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Myka
05-05-2008, 02:22 AM
Ok, so it took me awhile, but here it is finally...

Alright, so maybe we only want to send a bag or two, and don't want to use one of those big and expensive to ship styrofoam fish boxes. So, we make our own! :D

Start with some 1" sheets of styrofoam. You can often find them for free if you go to places that sell appliances, office furniture or even cabinets and such as the sheets are part of the packaging. If you can't find any for free you can find some in building supply stores usually in the laminate floor section or rigid insulation section.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip15.jpg

http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip2.jpg



Cut it all up (I just use a steak knife) so that it lines the box tightly, including a lid.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip6.jpg

http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip10.jpg



Since a DIY styro box isn't water tight, Put a garbage bag in the box.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip11.jpg



Add a layer of styrofoam packing peanuts.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/Peanuts.jpg



Now it's time to bag up some critters! I double bag all bags, and put a layer of newspaper between the bags to prevent the critters from seeing eachother, or in the case of corals it prevents them from poking holes in the bag.

Start by getting a square piece of newspaper that is a couple inches bigger than the bag's width.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip3.jpg



Fold it in half, and then on each end you fold it over so that it is just a tad smaller than the bag's width.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip7.jpg



Put the folded newspaper into a bag, open it up, and put a second bag into the newspaper.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip12.jpg



If you're shipping fish, just plop them in. If you fill the bag to the top of the newspaper you should be able to put up to a 4" fish in there ok...depending on the shape of the fish. A 4" wrasse sure, but not a 4" Tang. Fish ship better with oxygen in the bag instead of air, so it's a good idea if you have it available. Sometimes fish stores will allow you to use their oxygen.

If you're shipping corals, you need to prep them. If the coral is a branching type, or frags on a plug, then cut a disk out of the styrofoam sheet, poke a hole in the centre, and insert the frag plug or the stem. If it's possible use an elastic band to secure it. In the case of clams, brain corals, goniopora, non-branching euphyllia, bubble corals, etc that you can't attach to a disk, then just put them in the bottom with no disk. I like to make the disk almost as big as the bag so that it doesn't move around in the bag too much.

Here's a Monti frag on a frag plug inserted into a hole in the disk. It fits VERY snugly so it won't fall out:
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip17.jpg



Here's a Candy Cane who's skeleton is inserted into the disk (also very snugly) and an elastic band holding it, just in case.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip4.jpg



Close the bag up, and put a double elastic on it wrapping it as tight as you can, then fold the end over and wrap some more. The bag should be TIGHT with air.

This one shows the disk with a coral hanging under it:
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip8.jpg



Put the bag into your box being sure that there is at least one layer of peanuts under the bag, and lots all around it. There should be enough that so that the bag will not move around. It's not a worry if there are no peanuts on the top because the heat pack will be there warming the air up anyway.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip13.jpg



Close the garbage bag with a knot, and tuck the knot in the side of the box so that it's not between the lid and the fish bags.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip5.jpg

Myka
05-05-2008, 02:22 AM
Get a heat pack. I like these ones (available for $1 at J&L Aquatics).
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/HeatPack.jpg



Read the directions on the back of the heat pack. Different brands have different instructions!!!

In this case, this pack heats up as soon as the plastic wrap is removed and the pack is exposed to air. It doesn't need to be shaken or mashed up or anything. This heat pack had red stripes on one side, and the red stripes need to be facing the critters. I loosely wrap a layer of newspaper around the pack keeping attention which direction the red stripes are, and tape it to the inside of the lid. You can skip the newspaper if you want, but I find sometimes the heat packs fall off the lid if they aren't wrapped in newspaper.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip18.jpg



Put the lid on the styro box.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip9.jpg



Close the cardboard box, and tape it up real well on all edges. Put the address and phone number on at least two sides, and put LIVE FISH (even if it's coral...a lot of people don't understand "coral" can die) on every side along with a big arrow for the right direction up. I also like to put a note on the top "Please call upon arrival".
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/SmallShip.jpg



