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FAQs about the Business of Livestock Holding, Shipping Systems, Practices

Related Articles: Stocking a Business, Open Letter to the Trade re Quarantining Livestock, Growing Reef Corals For Profit, Pond Service Business, Don't Sell Non-Aquatic Plants!, Live Plants & Macro-Algae (IZOO 98 Report), Marine Macro-Algae, Ornamental Marine Algae/How to Raise & Market It, Compatible Marine SpeciesMarine Fishes, Selection, Display in the Industry, Damsels, Clownfishes, Hawkfishes

Related FAQs: Livestock Business 1, Livestock Business 2Livestock Business 3, & FAQs on: Marine Wholesale,  & FAQs on: Wholesalers, Transshippers, Jobbers, & Sources For: FW Fish & Invert. Livestock, FW Plants, Pondfishes/Comets, Marine Algae, SW Invertebrates, SW Fishes, & From/By Source Countries, & Facilities: Collecting Stations, Holding Systems, Breeding/Aquaculture, & Research, Tradeshows, Crooked Dealings, CITES, Tariffs, Permits, Other Confiscatory Conventions, Moving Livestock, Growing Reef Corals, Tridacnid Clam Biz


Business up soon Thanks Bob, You did not sanction me asking a couple of questions.  I am taking the freedom here to do it anyway, so you can just ignore me and I apologize. 1. I am looking into shipping the best way possible and wonder is there really any reason to blow oxygen into the shipping bag for corals? I have shipped successfully before with just air. <There are a few very good reasons to use oxygen... the animals use such in the dark, and it really helps with pH stabilization. Short answer, I would definitely use oxygen...> 2. Do you have any wholesale contacts you might want to send me to? The trend is against ecommerce only stores on 102nd street, but I have to start somewhere. <Mmm, I would definitely make friends with the folks there... particularly SDC, PAF... but otherwise, I don't actually know other folks looking for business/distribution of your sort. BobF>

Coral color change and Etail advice 4/28/05 I bought 3 blue ridge corals. At the time of purchase they looked baby blue, but now they are turning brown. Are they dyed? I sold one of them to someone because I had 3, and they were furious with me when they received it. They said it was totally brown. Mine in my tank looks brown over the top and blue underneath. They were all blue when I bought them. I refunded the money because they think we did it on purpose and threw a terrible temper tantrum. <I don't think these corals were dyed. Blue ridge coral never has blue tissue. It is always light to caramel brown. The skeleton is blue, so I suspect you saw some blue skeleton that was visible where tissue died.> We're trying to get started in a saltwater online business. We have accounts with Sea Dwelling, Underwater World, Segrest, and many others. The quality really varies in what you receive. <This is absolutely true. It takes time to build good relationships and to learn what each supplier does best. Hiring a "jobber" to go in person to pick your animals helps a lot!> For dry goods we have champion lighting and a few other but I don't think they offer very good wholesale prices. Any suggestions on dry and live good suppliers?  <You are dealing with some of the biggest already, but you may want to check Custom Aquatic for dry goods and Quality Marine for livestock (there are many others).> Also, we have tried no ick and kick ich for marine ich. Do you have any recommended brand? We have ordered more UV sterilizers. <The drugs/chemicals in No Ick and Kick Ick are not effective at the recommended doses. UV is the better solution in a commercial setting, however proper FW dips on arrival and quarantine are the best way to prevent outbreaks. UV is only effective when they are kept clean and the lamps are replaced often (every 6 months).> We got some corals in such as blue carpet and bright pink finger leather sold as purple hairy finger leather, and I\u2019m sure they\u2019re dyed because the water in the bag its colored! How long will the color stay in the coral will it fade soon? <The blue carpet is probably natural, but the pink leather is very suspicious. On future orders, tell your wholesaler that you won't accept dyed animals! The dyed colors usually fade fast, and the dyed animal often dies. Keep an eye on it so that it can be removed if it starts to fall apart.> I wouldn't want to sell something and then have a customer get furious, because some people are less than understanding. I want to try to have the best quality I can have and represent it honestly. Thanks. Any ideas and links to point us in the right direction are very much appreciated. Thanks again. Your site has got to be one of the most informative on earth! Right up there with an encyclopedia!  <Glad you appreciate the site and more glad that you have a desire to run a stand-up business. Beware that this business is very difficult, even for very knowledgeable and experienced people. Please do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/Biz%20Index/Biz%20index.htm for good information about this business. Best of luck. AdamC.>

