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How To Transport Fish €“ 7 Tips & Tricks

If you recently bought fish and want to carry them home securely, if you want to relocate them to a new tank, or if you want to take them with you when you move, you must ensure that they are carried properly. Fish are more difficult to travel than other sorts of pets since their water must be within the perfect temperature range and contain the proper water characteristics.

When shipping your fish over long or small distances, there are a number of critical considerations to keep in mind. Continue reading "How To Transport Fish – 7 Tips & Tricks" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) for more details.

The 7 Tips for Transporting Fish

1. Use a Plastic Bag

Plastic bags are the most common method for transporting fish. Large, transparent plastic bags may be purchased from the local fish store. Obviously, the plastic bag should be devoid of any openings that may allow water to escape.

The bags must be sturdy and able to sustain a significant volume of water; thus, it is advisable to avoid plastic supermarket bags because they are designed to retain solid objects and not liquids. You can stack two plastic bags inside each other to provide additional reinforcement in the event that one bag breaks during transit. After placing the fish inside the bag, seal the opening with an elastic band.

2. Add In Old Aquarium Water

Fill the bag or container with 80 to 90 percent water and leave a layer of air above the waterline for transporting your fish. To avoid stressing out your fish, the aquarium water will retain traces of beneficial microorganisms and the same water parameters that your fish is accustomed to.

Avoid filling the bag or container with tap water that has not been dechlorinated, as chlorine and other heavy metals in the water are toxic to fish.

3. Use a Portable Air Pump for Oxygen

If you are shipping fish for an extended period of time, they will require oxygen. Use a portable air pump connected to airline tubing and an air stone put inside the bag or container to generate surface agitation for oxygenation of your fish. This is required only if your fish will be transported for more than a few hours, as the air in the plastic bag will ultimately escape.

4. Place The Plastic Bags In a Container

Try storing the plastic bags containing fish in a container to prevent them from rolling about in a car. If the bag is continually shifting and toppling, your fish will experience much more stress.

The plastic container does not need a lid since the bag should be placed inside to provide additional stability. The container will also be beneficial in the event that the bags leak, allowing you to place the fish inside in an emergency.

5. Use Disposable Gel Heating Packs for Tropical Fish

Transporting tropical fish over a long distance necessitates the use of a disposable gel heating pad since the water will begin to drop to the ambient temperature during transit. If transporting tropical fish for more than an hour, this is required.

The disposable gel heater should not be put directly against the bag, since doing so might cause the water to become too hot or break the plastic, resulting in a leak. Instead, the tropical fish should be placed in a plastic bag inside a container, with a towel or blanket between the heating pad and bag.

6. Do a Water Change In The Aquarium

Several days before you want to travel the fish over a long distance, you should perform modest water changes in the tank. This will ensure that the water you load into the plastic bag or other transportable container is fresh. The water in the bag will lose its freshness quickly, thus it is vital to use water with a rating of 0ppm for ammonia and nitrite (parts per million).

Before using aquarium water, you may do a water test to determine the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, since unstable water parameters can be fatal to fish.

7. Avoid Feeding Your Fish During Transport

Fish can survive without food for a few days, therefore it is not required to feed them during shipment. The majority of fish will be too stressed to eat, and as the ammonia level rises, food may fast lead the water to become filthy and hazardous for fish.

Any food that is not consumed by your fish will drop to the bottom and begin to decompose, altering the water parameters. Once your fish have reached their objective and been returned to the main tank, you may feed them.

How Long Can Fish Survive In a Bag?

The majority of fish can survive for up to 48 hours in a plastic bag, which is typically sufficient time for shipping fish. When transporting fish in a plastic bag, the fish will have a greater chance of surviving if there is a significant volume of water and sufficient room for oxygen to be sealed within.

Transporting tropical fish is significantly more difficult since the water must be gradually warmed to their preferred temperature range.


Transporting fish may be rather stressful, thus it should be done only when required. Breeders carry fish in plastic bags to pet retailers and people who purchased fish online.

It is essential to place your fish in a safe bag containing clean aquarium water, and to refrain from feeding them during shipping. After being relocated, the majority of fish will be anxious and disoriented, so they are likely to hide and behave erratically for a few hours until they regain their composure.

We believe “How To Transport Fish – 7 Tips & Tricks” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has provided you with useful information in preparation for the arrival of your new Betta.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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