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
Aquatics does not charge extra for shipping or handling. We use
USPS Express or Priority Mail, and
other shipping services by request. The fish are
shipped in styrofoam boxes, individually impulse sealed
or knotted within breather bags . An cost 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 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, $2 may be added to cover the cost
of a heat pack. As the overall weight, size of the box
and distance from Denver increases, the postal rate
increases incrementally. For information concerning
international shipping, see
is done when temperatures here and at their destination are
between 35 and 90 degrees.
Heat packs are used in cooler temps, but cold packs
have not been as successful at warmer temperatures,
and generally are not used. When temps are beyond those
limits, I will keep in close touch, and shipping
is postponed until safe temperatures return. Generally
overnight delivery is best in hotter weather.
I care how your
fish do 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
linked from each species page, as well as the broad overviews at
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 should be 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, and that will be
mentioned when shipping is being arranged.
Overnight deliveries are shipped on Mondays, Tuesdays,
Wednesdays and Thursdays by request. Priority Mail
is generally shipped on Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
Shipping Priority on Saturday will often get the
package to its destination a day earlier than when shipped on
Mondays. The mail still moves, and package
travel is lighter over weekends. During the holiday period
package shipping is greater, and overnight guarantees
are often suspended to many locations. As well, boxes shipped
from Nov. 15th to January 10th may not receive
the handling care provided the rest of the year. For this
reason, shipping is done less frequently during that
period. Orders are still taken, but shipping may take place
after holiday traffic has passed.
Overnight Express or 3-5 Day Priority Mail?
Overnight Express Mail is obviously the best choice as 18-24
hrs in transit is better than
shipping that may span up to 7 days (5 business days plus the
weekend). Recently USPS has put in
place a guaranteed delivery for Priority and a tracking
number. (Generally 2nd day).
In non holiday times Priority Mail generally serves
as a second day service, and in most
instances a box shipped on a Saturday will arrive on Monday.
Mail still moves over weekends, and
package traffic is lightest. For a box of up to about 3
pounds, to most locations in the continental U.S.,
the difference between overnight Express Mail and 3-5 day
Priority Mail is about $20. When a Priority
box will run $15, to ship overnight would be $35. Over 3
pounds and the difference between them varies,
depending on box size, destination, etc.
About 10% of
the time a destination cannot be guaranteed overnight delivery
by the Post Office.
When this occurs, overnight delivery may still take place,
but generally the package will arrive by
3pm the second day (At the Express Mail cost). Priority Mail
to these locations would then take
closer to the full 5 business day guarantee.
Most fish do well with none or very few losses. Larger fish
or those species with greater oxygen
requirements (The odessa barbs
and Ilyodon furcidens, for
example) can usually survive second day
delivery, but are best shipped overnight, particularly if you
are receiving larger adult fish. Those younger
and unsexed, especially the
swordtails, do well for longer periods in breather bags,
often surviving over a
week if necessary. The goodeids
and limias, however, are simply less hardy in those conditions,
generally begin after 4-5 days. All fish are not fed for 24
hrs. prior to shipping.
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
(if necessary), and no or low light.
After opening the box, but before opening the first bag or
container, test the pH and
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
2. Then, when
introducing any fish to a new source of
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
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
3. Then put them into
a bag to be floated, or float that container, possibly with a
little baby brine shrimp for
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, but 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.
"New tank syndrome" - What it is
and how to avoid it:
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
amounts of toxic substances accumulate during normal biological
activity, and the fish die. The
average time for a tank to "crash" is understood to
be15 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
successfully must do regular
water changes, so water
should be always available.
next solution works well, without the need to get
water from anywhere else. Before adding the fish, fill
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,
go ahead and put them in, and feed
fairly lightly the first few days.
Now 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
once a week water changing
schedule. Never get into the habit of simply adding water to a
tank simply to replace water
evaporated. By doing so you are actually concentrating toxins in
the water that need to be removed.
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,
please email me immediately at
email@example.com or call
or text me at (303) 204-8662.If
observe something that could have improved the shipment process,
please let me know. I guarantee live delivery
on overnight shipping by including an extra individual or two on
all shipments and/or by replacing the fish at no
charge that died in transit. (Does not include shipping).