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Author: Ben Hildebrandt

Title: Shipping Fish
Summary: How to send live fish in the mail.
Contact for editing purposes:

Date first published: June 98
Publication: The Calquarium Volume 40, Number 9
Reprinted from Aquarticles:
Nov. 01: Fish Finatic, Willowdale Aquarium Society, Ontario.
Internet publication (club or non-profit web site):

1. Credit author, original publication, and Aquarticles.
2.  Link to  and original website if applicable.
3.  Advise Aquarticles
Printed publication:

Mail two  printed copies to
The Calgary Aquarium Society
P.O. Box 63180
2604 Kensington Road N.W.
Calgary, Alberta

T2N 4S5

Mail one printed copy to:
#205 - 5525 West Boulevard
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6M 3W6

Shipping Fish

by Ben Hildebrandt
First published in The Calquarium,Volume 40, Number 9

Your friend across the country has sent you some of those plants you have always wanted in exchange for some of the tiger barbs you just bred. How do you ship your fish so they don’t arrive in Toronto floating on top of the water?

The #1 rule of shipping fish is never send them in the winter, since they won’t survive the cold and will probably freeze (I recently learned this while sending plants to a friend.) Make sure your fish are fed well for a week or two before you ship them. To ship your fish properly, buy one of those Styrofoam coolers from the grocery store and get a box that the cooler can fit into. Buy some freezer bags or fish bags (available at most friendly pet stores) to put your fish in.

Put some newspaper in the bottom of the cooler for added insulation. Put the fish in the bags, no more than two fish to a bag so there will be more air for each fish. Fill the bags with about one to two inches of water, or just enough water to cover the fish if this won’t do it. There will be more oxygen for the fish if you have only little water in the bags. Put the bags securely in the cooler and fill in the spaces with newspaper before taping the cooler shut. Put the cooler in the box, tape the box shut, and write "FRAGILE: LIVE FISH" on the sides of the box.

Take it to the post office (most couriers won’t ship live animals) and send it "PRIORITY". If they say you can’t ship fish through the post office, tell them that "in the domestic mail manual section 124.632 it states that you can ship "non-venomous cold-blooded animals" via the post office." If you are shipping internationally say that "in the international mail manual it states in section 139.1 that you can ship..."

Your fish can last about a week in the mail (weather permitting) if they have to. With this information you can ship most fish around the country without too much worry. This may not work well with marine fish, as they are more sensitive to changes in water conditions than most freshwater fish.?