|Protocol for shipments|
A right procedure during preparation and delivery is important to ensure a trip to the fish that has the least possible impact on their health status.
Fishes travel in plastic bags (individually in the case of discus) closed and filled to 1/3 with water and 2/3 with oxygen. In this environment fishes must remain for 24 to 48 hours without anything to compromise their health. This is a very precarious situation because, inside the bag, there are no means to help maintain good condition in the environment:
• there is not a filter system that eliminates the toxic metabolite of fishes
• there is not a heater that maintains a constant temperature
Oxygen, essential for fish life, is present only for the amount needed to inflate the bag.
In this closed system all elements of waste remain:
• the carbon dioxide produced by the respiration
• substances of ammonia produced by metabolism
Carbon dioxide prevents correct breathing and at the same time lowers the pH value.
Substances ammonia remain in the form of ammonia and are very toxic for fishes, this is due to the absence of the bacteria nitrification.
Fortunately, Discus love soft and acid water and so the decrease in pH there is not a problem for them until it is within the range 5-6.8. This could be an advantage because the ammonia, in an acid environment, turns into ammonia in proportion to the value of pH. This substance is not toxic and until the ammonia concentration remains below 0.1 mg/l, fishes will not suffer stress.
Temperature may up and down too much, creating too serious metabolic disorders.
Another important factor, especially for the discus, is the bacterial concentration which inside the bag rises exponentially: even if that is tempered by the acidity of the water.
Ultimately to make a good shipment is important to keep under control these factors:
• increase of ammoniacal substances
• decrease of pH
• lack of oxygen
• increase or decrease of temperature
Increase of ammoniacal substances
These substances are produced by metabolic processes of fish which comes from residues of foods and, in part, from the processes of consumption of tissue proteins. It is possible to limit residues of foods interrupting their feeding 24-36 hours before shipment. In this way fishes will not produce excrements during the period will be closed in the bag.
Decrease of pH
The production of carbon dioxide during the breathing process, cause a reduction of pH. If the water of packaging is too soft and free of carbonates, the pH may fall below the tolerance value of fishes: so it is always best to use new water (without organic acids) with KH 3-4 ° dH values.
Lack of oxygen
Oxygen is released in water from the gas part that inflates the bag. Generally the liquid part is 1/3 of the bag volume and the remaining 2/3 are a mixture of oxygen and air to a percentage of 90%. This allows fishes to breathe inside the closed bag even for 72-96 hours (3-4 days).
Increase or decrease of temperature
Both the excessive heat that excessive cold can cause damage to the fishes. So it is necessary to put bags in insulated boxes that isolate the fishes as possible from changes in temperature. For this reason bags are closed in polystyrene boxes which prevent heat from entering, during the summer and, with the addition of heather packs that produce heat for about 24 hours, prevent that the natural heat loss brings the water temperature below the tolerance limit for fishes during winter.
Depending on the size of fishes we choose the size and the number of bags used for packaging:
SIZE BAGS SIZE USED BAGS
5 - 6 cm SM size 15 cm x 45 cm 3
6 - 7.5 cm M size 20 cm x 50 cm 4
7.5 - 9 cm ML size 25 cm x 50 cm 6
9 - 12 cm L size 30 cm x 60 cm 6 + protection
12 cm and more XL/XXL size 30 cm x 60 cm 8 + protection
It is very important to use more bags to pack large size fishes because they could break bags with the rigid parts of their fins.
We add a few drops/l of base solution of methylene blue to the transport water. It has a very good antibacterial activity because it prevents the excessive growth of these organisms in water transport and protect the mucus and gills from a possible pathogenic action. In addition it help fishes to promote the employment of oxygen and so to breathe better.
Packaging starts at 16:00 for deliveries that are coming in the morning of the next day and at about 17:00 for deliveries that are coming in the afternoon of the same day. Fishes generally remain in the package for no longer than 24 hours.
Fishes are divided and prepared 24 hours prior to shipment
Fish are individually placed in special bags made with the label indicating the variety and size
Bags with fishes are taken in the packaging area
Detail of the round-bottomed bag labeled with the variety and size
Bags are closed with the automatic clipping. The water is blue cause the adding of methylene blue
The number of bags varies depending on the size of fishes (see table above)
Bags of large size fishes have a protection to prevent breakage
Paper is added to the polystyrene box to increase the insulating power
A big plastic bag will contain all the bags with fishes to avoid that some breakage enlarge the box
Plastic bag is closed to further increase the insulating power
Even at the top part, paper wraps around fishes
On the cover are fixed, in winter, two heather packs
Polystyrene box is placed in a cardboard box to protect it from shocks and to isolate fishes from temperature changes
Box is labeled and sent to the customer
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