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Getting Fish Sent Via Mail?


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I don't know, maybe I will be ordering fish that will have to be sent via airplane. This makes me very nervous, as I have read horror stories about fish undergoing traumatic trips and arriving dead or traumatized. I would rather go without than have an animal hurt. But it seems that there are reputable dealers who do a good job sending fish through the mail, and I will do business with those dealers.

That said, what should I expect and plan for? Would I have to pick the fish up at the airport? Where would a person even go to get a package with a pet in it? I've usually picked up people at an airport, not a package or pets. What should I have ready with me to bring the fish home. (It could be a 1-2 hour drive from the airport depending on time of day.) Should I have some water ready to do a bit of a water change? Should I ask the fish dealer what pH I should have it set to?

I would have the cycled tank ready and waiting. I suspect the fish will have not been fed before their trip, so they would probably be hungry.

I don't know exactly what to ask, but I'm hoping that people who have done this routinely will have some ideas on how to make this a smooth process.

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I wish I could give you some answers. I've never ordered fish through the mail, but I know some of the people here have. Those that get them from Goldfish Connection, of course, always have the best of luck. Now, that means you're getting a healthy fish, but whether the airlines handle the fish properly is another story. It goes to follow that a healthy fish is going to survive the trauma of such a journey better. I also know that a lot of places won't ship in the summer because it's too hot, so choosing to buy in the winter may produce better results also.

Hopefully, someone will come on here who has ordered fish through the mail to answer your question.

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Fish that are well shipped are fasted for a number of days. This limits the amount of ammonia that the flish release during shipment. They should be packed in a small amount of water - a small amount of water allows for a LARGE amount of oxygen to be placed in the bag. A good fish shipper uses pure oxygen to fill the bag. The bag should be rubberbanded tightly shut and placeed, upside down inside ANOTHER heavy bag that is banded tightly. Reversing the bags eliminates the "corner" problem of a bag - it rounds the corners so that a fish cannot become stuck in the corner of the bag.

The fish should not be shipped if the weather is less than.... a snow storm, heat wave, high storms, etc. expected. Shipping fish in the cold weather is actually a lot easier. The fish stay fairly warm in their box - all you have to worry about is snow closing things. The fish should be in a box lined with styrofoam - this insulates the fish against jarring, heat, cold, etc.

Alwasy ship a fish overnight - or as fast as possible. IF you have to pick a fish up at an airport, take all the paperwork that shows that you own that package. There is usually a shipping area of the airport - at O'Hare it is a full terminal just for shipping. There should be a main desk - just go in and ask for your package. You should be able to track it on line and know exactly when it is arriving - and plan to get there at that time.

When you get home, open the box and take the fish out. I typically open the bags, supported by a bucket. I test the water. If the water is toxic, the fish comes out right away, no matter what. Otherwise, I go into water exchange mode. This means I take out a quart and put in a quart. I do this every 20-30 minutes for hours... watching the fish all the time. IF the fish was given a mild anesthetic (many are) they will be sluggish for a day or two. This is normal. Even if they have not, they may still be shell shocked.

After I have acclimated the fish to my water - testing as I go to make sure all stays good, the fish is lifted into the qt tank. Leave the lights off. Do not feed. Do not do anything. Just let the fish be. By the next day, if the fish is up and swimming, you can feed them lightly then. Wait until you see them responding and up and swimming. Remember - even with the BEST shipper - a shipment is stressful and takes time to recover from.

I have never lost a fish to shipping - and I have had some pretty NASTY delivery problems (on this end with UPS.... GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!). The fish, if carefully prepped, packed and thoughtfully shipped and acclimated should be just fine.

I hope you get some beauties! Then share pictures. :)

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FIsh do quite well.... where they have BIG problems is if they are not packed well. If a bag is tightly banded and filled with oxygen at ground level, the bag can burst when sent up in the airplane. This must be addressed.

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Thank you! I will make sure that there is enough room for expansion (I'll probably get a bigger sized bag). My dad, for some reason, seems to be under the impression that the fish itself will explode. Then again, he also thinks this 'fish thing' is just a phase and I'll grow out of it.

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Good question, Nomi. And thanks, daryl, for the detailed information. lynda - yes, I am looking at some fish from Goldfish Connection/Dandy Oranda's, and good point about the summer heat problems with shipping.

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Actually, if you are getting fish sent from Dandy Orandas, they will be coming overnight by truck. There is no concern with flying. AND..... the fish are packed for you - no need to get bags or anything. Ken uses great bags. When your fish come, save the bags..... clean them out and dry them out and store them carefully. They can be used anytime you need to move a fish. Mine last for years!

