mvite

The Official "How to Ship Coral" Thread

299 posts in this topic

Hey everyone!

 

There comes a time in every reefkeeper's life when we have to ask ourselves a very defining question...."Do I ship or not?"

 

You wouldn't believe the amount of ziploc bags, tupperware, igloo coolers, handwarmers, thermoses, BATH TOWELS (Yes, I said BATH TOWELS), that I have received from fellow hobbyists when shipping me coral in a sale or trade. Heck, I have even had some lousy shipping from so-called "professional" web coral stores! Just in the past 3 months--I have gotten several shipments where temps were 60 degrees or less in the bag---that's pitiful!! Please be upfront with fellow reefers about your shipping experience. Heck, I have even shipped supplies to people I have traded with--to be sure I didn't get a handwarmer wrapped in a bath towel!! :lol: (It's happened.)

 

The problem seems to be that there's nowhere out there to get info. Well---NO MORE!! I will post some pics of "my way"---that has worked really well for me---probably 99.9% survival shipping--- I dunno--- 1,000 frags or so?

 

Let us know what worked for you---and also what didn't work. I will do the same as we go along!

 

First---Determine which box you will use to ship. You can use solid styro fish boxes or you can line your own with styro from Lowes or Home Depot. The "pro" boxes are better---but cost more.

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Next, get a REAL HEAT PACK!! No handwarmers! I got these on aquabid.com--you can also get them on ebay. 40 HOUR HEAT PACKS.

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Next, I line the box with a large 2 mil bag (from aquabid.com or uline.com)

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Then, I wrap the frag in plain white paper towel. (Controversial--but it works!) This is an acan echinata. I ship SPS, LPS and softies like this.

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Then I place the wrapped frag into a 6x12 bag filled with about 1/3 water. I determine the water level by moving the bag around to see if the frag stays under water the whole time. Twist the bag very tightly and use a rubberband to tie it off.

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Then, take that bag and turn it upside down inside of another identical bag. Twist that one very tightly as well and tie it off. You want it as close to "round" as you can get it.

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Then, put all the frags inside of the larger bag and tie the bag shut. DO NOT PUT THE HEAT PACK IN YET!! (HEAT PACKS NEED AIR TO WORK!)

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Then, backfill the box with styro (peanuts or stryo cutting scraps work fine too)--and NOW put the heat pack in. I wrap the heat pack with a paper towel to make sure that it's always exposed to air. I have seen them taped into the lid of the styro box. That works too.

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Then--seal your box and you are all set! Easy!!!! PM me if you ever have any questions!

 

And please---let us know what works and what doesn't!!

Edited by mvite
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This guy knows what he is talking about... That Kedd Redd zoas you sent me is now at about 12-15 polyps!! WAHOOOOOOOO

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This guy knows what he is talking about... That Kedd Redd zoas you sent me is now at about 12-15 polyps!! WAHOOOOOOOO

Thanks--I am glad to hear that the Kedds are rockin'!

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I'm glad you posted this. I agree you really know what you are doing here.

 

Any tips on cutting the stryofoam? I make a mess every and usually end up ruining the box every time I try to cut up a styrofoam fish box from work to fit into a smaller box.

 

Kind of a weird question too, but what brand of paper towels do you use?

 

I'll pm you my other question.

 

Thanks!

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Any tips on cutting the stryofoam? I make a mess every and usually end up ruining the box every time I try to cut up a styrofoam fish box from work to fit into a smaller box.

I don't actually cut through the styro any more. I score it lightly and then snap it from the back side--clean cut--minimal confetti!!!

 

As for paper towels--I use any brand--as long as it's white. I know that may be the worst because they are bleached, but I haven't had one problem.

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lol 2 things

 

1. you need stickers. enough with the sharpie!

2. you tie bags like a noob. i'll post my version later

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lol 2 things

 

1. you need stickers. enough with the sharpie!

LOL!!

 

The marker thing just hit me right before I took the pics. I felt mostly embarrassed that I was shipping a box to someone that had that in it like I was "advertising". I wrote mine as a joke just for you!!! I actually was going to order a rubber stamper----but again---I don't wanna draw attention to the box. That name---it would.

 

2. you tie bags like a noob. i'll post my version later

Bring it. :)

 

And I was tryin' to take pics whilst I was shipping. My wife would leave me if I asked her to take pics of me shipping coral. I tie a mean bag otherwise.

Edited by mvite

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so the paper towel kind of helps with movement inside the bag? like if the box is dropped or something?

 

also do u know the highest temp that the heat packs can get? ive always thought they would cook em if the pack is touching the bag directly i guess ive never tried it though

 

what about multiple frags? same bag seperated with paper towel or seperate bags and larger box

 

1 more thing how much air do u leave in the bag?

 

also great post i think this will help a lot of people

Edited by Turbo5oh

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cool read. thx.

 

adin is just jealous his printing is so sloppy.

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so the paper towel kind of helps with movement inside the bag? like if the box is dropped or something?

 

also do u know the highest temp that the heat packs can get? ive always thought they would cook em if the pack is touching the bag directly i guess ive never tried it though

 

what about multiple frags? same bag seperated with paper towel or seperate bags and larger box

 

also great post i think this will help a lot of people

My thoughts were that the paper towels would serve a couple purposes. One, to shield against sharp edges of rock and coral. Two, as long as the paper towel is somewhere near the coral, the coral will probably remain moist. I have had bags break in shipping--boxes can crush---but if they just stay wet---and not too cold for too long they should be ok.

