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Shipping with ice packs vs. not shipping with ice packs


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Hey folks---wow--what a discussion huh?


I have been hit with quite a few PMs asking to re-start this thread with less #######ishness from me. :)


So--with adin's approval---let's try this again.


Before we begin--please--this will be based on personal experiences. I don't do this for a living. But I do love the hell out of this hobby and I want to inspire more hobbyists to grow and share their coral. The most important thing we will get from this thread and discussion is understanding---and hopefully a historical reference for future shippers.


I myself, don't typically use ice for shipping. Why, you ask? Well, it's my personal opinion that ice is cold.


I don't know if a small amount of ice will kill coral or not. I usually ship small pieces in small boxes.


I've used an ice pack once upon the request of an ebayer--and it worked fine. I look at it as another hassle--another "supply" and expense--and in my experience of shipping frags for years and years---unnecessary.


Grow and share your coral---don't be afraid to ship. Log in your experiences---and maybe change my mind about cold packs.


In the meantime---I will be running my non-chilled shipping experiences all summer long. Post here and join me.

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  • mvite


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The other thread wasn't that bad :(

I've seen much worse....but anywho!


If miguel comes back on, can you tell us which corals / what temps / and where to the DOAs were (if you remember) ?

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in my experience, if you use a good insulating styro box, you don't need heatpacks or ice.



I have had trouble with no heat----as a recipient. I have had things shipped to me in "hobbyist made" boxes like I use--without heat--and BAM--DEAD. But as for the "pro" boxes like Uline has---maybe they are more airtight and hold better???


I know that air and water are also 2 great insulators. I don't use much water when I ship--but there is air space.

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in my experience, if you use a good insulating styro box, you don't need heatpacks or ice.




no heat packs? I don't know about that one i had a pack of rics shipped in a styro back a few months ago from Florida and while it was nice down there it was still nasty up here and when i put my hand in the water it was very cold.

I think that a lot of this is locational.

If you are shipping on a cool east coast day you probably will not need an ice pack most of what makes for a warm day here in the east is the humidity anyways and if packaged well thats shouldn't be a huge problem just a thought

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Will....not let......thread..........die...............


I gots me some coral from adin today--from CA to PA in a ULINE Propack type sealed styro box, no ice, and all is well. Looking good---LPS were in da box.

Edited by mvite
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I for one only use ice packs if the buyer insists. Why, you ask? They don't last more than 6-8 hours. Let's just say under ideal conditions the ice pack lasts 12-14 hours tops. When do we typically drop off the boxes??? Let's see........as LATE as possible!!! Which means for me it's 3:15 p.m. for USPS Express, 5 p.m. for USPS Priority Mail (don't even bother), or 5 p.m. or later for UPS/FedEx.


Hmmm......what are the facilities like when you drop them off? AIR CONDITIONED!!! Even if it isn't, it's not hot like in a delivery truck, trust me.


Now, let us go back to the drop off times. If I dropped off the package with an ice pack (extra dead weight) at 3:15 with the pack being effective for the maximum 14 hours, it's basically useless by 5:15 a.m. the next morning. With a drop off time of 5 p.m., the ice pack becomes dead weight by 7 a.m. the next morning. Even taking the time zones into account, shipping from the west coast to the east coast, it'll be 10 a.m. at the latest. Shipping from the east coast to the west coast, the ice pack actually becomes ineffective earlier.


And what are the temps like around 10 a.m.? Typically not that hot yet, right? So the most critical period between the time when the ice pack is melted and the time of delivery, it's nothing but dead weight. Actually, if you think about it, It's DEAD WEIGHT the minute it's put inside the box. Why pay more for shipping if it's not necessary???


As adin said, insulate well and the corals will be ok. Although heat packs is a whole different story :lol:

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you might need a heat pack if you ship somewhere where there's a >1ft of snow on the ground. if your shipping to me in sunny so cal however, just put it in a box and ship it here next day it'll be fine, heat pack or not.


cold pack my experience with is the same as mvite's. dead weight. i used to put ice in a baggy and put it in with the corals, but i've been told it comes melted and warm anyways.

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Wow--I can't believe that I'm the only one who received coralz this week!!! BUT---


Er1c shipped me all kinds of zoas and a favia. No ice or heat from CA to PA. It was weird---I left a note for my mail lady to leave my package for me. She left it in direct sun on my front porch!!! When I picked it up--the outer box was radiating heat outwards---and I was scairt!!!! :) But when I opened the package---the water was borderline cold!!! It wasn't freezing---but it was probably low 70's.... that was weird---but everything is looking great.


