional info for the buyer about the species is helpful but definitely include if you alter water parameters such as pH, hardness, etc. so the fish have a good chance of surviving in their new home.

I always used O2 to fill my bags when taking to clubs or auctions and it worked out fantastic. It's not necessary but does give the fish a longer time to be bagged.

Bring extra bags, rubber bands, water conditioner and maybe a net or pail in case you need to rebag your fish (if allowed) or if you think you might want to purchase fish at the swap meet. Some clubs have conditioned water available at events you can do for water changes so check their website for more details. You could always bring your own water if they don't.

A large fish styro with lid or a cooler are handy to tote fish to and from these events. I use a black Sharpie fine tip permanent marker to label fish bags with the info and clear packing tape to join multiple bags together if they are to be sold as one item.

I find that 8" wide x 22" long fish bags are good for fish from 2 inch long to 5 inch long though the bigger/longer the fish, the fewer per bag. Smaller 6" wide x 20" long bags are great for fish under 2 inches long. Some clubs allow 5g buckets with lids for very large fish so check if permitted.

That's all I can think of now but if you have any questions, ask away.
 

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Wow, huge +1 to @Deeda on all info!
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DISCLAIMER: I have never done a 'Fish Swap' before. But I have Hauled, Transported and Shipped more fish than I can remember...
The only thing I can add to any of that, is you may want to consider getting and using 'Breathable Bags'.
Food Triangle Sleeve Feather Font

Ken Davis started using those things first. And man, they definitely revolutionized the collecting game! In use, they are pretty much the same as for regular plastic (no feeding for two days prior to going in). But in application? Amazingly different.
As follows,
  • You DON'T want an air void for these things. Just water.
  • No O2. Just water.
  • Less water? Is actually BETTER (within reason). We usually had less than an inch of water surrounding fish in those bags. For babies, sometimes less than that!
  • And, less water = much less weight to carry.
Downside
- You CAN'T place these bags against each other. The bags actually 'breathe' the CO2 out and let the O2 in (semi-permeable membrane stuff). So when in use, the bag needs to be resting on or touching styrofoam or cardboard to permit it to breathe properly.
I could see having a lot of these things set up with individual fish in them. You could have trays or racks of bags lined up, ready-to-go
NOTE: They DO look kind of odd, the first time seeing a tiny little breathable bag with a fish in it. Like... WHERE is the rest of the water? Can that fish actually live in that thing?!!! :eek:
 

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Breathable bags are an option for non-spiny fish or cichlid babies IMO and are costlier than regular fish bags. I have seen at club auctions cichlids piercing and draining the bags while resting on the tables and then needing to be rebagged at a cost to the seller.

@Auballagh , have you used or received cichlids in breather bags? Just curious on your experience.
 

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Yes!
However.... you are absolutely right in that larger, more mature fish are NOT recommended for shipping, moving or hauling in Breathable Bags. As you indicate, those spiny fins make using that kind of bag much more problematic. But baby-sized Cichlids and non-spiny fish work really great for placing in those things.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Congrats on your first fish swap event!!

What I do when I tank my fish to local fish club meetings or auctions is:
1) Do not feed the fish I'm bringing for 2 days prior to the event, unless they are tiny.

2) Prepare fresh new water by using an appropriate amount of water conditioner for a 5 gallon bucket of water, bring it up to normal tank temperature or a couple degrees cooler and IF you have different tank parameters such as pH or others, adjust it in the 5G bucket.

3) Use appropriate size bags for the fish you will be taking. Don't crowd the fish in the bags especially if they will be bagged for more than 12 hours.

4) Use 1/3 water and 2/3 air space in your bag, or enough water to cover the fish when the bag is upright.

5) Double bag all fish, especially those that are spiny such as cichlids. Bag the fish normally then place inside a second bag inverted. I use rubber bands to fasten each bag securely.

6) Label the genus and species, quantity of fish, and usually your name and contact info. Any additional info for the buyer about the species is helpful but definitely include if you alter water parameters such as pH, hardness, etc. so the fish have a good chance of surviving in their new home.

I always used O2 to fill my bags when taking to clubs or auctions and it worked out fantastic. It's not necessary but does give the fish a longer time to be bagged.

Bring extra bags, rubber bands, water conditioner and maybe a net or pail in case you need to rebag your fish (if allowed) or if you think you might want to purchase fish at the swap meet. Some clubs have conditioned water available at events you can do for water changes so check their website for more details. You could always bring your own water if they don't.

A large fish styro with lid or a cooler are handy to tote fish to and from these events. I use a black Sharpie fine tip permanent marker to label fish bags with the info and clear packing tape to join multiple bags together if they are to be sold as one item.

I find that 8" wide x 22" long fish bags are good for fish from 2 inch long to 5 inch long though the bigger/longer the fish, the fewer per bag. Smaller 6" wide x 20" long bags are great for fish under 2 inches long. Some clubs allow 5g buckets with lids for very large fish so check if permitted.

That's all I can think of now but if you have any questions, ask away.
Great responses. Thank you. I already do a lot of this when I bag my fish for shipping. Not feeding, double bagging and such. The extra water is a good idea. I was planning on doing water changes in my tanks the day before bagging them the next morning.

When I bag, I have a spare air line I use to fill the bags until their firm. I've seen people use oxygen instead? I think that's a bit overkill.

I was thinking of bagging the smaller Uaru 2 or 3 to a bag since they really should be kept by themselves. Writing on the bags is an excellent idea.
 

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If you just grab the bag quickly to capture the air that is already there, and twist tightly (hold with rubber bands also twisted tightly) to keep it in, your bags will be 2/3 full of air and rock hard. Always double bag.
 
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@karpomatic1 , I figured since you were already shipping fish, you were familiar with the process of bagging them.

When I first started bagging, I used a spare air line from my system to fill the bags but after talking with club members, they said just use the method DJ suggested above.

I graduated to using O2 as I was bagging up fish the afternoon before events and wanted to give them the best chance to survive getting to their new homes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@karpomatic1 , I figured since you were already shipping fish, you were familiar with the process of bagging them.

When I first started bagging, I used a spare air line from my system to fill the bags but after talking with club members, they said just use the method DJ suggested above.

I graduated to using O2 as I was bagging up fish the afternoon before events and wanted to give them the best chance to survive getting to their new homes.
I'm considering using O2 for the bagged fish for the swap. I have access to bottles of O2 at work. I'm sure the pure O2 would be better for them in the bags.
 

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Sounds good! The most expensive part of the O2 setup for me was to purchase the regulator and hose assy. to attach to the cylinder, they are commonly called Air Filling Kits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sounds good! The most expensive part of the O2 setup for me was to purchase the regulator and hose assy. to attach to the cylinder, they are commonly called Air Filling Kits.
We use oxy-acetylene torches for work so I have everything I need. I also spoke to the owner and he said I can take whatever I need.
 

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Even the professional fish vendors who ship fish overnight (or longer) use just air. When we get donations from vendors for fish auctions...we may have to pick up the boxes a day in advance. Best practice is to leave them in the original bags through the auction. The fish have virtually 100% survival through shipping, holding and auction.

The only fish deaths I have observed with professional "air" bagging is when a bag leaks, or a fish wedges his face in a corner of the plastic bag.

Could the O2 be overkill?

More of a survival factor IME is not feeding before bagging and tight bagging.
 
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