The massive growth of the internet and online shopping has given rise to many more buying options for all kinds of hobbyists including of course, fish keepers! Where once, fish keepers had little choice in terms of where they could access supplies and livestock for their aquariums, today the whole planet is our supermarket. In the very recent past, buying new fish or plants for a tank probably meant a car journey to the nearest pet or fish keeping store…today we can make a purchase with a few clicks of a mouse.
The issue with purchasing livestock of course is that delivery must be extremely well managed and it is for this reason that when buying online it is important to stick to well known and well respected retailers who understand the complexities involved in shipping fish and plants. In general it is far better to buy livestock in person; there is no substitute for the reliability of being able to view and select livestock in person…buying fish which you have never seen will always carry some risks.
During the winter months, the UK can get extremely cold and any fish which you order online will probably arrive well packaged and with heat packs in their carton. Experienced retailers know the exact way to ensure that fish are comfortable for their journey and that they remain safe and at a good temperature. They will usually be contained in strong polythene bags which are not tightly inflated but which have some “play” in them…this avoids the risk of them bursting in transit. These bags are then packed in a lined polystyrene carton alongside some heatpacks which will often be wrapped up to avoid too much heat reaching the fish.
There are other details which experienced retailers will take care of before they ship any fish and these are extremely important relating to the readiness of the fish for safe shipping. Tropical fish which are due to be sent by post should not be fed for 24 hours prior to posting…this will ensure that they are ready to feed upon their arrival which will aid them in settling. Additionally it is vital that retailers check the water quality before adding the fish to the bags…no ammonia must be present at all or the fish will likely die.
Packing and posting fish
If you are for any reason considering sending any fish by post, it is important that you stick to the main guidelines for the safety of your fish. Royal Mail will only agree to send fry through their system and never adult fish and some private shipping companies have the same rules…ensure that you check before you package and send!
The following tips will help to keep your fish safe on their journey.
- Double bag the fish; if one bag leaks then your heat packs will get wet and fail…resulting in all the fish being placed at risk.
- Do not over-inflate the bags as this will put them at risk of bursting.
- Never place heatpacks directly in contact with bags as they reach high temperatures and can cause the fish to overheat.
- Wrap the heatpacks in newspaper or towels to protect the fish or tape them firmly to the underside of the packing carton lid.
In an ideal world there would be no need to send livestock through the postal system but since there is a market for it, it is better to ensure that there are good guidelines to follow so that the fish have the optimum chance of survival.
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