Select Aquatics
    

                                   Receiving Shipped Fish 

 
 

                                Many of us have ordered fish from someone, they finally arrive, you get them into a tank,
                               and two weeks later their numbers are down, and you can't figure out why. I can't address
                               every time a fish dies when introduced to a new environment, but there are a number of
                               factors that could be responsible. I'll try to mention a few things that have worked best
                               for me. See "New Tank Syndrome" below, and also Keeping Select Aquatics Fish.

                               Select Aquatics does not charge extra for shipping or handling. We use USPS Express or
                               or Priority Mail (For hard goods). The fish are shipped in styrofoam boxes, individually impulse
                               sealed or knotted within breather bags . A quote is provided when you order that is an 
                               estimate based on the number of fish you order, the likely sized box they will require, 
                               and your location.  The actual cost is not known until the bagged, sealed box is shipped.

                               A signature is always required for overnight deliveries unless it is discussed in emails
                               beforehand.

                               I have a policy where if I overestimate your cost of shipping by more than $6, I will refund
                               the difference back to you, and will absorb the difference when it costs more to ship than what
                               you had been quoted. Customers are never overcharged for shipping. In colder temperatures,
                               $3-5 may be added to cover the cost of 1-2 heat packs, which will be stated in the initial
                               quote. As the overall weight, size of the box and distance from Denver increases, the postal
                               rate increases incrementally.  

     
                                Shipping is done when temperatures here and at their destination are between 35 and 90 
                               degrees. If temperatures are not appropriate, I will check your temperatures each weekend 
                               for the upcoming week, and email you each week with a shipping date or decision to wait
                               another week. 

                               Often fish expire after they arrive at their destination, because they may ride in a hot or cold
                               Postal truck until they are delivered to you. This can be avoided by arranging for a "Hold For
                               Pickup" delivery. This costs nothing, and I will make up the mailing labels to reflect the box
                               is to be pulled and held at the room temperature Post Office until you are able to pick it up.
                               All that is required is that you contact the Post Office the day the box is shipped to let them
                               know to pull it, and that you will be coming by the following day to sign for and pick it up.

                               I care that your fish arrive as safely as possible, and that they do well after they arrive.
                               I believe we have a responsibility to ensure that the fish do well once they arrive in your
                               aquarium. Much information is provided here that I recommend you access, particularly
                               the Care Guides linked from each species page, as well as the broad overviews at 
                               Keeping Select Aquatics Fish. If they don't do well, I want to know, and if it can be 
                               connected to a practice we are doing here, it will be addressed.

                               The shipping process is also constantly being improved upon, and losses are the rare
                               exception.  I ask that everyone let me know when a box is received, when it arrived, and the 
                               condition the fish are in to fix any issues, and ensure shipping quality for following orders.

                               Please contact me if the fish have difficulty, and specifics as to the food, temperatures, feeding
                               schedule, etc. can be provided, as well as an effort to determine where the fish ran into problems
                               if they occur.

                               I will generally send an extra or more (depending on the size of the order) of each species ordered
                               to hopefully cover any losses that may occur during shipping. There are some species where extras
                               cannot be sent due to the type of fish or the numbers here, such as the sexed Green Dragon plecos.

                              More information on Select Aquatics shipping can be seen HERE.
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                                              Overnight Express or 3-5 Day Priority Mail?

                           Due to losses that resulted from boxes shipped USPS 3-5 day Priority, through no fault of
                           Select Aquatics or the customer, Select Aquatics no longer ships 3-5 day Priority Mail, 
                           and now only ships USPS Overnight Express Mail.

                           Besides the obvious advantages of a box of live fish arriving overnight, or 2nd day to some
                           areas, shipping cost is determined by weight only - so larger boxes can be used for better 
                           distance from a heat pack or more insulation, at no extra cost.

              
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                                                           Receiving Shipped Fish:

                           1. When preparing to receive new fish, I have an empty tank prepared for them to acclimate 
                                to, with plants to hide in, possibly a very thin layer of gravel, a working filter, a top that
                                provides full cover from jumping out, a heater (if necessary), and no or low  light. After
                                opening the box, but before opening the first bag or container, test the pH and and hardness
                                of the water the fish have arrived in. That way you will know how far "away" your water is
                                from what the fish are accustomed to. This dictates the speed of the acclimation process, and
                                tells you whether you may need to add anything to the water to make it softer, harder or adjust
                                the pH.

                          2. Then, when introducing any fish to a new source of water, drip acclimate. Drip acclimating
                               is simply this:
                               Open the bag or container the fish came in and empty it into another empty open container,
                               such as a "shoebox" style plastic box. If need be, tip the new container (If new, rinse thoroughly
                               first- of course, no cleansers), up at one end to allow the fish to be covered by the water they
                               came in. Then set up a length of airline tube from an established aquarium or container of your
                               dechlorinated water to a plastic air valve, going into the water the fish were shipped in so that
                               a drop falls in about every 3-5 seconds. I have seen some fishkeepers that will simply tie the
                               airline into a loose knot to accomplish this. Be sure to cover the container so that the fish
                               cannot jump out.

