How to Pack & Ship Shrimp
Thought this may be of help to others.
First off a disclaimer of sorts. There are many different ways to pack and ship shrimp or other inverts/fish. Everyone has their own way. This is just my way and it works for me. I ship fish the same way for the most part.
I use USPS for shipping shrimp. It is the least costly. I use Priority mail shipping boxes. The boxes are free at the post office, you can ask for as many as you want. Alternatively you can use any sort of box you want, some people even use small styrofoam boxes, which work well. I can never find enough of them.
The cost for shipping is based on weight and how far the package is going. Typically costs anywhere from $5 to $8. The delivery confirmation is $0.75. If you have a scale at home to weigh the package, you can print a shipping label off the usps or paypal website, then delivery confirmation is free.
In some cases depending on how much you are shipping it may be more worthwhile to use a medium or large flat rate shipping boxes. The cost is going up on these sometime next year so not including prices on them. Look on the usps.com website for pricing.
No matter how well you package the shrimp, you need to look at the weather both where you are and where you are shipping to will be. Many times I have waited to ship or receive shrimp/fish when temperatures are a bit extreme. Know the temperatures that are safe for shipping. For red cherry shrimp I have shipped from the 50F to 80F range.
Lots of pictures...
Measurements in this example will be for a Priority Mail Box
Internal Dimensions 7" x 7" x6" , Outer Dimensions 7.25" x 7.25" x 6.5"
Shrimp can be very sensitive to temperature changes. To help protect them from any extreme temperatures, the box needs to be insulated.
I salvage sheets of styrofoam that comes in packaging from a friend's shop. You can buy sheets/panels of styrofoam at many hardware stores. It can be found free at some stores since they will just tossed it out.
Top & Bottom
Pieces cut to 7" x 7"
Side pieces need some measuring to cut to size.
Length will be (Length of box) - (thickness of styrofoam)
L = 7" - 3/4" = 6 1/4"
Height will be (Height of box) - (2x thickness of styrofoam)
H = 6" - 3/4" - 3/4" = 4 1/2"
So 4 pieces cut to 6 1/4" x 4 1/2"
There should be a very tight fit, once the bottom and side pieces are in.
Net the shrimp out of the tank. I use a cup to hold them and to try to count them.
Total water I use is maybe 200ml. Do not need a lot of water. Also the water will add to weight and cost to ship!
I use 5.5" x 8" kordon breather bags. The advantage to them is they allow oxygen into the bag, and co2 out. No air space is left in the bag when you use kordon breather bags. This means the bags will take up less space in the box, so you can use smaller boxes.
You can use regular poly bags but I find more shrimp end up dying due to being sloshed around the bag. To get an idea of what I mean by that, take a water bottle that is half filled and shake it around, and imagine shrimp in it being tossed around in transit, not good!
Good source of kordon breather bags and regular poly bags http://www.kensfish.com/shipping-supplies.html or http://www.aquabid.com
Pour the cup of shrimp into the bag. Then add a bit of water to the cup, to rinse the shrimp that got stuck to sides of the cup into the bag , somehow always seems to happen. Then add in some java moss or any plant matter for the shrimp to cling onto. Tie up the bag.
I will put anywhere from 20-50 shrimp into a single bag. Just add a bit more water. You can always add a second bag of shrimp to the package as well.
No matter what type of bag you use, you want to double bag the shrimp. So take the first bag (with the shrimp) and put it into a second bag. This is to protect the shrimp in case the bag leaks.
Last edited by korith; 10-28-2012 at 08:57 AM.
Place shrimp bag onto a sheet of newspaper and fold it up loosely. You don't want to pack it too tightly as you might end up poking a hole in the bag! The newspaper has a few a few purposes. The first is to act as insulation. Also absorb water should the bag leak. Place into the box. Fill in the empty voids in the box to keep the bag from moving around with anything you like, packaging noodles, extra bits of styrofoam, crumpled up notes from class, etc...
If you feel the need to better the odds of a successful delivery, tape a lucky penny to the top piece of styrofoam.
Next the step I usually go a bit overboard with, tape the heck out of the package.
Ready to mail now.
Add on the shipping info and head to the post office.
They will ask you a few questions when you get there. I just answer no to everything. If you say 'yes' to liquids, you'll need to talk a bit maybe, but usually not a problem. Just let them know it's double bagged.
I keep a copy of this with me when I go to the post office, sometimes you have to deal with folks there that don't know that you can mail live fish/animals. This is useful to have so you can point out the regulation code if they give you any trouble about shipping fish.
Link is for the postal regulation about shipping fish and some other live animals.
526.6 Small, Harmless, Cold–Blooded Animals
What they require when you ship fish.
* Fish must be held in a securely sealed primary receptacle.
* Primary receptacle must be cushioned with sufficient absorbent material to take up all liquid in case of leakage.
* Primary receptacle and absorbent cushioning material must be sealed within waterproof outer (shipping) packaging.
Wow - this is great! Thanks - and the pics were extremely helpful.
46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, green corys, 1 guppy, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT with green corys & 2 guppies
Nice thread...but what to do when they arrive?...I've read a few different articles on un-packing and acclimating shrimp, but what do YOU recommend, korith?