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The Official "How to Ship Coral" Thread


mvite

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petsolutions

Thanks for the welcome everyone.

 

dshnarw - Usually we're using cold packs when the weather gets into the mid 80's somewhere along the route of the delivery, for fish and for corals. When to switch from heat to nothing to cool is always a tricky thing, because there are so many unknowns along the path of a package.

 

As for noticing more or less DOA's, we have customers call in letting us know what their water temperature is upon arrival from time to time. We did have one small order go out recently with no cold packs. The customer called the next day and was quite vocal about what he thought of our water temperature on his mushrooms being far too hot upon arrival and how murky the water was as a result. They were fine, and they acclimated fine last I heard, but that particular case is one that comes to mind recently.

 

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't almost as much for the psychological benefit of the purchaser as it is for the benefit of the animals. Even when temperatures are in the middle to lower 70's during shipping time it seems as if folks expect heat or cold packs to be in a package by default. Sometimes though, the heat/cold packs are definitely necessary or else the customer will end up with a bag of ice and a fish frozen in the middle. I guess it's all just a matter of what the end consumer is used to seeing with their packaging, and the level of experience of that particular customer.

 

John

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Just a quick note with something that I learned recently.

 

BibleSue checked with a friend who works at the Post Office on what P.O. regulations are regarding the shipping of live corals. She was told that it was okay, as long as it's shipped with enough absorbent material in the box to absorb all of the water if it should leak.

 

On the last package that I shipped, I lined the box first with a double layer of plastic grocery bag, then put my insulating material inside that, then put the bags in with newspaper all around them (absorbent material!), then taped the plastic bags shut very thoroughly at the top to seal in any moisture that might leak, before taping the box shut.

 

On another note, I also agree with mvite about not using ice packs to avoid drastic temp shifts. If I ship Priority, I try to use extra insulating material and it seems to have worked fine so far.

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Have you guys tried the shipping sps in a wet towel method yet?

 

in a bag with a wet towl, no water in the bag....

 

jus' wonderin'

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Have you guys tried the shipping sps in a wet towel method yet?

 

in a bag with a wet towl, no water in the bag....

 

jus' wonderin'

I used to wrap sps in a piece of paper towel in water---but I had a few DOA's with SPS specifically so I stopped. I was literally 2 pieces in the winter that died---but that was all I could figure. Propagator suggested that the heavy slime on SPS was suffocating the coral in the towel. I have since switched to cut up plastic and am happy with the results.

 

Are you talking "dry shipping" like with zoas?

 

I almost would be willing to give that a try---but I would hate to spend $21 on overnighting dead coral. I wish we could use Priority and a towel. Why can't we just start liking plastic coral? Shipping would be a lot less.... :)

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The Propagator

Well what some people either dont' know or fail to remember is that water temperatures over a VAST majority of shallow reef systems ( Even up to 35ft depths)

see spikes of 82-86 degree water on a regular basis.

There are corals that are exposed to 90 plus degree temps for 4-6 hours when the tide goes out as well in certain areas.

 

I personally think it is more for the benefit of the customer than it is for the coral. Now if it goes out uninsulated and sits in a hot tin truck all day yup. she's gonna croak because there wil be nothing there to help repel the heat.

Otherwise you shouldn't have a problem.

There ARE cases where you want to use a cold pack ofcourse but in my experience 85 degrees or under and your golden.

 

Here is a REALLY BIG thing that a lot of reefers still do that is responsible for a lot of deaths in newly acquired coral IMO.

 

DRIP ACCLIMATION.

 

Why in gods name would you want to subject a coral to that nasty toxic soup that its been sitting in for 24-36 hours any longer than you have to?

 

Toxins build up in the bag during shipping. The only reason wyh they don't die from those toxins during shipping is because the toxins use up the air in the bag during gas exchange. They level off and some what neutralize until the bag is opened and fresh air hits it.

Then those toxins "re-animate" so to speak and almost instantaneously become toxic again only this time X2!

 

When you leave your coral in that bag and slowly dump tank water in all your doing is slowly killing your new specimen via chemical stress.

 

Now there are certain animals that must be acclimated using the drip method but corals are not one of them.

Certain Shrimp, certain Snails, certain Star Fish, and certain Fish are.

Edited by The Propagator
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To follow up on Prop's acclimation comments---I haven't acclimated a shipped coral in 2 years!!

 

When I buy locally, I will drip acclimate. When someone ships to me--I just remove the coral from the bag and place it in my tank. This is purely based on my experiences---but I haven't lost one coral this way. (now I will probably kill a bunch cuz I jinxed myself!)

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Why do you drip acclimate when it's a local purchase?

