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  • Bagging Fish for Auction

    Auction day is stressful for fish. To ensure the highest possible chance of survival, one of the most important things a hobbyist can do is to bag fish properly. Improperly bagged fish often die due to lack of oxygen and/or aggression. Here are a few tips for bagging fish for auction.


    1. DON'T FEED your fish for 24-36 hours before you are going to bag them. They will produce less waste in the bag this way. If you need to bag scavengers and plecos, it is a good idea to place them into a bare bottom holding tank for 24 hours so they can clean out their systems.


    2. It's often a good idea to start with clean water. If you live in an area with chlorine in the tap water, you can simply aerate the water in a bucket before use for 24 hours. If you live in an area with chloramine, you must use a dechlorinator. Treat the water the same way you would if it were going into your tank; for example, most of us will need to buffer our local tap water for African Rift Lake cichlids.


    3. NEVER use a Ziploc or any other bag that was not designed to be a water-tight fish bag. If the bag is not a water-tight fish bag, it WILL leak at some point on auction day.


    4. Be sure to provide at least 2/3 air to 1/3 water in the bag. This is a very important step. If you are unable to do this, you need to either split the fish up into multiple bags to make it possible, or you need a larger bag. This applies only to regular poly fish bags. It does NOT apply to Breather Bags.


    5. Generally speaking, if you are bagging fish that are more than a couple of inches long, or fish that may be aggressive toward one another, split them up into separate bags. When in doubt, just go ahead and split them up.


    6. If you have a very large fish, or a fish that can pop a bag pretty easily (such as Synodontis spp.), consider using a bucket or similar container rather than a fish bag.


    7. Whenever possible, it is best to double bag your fish. This applies only to poly fish bags. It does NOT apply to Breather Bags.


    8. Do not attempt to bag fish at the same density per bag as pet stores. Many pet stores have oxygen tanks that they use for bagging fish. Most hobbyists do not. Your fish are also going to be bagged much longer than they normally would when coming from a pet store. You don't want them running out of oxygen.


    9. If you know details about your water chemistry such as pH, KH, GH, it's helpful to the buyer if you write that on the bag. If your fish were kept in brackish water, be sure to include SG.


    No methods of bagging are completely foolproof. The following works well for me.


    Catch your fish and inverts and set them aside in a container. It's much easier to go from container to bag than net to bag. If you do not have catch cups, an old pitcher or similar container works nicely.






    Pour the fish from the cup into the bag. Be sure to leave at least 2/3 air to 1/3 water in the bag. If you do not have access to an oxygen tank, you can use an air pump and airline tubing to blow up the bag. NEVER blow into the bag to fill it up. Twist the top of the bag tightly to keep the air inside. Secure the bag tightly by either tying a knot or using a rubber band.






    Next, invert the bag and put it into a second bag.






    Twist the top of the outer bag tightly. Secure with a knot or rubber band. The end result should look something like a balloon.






    If you are using Breather Bags, fill the bag with water. Breather Bags allow gas exchange through the bag and are designed to be used this way. Twist the top of the bag to close it and secure with a knot or rubber band.





    See you at the auction! Happy fishkeeping!
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. aXio's Avatar
      aXio -
      Great Article!!! I saw a lot of improperly bagged fish at the last big auction unfortunately! Also if anyone ever needs bags at the big auctions I bring a lot of extra bags with me. Just come find me if you need any.
    1. spidangular's Avatar
      spidangular -
      It doesn't take me to an article about bagging fish. .


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. hsd's Avatar
      hsd -
      Quote Originally Posted by spidangular View Post
      It doesn't take me to an article about bagging fish. .


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      Link seems to work fine here. Maybe reload page?
    1. heatherbeast's Avatar
      heatherbeast -
      Excellent article! I wish buckets were easier to see through, haha, but I have never regretted using them.
    1. caricell's Avatar
      caricell -
      very nice, Marcie!