 

I don't know about the highest temps. But I do know that I just killed the sweetest piece of Superman monti that I had grown---from a speck!!! I thought because it was so cold and it was in-state (PA) shipping, I would use two heat packs for one frag--about golf ball size. It died. I was sad. But now I (and you) know, not to use two heat packs with one frag. If the box is jam packed--as often is the case--I just lay the heat pack on the center bags. With all the jostling going on--I think it all equates to a rough median temperature in the box.

 

As for multiple frags--I ship multiple zoa frags together sometimes. I just roll them into the paper towel ;ole a burrito filled with zoas. Then I plop that into the bag. As for SPS or LPS---I don't mix them. I don't want to risk it.

 

I hope this helps!

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Nice thread. I need to get my materials together for trading and selling.

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Nice thread. I need to get my materials together for trading and selling.

 

i just ordered a few 70 hour heat packs and some baggies. it will be my first time shipping .

 

keep the tips coming. greatly appreciated

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Good info, mvite, and great idea for a thread. tagging along...

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Awesome info. I've never shipped, but I'm willing to try once the weather breaks. I doubt winter is the best time for a noob shipper.

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Thanks everyone---Once the weather breaks--you really should give it a try. I have received zoas in thermoses via Priority Mail and had no problems.

 

Some of my best coral has been from other reefers. You gotta get it there somehow!

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Im' going to post some pics of those breather bags I use and place them here with a few tips of my own to add to your great posts Mark ( if you dont mind?)

I think accomplished shipers should share all thie rknowledg ein this thread, and this thread should be made a sticky.

 

Adin,

I SWEAR TO GOD last year about this time I bought a maxima off a guy in maryland and he sent it to my in celophane candy wrapping with a bread tie on top. His othe rpackaging matearial consisted of a thin walled shoe box, and shredded newspaper stuffed inside a larger shoe box. And to top it off he used clear tape to close the box ! ( like you would use to wrap a present.)

I think I may still even have pics of that horrible mess some where?

I have had some dusy's ( even recently) but that one take the cake hands down.

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Im' going to post some pics of those breather bags I use and place them here with a few tips of my own to add to your great posts Mark ( if you dont mind?)

I wish you would! Please do--I know it's very different from non-breather bags so that will be much appreciated.

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this thread should be made a sticky.

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no, seriously m, you bag and tie like a noob.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

j/k, good post. :)

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no, seriously m, you bag and tie like a noob.

j/k, good post. :)

lol!

 

I think it was one of my off days!

 

BTW--Er1c is the ONLY reefer who shipped to me in the DEAD OF WINTER--and my frags were like 75 cozy degrees!!

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I was thinking:

 

USPS Express costs about $18.80 for the first pound or so.

 

Fedex and UPS charge based on "Dimensional Weight" which means--If you are shipping via USPS---box size doesn't matter--it's weight and distance.

 

For UPS and Fedex--USE THE SMALLEST BOX POSSIBLE---it will influence your price.

Edited by mvite

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GREAT info, Mvite! You know I know you know what you're talking about! My frags are doing very well and I even think a baby is forthcoming!!!

 

Keep the information coming, people, I plan to ship in the spring so this is most appreciated. :)

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Awesome, my man, just Awesome! Thank you for a job well done.

 

Did you read the article I sent you about the idea of shipping the corals wrapped only in damp paper towel, and not submerged in water? What are your thoughts on it?

 

Maybe I should post the pics of the stuff I got that time, packed in the won-ton soup container....

Edited by Mudfish

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I have never shipped before, but I will definitely use the methods posted here. Great thread and great info. Thanks!

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Yes "STicky"

 

Great thread...Ive never shipped, but hope to soon.

Vite...thks very much :D

 

I recently read a post From Prop on his shipping also...YOU guys CAre and

have tried and true methods.

 

Izzue

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I am glad you all like the thread! And I am glad that everyone's *cough* PPE *cough* are doing well!

 

Everyone should try shipping---it's really, really easy. JUST DON'T TELL PEOPLE THERE IS CORAL IN THE BOX! (It's not illegal--but it's NOT WORTH THE HASSLE!)

 

Did you read the article I sent you about the idea of shipping the corals wrapped only in damp paper towel, and not submerged in water? What are your thoughts on it?

I did--Everyone--Mudfish is talking about an article by Eric Borneman about "dry shipping". Many of you had referenced it to me in past trades as something you wanted to try.

 

I have received zoanthids in large quantities via "dry ship". The animals were healthy--but one small issue was "bruising" of individual polyps. Many of the rocks, since they weren't surrounded by water, had the opportunity to smash against one another in shipping. If you could assure the frags wouldn't move around and contact each other I think it would be just fine. Not one zoa that I received was dry or dead. A few were smashed--but you could see on the paper towel where the contact was made---and the ensuing "smooshmark". :) (Very technical coral fragger term.)

 

My using paper towels kind of evolved from "dry shipping" and "wet shipping". I figured even if the box and bags were damaged, the coral would be "dry shipped" for a couple hours until received. I have used less and less water---but I get a little freaked. Sending someone dead coral really---I mean really---bums me out. I'm a little afraid to deviate from what I have been doing.....Hence our thread!!!

 

I figure collectively, we are experimenting thousands of times a year!!!

 

Maybe I should post the pics of the stuff I got that time, packed in the won-ton soup container....

I think you should! Don't name any names--but it's "how not to ship"!!

Edited by mvite

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