I feel that's the only time that toxins haven't built up tremendously in the bags---and so I have time and a chance to let the local corals gradually adjust--to actually acclimate.

 

But now that I re-read---If not acclimating is working for shipped corals, why wouldn't it work for local as well? d'oh..... It's like a "superstition" of mine I guess.

 

Prop---I think we need to fire up your acclimation thread again!!!

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Yeah, see - that's why I asked. Since youse guys had brought this stuff up, lo these many weeks ago, I've not drip-acclimated ANYTHING - not a crab, not a fishy, not a coral. And the corals, I'm not really acclimating anymore at all - just float and dunk, as Prop says.

 

I haven't lost anybody - I've got a new porcelain crab, a bunch of new frags, etc. Everybody's happy - smokin' and jokin'!

Edited by Mudfish
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I used to wrap sps in a piece of paper towel in water---but I had a few DOA's with SPS specifically so I stopped. I was literally 2 pieces in the winter that died---but that was all I could figure. Propagator suggested that the heavy slime on SPS was suffocating the coral in the towel. I have since switched to cut up plastic and am happy with the results.

 

Are you talking "dry shipping" like with zoas?

 

I almost would be willing to give that a try---but I would hate to spend $21 on overnighting dead coral. I wish we could use Priority and a towel. Why can't we just start liking plastic coral? Shipping would be a lot less.... :)

 

If I order some frags from you, i'll pick one to TRY the dry shipping method. It sounds like it would work in my mind.... but in practice is another story of course.

 

I forgot where I originally read about it.

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I don't see why dry shipping wouldn't work on a number of corals - just look at everything that pops up on live rock shipped in damp newspaper.

 

In fact - I just got a few pounds of live rock that was covered in various corals. Wasn't watching when the guy bagged it, but he didn't even add the newspaper. All the corals - SPS, LPS and some softies were opened within an hour of me putting them in the tank (and thats with 5 hours of them sitting in the air first).

 

 

I also have to agree on the cold packs - it's just something to make the buyer happier. I haven't used them, shipping up to 90* weather with no problems. The only corals lost so far sat in the bag at the guys house for an extra couple of days before he decided to put them in the tank. :slap:

Edited by dshnarw
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petsolutions

The first place I remember reading about shipping corals long distances just wrapped up in wet paper towels or something similar was in one of the fish magazines a couple of years ago. Something in my head is telling me Eric Borneman had something to do with the article, but for the life of me I can't remember. I think I mentioned earlier that the only thing I remember for sure is that they were shipping from an area around Guam into the US. The only real reason I remembered it is because I lived on Guam for about 4 years, so it sort of stuck in my head.

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Don't know if you answered this question, but what is the best time to ship priority packages within the same state. Am I o.k as long as I mail before the 5:00 deadline. Thanks in advance

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....Eric Borneman had something to do with the article....

That's who wrote what I read about it.

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Don't know if you answered this question, but what is the best time to ship priority packages within the same state. Am I o.k as long as I mail before the 5:00 deadline. Thanks in advance

 

 

Right at the deadline is the best time in most cases because the coral will be in the shipping bag the least amount of time (assuming you box it up and go directly to the drop off locale).

 

If you're going in-state, you may want to look at UPS ground - it might be a couple dollars more than priority, but it'll be there the next day.

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Right at the deadline is the best time in most cases because the coral will be in the shipping bag the least amount of time (assuming you box it up and go directly to the drop off locale).

 

If you're going in-state, you may want to look at UPS ground - it might be a couple dollars more than priority, but it'll be there the next day.

 

thanks alot! ;)

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My PO closes at 4:30PM EST. I can take anything I want there at 4pm and feel good knowing that it's going out that night.

 

I think it may vary by PO---it couldn't hurt to ask your PO workers.

 

I know that Express gets picked up like 3 different times every day at my PO---the last pick up is 5pm (but thet PO closed at 4:30 so I have to be there by then for the pick up.)

 

UPS Ground in state is fantastic----but------they can bump those Ground packages sometimes and it may take 2 days. I have had that happen once or twice through the years.

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The Propagator

Excellent information telling folks about the ground package bump.

It can happen and it does happen.

 

ALSO... DO NOT get comfortable with the idea that just because a person lives in the same state that USPS priority mail will get it there in one day.

9 out of 10 times it wont get it there in TWO days either.

( with my own experiences in using it for in state shipping that is)

For some reason they ALWAYS bump local stuff to the next truck that isn't going express. Some times 2-3 trucks in a row.

 

NEVER...EVER....NEVER EVER NEVER USE DHL.

Those bastages have drop kicked SEVERAL packages i have received using their services.

I mean that literally. I actually found a big azz foot print in the side of a box.

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