I won a second auction on Aquabid.com. This one was for Thoracochromis brauschi. Following my first experience receiving fish in the mail, I was slightly concerned, but trying to remain open to the possibility that it could be a pleasant undertaking. I was rewarded with a wonderful experience thanks to Esther David of Virginia. She packaged the fish extremely well. They were shipped USPS two-day priority and probably could have lasted four days in the mail. Each fish was individually bagged with ample air in the bag and all were securely surrounded by newspaper. An extra fish was included in the box, so the eight I ordered became nine. I was extremely pleased. My faith in purchasing fish online has been fully restored. I filmed myself opening the box - see below.
Thank you, Esther!
I have been very fortunate to live near Chicago, a hub of aquarium hobbyists. My closeness to the city has afforded me the opportunity to acquire many interesting freshwater fish without having to have them shipped from elsewhere. Having said that, I have been aching to get certain species that I could not manage to find in the area. So I turned to Aquabid.com and began bidding. It took a little time to successfully win an auction. Eventually I did, however, manage to outbid the masses and win some Ophthalmotilapia ventralis Mpimbwe. Fortunately for me, the seller was the same man who had offered up two other species I wanted. I had lost both of those auctions, but he managed to scrounge a few of each together for me. And so I was scheduled to receive my first shipment of fish ever.
The experience was not all positive. The fish did arrive as scheduled. I was just getting home with lunch when the postman left them on my front step. I quickly brought them inside and set up the video camera to record the opening. A short video follows.
I will not mention the individual who sent me the fish because I don't wish to besmirch anyone's reputation, but I will point out a few areas that could be improved upon. First off, the fish were packed in Kordon breather bags, which are fine if used properly. There was very little room left in the box for any oxygen, however, and it is my belief that this is the reason that four of the twenty-four fish in the box died in transit. I believe they suffocated. I had ordered eight Thoracochromis brauschi, eight Ophthalmotilapia ventralis Mpimbwe, and six Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi. The seller was kind enough to include an extra individual of both the T. brauschi and the O. ventralis. Of the fish that died, one was a T. brauschi, one was an O. ventralis, and two were P. nicholsi. The fish were not all individually bagged, but it didn't seem to make a difference as some of the dead were bagged with others while some were bagged solo. The fish were shipped two-day priority by my choice, as it is much less expensive. Had they been overnighted, I think they'd have all survived.
The fish that survived the trip are all in excellent condition and I will post some photos when I get the chance to snap a few good shots.
A couple of other negatives: the fish were shipped in a Styrofoam box with a label that read "Refrigerated Shipment... transport contents at refrigerated temperatures of... 36-46 (degrees) F." If any attention was paid to this label, it is possible the fish were stored at a temperature wildly inappropriate for live tropical fish. I don't believe that is what happened, but that is something to be avoided. And lastly, I paid $25 for shipping, but the actual cost of shipping the fish was $16 and change. You be the judge.