Shipping question 10/28/05 Hello, <Hi there> First of all, thank you for reading my question and giving me so many advices  <much advice>  in the past. I am opening a new business and I'm planning to import corals and fishes in small scale (10-15 box). The problem is that the supplier that I found (From Bali, Indonesia) never shipped this far before (To Toronto, Canada) and they asked me whether to use any special method to deal with the winter condition in Toronto (It should be between 3-6 Celsius when the shipment arrive). <... need to pack light (less animals, more water), use heat packs...> Could you please tell me how does it usually done when shipping livestock this far away (we're talking 36+ hours). <Can be done> I suggest them using a heat pack (Heat source 35+ or 60+, which one do you think is better and how many should be used in one normal sized Styrofoam box?), <They should ask about... their competitors re what make/model of heat packs they have, are using... some are better than others... I would use at least two pieces per box, on top of newspaper, on top of the bags... all individual bags sealed in one box bag. They should "practice" with a given volume of water, time (36 hours) in a refrigerated setting to see how this works out> but they told me it may overheat the box since the weather in Bali is relatively hot already. I already read the information about this heat pack and it mentions that the heat pack will heat up to 130 degrees! I'd like to know what will the temperature be inside the box if it is placed on the lid of the box and double wrapped with newspaper. I would really appreciate your help on how to ship livestock this far and dealing with different weather condition. Thank you very much for reading my email. Thx Jony <Only way to tell is to experiment... try a given number of heat packs under similar timed conditions... Bob Fenner> 

Quarantine and Copper - PLEASE Stop Sending Emails in html!!!! 10/25/05 Hi, I have a two part question for you guys. The first is about quarantining using copper. I know that a quarantine tank is helpful to fish because it allows them to adjust to captivity in a controlled peaceful environment. It also allows them to treated for parasites separately from the main tank.  But what I don't understand is why you should not immediately place the previously infected fish in the main tank after two weeks of being in copper. It seems to me that this would be the only way to insure the fish is disease free if your copper levels were at therapeutic during the transition. And by leaving them in the quarantine tank after bringing down the copper would allow the fish to potentially be reinfected without notice.  Could you explain to me why this isn't recommended? <Brandon, it takes anywhere from 21 to 28 days (depending on temperature) to completely eradicate a parasitic disease. During this time copper levels must be maintained. A fish may appear to be cured, but there may/will be hundreds of cysts laying on the bottom waiting to hatch. The cysts are unaffected by copper until they hatch. At this time they will need to find a host quickly. It is at this stage that we want to destroy them. Once embedded in the skin of the fish the copper also has little or no effect.> The second question I have is do you know what the name of the marine livestock distributor is around Florida? I'm starting a store up and the only wholesalers I can find is on the west coast. If you're not sure of the name in Florida, could you direct me to a link that lists livestock distributors? Thanks, Brandon  <Bob/Marina, can you help here? James (Salty Dog)> <<These lists are not usually available to the public, and many shops won't share this information with competition.  Has Brandon tried asking the distributors on the left coast who they know on the right coast?  Justin may also know better, I believe he's a Florida guy.  MH>> <<<Look in the Miami Yellow Pages... can find in large public libraries... call Millie at All Seas there... BobF>>>

Saltwater retailer systems   11/19/06 I'm having a heck of a time find info on saltwater retail systems. What I'm really after is an efficient system for growing out various saltwater marine species with low maintenance. I have a list off about 30 species which are either breedable or I'm going to make breedable. =) Do you have any info, pictures, or contacts who could help me out?? Seems like you have to be in a secret society to get info on them. <Heeeeee!> Thanks Brandon <There are a few folks that will/can fashion you such a system... or needed components for such... TMC in the UK, Advanced Aqua Tanks in LA... many others that fabricate "parts"... However, I strongly encourage you to "make your own" holding tanks themselves and devise (design/engineer) your own mechanicals and controllers... with some help... Best for you to set out, visit folks in the trade... Perhaps Dick Perrin... Carol and Craig and other folks/companies in HI... where do you live? Are you adverse to travel? Cheaper, better by far in my estimation to take this DIY route... as am sure you'll agree in the not-so-long time frame. Bob Fenner>

