Shipping Goldfish

Shipping Goldfish

Shipping goldfish is risky business. Packages have been known to arrive damaged, the box crushed, the  bag broken, the fish dead or dying. Some packages are routed to the wrong destination, and some never arrive at all, while the fish dies a slow, miserable death. This is why we must take every precaution


The maximum time your fish can tolerate the container is 36 hours. Overnight shipping is the only way to go


Six inches of fish body per gallon bag

Shipping methods for fish

The standard method for shipping fish is to bag them in water, fill it with oxygen, box the bag and stamp it. Some of the more expensive fish are lined with Styrofoam,  giving the box extra strength. This also protects it from heat and cold


Contact your local pet shop, and ask if they having Styrofoam lined shipping containers available for fish. Your local UPS company may also offer similar boxes. If you can’t find one, the next best thing is a one to two gallon ice chest, as they’re insulated, and strong. You may need a little bubble wrap to support the bag, so it doesn’t roll around in the shipping container. The ice chest will need to be boxed


Obtain two plastic fish bags from your pet shop


Shipping water for fish


Do you know your water parameters? ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, GH, KH and pH? The water quality our fish live in is critical to their life, however, even more so during shipping. If ammonia or nitrite is present in the water your fish is to be shipped in, dilute with a freshwater change, and treat remaining levels with Prime or Amquel Plus. Remaining levels are not to exceed treatable levels


Use a single dose of Prime for every 1. ppm; four doses max. Use a single dose of Amquel Plus for every 2. ppm; two doses max


Parameters should be as follows


Nitrates should be from 20 to 40 ppm


Work your way up to the goal gradually, so as not to exceed


Buffer KH to 120 ppm by dissolving and adding bicarbonate of soda to freshwater

Buffer GH to 200 to 400 ppm by dissolving and pure Epsom Salt to freshwater


Preparing for take off

Chill one gallon of tank water the night before the fish is going to be shipped. Goldfish become dormant in cold water using less oxygen. Even though the water may warm during shipping, this could buy a few hours if need be


Just before heading out, pull the chilled water; add 1/4 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide


Add a single dose of water treatment unless ammonia or nitrites are present (see above)


Beat water with a whisk to oxygenate. If KH is at 120 ppm, pH should be a min of 8.ppm


Place one of the pet shop plastic bags in the shipping container, and open it up. Using the other plastic bag, scoop the fish up, and place it inside of the first bag. Fill the bag 2/3 with tank water


One cup at a time, remove tank water from the bag the fish is in; toss it. Replace with chilled water. Continue until all of the water has been replaced


Do not feed the fish the day of shipping


Tie the bag, and close up the container


Take the shipping box to the pet shop. Ask them to shoot oxygen into the bag and tie it. They’re pro’s


Now the container is ready to be shipped via UPS overnight shipping. Head to the closest store without delay


shipping goldfish

Double check mailing addresses. Place clear tape over labels for added assurance. Many a label has been torn or rained on during handling


Kiss your fish goodbye, and know you’ve done everything possible to assure a safe journey


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Author: Brenda Rand


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