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How do goldfish live through the extreme stress of transportation?


bagh

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If you are purchasing from Raingarden, or other similar other online goldfish selling sites, or if someone is rehoming their fish, they are doing it through a one-day courier service at the best case scenario. Now, if they choose a normal courier service, or if the courier service fails to deliver that day, and the weekends or national holidays arrive, or if the destination can't be reached within a day, then how do the goldfish live through it; being in just a gallon of water (ammonia levels would reach 1ppm within a few hours!.) Then, during transportation, the packages are thrown around, meaning the fish inside is bumped around the container. Then, if a leak sprouts, which would be fairly common due to mishandling, it'd be fatal for the fish.

 

Moreover, dissolved oxygen levels would plummet to fatal levels within hours!

 

How do the goldfishes live through such extreme conditions?

 

EDIT: Mods, please correct the heading from 'throught to through.' Sorry for the typo.

Edited by bagho
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I would guess that many fish have not survived being shipped when not done properly or with some forethought. I know I have received fish that didn't make it during shipment. Not a nice thing to happen. 

 

Some people will use FedEx Priority overnight and only ship on certain days of the week so fish are not left sitting over the weekend or over a holiday. They will double bag the fish, some bags will have square bottoms. The boxes are insulated and bubble wrap and other materials are used to cushion the box and to make a secure fit. The fish are prepared a head of time by fasting them for several days. 

 

Depending on where or who you buy from they should explain their own procedure. And when receiving fish by mail it would be a good idea to be home to be able to accept delivery and get them out of the box and into their new tanks. 

 

I have had bettas, guppies and bn pleco shipped but never a goldfish.

 

I have been watching Ken Fischer (DandyOrandas) auctions and would really love to get one or two of his goldies. Just not in my budget at this time but maybe some day....If you go to his website you can see where he explains how they ship their fish. 

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Fixed the title . . .

 

The fish are typically fasted for several days before transport.   Usually it is indicated on the box that it contains Live Fish (not that that probably does much good IMO).  I also think every effort is made to ship early in the week, not close to a holiday or weekend.  After that it's pretty much hope and pray it all goes well . . . 

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I would guess that many fish have not survived being shipped when not done properly or with some forethought. I know I have received fish that didn't make it during shipment. Not a nice thing to happen. 

 

Some people will use FedEx Priority overnight and only ship on certain days of the week so fish are not left sitting over the weekend or over a holiday. They will double bag the fish, some bags will have square bottoms. The boxes are insulated and bubble wrap and other materials are used to cushion the box and to make a secure fit. The fish are prepared a head of time by fasting them for several days. 

 

Depending on where or who you buy from they should explain their own procedure. And when receiving fish by mail it would be a good idea to be home to be able to accept delivery and get them out of the box and into their new tanks. 

 

I have had bettas, guppies and bn pleco shipped but never a goldfish.

 

I have been watching Ken Fischer (DandyOrandas) auctions and would really love to get one or two of his goldies. Just not in my budget at this time but maybe some day....If you go to his website you can see where he explains how they ship their fish. 

Wow! Thanks a lot! That makes real sense. Informative post! :)

 

Fixed the title . . .

 

The fish are typically fasted for several days before transport.   Usually it is indicated on the box that it contains Live Fish (not that that probably does much good IMO).  I also think every effort is made to ship early in the week, not close to a holiday or weekend.  After that it's pretty much hope and pray it all goes well . . . 

Fasting them prior to shipping - good point.

 

Yes, labelling doesn't do any good. Do you think items marked Fragile are handled with utmost care? No way! :D

 

But what about oxygen depletion? Does Fedex overnight really do it overnight? I have bought plants online, which were shipped via Fedex Overnight, but they reached 2 days later.

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It depends on the time you drop things off.  When Jared shipped one of my fish to me, he checked with his local UPS (I think it was UPS) on how late in the day he could drop off the package and how soon I would get it the next day.  We live about 3 hours apart if driving straight.  They told him he could drop it off by 5 PM and I would have it before 10 am the next day.  My ranchu got to my house at 9:30 the next morning.  :D

 

Even in that short amount of time, I think the ammonia was up to 4 ppm :thud despite Jared fasting him for a couple of days . . . :idont

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It depends on the time you drop things off.  When Jared shipped one of my fish to me, he checked with his local UPS (I think it was UPS) on how late in the day he could drop off the package and how soon I would get it the next day.  We live about 3 hours apart if driving straight.  They told him he could drop it off by 5 PM and I would have it before 10 am the next day.  My ranchu got to my house at 9:30 the next morning.  :D

 

Even in that short amount of time, I think the ammonia was up to 4 ppm :thud despite Jared fasting him for a couple of days . . . :idont

4ppm! Wow! I hope he was alright.

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As far as oxygen goes, most professionals' bags are only filled half way with water and the other half is oxygen pumped into the bag. This keeps the fish from running out of oxygen, since the bag jostles around during shipping and the surface agitation allows oxygen into the water. Other pros use kordon breather bags, which allow for gas exchange on their own.

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Yep, he was fine.  :D  That was almost 2 years ago and he's doing just fine.  Thanks for asking.  :D

Great to hear that! :D I like Ranchus because of the absence of dorsal fin! :D

 

As far as oxygen goes, most professionals' bags are only filled half way with water and the other half is oxygen pumped into the bag. This keeps the fish from running out of oxygen, since the bag jostles around during shipping and the surface agitation allows oxygen into the water. Other pros use kordon breather bags, which allow for gas exchange on their own.

Thank you for the information. Pure oxygen from cylinders, right? Kordon breather bags seems a good idea.

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Yep, pure oxygen from the compressed cylinders. I know of quite a few pet stores around my home state that will do the same for you if you have a long drive home. 