Now, maybe you're shipping a few bags...so you are using one of the styrofoam fish boxes.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/BigShip2.jpg



You can cram as many bags in these as you can fit, but be sure to keep fish bags upright so they have enough room to swim. Any bags that have styrofoam disks need to be upright as well. I like to put a layer of packing peanuts on the bottom to keep the water as well insluated as possible.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/BigShip4.jpg



Fill any void space with packing peanuts. I ran out of packing peanuts. You need to fill the box all the way up!
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/BigShip6.jpg



Tape the newspaper wrapped heat pack (or two) to the lid.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/BigShip7.jpg



Put the lid on the box, and run a ring of packing or duct tape all along where the lid meets the box (I should have got a picture of this). This way if the bags leak, and the box is turned upside down the water won't leak out of the box. Put the styro box into the cardboard box.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/BigShip8.jpg



Tape 'er up real good, and write what you need to write (as above).
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k43/Myka82/Aquariums/Shipping/BigShip9.jpg






So that's it! Feel free to suggest slight changes if you'd like. :)

Also, feel free to send me from frags to practise your shipping!!! :p

CLINT
05-05-2008, 02:38 AM
Thats great a lot of people are intimidated by shipping maybe this will help out.The pictures make it very easy to understand.Thanks for all your hard work.Clint

banditpowdercoat
05-05-2008, 02:39 AM
Awesome. Ive asked alot of people if they shop frags, but most didnt know how. This needs to be a sticky

Pan
05-05-2008, 03:08 AM
Nice packing job....

Nice nail color too.. ;0)

wickedfrags
05-05-2008, 03:28 AM
Excellent information. Also, for those considering shipping fish, don't forget to fill the bag with oxygen before you tie it.

banditpowdercoat
05-05-2008, 03:31 AM
What if one doesn't have O2?

Lance
05-05-2008, 04:16 AM
Well Done, Myka.

Atomikk
05-05-2008, 05:09 AM
Sometimes those styro discs don't have to be that big. It all depends on the size of the coral/frag. Otherwise, a very good ilustration on how to ship livestock.

banditpowdercoat
05-05-2008, 05:13 AM
Ya, Styro disks great Idea. My Xenia was upside down at the bottom of the bag when I got it from Greyhound. Didnt survive :(

Myka
05-05-2008, 05:24 AM
Thanks for the comments everyone. :D

Excellent information. Also, for those considering shipping fish, don't forget to fill the bag with oxygen before you tie it.

This is a good idea. I've never put oxygen in a bag, and haven't had troubles shipping fish, but I haven't sent fish any further than about 12 hours in transit. I added this to the "guide" though.

Sometimes those styro discs don't have to be that big. It all depends on the size of the coral/frag.

I find if the disk is about the same size as the bag, then it doesn't slosh around in the bag. It is much more stable, and seems to ship better. I added this explanation to the guide.

Floop70
05-05-2008, 05:27 AM
Excellent information Myka. Thank you!

I agree... this should be a sticky!

Myka
05-05-2008, 05:30 AM
You're very welcome! Feel free to send me some frags to practise your packing! :p

Floop70
05-05-2008, 05:37 AM
...the only thing I would have to give away is a GSP... I doubt you'd want it :razz:

gqlmao
05-05-2008, 06:23 AM
Very informative!

5 stars!

Thanks

Stanley,

Doug
05-05-2008, 02:24 PM
:biggrin: Good thread with the pics Myka.

Now if we only had air service. :sad:

wickedfrags
05-05-2008, 02:58 PM
I guess you would really just want to make sure it gets there ASAP. This is done as best practice to ensure a minimum 95% survival rate. A drop of slime coat protectant and/or water conditioner is also a good idea to prevent ammonia burns during transport.

What if one doesn't have O2?

Agreed. While I do not use this method personally, it is a great shipping technique.