Re: saltwater retailer systems   11/19/06 I was going to use 130gal polyethylene troughs <Mmm, for what species? Or class of species? Fishes?> with HDPE baskets all draining to a common sump <... I would not mix the water from all...> with skimmer etc. <... skimmers on culture systems?> that would allow me to just lift the juveniles out without catching/injuries them all day. I don't wanna <...> pay a small fortune for tanks to be drilled except the broodstock system perhaps. Maybe I'll look into a retailer system for that. <A bit more delving, investigating re what has been done, is being done per the types of organisms you wish to culture... including foods... is strongly suggested here. BobF> Re: saltwater retailer systems   11/19/06 Going to have a broodstock system and a separate grow out systems. both will have a common sump with a large skimmer and a suitable UV Species to culture will be Ocellaris Percs GSM WWM tomatoes cinnamon B&Ws <Pomacentrids... can be bred in much smaller systems, grown out in the volumes you list> Various gobies which I'm hopefully more then yellow watchman's can be breed. Hope to breed longnose hawks as I find them quite interesting. <Neat!> Inverts: peppermints sexy shrimp CBS Nassarius snails <Quite a project list. Excelsior! Bob Fenner>

Swimming pool to pond conv.  11/16/06 I own an outdoors swimming pool, I would like to put it and it's filter system to good use. <Mmm, may have to do some cleaning... and modification to the filter> Can I turn this pool into a koi farm? If so what is necessary? I live in Wichita Falls which has moderate to warm climate. Richard Dalton <Let's start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/poolpdconvart.htm and the FAQs file linked above. Bob Fenner>

