A selection of useful tidbits of information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by Advanced Aquarist’s readership. Readers are encouraged to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the Reefs.org General Reefkeeping Discussion forum or send their tips to terry@advancedaquarist.com for possible publication. Next month’s Hot Tip theme will be “Common Mistakes When Setting Up A New Tank“.

Shipping Coral, Fish and Invertebrates:

I’m a fan of making my own box. I use the sheets of styro found atHD to insulate your house. Cut to fit the box nice and tight and awaythey go. Any void space I will with packing nuts as they are light andhelp insulate too. Double bag with a lining one newspaper between thetwo bags. I slao take a bag cut it to be about 2″ taller than thecoral, cut the bottom out and use that to pick up the coral and throwit in the bag. This prevents any pointy parts of the coral or rock itis on from poking through the bag. Top off the bag with O2. DON”T useUSPS if you are telling them it is live stock. They will not ship itunless it can go on a non-stop flight, which my mean it sits for hoursbefor the next flight is avalible. Fed Ex is the way I prefer.

New Life – 728

Rob Top

If it’s next day, ship zoos on damp paper towels, save on shipping costs by eliminating the weight of the bagged water.


Small, insulated styrofoam containers with custom fitted cardboardboxes aren’t everyday finds that you can pick up at the Post Office.You can special order them for $5 a pop, but you’d have to buy in bulk.

I did however come across a solution earlier this year. A shippingbox for wine bottles. They can be found at Retail Mailing Servicesshops like Mail Boxes Etc. or PostalAnnex.

I’ve seen 3 sizes available: single ($5.99), double ($6.99), and quad ($8.99).


Space is limited within the styrofoam chambers that are designedspecifically for wine bottles. I’ve used several different plasticcontainers for shipping, and have found that the Rubbermaid Small RoundTakeAlongs are the best to use. They are compact, cheap, and have avery tight fitting lid that won’t leak. The name of the piece can alsobe written on the lid.


I only have experience shipping SPS frags. In this case, I fill thecup up with about 80% of tank water, which minimizes any sloshingaround that might occur during shipping. I also place a square-cut of aplastic bag with the frag which also helps cushion the ride. I findthat this method really lowers ‘shipping stress’ and ‘bag burn’ for thefrag. Often times, the recipient will comment on how the frag’s polypswere fully extended right out of the box.


Here, you’ll see the two halves of the stryfoam container. Onebottom chamber will hold 4 Small Rounds. So, with the double-sized wineshipper (pictured), I’m able to comfortably ship 8 frags.


The top chamber is fitted for the capsule and neck of a wine bottle.Heat or ice packs can be conveniently placed here for temperaturecontrol. For this particular overnight shipment, I’m using an 8 hourheat pack. This package will be facing cold weather upon departure, butwill be arriving in an area of warm climate.


Lastly, I fill the remaining space with packing peanuts to keepeverything secure within the chambers. This also helps prevent the heator ice packs from coming in contact with the plastic containers andtheir precious cargo. Combine each half, slide it into the cardboardbox, seal it and you’re ready to go.


Hope you find this useful!


I transported quite a few sps frags by simply wrapping them in apaper towel dipped in tank water. I got this idea from reading severalarticles about corals being packed in wet newspaper. So far I have notlost a coral from this method, though I have lost quite a few that werebagged in water.


I have shipped snails succesfully priority mail with only a damp paper towel in the bag with them.

When you close the bag be sure to capture a good bit of air, so thebag is inflated, and don’t use so much water on the towell that it ispooling up in the bag, you just want enough water to keep the towelmoist..

Laura D

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