A fishkeeper's nightmare: What happened to 600+ Glass Belly Guppies during shipping?

A fishkeeper's nightmare: What happened to 600+ Glass Belly Guppies during shipping?
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Glass Belly Guppies, also known as see-through guppies, are a popular freshwater aquarium fish prized for their unique transparent bodies. However, one massive order of over 600 Glass Belly Guppies went terribly wrong, with the majority of fish dying en route. Let's take a deeper look at what may have contributed to this tragedy.

The massive Glass Belly Guppy order

Aquarist and online content creator Fish4everchannel had placed what they described as their largest fish order ever - a whopping 633 Glass Belly Guppies arriving from Asia. The fish were shipped in multiple bags within a box for the multi-day journey. While the shipment arrived on schedule after 3 days of transit, upon opening the box the aquarist received a huge shock - over 20 bags contained nothing but dead fish.

Narrowing down the possible causes

With well over 100 guppies perished, the aquarist was understandably distraught and sought to understand what went wrong. After inspecting the shipment more closely, they noticed most of the bags containing deceased fish were those located at the corners and bottom of the box. This led them to hypothesize that the box may have been overpacked, putting too much pressure on the vulnerable bags in those areas and potentially restricting water flow or oxygen exchange, suffocating the sensitive fish.

Another possibility was that water quality may have declined in some bags during the journey. Small water changes or supplemental oxygen packs are often used during fish shipments to maintain parameters, but it's unclear if these precautions were taken for this order.

Lessons for large fish shipments

While importing large quantities of livestock can help breeders build up stock or offer rare species to enthusiasts, this incident highlights some of the challenges and risks. Proper packing and spacing of bags to avoid crushing is essential. Individual water changes or oxygen supplements in bags may further improve survival. It's also advisable to choose a well-established shipper with experience moving live tropical fish.

For the aquarist, this was likely a difficult learning experience. However, with proper quarantine and care, the surviving Glass Belly Guppies should still make wonderful aquarium residents and breeding projects. While the thought of receiving hundreds of perished fish is upsetting, this analysis may prevent similar issues in future large ornamental fish transportations.

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