We've been shipping out a lot of packages of fish and invertebrates recently. Many of you have asked us how we ship our livestock, so instead of just telling you guys, we'll show you!
Our number one priority is to have our livestock kicking and swimming in your aquarium after shipment. We won't know exactly how the package will be handled by UPS/USPS so we have to prepare for the worst.
We first start with a 1-4 week long quarantine process where these fish are held in planted tanks with 0 ammonia, nitrite AND <5ppm nitrate levels accommodated with feeding 3+ times/day of the highest quality foods. Another post completely dedicated to acclimation and quarantine will be coming soon!
Then we check the weather for every destination that we are shipping to and we include heat/cold packs if requested. The heat/cold packs last 24-48 hours and we use UPS 2nd day air/ USPS priority mail depending on location. Heat+cold packs will last for most if not entire duration of the shipment. In fact, we have successfully shipped large livestock orders to Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, and New York (from San Diego)!
The bottom and sides of the package are lined with Styrofoam boards so that it not only insulates the package but also protects the package. Bags of livestock are then placed in the center of the box and styrofoam peanuts+paper is used to fill the empty space in the package.
All livestock (except smaller quantities of snails) are shipped in Kordon breather bags. The special semi-permeable plastic film used in the breather bags generates a constant transfer of carbon dioxide out of the water in the bag through the walls of the bag, and the absorption of oxygen from the atmosphere through the bag walls into the water in the bag. This provides a constant source of fresh oxygen for our livestock. http://www.novalek.com/kordon/breathing_bags/index.htm
Sometimes, we may not fill these Kordon breather bags with much water and no air. 10's 20's and even 30's of fish/inverts may seem crammed into 8 to 10 oz of water but smaller volumes of water and airless packaging in these breather bags are actually more beneficial for shipping! Here are just a few reasons:
1. Higher surface area to volume ratio- Smaller volume means a higher surface area to volume ratio= more interaction with the atmosphere= more oxygen for fish to breathe!
Think about it this way: the smaller the bag, the more oxygenated the water is going to be and on the other hand, the bigger the bag (more water), the longer it's going to take for air to travel to the center of the bag for the fish to inhale. Since these fish and invertebrates are only going to be in the bag for 1-3 days, they can handle being in confined space as long as sufficient oxygen is provided.
2. Comfort- Since these bags can breathe, there's no need for air! This means no sloshing and a much smoother ride for your livestock and invertebrates!
3. Lower shipping costs- Our savings is your savings! No air and less water mean less weight and smaller packages! We try our best to bring the highest quality livestock at the most competitive prices. shipping fish and invertebrates this way is not only better for the fish but for your wallet as well!
4. Increased Survival Rate- Overall, this method of shipment has brought really good survival rate for our livestock. Both Aqua Design Innovations and our customers are really happy with the shipments. There's a balance and trade-off that has to be made and Aqua Design Innovations will try our VERY best to make sure the fish and invertebrates are shipped as best/efficiently as possible.
We believe in our methods and products and will stand behind it 100%