Yeah, pure oxygen would extend the available oxygen to the fish, to about 4x times more than if environmental air were used, isn't it? :)

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Yep, pure oxygen from the compressed cylinders. I know of quite a few pet stores around my home state that will do the same for you if you have a long drive home. 

Yeah, pure oxygen would extend the available oxygen to the fish, to about 4x times more than if environmental air were used, isn't it? :)

 

I am not sure we could estimate how much more it would be, since all fish are different sizes and therefore some use more oxygen than others. All I know is that even when I used air instead of pure oxygen, my fish survived just fine 3 days in shipping, with no signs of distress from lack of oxygen or dirty water.

 

I can understand being worried about shipping fish, everyone always is. However, I feel that if done in a proper manner it is a perfectly fine practice and not something to be worried about.

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Also when the fish is in a dark place and has had no food for several days, it will just sleep, or at least not move around.  Under those conditions, it's metabolism is slowed so it uses less oxygen.  

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I know fasting is a big part of it turning out successful. When I ship fish I usually fast them for 48 hours prior to putting them in their bags. I do mark my packages "LIVE FISH, PLEASE KEEP AWAY FROM EXTREME TEMPERATURES." I don't know how often this makes a difference, but I know of one instance in which it did. I shipped to a rural area of Minnesota where they only had two day shipping guaranteed, no one day. BUT... it arrived in one day and the people at the post office saw my label and put it on the truck early. I know because they told the girl I was shipping to that it was supposed to go out the next day, but it was put on the truck early because someone didn't want the fish to sit there longer. 

 

I have shipped and received many fish in the mail with very few problems. The only real bad incident was when I had a particularly spikey fish (cichlid type) tear though his bag and empty it, but he survived because he stuck his gills down where the water was. 

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One thing to remember as well, like 95% or more of fish you buy at a fish store were shipped there from somewhere. It's not just the ones from specialty sites.  And those fish are often shipped in bulk from much farther away. 

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One thing to remember as well, like 95% or more of fish you buy at a fish store were shipped there from somewhere. It's not just the ones from specialty sites.  And those fish are often shipped in bulk from much farther away. 

 

 

That's right, I've opened up bags that had bulk fish from wholesalers and the ammonia smell nearly blew my head off, especially if one had died in the bag. The courier never used to get here till around 3.00pm, so I used to drive two hours to the depot and get them at 6.00am and they were in tanks then by around 9.00am, that six hour saving saved a lot of fishes lives.

 

Never did I place an order and not think about what they were going through whilst they were in transit and sadly it wasn't there first time at such a horror trip.

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I had a fish that was a special Chocolate Oranda Female for my Chocolate Male I had.... She was DOA, she had been shipped and in the middle of trans she released her eggs in the bag.. The water was very yellow and smelled... I felt bad for her....

 

My :twocents: try not to ship a female that is full of eggs :o

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Then, if a leak sprouts, which would be fairly common due to mishandling, it'd be fatal for the fish.

From my experience, if packed correctly and even with a little mishandling, leaks are not common. 

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Then, if a leak sprouts, which would be fairly common due to mishandling, it'd be fatal for the fish.

From my experience, if packed correctly and even with a little mishandling, leaks are not common.
I disagree. I'd say 1/2 of my shipments have had some sort of leak. Even from places like RG that do it professionally.
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On the topic of ammonia, it is important to understand how fish actually become harmed by it. Fish obviously release ammonia through their waste as well as through their gills. The ammonia in the water isn't actually what harms them. What happens is as the level of ammonia in the waters increases, the fish are less able to release ammonia through their gills, so the level in their body rises.  This will be uncomfortable for them during a short trip, but isn't usually deadly. It's kind of like humans and cold weather. You can stay outside in freezing temps for a shirt time but try sleeping outside during a snowstorm and you may end up dead.

Also, the fact that they can survive these trips is evidence that goldfish are hardy and resilient fish.

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Also, the fact that they can survive these trips is evidence that goldfish are hardy and resilient fish.

 

 

Still the question for me is should they be subjected to such a trip? We would be up in arms if they were puppies or kittens and being transported like this.

 

Commercially the fish are packed to the extreme, it boils down to costs. Least amount of water to keep weight down, smallest bag possible to keep the shipping dimensions of the box down.

 

The costs work out cheaper doing it this way even if every 10th box or so (or more) is DOA which is usually claimed back by the retailer. If fish were packed so that they weren't subjected to horrible conditions (and of course it can be done) the price per fish rises. So the cruelty they go through is totally imposed on them through economics and the end consumer's wanting them for as cheap as possible. 

 

I know it's not a very nice subject for fish lovers such as ourselves, but fish cop a pretty raw deal from humans from wild stocks to farm bred.

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Also, the fact that they can survive these trips is evidence that goldfish are hardy and resilient fish.

 

 

Still the question for me is should they be subjected to such a trip? We would be up in arms if they were puppies or kittens and being transported like this.

 

Commercially the fish are packed to the extreme, it boils down to costs. Least amount of water to keep weight down, smallest bag possible to keep the shipping dimensions of the box down.

 

The costs work out cheaper doing it this way even if every 10th box or so (or more) is DOA which is usually claimed back by the retailer. If fish were packed so that they weren't subjected to horrible conditions (and of course it can be done) the price per fish rises. So the cruelty they go through is totally imposed on them through economics and the end consumer's wanting them for as cheap as possible. 

 

I know it's not a very nice subject for fish lovers such as ourselves, but fish cop a pretty raw deal from humans from wild stocks to farm bred.

 

 

Really though, as long as there are people like us to buy these fish they are going to be shipped and go through that stress. I suppose it goes back to that other topic you made on the ethics of the hobby

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