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Pod Your Reef

The Official "How to Ship Coral" Thread


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I've seen a "damaged" package from a shipper, and I'm not going to mention which one, (not live items thankfully)....with tire tracks on it :o . No joke.


For us, we use the strongest solid styro boxes we can with a tightly fit heavy cardboard box on the outside. Some wholesalers will ship fish in to us in solid styro and some will ship in what are called "trans ship" boxes, which are what the boxes are I've seen pictures of in this threat that are just styro panels fit inside the box to form the sides. You never know what will happen to a package during the course of shipping, so we pretty well always try to prepare for the worst case scenario just in case there is adverse weather during shipping or whatever. We currently are using empty air bags as a space filler if we have a gap in a box we're shipping, but we're investigating other space fillers.


What do you guys use to fill space in a box that is meant to ship 4 items when you only have 3? I'm curious to see what everyone has come up with.



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The Propagator

I had been recycling my left over styro scraps to peanuts via breaking them up by hand. WHAT A PITA !!!

So I have since been using anything from paper towels, newspaper to air bags.

Recently its mostly been air bags though.

That seems to fit and hold better. and its not such a PITA now that I have an impulse sealer. Life is good now with that little beauty !!

I don't know how I got by with out it ?


One thing that I think is worth mentioning is high altitude pressure drop.

WTF is that you ask? When you send a package airborne express mail it goes up into the stratosphere in a big azz cargo jet.

At 25,000 feet plus the barometric pressure drops severely.

This allows gases that have built up inside the bag to expand rapidly and with much more force. When the plane descends POP goes the bag if you don't leave enough slack :)

That does not a commonly occur but its not a rare either.



I sent him some rics once to his mountain home. The bag popped twice and we lost two shipments of ric's because I didn't leave enough expansion room in the bags.


HOT weather will do the same. so either use 3 mill or better bags and double bag or leave enough "loose bag" space. ( IE not tight as hell with air)

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Oh crap---more to think about!!!


I use the scraps of panels from lining the boxes. I have also recently started using styro peanuts that I got on ebay. The scraps always are better to use than toss.


I don't use the pro boxes--only cuz of the cost--it would be an additional $8-$15 per shipment---BUT--if I was shipping larger pieces I would invest in it for sure.


I get some peeps here who hate paying $25 for shipping--let alone another $10 for a box charge!! But it is the way to go fo sho! Adin sent me a pro box--and I just recycled it to a buyer today. I will sleep well knowing that the 30 pieces in that box are safe and sound. It was 1.5" solid styro!!! And it was FREE!!!

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The Propagator

I really hate that.

If you compare the price you and I as well as a few others charge for shipping it is almost ALWAYS half what most people charge.


Well I can chalk my 1st lost shipment up in a LOOOoooong large time.

I shipped an order off to bilgerat that went COMPLETELY haywire from start to finish. :(

I think USPS played kick ball with the package.

The damn thing was almost dry on the inside because all the water was on the out side when he got it soaking through.


Im'a ship one with just a little camera and a micro drive in it one of these days to see wtf goes on.


I swear to Christ on a cross though every time I ship a package of with fragile stickers it gets POWNED by USPS workers !!

I don't know why I thought this time would be any different.

This was the 1st time the poor guy ever ordered coral over the net too :(

I hate that.

Edited by The Propagator
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That does stink Prop!


Well, I have received corals from both of you ( Mvite and Prop) and the care and effort put into your packing is obvious. Very professional looking and secure. Unfortunately after that its all on the carrier :scarry:


I'm sure I may lose a shipment somewhere along the line, but I will still buy stuff online.


Great thread guys, loaded with info. Keep it coming. :)

Keep the corals coming too! :lol:

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just shipped some hammer---and many other kinds of LPS. I don't see why frogspawn would be different.


I think the theme here has been---water--protect the bag and coral from sharp edges/punctures---insulate for temp stability---and VOI--FRIGGIN-LA.....You is shipping.


It's darn hot in PA right now---90 and humid--all of my OUTSIDE windows were totally dripping and covered with condensation this am. (My neighbors' too---not just the freaks with open topped oceans in their homes....)

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  • 1 month later...

Things have been shipping great---with a lot going out -- and a lot getting there just fine.


I just learned something that can save you a couple bucks on single coral shipments. Express Mail is $19.50 for packages weighing 8oz-1lb. I shipped a small piece yesterday and it was 12 oz---$19.50.


I guess that's not Earth shattering--but it's a couple bucks on light packages like a micro--or a couple zoa frags.

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  • 1 month later...

well guys, i'm going to be shipping corals to Pusan Korea. (my birthplace)

shipping alone is going to be $250 :lol:

this is the real test of my shipping abilities, i'll let you know how that goes!

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  • 4 weeks later...
The Propagator
well guys, i'm going to be shipping corals to Pusan Korea. (my birthplace)shipping alone is going to be $250 :lol: this is the real test of my shipping abilities, i'll let you know how that goes!
And the real test of your concealing abilities LOL!If you get caught you WILL be fined a minimum of $575.00 pe roffense and they will hit you with THREE mim.Gots to have a Cites permit and import export permits. TO have those you have to have a vendors license.Hope it goes well.
anybody here ever shipped fish express?
Yes. how it is shipped totally depends on the type of fish though.
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Hey great! I am glad you were able to use it---ESPECIALLY cuz I always wanna buy the corals you are sellin!! :)


I just plopped one onto the Big Island yesterday---Honolulu, HI---perfect!


