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Shipping fish and aquatic plants

Question: Can the fish be transported by airplane?

Answer: For transporting fish by plane you may need a large container: 1 l of water per each 50-150 g of the fish weight approx. The permissible time for fish to be kept inside the transporting container depends on the amount of air to breathe, water temperature (for the warm water fish it should be +75-79 шF), amount of light (in the dark the fish reduce activity and can easier bear the stress) and number of fish. The bigger are the fish the smaller number of them should be placed in the container. Young fish (not the fry) stand the voyage better.

In the warm season you can successfully transport the fish in a vacuum bag. Ordinary plastic bags put one in another is a very convenient container. Fill one third of the bag with water and the remained space - with air (or better the oxygen). Do not pump in too much air or oxygen, since at a height the pressure is lower and the air volume will increase. The bag surface should slightly go back when you press at it. The fish can stay in the plastic bag with pure oxygen during 30-70 hrs, and far less in case of using air.

If transporting small-sized fish, tightly pull the corners of the bag with the rubber rings to prevent leaking or the fish to get stuck there. Tie the bag upper edge with a rubber ring, or an insulation sticky tape or just seal it and set the ready bag in a cardboard box or a cellular plastic box.

In a cold season think of the heater: put hot-water containers (e.g. plastic bottles) around the plastic bag.

Q.: How to transport fish at large distances?

A.: If it takes only few hours to get to the place, you can settle the fish into a glass jar, plastic container (for keeping provision) or a big vacuum bottle. The water should occupy not more than 2/3 of the container volume. 24 hrs before as well as during the journey do not feed the fish.

During long journeys (more than one day) only the plastic bags are the guarantee that the fish will reach the place safely. In the absence of pure oxygen take a portable battery air pump or a hand-made pump to blow air in the water (attach a spraying head on a hose, and connect the latter to a bladder and a rubber bulb of a pulverizer).

Each several hours the fish should be examined. If they stay at the water surface, pump some air in the water.

During the journey place the fish container so as to prevent excess rolling.

Q.: Can give a more detailed description of the containers for transporting fish?

A.: For a long cruise double plastic bags filled with oxygen are very good. Glass and containers with firm walls may hurt the fish if a strong shaking. The ratio of water to air must be between 1:1 and 1:3. The second variant is obligatory for Labyrinth and other kinds of fish that use atmospheric air for breathing.

The inner bag should be packed as follows. 1. Fill it with water. For disinfection add Trypaflavine (5 mg per 1 l) or Monomycin (1000 standard units per 1 l). Place the fish. 2. Squeeze the air out of the bag with your hands, insert rubber hose, grip the plastic bag at the neck and pump in the oxygen from the cylinder or an oxygen bag. Twist the tail of the filled plastic bag and tie it with one or several rubber rings. 3. Put the bag into the second one. Tie the corners of the bags with rubber rings. 4. To guarantee the stable temperature use a cellular plastic box or wrap the bags in several sheets of paper.

Q.: How to transport aquatic plants at far distances? Can they be sent by mail?

A.: Pour some water in the plastic bag so that it covers the bottom (in order to prevent breaking the plant during shaking) and place the plant assigned for transporting inside. Close the bag tightly and put it into another plastic bag. Puff the air into the second bag and also tie it. This will protect the plant from damaging.

When mailing aquatic plants there is a risk that the package will be held up somewhere and the plant will perish, since plants can go without lighting not more than for 2 days. Thus this kind of transporting is very limited.

"Aquarium" magazine 1994 - 1
Translated by Tatiana Karpova (Moscow)
(MSU, Biology faculture, Dep. zoology and ecology).