Sometimes those styro discs don't have to be that big. It all depends on the size of the coral/frag. Otherwise, a very good ilustration on how to ship livestock.

Myka
05-06-2008, 02:33 AM
:biggrin: Good thread with the pics Myka.

Now if we only had air service. :sad:

Could try UPS...they're a bit risky, but usually do ok.

whatcaneyedo
04-15-2009, 04:40 AM
I just wanted to give a good old post a bump and add that its best not to feed fish for the day before shipping so that they dont soil the shipping bag as quickly.

fishoholic
04-15-2009, 05:51 AM
Great info. Why wasn't this made into a sticky? I think it should be. Christy, what's your thoughts?

The only thing I would add, is that for fish, you might want to lower the salinity a bit. It's supposed to be less stressful to fish in transport if the salinity is lowered.

whatcaneyedo
04-27-2010, 06:04 PM
I like this old post and thought it could use a little more info that isnt common knowledge to everyone.

UPS, Purolator and Fedex
UPS, Purolator and Fedex do not ship anything that is alive. If you want to send live coral/fish through them do not tell them what is in the box and do not write anything on the sides of the box. If you do send by one of these couriers be sure to get them to either hold at their depot for pickup or require a signature when they deliver. Otherwise they may just leave the package on the persons doorstep without even checking to see if anyones home. This is especially bad if they accidentally deliver it to the wrong house or if it is in the winter.
http://purolator.com/
http://www.ups.com/
http://fedex.com/

Westjet
Westjet requires that you book and pay for your shipment in advance (before you get to the airport) by calling the number on their website. http://www.westjet.com/guest/en/travelOffers/cargo.shtml There is no other information about their Cargo service on their website. When you call they will need to know the dimensions of the box and how much it weighs in addition to who is sending it and where it is going. You will need a credit card number to pay. Just tell them that you are shipping 'live tropical fish' as they dont like saltwater. They still seem to take it willingly but leaking saltwater is damaging to their planes so I'm sure they would prefer not handle it. They will give you a waybill number over the phone that you will need when you bring your package to the airport. Please pass this number onto the person you are sending the package too as well as they will need it to claim the package once it arrives.

When you get to the airport you will need government issued photo identification in order for them to accept the package just like if you yourself were getting on the plane. The package needs to be in their possession at least 1.5 hours before the plane that it is destined for takes off so arrive very early. They will have several forms for you to fill out and will inspect the exterior of your package to see that it is packed well. Be sure to have taped all around the flaps on the cardboard box.

Greyhound
Greyhound seems to work alright in the summer for relatively short distances. They also tend to be the least expensive option for most livestock shipments. However they are probably the most violent with their packages so take that into consideration when putting everything together. Be sure to check your receipts too... they're also the ones who are mostly likely to make a mistake and send your package to the wrong city. Also find out roughly what time the package should arrive at its final destination so that you can pass that information on the the receiver in case Greyhound does not call them when it arrives. In most communities they offer a right to the door delivery service. Personally I wouldnt trust it and recommend that you just have the receiver pick up the package upon arrival. Other than that it is pretty simple to send by greyhound. Just have the receivers name, number and city with you and a piece of ID when you go to drop off the package.
http://greyhound.ca/home/

BlueWorldAquatic
04-27-2010, 06:21 PM
Great Article :thumb:


Most couriers will not ship live animals overnight, they don't want the responsibility of deaths.

UPS will (Our ORA shipments arrive by UPS), but under the conditions they are not responsible, ORA agrees to replace any fish that die. I spent many hours one the phone when UPS decides to delay the shipment.

Westjet/Air Canada are the fastest, but you WILL pay for this speed, unfortunately they have a minimum shipping rate, so if you are shipping only one box, it will be expensive.

As for greyhound, I wouldn't waste my time, unless you pay the $15 "next bus out" fee, your package could sit in their station for up to 24hours. I don't think anyone has recieved a package from us without the packaging damaged once yet.