Importing fishes UK 2/5/04 Hello, <howdy> hope you don't mind helping me - if you can with a few more queries I have about my marine fish? <ready as always> well I recently (2 weeks ago) received a shipment of marines from Singapore. I had 3 Copperband butterflies come (Which were subs) . I acclimatized them for a long period then let them go in their tank - all together, now these are the only inhabitants to the tank (other than 1 small blue damsel). I put the 3 together - and so far have not seen any aggression - maybe sometimes the slight flare up to each other- but no pecking or biting. all three fish are feeding on brine shrimp and from whole cockles in shells - which I was quite amazed at as I have always seen this species as doomed once out of the ocean - unless in a very mature reef tank- <not doomed, just delicate and commonly mishandled from some locales> anyway , my question -over the past two days I have noticed a change in colour, their bands don't seem as bright, and their colouration, seems a little overall dull - not bleached out - but not the vibrant colours you would expect - but water quality is high, 0nitrite and ammonia etc, all are feeding, none are being harassed - maybe a slight bickering between each other - which is to be expected - I thought that they would chase each other constantly! do you have any ideas what's causing this - should I be alarmed? <its a general symptom... could be pale from bare glass bottom of tanks, light reflections, and most likely to some extent... the awful (barren) brine shrimp component of their diet (they will starve to death on it... please replace ASAP... Mysid shrimp would be nice)> the other thing was, I am due a shipment from Hawaii, hopefully next week 9 it was cancelled last week as there has been bad weather from xmas island ??? and fish could net be collected??) so hopefully it will arrive this week - I have ordered the following 5x yellow sailfin tangs 5x flame angels 1x lemon peel angel 1x potters angel <Hmmm... please do resist buying these angels unless you have/are a specialist. They make Copperbands look like hardy damsels <G>> 1x yellow eye Kole tang 1xtrumpet fish I will house all the yellow tangs together on their own, the other single angels in their own, foot cube tank (which is on a system) but what I was wondering was your view on keeping the flame angels in a group? <some aggression quite likely> I have seen this done in a shop before - big group all together in the same tank - but do you think 5 would spark aggression? <yes> the tank they will go into would house no other fish - just them and a bit of decor? what are your thoughts? <I suspect you need a much larger holding system (many more tanks) to succeed (your profits and their lives) as an importer> if not it is possible for me to house them individually with other fish, would you think I could mix a flame with a potters angel? <ughhh...no> or do you think the colours are too similar and the potters being a little delicate that it might be a bad idea? <this is a small order my friend. If you cannot house each of these fishes individually, I do not see how you are doing any justice here. It really sounds like you need a proper holding system> another quick question - do you know of, or heard of use of drugs and poisons to collect fish from Sri Lanka? do you think this is a safe destination to source from? <the quality is unpredictable due to the limited flights/times from Sri Lanka. The fishes are collected properly to the best of my knowledge> the last fish I received were from Singapore - these being of very good quality - with 99% survival   <that is exceptional> - loosing only 1 fish - which to be fare was a bit squashed in the bag - and all these fish are feeding well - where, other than the us ( because of limited species) do you think it is best to source from, I have been offered Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, Hawaii, Miami and brazil from my consoler, I have sourced from Sri Lanka and Singapore as well as Miami with mixed success - where do you feel is the best place - all Miami stock has done well, and most Singapore, Sri Lanka, depends some shipments are very good, others not so, this is why I ask about the use of chemicals. <I would honestly like to know more about your facility (size/capabilities/pics) before helping you import more animals, with all due respect> also I want to import coral next time, where do you suggest to order from? sorry its a lot again! thanks in advance, kind regards, Sam Baker <Sam... please don't take this the wrong way, but you sound like you have a home-based business. Your questions/problems have all of the earmarks of it. If not, you worry me if this is a small bricks biz. Your enthusiasm may be getting ahead of yourself. If I didn't mention it before, let me encourage you to subscribe to industry trade magazines, and definitely attend regional and national trade conferences. That way you can network and glean advice from other business folk like you as to what are the best sources to your country. We are limited in ability here from the US to give the UK advice on such matters when we have no experience with the challenges/nuances of your shipping channels (flights, common delays, etc). Anthony>

Shipping boxes? Crew, can any of you refer me to a West Coast vendor of EPS foam tropical fish shipping boxes with cardboard boxes? Thanks, Suzanne Hathcock <Do you need just a few? Am Bcc'ing friends/associates in the trade in the L.A. area hoping they will respond to you (am out in HI right now, w/o my ref.s). Bob Fenner>

Re: shipping boxes? p.s. perhaps I should have mentioned that I'm near Portland, OR. <Yes... do check with any local wholesaler of live aquatics re where they get their boxes from... Do you need other supplies like bags, clip machines... maybe the FTFFA could help here. Bob Fenner>

Re: shipping boxes? hi Bob and thanks for your response. <You're welcome> Most suppliers I've talked to have a minimum order. For example, one yesterday in Florida, had a minimum of 160 small boxes. But in that case, the shipping from Florida was going to run as much as the boxes themselves. <Yes... if you only need a few boxes you should either buy them from a local source or co-op ("piggy-back") a shipment with someone> While I'm prepared to buy that many, I would prefer to be able to buy -- for example -- 75 of one size and 50 of another. Such an approach would give me greater flexibility while minimizing storage space requirements. Originally I had planned to use Airliner inflatable packages from www.cargotech.com to minimize my storage needs. However, I've started to hear that some of the large LA shippers have stopped using them because of leakage problems. Have you heard anything about them? Suzanne <Never heard of them... Maybe I should ask what you are intending to ship. Bob Fenner> Re: shipping boxes? > <Yes... if you only need a few boxes you should either buy them from a local source or co-op ("piggy-back") a shipment with someone> So far I've neither found a local source nor anyone else who buys these boxes. Most LFSs have huge supplies of wholesaler boxes that they recycle. However, as a 25+ year graphic designer, I'm trying to come up with a more polished, professional appearance for my packaging. Besides my livestock, it will be the only tangible, visible representation of my company other than my web site that a customer will receive. <Mmm, many folks use the cardboard outside as the "billboard", other than the Styro. These (the cardboard liners) can be made, printed locally perhaps> I'm going to be selling corals and inverts online -- and books by famous authors such as yourself -:) Having bought lots of marine animals online myself, I can say that the professional appearance of packaging from LiveAquaria.com or Sea Dwelling Creatures lends a great deal of credibility to the company's image -- much more so than an obviously recycled cardboard box stuffed with slices of Styrofoam duct taped together as I've received from other dealers. Suzanne <Sounds good. Bob Fenner>