I shipped 3 SPS frags with heat---and they were fine.


My ramshackle boxes don't look the prettiest but they work. I never calculated how much each box costs me--but the styro ain't cheap.


I looked at buying a couple solid boxes at ULINE--but they are all like $7-$9 each--plus shipping and they are large to ship...$$$$$


I have stuff landing in Oregon today---I worry about every damn shipment!!!!

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I wish I could sell jelly beans or something that you didn't have to worry about like that!!


I forgot to mention that when I have been packing my shipments---I have been wrapping the heat pack in newspaper and then placing that newspaper heat packet directly on top of the bag full of coral frags. Then I backfill with insulation on top and around that---Then I put the lid on--and as Prop might say "VIOLA!"

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Lately, I have been placing a folded up paper towel or newspaper between the bags and the paper wrapped heat pack, just to ensure that the corals aren't cooked by too close proximity to the heat pack.

Don't know if I've posted this here before, but you are allowed to ship liquids through the Post Office as long as you include enough absorbent material in the package to soak up everything if there is a leak. I usually try to pack newspaper or paper towels around my bags.

Also, if you are unsure whether to use a heat pack, go to www.weather.com and look up the weather for the destination zip code. Try to also take into account the weather where you are at, and also along the basic route if you are shipping Priority.

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Yep. I started to ship out Nemastomas in styro lined boxes when cold got colder. Cost of Styro at Home Depot was nearly $6 for two 5'x24'x28'. I estilmate that I could only use it for six shipments barely.

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



I used this method, one thing I did do was soak the towels in a quart of tank water for a few minutes, then rinse them in the tank, before using them, just to dilute any icky stuff

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  • 2 weeks later...
The Propagator







It took some digging but I finally found out the man ingredients.


Now I am working on proportions.


Wouldn't it be AWSOME to avoid paying $1.20 plus tax and shipping for some thing that cost $0.10 to make? Wouldn't it be great to make 100 of them for 10 bucks versus $180 !

These things KILL me in the winter. The single most expensive crap I have to buy for shipping cause I need all sizes / hours.

Iron powder, water, Activated carbon, salt, vermiculite, and or saw dust


Those are the ingredients of just about every heat pack manufacturers product on the market used in the live animal shipping industry.


14.1.12 Iron powder heat pack

1. Disposable heat packs are used for transporting small animals that need heat to survive the journey, e.g. sugar gliders. Open the outer wrapper and remove the inner pad. Shake the contents in open air and heat will begin to be generated in 4-5 minutes Place the heat source in shipping containers. After use, dispose of an outer wrapper and expired heat pack. The contents are high grade iron powder that undergoes rapid rusting with heat as a by-product, activated charcoal powder, cellulose, zeolite and water.

2. Instant hot packs: Remove inner pack Squeeze or shake several times. Allow a few minutes to warm up Keep covered in pocket, glove or clothing for maximum warmth. Caution: Store in cool dry place.

The hot pack has an outer plastic bag. The inside bag is made from cloth or a paper with many tiny holes and contains a mixture of iron powder, salt, charcoal and sawdust, all dampened with water. When the paper bag is removed from the plastic bag and shaken vigorously it gets hot Iron is reacting with oxygen gas in the air to make iron oxide or rust.

3. Rusting experiment: Label three test-tubes 1, 2 and 3. Roll up some iron wool, steel wool, to make three little balls that will fit inside the test-tubes. Put one ball in each test-tube. Leave test-tube 1 as a control. Add water to test-tube 2 until the ball is half covered. Shake the tube to wet all the steel wool. Add salt water to test-tube 3 until the steel wool is half covered. Shake the tube to wet all the steel wool 5 Put the three tubes where they won't be disturbed. Observe them after a week.

4. Observe the heat energy given off when iron rusts in a hand warmer. Put 25 g of iron powder or very fine iron filings and 1 g of sodium chloride in a small plastic bag. Shake the bag to mix. Add about a tablespoon of vermiculite or sawdust or sand to the bag and shake well. Add 5 mL of water and seal the bag without squashing out all the air. Shake the bag vigorously. A reaction should start after about a minute. Record what happens.

5. Put iron powder in a plastic bag, e.g. a "Ziploc" bag. Add sodium chloride and mix contents by shaking the closed bag. Add 1 tablespoon of small vermiculite pieces and mix again. Add 5 mL water to the bag and seal with a twist tie. Squeeze and shake the bag. After 2 minutes feel the bag and observe the heat produced. The iron powder and the oxygen in the bag react to form iron oxide. Salt speeds this reaction and is therefore a catalyst. The vermiculite insulation ensures that the heat stays in the bag. The iron oxide formed is a compound.

2Fe + 3O2 ---> Fe2O3 + heat


I will post more as I find it.


I plane on using felt pouches melted together on the ends with my impulse sealer as the container to hold the mixture.

Edited by The Propagator
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I plane on using felt pouches melted together on the ends with my impulse sealer as the container to hold the mixture.


I see a new product offering in Props ebay line!

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Yes--or some sort of chemical burns on his hands!!


If anyone can make their own---Prop can do it.


I'm sticking with the $1 each method!! :D


Prop--Does the impulse sealer seal if the bag is wet? I don't use any air in my bags and was wondering if I could still seal the bags with an impulse sealer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Perhaps take a hint from the punks & some goths and start making the shipping boxes out of welded steel, then adorn it with tons of those 1" metal spikes they like to wear.



That will make them give a bit more thought into the "Handle with care" stamp. ;)

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