One of the biggest problems for shipping is keeping a stable temperature, and ammonia buildup.

You can reduce that in fish, by not feeding then a day or 2 prior to shipping, or a few drops of any product for reducing ammonia will be effective for livestock survival, we like to use a product called AcclimMax, works quite well.

Also ship early in the week and keep track of weather forcasts. Early in the week so that if something does happen, the package isn't sitting in a warehouse over the weekend.

Always prepare for the worst, we try to pack livestock for a minimum 48 hour trip.

Ken - BWA

hillegom
04-27-2010, 06:31 PM
Thanks Myka for originally posting this.
And thanks Whatcaneyedo for bringing it back up.
Is it a sticky by now? If so, where would I find it in the future.

I sure wish that Ont. co would have read this before shipping corals to my daughter.

wickedfrags
04-27-2010, 06:54 PM
ORA exports fish into Canada using UPS? How does canadian fish and wild life inspect them?

Great Article :thumb:


Most couriers will not ship live animals overnight, they don't want the responsibility of deaths.

UPS will (Our ORA shipments arrive by UPS), but under the conditions they are not responsible, ORA agrees to replace any fish that die. I spent many hours one the phone when UPS decides to delay the shipment.

Westjet/Air Canada are the fastest, but you WILL pay for this speed, unfortunately they have a minimum shipping rate, so if you are shipping only one box, it will be expensive.

As for greyhound, I wouldn't waste my time, unless you pay the $15 "next bus out" fee, your package could sit in their station for up to 24hours. I don't think anyone has recieved a package from us without the packaging damaged once yet.



One of the biggest problems for shipping is keeping a stable temperature, and ammonia buildup.

You can reduce that in fish, by not feeding then a day or 2 prior to shipping, or a few drops of any product for reducing ammonia will be effective for livestock survival, we like to use a product called AcclimMax, works quite well.

Also ship early in the week and keep track of weather forcasts. Early in the week so that if something does happen, the package isn't sitting in a warehouse over the weekend.

Always prepare for the worst, we try to pack livestock for a minimum 48 hour trip.

Ken - BWA

BlueWorldAquatic
04-27-2010, 07:05 PM
I'm amazed that customs doesn't even look at them. Comes right to our door by 11am.

We get them in all the time via UPS overnight, brokered by UPS in Winnnipeg.

But UPS will ship it for ORA only as far as I know, the shrimp I am trying to bring in, no courior will touch it.

Must be a deal they have with ORA, I know the hassle I get at customs bringing fish from the US all the time in Edmonton.

Ken

whatcaneyedo
04-27-2010, 07:08 PM
Purolator (who handles UPS for us locally as well) did say that they will make exceptions for commercial clients who have their own insurance and produce enough volume to have some bargining power. But for a regular Joe like me just wanting to send a package or two they wont ship anything alive.

trilinearmipmap
04-27-2010, 08:24 PM
OK a couple of shipping questions.

1. How long can a coral frag last shipped with the above instructions? I have always assumed 24 hours, I have never exceeded 8 to 12 hours myself, it it possible that corals could last 2 to 3 days in shipping as long as they don't get too cold?

2. Has anyone tried dry shipping of corals or coral frags? This is for people like me who want to bring back corals on a plane flight, and they won't allow liquids past security. I was thinking of dry (damp) shipping the corals wrapped in a wet towel or newspaper.

BlueAbyss
04-28-2010, 05:19 AM
Hey trilinear...

I read an article a while back that stated they shipped Acropora frags from a collection site in the Caribbean (or Gulf of Mexico, can't remember exactly) and had a 100% survival rate when packed damp (wrapped in damp newspaper and then bagged) after 48 hours (I believe). I'll try and track down the article, but it seems completely plausible as many corals spend hours exposed to the sun and wind at low tide and so should be fine as long as they don't dry out or get cold.