There is no one like Ken for packing and shipping fish. He is an EXPERT. I have no concerns with his care. So far, knock on wood, even the nasty mean abuse of the UPS driver was not enough to ruin the care that Ken has taken in packing my fish.

Goody goody..... what are you getting???? I have been through that DVD over and over and over - I know sooooooo many of those fish. I would love to know what you are getting. There are some real beauties in there!!!!

Edit: actually - your dad is not too far off. If the bag is full of air and water and tied very tightly - so that there is no expansion allowed, when a bag goes up in the air, it will split and leak. It would not really explode - the bag is not strong enough for that - but it would undoubtably leak - BAD BAD BAD.

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Actually, if you are getting fish sent from Dandy Orandas, they will be coming overnight by truck. There is no concern with flying. AND..... the fish are packed for you - no need to get bags or anything. Ken uses great bags. When your fish come, save the bags..... clean them out and dry them out and store them carefully. They can be used anytime you need to move a fish. Mine last for years!

There is no one like Ken for packing and shipping fish. He is an EXPERT. I have no concerns with his care. So far, knock on wood, even the nasty mean abuse of the UPS driver was not enough to ruin the care that Ken has taken in packing my fish.

Goody goody..... what are you getting???? I have been through that DVD over and over and over - I know sooooooo many of those fish. I would love to know what you are getting. There are some real beauties in there!!!!

Edit: actually - your dad is not too far off. If the bag is full of air and water and tied very tightly - so that there is no expansion allowed, when a bag goes up in the air, it will split and leak. It would not really explode - the bag is not strong enough for that - but it would undoubtably leak - BAD BAD BAD.

Yes, will absolutly make sure that the bag is not full of oxygen/water and has plenty of room to expand. So I geuss he was not to far off, though I did get a nice explanation on how their swimbladder would burst O_o. I think he is simply trying to discourage me from having goldfish, perhaps.

And lantern, I can't wait to see what you are getting either! You lucky person you!

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I am getting two solid lemon yellow comets at last. I hope they will like their new home!

The fish are being sent "Overnight" via FedEx, and I will pick them up at the FedEx office when they open first thing in the morning. I actually went to their office, and the clerk there told me she had another customer who has exotic fish mailed, and comes to pick them up like that. The place is minutes from my house, and easy enough to get to, so I thought it best not to have the poor fish trucked around any more than necessary.

I am a nervous wreck.

:krazy::krazy:

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I am getting two solid lemon yellow comets at last. I hope they will like their new home!

The fish are being sent "Overnight" via FedEx, and I will pick them up at the FedEx office when they open first thing in the morning. I actually went to their office, and the clerk there told me she had another customer who has exotic fish mailed, and comes to pick them up like that. The place is minutes from my house, and easy enough to get to, so I thought it best not to have the poor fish trucked around any more than necessary.

I am a nervous wreck.

:krazy::krazy:

I'm with you. :goodluck

Of course they will like there new home ;)

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Those lemon comets are even prettier in person than they are on the website!!!! I looked long and hard - but held out for the lemon Shubies that I am hoping for in the future. Besides, I cannot, at this time, place a fish outdoors - and I simply do not have the water volume to due justice to comets!!!

I look forward to your pictures!

(One small comment..... the colors (crystal or lemon, particularly) tend to be dramatically dulled and impacted by shipping and stress. If the lemon is not that bright, delightful WOW of yellow, give it a week or two of really good water and food for color recovery after shipping. It took 2 weeks following the original shipment of the yellow commons and comets that came through our club for the fish to really POP. :) )

(I have 2 lemon Ranchu that are going to show. It took over a month after shipment for that yellow to really pop. Now, 9 months later, they literally SHINE like the sun. :) )

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I do hope they like it here, Quasi! You can all be sure I will be posting pictures of them!

Thanks for the word of caution, Daryl. I looked long and hard at them, and spoke to Ken, because they seem more orange than yellow, but he assured me it was due to the lighting. I know I would have been a bit disappointed if they were dull, but maybe now is the time I start to make gel food for the fish, and learn how to do some extra pampering. Do you have pictures of your lemon ranchu on the site? They sound lovely.

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I am getting two solid lemon yellow comets at last. I hope they will like their new home!

As a little side note, yellow, or "gold" goldfish were highly prized by the chinese because they were equated to real gold, thus, only the emperor was allowed to own gold goldfish. Anyone else owning gold goldfish could be executed. This restriction on breeding gold/yellow goldfish continued and, eventually, just became accepted practice that you "just don't breed gold/yellow goldfish." Consequently, gold/yellow goldfish became rather rare. It is still difficult to get gold/yellow goldfish, so finding some is a real bonus and a sign of good luck for you! :Congrats:

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