Re: shipping boxes? > <Mmm, many folks use the cardboard outside as the "billboard", other than the Styro. These (the cardboard liners) can be made, printed locally perhaps> That part's no problem. In fact, I was well on the way to having boxes printed to fit the inflatable Airliner packaging when I learned that it had fallen out of favor. <I see> Apparently the companies that make EPS foam boxes sell them with the cardboard boxes, in which case I could just do a nice custom mailing label. This would be ideal for just starting out until I get a better fix on what sizes of boxes I'll need most often. <Sounds good> Gotta resolve this soon, because the longer my livestock sits around, the more I fall in love with all the corals and don't want to sell them!!! By the way, one of your crew helped me with a sick fish problem awhile back... elevated nitrite. After numerous water changes with no drop in nitrites, I finally figured out that the water coming from my RO unit was contaminated (I'm a little slow). My brother-in-law who has a water filtration business suggested flushing it periodically with peroxide. <Good idea... safe and effective. Bob Fenner> Suzanne

Retail Fish Quarantine System Bob, I just opened a new fresh - salt - reef store in Little Rock, AR in Dec. of 2000. I have since become the only saltwater store in a town of about 600,000.  <Congratulations! Wowzah, what a market!> Sales are good and saltwater fish and corals are my biggest sellers so far. I have eleven 40 gallon SW fish tanks and four 55 gallon reef tanks. They are not on a central system and are filtered by Emperor 400's. The reefs also have Prizm skimmers. <Yikes... some upgrades needed now... or a whole lot of late nights keeping up these systems...> I have the occasional problem of parasites, frayed fins, and ick and have used Cupramine in the past to help rid these problems. (I have read some of the articles here about your views of copper) <Still the most assured treatment material...> I want to go to a two week quarantine system for the fish before they are brought out to the floor to be sold. I have plenty of room in the back to set up quarantine systems. <Great! There are a few stores, wholesalers that do this... Marine Center, a sponsor of WWM is one...> How is the best way to receive in the fish, acclimate them, and quarantine them? <Yikes... much to state here... wish you had time for a visit to some of my L.A. friends wholesale businesses... and to a certain excellent shop in Phoenix that does exactly what I know you need, will want to do... For now, please read over the "Acclimation" and "Guerilla Acclimation Techniques" sections posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com and all the business section...> Do you use copper or medication?  <Not routinely> What happens if a tang in the second week of quarantine or on the floor gets ick?  <All sorts of grades of treatment... if environmental manipulation, vitamins and cleaners will do it, so be it... otherwise, yes to copper> I would like to set them up on central systems and would even like to set up my floor tanks on a central system when funds become available. (I'm kind of stretching it to put in a quarantine system.) <Plan my friend... lost organisms, tanks with sick unsaleable livestock in them, taking up room, time cost more....> Also, who are some good suppliers of marine fish and corals?  <See the Links pages on WWM... do you order from Quality Marine? Sea Dwelling Creatures? Underwater World?...> I am using Sea Dwelling Creatures and Segrest Farms and have been fairly happy with them so far. <Go with what you know... > Any information or advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to make this store the best it can possibly be. <Outstanding. Good attitude. Rest assured, I will help you in what ways I can. Bob Fenner> Thank you. Larry McGee Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR aquarium@tcworks.net