I also shipped some SPS from PA to both MD and CA without heat or ice---confirmed live arrival!!

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In my opinion, the ONLY way to ship is in an insulated styrofoam "cooler style" box.


99% of the time, heat & ice packs will not be needed!


No offense, but the DIY ones do not work very well and look horrible. Even ReefHotSpot's styro boxes made from 6 pre-cut sheets is pretty weak.


If you're a serious coral farmer and have moved into the profit range, invest in the good boxes. Of course, don't waste them on $5 zoa frags...

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Where did you get the box you sent me?


I looked at uline---but they are expensive!!! Like $8-$15 each. I want to balance between effective and cost effective.


There's no doubt that the real styro does it best----but it costs more. And shipping is via freight carriers, I think. I just tried to order a bunch of styro peanuts and they were gonna ship motor freight only!!!


Recently I bought from a place that shipped in a plastic Coleman type cooler. I am betting that still isn't as airtight as the pro style boxes you reference--they are the best--no doubt.

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When it comes to reef stuff i'm a PACKRAT. That box came from an order of Hawaiian shrimp awhile back


On the RARE occasion I need to ship something large, I just run by my buddy's LFS and grab a stryo box that the coral comes in... in.

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No offense, but the DIY ones do not work very well and look horrible.


Please don't knock us poor DIYers :tears:


I have always used 3/4" styro sheets cut to fit whatever boxes I used. Having shipped probably close to 200 times all over the lower 48, I've never had a problem with cold or heat.


On the other hand. I have received frags shipped in these cooler box DOA during the winters. Even though a heat pack was used, it was still freezing inside. What the shipper didn't know was that the heat packs need oxygen to work efficiently. In an essentially "air tight" cooler, the heat pack didn't work and the temp dropped too low.

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^^Whoa pookie--good point that I forgot! HEAT PACKS NEED AIR TO BREATHE!! (but pook--adin said he didn't use heat!!) but still--good point that hopefully those that read this will remember and tell a friend.


When I first started shipping I had an old timer who owned a LFS tell me that he poked a hole in the top of the styro container lid with a screwdriver to allow air to get in for the heat pack.....I don't know about that one.


I agree that our DIY boxes aren't aesthetically pleasing, but at AWESOME AQUATICS, we hire only the most handsome and debonair people to cut and assemble our DIY boxes so you can rest assured that our well-over-1000 packages shipped will deliver to you safely---time and time again---or I will replace your coral. :lol::lol: The sponsor thing has given me a little buzz... :)

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Drunk with power already huh ?





Plus, I just received 5 awessie acan pieces shipped from CA today with no heat or ice. 100% survival today!!

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Just to add Vite...the package I received from you some time back...PPE seemed to be in trouble..NNOTTTT


Its doing just fine... along with everything else.


Eden... :wub:

is really coloring up under my T-5... rock on Mvite.


Ill be getting your package ready soon...the nice thing about working in the Lab...we throw awesome reagent

packaging away daily...nice for me B)



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^^I am glad to hear about the PPE! They get weird sometimes... I only have 1 left! LOL!!! Some guys came by my place the other night and wiped me out. I can't say no....

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I may have killed some monti caps via UPS Ground on Thursday. They arrived alive---were not drip acclimated---looked ok at night---but were bleached white in the AM. His tank is cool---and my montis are fine here. It was shipped in-state Ground and was delivered later in the day. I don't think ice would have helped--but time release ice may have.


I guess I shouldn't ship UPS Ground in-state in the summer. I am re-shipping to him via USPS Express. Luckily, Express services us for this in-state route.


I just bought some digital thermometers at Walmart for my snake. They have a "highest" and "lowest" setting. I wonder if I included it in a trade if we could record it???


It was $7--so it's not like we wanna buy a bunch of em-- but it could give us an idea. I want to refine our methods--that's why I keep bringing this up!!

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The Propagator

I have the wholesale price listings for the 1st link but I wont post it publicly.

( Can't :( )


EMail me Mark.

Edited by The Propagator
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I have the wholesale price listings for the 1st link but I wont post it publicly.

( Can't :( )

are you thinking of selling them to the general public or is that a no no?

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The Propagator


I WAS going in on an order with a friend of mine until I saw the REAL cost.

Bout $180.00 smackers for frigg'n 50 boxes.



I can make up 60 of my own for less than $74.00.

10 more and half the cost.

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