Best way to transport aquatic life on a long car ride - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Best way to transport aquatic life on a long car ride

At the end of the year I'm moving from northern California to phoenix and I'm driving there. I need to bring about 10 fish and over a dozen amano shrimp with me. I also have a tankfull of live plants. Its an 18 hour drive and I will probably stop and sleep half way. What's the best way to ensure their safe arrival.

My initial plan was to buy a couple 5 gallon buckets. I would fill one with tank water and float the plants in it and seal the top. Then I would buy some breather bags for the fish and shrimp and put them in the other bucket and leave it open top... and occasionally rotate the bags around for better air flow.

Someone also said I could put them in a bucket of water and use a battery powered air pump with it.

What would you suggest?

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 08:04 PM
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Do not put breather bags in water. The fish will suffocate. Depending on the size of the fish, I would pack them in breathers like I was going to ship them and put them into an insulated box. That way you don't have to worry about buckets and air pumps, etc. If they are very large fish, do sealed buckets with a hole drilled in the lid with an airline/stone providing oxygen using battery operated air pumps. By large I mean 4+ inch. Wrap the buckets in blankets or something to insulate them if you stop overnight and leave them out in the car. If you can, bring the buckets inside overnight as the desert nights are cold.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 09:17 PM
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I don't know your parameters or tanking method so I'm just posting what I do for 3-4 day shipping using Kordon bags.

Purge the fish (no food) for 48 to 72hrs. Less poo = less mess.
Try for a neutral pH of 6.8 to 7.0 on the shipping water, this is about 2dKH.
GH doesn't really matter. If I'm shipping to someone tanking with hard water I increase GH prior to shipping and ship in the harder water.
But low or neutral pH means ammonia build up in the bags isn't in toxic form.
Package fish 1 or 2 maximum per bag. One is best because if one dies it doesn't poison the other fowling the water. Styrofoam cooler lined with a bath towel, breather bags and just leave them boxed.
Dark conditions = less stress (imo) and stable temp.

Once you arrive treat them like new fish and deal with the ammonia opening the bags. My method is posted here.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 12:45 AM
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That may seem like a long time but keep in mind that most fish take at least two days to arrive when USPS is used. And that is with people throwing the box!
Pack and seal them as if they were to be shipped and don't worry any more. The buckets have major downside. They don't hold temperature well and they tend to tip. The last thing you want is a wreck due to the fish bucket tipping over. The next worst is trying to find water in some parking lot where the bucket fell out. Fiberglass insulation is good to wrap around the bags inside the box. It is easy to work and cushions as well as maintains a steady temp.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 02:10 AM
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What fish? I went on a 14 road trip and put them in a box with a towel liner and them in ziploc gallon bags. 100% success rate a couple times
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