Bagging a new way to treat fish (using Metronidazole/Flagyl) << This message was forwarded to you from Straits Times Interactive (http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg) by Perry@creationstreet.com.sg>> <Thanks for this Perry. Will post to WWM site. Bob Fenner> ORNAMENTAL fish being exported to other countries can now be treated while they are being transported. A medication, developed in Singapore, is placed directly in the plastic bags containing the fish, where it kills bacteria and parasites. So, during their journey overseas, the fish are treated while they travel. In the past, fish had to be placed in tanks containing medication for several days before being packed for their journeys to countries like the United States, Britain and Japan. Singapore is the world's top exporter of ornamental fish, accounting for one third of the $76-million market last year. It is considered a one-stop supermarket for such fish, and supplies 2,000 species for export to countries all over the world. Mr. Lim Lian Chuan, head of the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority's (AVA) Freshwater Fisheries Centre, explained that with labour costing as much as it does in Singapore, providing top-quality fish is paramount. This means getting the fish to market in top condition. 'Normally, the parasites would not affect the fish, but they are severely stressed when they are being transported because so many of them are crowded together. 'So even mild infections can be fatal then,' he said. Dr Ling Kai Huat from the AVA led a team of five researchers who came up with the simple yet effective idea of putting the medicine directly into the plastic bags the fish are transported in. He said: 'We ran out of chemicals one day, and I put the fish in a small bag to treat them. 'It struck me - why not use less chemicals and treat the fish in the plastic bag while transporting them. 'It's something so simple, yet we had not thought of it before because the mindset was always to treat the fish in their tanks.' The research took about two years. The officer-in-charge of the AVA's farming systems unit also narrowed down the cheapest and most effective medicines for treating the fish. For example, guppies, swordtails and goldfish are placed in packing bags containing chlorine dioxide, which stops skin parasites and bacteria. Angelfish, discus and Oscars and other fish in the cichlid family are plagued by gut parasites. These are treated with a chemical called Metronidazole. Explained Dr Ling: 'Previously, exporters had to mix the fish food with lukewarm water, coat the food pellets with the medicine and feed the fish this mixture twice a day for a week. 'Now, the medication is simply dissolved in the water. The fish ingests it and it's also absorbed through the anus. It is very effective.' He added: 'We looked at what is available and what is being used in other industries to come up with the appropriate medicines and treatments. 'For example, chlorine dioxide is already used in food processing to kill bacteria and parasites in raw oysters. 'Metronidazole is used to eliminate parasites in animals.' Mortality rates for the fish have gone down with the new method, said chairman of the Singapore Aquarium Fish Exporters' Association Fong Ching Loon, who has been using the new medicine and packing techniques for a year. In fact, while a 5-per-cent mortality rate is common around the world, the death rate for fish from Singapore is only two to three in a hundred. He said in Mandarin: 'With other medicines, put too much in the water and the fish die. But with these, I can actually use two to three times the dosage and the fish are fine. 'Now, more fish survive the journey overseas, and our customers say they're less susceptible to illness when they arrive as well.' IP Address:

Re: how's it going, bob from fish doctors (wholesale health protocols) hello bob, now I am starting to get some real nice fish in from Australia Net caught M. personifers do u think I should feed them with Piperazine mixed with Mysis. <I wouldn't... generally unnecessary... are you seeing a lot of evidence of worms in their feces?> by the way Mysis saved all my Moorish idols, and the entire family of Sweetlips. yippee to piscine energetics for that. which now I am a distributor for them on the in the SF area. <Great> also I import my fish from AMRI in the Philippines which I pay 20 bucks for them to send them for testing for cyanide, but alas death rates are still pretty high. <Yes... has little to do with actual cyanide practice there... much more to do with social dynamics, economics, practices of keeping the collectors poor... the animals, industry suffer accordingly> most of my saddlebacks seem prone to septicemia "reddish patches" what shall I do to stop this darn infection. <I would stop carrying A. polymnus from the wild... get the tank-bred ones from ORA, C-Quest, TMC... You could try furan compound dips/baths in dilute seawater for five minutes... keeping them in with your invertebrates after that...> my system goes entirely though a 520 watt emperor aquatics UV sterilizer which seems to be at the right flow rate of 35-40 gpm in order to give it the killing power of 90,000.but the disease does not seem to care about that. <More of a stress-contagion than actual infectious or parasitic disease... this species found in not so clear water in the sand... very stressful to be collected, shipped, held as it is...> ick is never a problem though, need help in what to treat them with thanks. thanks bayside marine aquatics formerly 5 years with Tom at the fish doctors, and he is finally tying the knot with his gal. in August Shaun <Wowzah! Another one down! Congrats to Tom... still under the vac. shop? Still living on the farm? Still rocking' with the band? Bob Fenner who sends his best>