EDIT: Found the article, my mind twisted it a little :lol: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-11/eb/index.php

Myka
04-28-2010, 06:28 AM
Hey thanks for posting up all that info whatcaneyedo!! :D

hillegom, in the future if you want to find this article click on "Written by Myka" in my signature, and you will be able to see all the different articles I have written.

whatcaneyedo
04-28-2010, 06:33 AM
Hey thanks for posting up all that info whatcaneyedo!! :D

hillegom, in the future if you want to find this article click on "My tanks" in my signature, and you will be able to see all the different articles I have written.

You're welcome. I tried shipping for the first time these last two weeks and was caught off guard in a few cases. So I thought I'd share what I learned so that others could avoid the hassle I went through.

Myka
04-28-2010, 06:40 AM
Ya, once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy. I had the luxury of learning when I worked in a large retail store, so that helped me figure it all out. :)

hillegom
04-28-2010, 07:15 AM
Thanks Myka

whatcaneyedo
07-13-2010, 05:05 AM
OK a couple of shipping questions.

1. How long can a coral frag last shipped with the above instructions? I have always assumed 24 hours, I have never exceeded 8 to 12 hours myself, it it possible that corals could last 2 to 3 days in shipping as long as they don't get too cold?



... no one has answered this question yet? In Calfo's Book of Coral Propagation he says that the average coral can survive shipping for up to 36 hours if properly packaged. Although I'm sure most of us would prefer it if they made it to their destination in half that amount of time.

Myka
07-13-2010, 04:35 PM
I remember seeing that question, I thought it had been answered.

When I packaged corals "professionally" we had the odd package that would "get lost" in shipping. We had one particular Greyhound package that got lost in the winter months (in BC) for 5 days, and both fish and coral survived. Not to say that is typical, but I always pack to assume the package will get lost. When shipped from overseas, packages are often in transit for 18-48 hours, sometimes quite a bit longer, and that's not including however long they sat in the package before they got their plane papers with the date and time on them. They ship the same way we do, except usually with less water and smaller bags.

Zoaelite
07-13-2010, 06:17 PM
I remember seeing that question, I thought it had been answered.

When I packaged corals "professionally" we had the odd package that would "get lost" in shipping. We had one particular Greyhound package that got lost in the winter months (in BC) for 5 days, and both fish and coral survived. Not to say that is typical, but I always pack to assume the package will get lost. When shipped from overseas, packages are often in transit for 18-48 hours, sometimes quite a bit longer, and that's not including however long they sat in the package before they got their plane papers with the date and time on them. They ship the same way we do, except usually with less water and smaller bags.

Happy to see your advocating good shipping practices Myka, I have read far to many horror stories about people just being plain lazy resulting in problems. If you take the time and effort not only do you prevent head aches in the future but you ensure the health and safety of the livestock (And in the end that's what really counts).

As a tip placing a small amount of activated Carbon in the bottom of your bag will greatly help for shipping that takes more than 24 hours (Such as shipping from the states).

RuGlu6
07-14-2010, 08:07 AM
i like your nails (finger nails that is LOL)!

phyto4life
08-15-2010, 03:21 PM
thanks for the post I hope to ship some zoo/paly frags in late fall

johnnyriker22
07-20-2014, 08:35 PM
Great post. Shipping can be tricky with livestock and you've demonstrated how to do it properly with this write-up.

Here is some more info on shipping as well:

Shipping Corals (http://www.livecoralreef.com/8-news/31-coralshipping)

Fishy!
01-28-2015, 02:50 AM
Hey trilinear...

I read an article a while back that stated they shipped Acropora frags from a collection site in the Caribbean (or Gulf of Mexico, can't remember exactly) and had a 100% survival rate when packed damp (wrapped in damp newspaper and then bagged) after 48 hours (I believe). I'll try and track down the article, but it seems completely plausible as many corals spend hours exposed to the sun and wind at low tide and so should be fine as long as they don't dry out or get cold.

EDIT: Found the article, my mind twisted it a little :lol: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-11/eb/index.php

Good read!!!^^^