                               Keep an eye on it, and watch the fish for any signs of distress every few minutes. If they begin
                               to act oddly, turn off drip and wait 20 minutes or so before resuming. When you have doubled 
                               the amount of water they came in, you can then begin to slowly increase the flow rate. The  
                               entire process should take at least an hour, for they need to be given time to physically  
                               adapt, particularly if the pH or hardness differ by more than a slight amount.

                               I have heard that there are some fishkeepers that do not advise adding fresh water to bag water,
                               claiming it can actually be more harmful than to simply dump them right in. In my experience this is
                               a false belief, and will definitely cause more harm than good. I am aware of the ammonia to
                               nitrate concerns they mention to defend this position, but do not think is is more than an
                               interesting take on the process, and doesn't apply to the small amounts of water we are working
                               with. As well, I have witnessed too many fish that succumbed from pH or temperature
                               shock over the years from an insufficient acclimation to ever consider anything other than a long,
                               gradual, relatively stress free acclimation to their new water.

                          3. Then put them into a bag to be floated, or float that container, possibly with a little baby brine
                               shrimp for them to eat, for 10-15 minutes to even out the temperatures. If they are being put into
                               a tank with other fish, be sure to feed the other fish well so that they will be less likely to nip or
                               bother the new tankmates. When one fish meets another, it has only 3 concerns- Will you eat me, 
                               do I want to eat you, and/or can we mate with one another? Feeding everyone well removes two 
                               of those options. If you take this opportunity to give them some BBS before being released, be  
                               sure to release them after no more than an hour, for the BBS will foul the small amount of water 
                                they are in and possibly kill the fish if left for too long.

                               Then slowly let them go into the tank, keeping the light off, a cover on the tank (fish will be less
                               likely to jump out later, once acclimated.) Once they settle, introduce the light and lightly feed
                               some dry food. If quarantining them in a transition tank, keep them in that tank one week, then,
                               assuming water conditions are the same where they are going, float them about 10 minutes to 
                               ensure the temperatures are equal before letting them go into their new home.
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                                       "New tank syndrome" - What it is and how to avoid it:

                           Fish emit wastes through both digestion and respiration, far more than what can be seen by looking
                           at the tank. In an established aquarium, bacteria that have built up over time process that waste,
                           and as long as waste is not produced faster than the bacteria can digest it, the tank stays stable.
                           By stable I mean that toxic substances (such as ammonia, nitrites, nitrates) do not accumulate.
                           Those substances, when allowed to develop and build up, will quickly kill fish. 

                           "New tank syndrome" is simply a fresh body of water being inundated with wastes it doesn't yet have
                           the bacteria to process. Lethal amounts of toxic substances accumulate during normal biological
                           activity, and the fish die. The average time for a tank to "crash" is understood to be 15 days. But
                           there are a number of solutions-

                           The best solution is to start a new tank with water from an established tank, filling the new tank
                           at least 10% with the seasoned aquarium water. Add dechlorinated tap water and you are ready to go.
                           The next best option is-

                           - Get water from a disease free established tank at a friend's or from the local fish store.
                           Anyone keeping fish successfully must do regular water changes, so water should be always
                           available. Just be sure the tank the water comes from is disease free!

                           - This next solution works well, without the need to get water from anywhere else. Before obtaining
                           or adding the fish, fill the tank with dechlorinated water and a light sprinkling of dry food, and
                           if possible, have it sit for awhile- a few days- with the filter or an airstone going. When everything
                           is ready for the fish (the water is totally clear, filter is added, heater, etc.), go ahead and put
                           them in, and feed fairly lightly the first few days.


                           Here's the important part. Take out and replace about 20% of the water every 3 days for the first
                           2 weeks. This allows the bacteria to develop over those first 2 weeks while preventing a buildup that
                           will adversely affect the fish. If the tank ever becomes cloudy, change 10-20% at those times as well.
                           At about 3 weeks you can then go to a normal 20% once a week water changing schedule. Never get into
                           the habit of simply adding water to a tank simply to replace water that had evaporated. By doing so
                           you are actually concentrating toxins in the water that need to be removed. Also see "3 Periods of
                           Fish Adjustment".


 

                                                                  If a Fish arrives DOA:
 
                           This happens rarely, and I will make every effort to ensure that your fish arrive healthy. If a fish
                           does arrive that has died in transit, extras are sent in most cases, and on only a couple occasions,
                           of many hundreds of boxes shipped, have the losses exceeded the extras. But if that does happen,
                           I definitely want to know about it!  Please send me a pic of the deceased fish as soon as they
                           arrive to selectaquatics@gmail.com , and I will replace your fish at no charge (If available), but
                           the customer will pay for shipping.
 
 

      Each fish is shipped in either impulse sealed
     channels in breather bags, or breather bags
     that are knotted in the normal fashion, or
     standard doubled plastic bags for fish with
     spines that may puncture the breather bags.
     Gradual improvements to the packing process
     have caused losses to be minimal. Extras
     continue to be sent of most fish with each
     order, so that the customer always receives
     at least what they ordered.

 

      After being caught and sealed into the bags, they
      are checked for leaks over newspaper while the
      styrofoam boxes and paperwork is prepared.
      If a leak is seen, the fish are removed and the bag
      is replaced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

         Styros waiting for a delivery!
 

 
 

          

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