Questions on acclimating fish for retail sales.. Hi Bob, My name is Leland Foley and I am starting a Marine Fish/Reef Retail store.  <Outstanding... I will gladly shake the hand of anyone who would (try to) be self-employed. Welcome to our industry> I have worked in many other retail stores, including a couple of years for Inland Aquatics.  <Ahh, Morgan Lidster and I are known to each other> Anyway, I have been around long enough to learn a great deal about fish acclimation, and I really like the way you suggest to acclimate marine fish, but I have a few questions. <Please> 1.) How do you incorporate dips into your Guerilla Acclimation Techniques? I believe, as I'm sure you do as well, that the PVP based dechlorinator, in combination with the methylene blue really helps the fish to survive the stresses of shipping, <Yes> but after this acclimation procedure, would it be too stressful to put them into a formalin dip before putting them into the main system tanks? <Good question... as it has the usual (lame) "it depends"... by and large if most all marine fish livestock is in "good enough" shape from this point in an/the acclimation protocol, it's "probably okay" (more beneficial than potentially detrimental) to proceed with another dipping/bath sequence...> I'm a strong believer in formalin dips and freshwater dips. They are primarily what I use when I receive a shipment of fish, because I'm sure as you know Clownfishes, and others will die of Brooklynella or crypto quite quickly if not treated immediately apron arrival. <Agreed, especially with Clowns> My acclimation procedure consists of floating the bags to equalize the temps, and then in small batches putting the fish into a saltwater and Formalin dip, or a straight freshwater dip with bicarbonate. I've found that a great deal of fish will die in a freshwater dip, but do just fine in a saltwater with formalin dip. <As always... intelligence and experience go into deciding/judging dip types, duration...> Then the fish are removed from the dip and placed into a quarantine system (500 gal.) that is run by oversized wet/dries, mild protein skimming, and very strong U.V. sterilization. The fish are given high quality fresh seafood (shrimp, squid, marine fish, etc..) treated with garlic and Metronidazole for the first week then flake foods and various frozen foods are introduced. <Wow, quite an expensive undertaking... but worth it> I only use the garlic as a flavor enhancer, it might help remove worms, but this is not the primary reason I use it. <I understand> If a fish pops up with a bacterial infection we dip it again and carefully keep it overfed. If ich pops up on 3 or more fish we add copper to the system. Which brings me to my last question, 2.) What form of copper chelated or non-chelated can be used with UV sterilizers on? Or better yet what brand do you recommend? <In a large operation, volume or livestock flow-wise, non-chelated like the Kordon or Aquarium Systems product... Wouldn't, don't use chelated varieties on sleeved or non-sleeved UVs> Sorry for the long post, but as you know this is what makes or breaks ones profits in this industry, <I do know this... agree. Please make it known if I may be of assistance. Bob Fenner> Thanks, -Leland Foley

Help!!!!! (Icky ich, crypto, and what else!?) I have my own tank maintenance company and have been having a big problem with saltwater fish in general. I have a resale license so I pick up fish for my customers. I have had a big problem with them staying alive in the holding tanks that I have. I have tried everything and I am pulling my hair out. They look great the first day or two, then they start breathing fast break out with ick and die soon after that. I have tried meds, freshwater dip, and probably ten other things and nothing works. I have even torn the tanks down cleaned them out and set them back up and that doesn't work. Tangs are the worst and clowns run a close second. Any ideas? Any thoughts that you might have would be great. Jim <Sounds like they are beginning with Amyloodinium and progressing to Cryptocaryon or Brooklynella. Bob has written extensively on treatment and receiving protocols. Begin reading here for ideas and follow out to other articles and FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm You may wish to consider another wholesaler, too. -Steven Pro>

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