NANFA-- RE: Transporting Fish

Bob Sinclair (
Thu, 12 Sep 2002 09:40:17 -0700


As anyone who has ever lived out here on the left bank of America knows well,
there is a paucity of freshwater fishes suitable for home aquaria out here west of
the Rockies.  So once or twice a year I drive to the southeastern states for a bit
of collecting.  BG Granier and Charlie Nunziata have been a big help to me in LA
and FL.  Thanks, guys.

My situation naturally involves transporting fishes 2500-3000 miles, and it usually
a week or more from the time I collect them until they are at their new home here
in Santa Barbara.

I pleased to report that I rarely lose more than a fish or two, sometimes none.
In the back of my Tacoma 4X4 pickup I have a 52 qt. Coleman cooler with a
battery-powered air pump fastened to the lid with Velcro, feeding down to an
air stone through a hole drilled in the lid.

I fill the cooler quite full with water from the first collecting site, and make try
put the fish in the cooler quite soon after I've caught them.  I keep the water cool
by placing ice in zip lock bags and placing same in the tray that comes with the
sitting on built-in rails suspended over the water.  Cold water holds more oxygen
warm, of course.

Each evening I change about half of the water, replacing it with water from any
convenient faucet, at a gas station, motel, or whatever is convenient, first treating
the water with an appropriate amount of Novaqua.

  Transport the fishes in a large container with a battery-powered pump mounted
    on the lid.  I use a 52 qt. Coleman cooler.
  Change the water often, treating it with Novaqua (or Stress Coat, as other have
  Keep the water cool to quite cold.

That's it.  It works fine for me.  I've had fishes in the cooler for more than two
on occasion, with no significant losses.

Someone posted that collected plants should be kept separate from the fishes, since
compete for available oxygen.  That never occurred to me, but I'm going to follow
advice from now on.

Bob Sinclair
Santa Barbara CA
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