Today I want to share my favorite method for shipping fish safely!
I have never lost a fish using the following method.
You can use this information if you are selling fish to a customer OR if you are needing to prepare your fish for moving to a new house.
Oh, or maybe just sending fish to a friend in the mail.
Fast the fish for 24 hours prior to shipping. This will help prevent fouling the water.
Fill a plastic shipping bag with about 1/3 water treated with Seachem Prime. The water should be just enough to cover the dorsal fin of the fish when the bag is tipped on its side.
Add the fish to the water.
Quickly grab the bag near the top to trap as much air as possible inside (but leave enough room for twisting). Alternatively (and even better), use pure oxygen to fill the bag.
Twist the opening of the bag as much as possible so the twisted part folds over a couple of times and secure with a rubber band. The twisting is what creates the seal. The rubber band helps to hold it in place. I like to use 2 rubber bands at least.
Take another plastic shipping bag and slide it over the top of the first one (so the top of the inside bag is at the bottom of the outside bag). This will make a nice smooth bottom and prevent fish from getting trapped in the corners by compressing them to the sides.
Twist that bag also and rubber band securely.
Use packing tape to fold and secure the bottom corners of the bag “tails” underneath (optional but looks much more professional).
Place the bag(s) in a Styrofoam insulated box. Add any care instructions sheet.
Fill the empty space around each bag with peanuts and/or air bags. The fish bags should remain very secure if shaken. The journey is likely to be bumpy!
Mail the fish overnight or Priority mail 2-3 day, depending on the weather in your area and the destination area.
How many fish you add per bag depends on the size of the fish. For goldfish, 1 goldfish per bag is a good rule of thumb, but a large bag may accommodate 2 small goldfish. Using pure oxygen to fill the bag can increase the number of fish per bag, as oxygen is the greatest limiting factor when shipping fish. The volume of water is not as important because if the fish runs out of air, it can cause brain damage and even death.
Properly packaged fish are known to last 7-10 days in the bag, though it is best to minimize the time in transit to minimize stress by shipping quickly.
FedEx priority 1 day shipping and USPS 1 day shipping will come to your door and pick up your shipment. They always prioritize live animals on their deliveries by dropping them off first. Yes, one-day shipping is very expensive but it goes with the territory.
A Styrofoam insulated box is essential for almost every situation. It protects the bags from impact and regulates the temperature.
Depending on the weather, use a heat or cool pack as required. Keep in mind some of these only last for 24 hours.
An avid goldfish breeder and keeper for nearly 20 years, Meredith Clawson is the founder of the Pure Goldfish website and author of the book The Truth About Goldfish. Pure Goldfish has been featured in Wikihow, Wikipedia, The Aquarium Guide and more.