News / Company News / Bob's Picks (06/22/12)

Bob's Picks

Last week we discussed the differences between the two typical types of exporters - consolidators and catch-to-order operations. This week I want to focus on the importance of proper packing procedures.

The majority of exporters will use natural seawater both for their holding systems and packing water. A responsible exporter will condition their seawater prior to addition to their system. This can be done in a number of ways from being held in a large vessel with aeration to an actual dedicated system that employs mechanical filtration, UV sterilization and/or ozone treatment. Depending on the exporter, the packing water can come straight from the aquariums or a dedicated holding tank. The latter is preferable especially when utilized along with the latest filtration technology to ensure optimal water quality parameters and that it is sterile. Synthetic sea salt is used only where it is economically feasible.

In an effort to minimize the amount of waste produced by the specimens and to prevent high levels of ammonia during transit, all animals should be purged prior to shipment. Every animal has a different metabolic rate and this fasting period varies by species and size. Specimens that are properly purged very seldom are exposed to elevated ammonia levels during transport. The important thing here is that fish cannot be purged for too long, or else they may lose their feeding response and may have difficulty getting weaned back onto foods when they reach the import facility. This is one area where experience really counts and makes all the difference.

Another aspect to consider is providing proper bag size to house the animal with the least amount of stress during transit. The correct water to oxygen ratio is also critical as the certain fish need more oxygen than others. Additionally, some species with sharp spines may require additional bag/bag liners to prevent punctures. The exporter also needs to consider if they need to add any temperature controls to the packing container and be aware of weather conditions along the way to their destination. Last but not least, all international shipments of animals must meet the minimum requirements as set forth by IATA. You will see a huge difference in the quality of animals where proper techniques are being utilized vs exporters who arent as experienced or who are cutting corners.


This week we got a good shipment of Blue Stripe Pipefish (Doryrhamphus excisus) that are eating ova quite well. These are great red bug predators, but shouldn't be kept with strong corals or anemones.

We have a limited selection of Painted Sweetlips (Diagramma pictum) in both juvenile and adult colorations. These guys eat absolutely everything and are usually asking for food when we pass their tank.

We have a few very beautiful Purple Tangs (Zebrasoma xanthurum) right now. These are all eating well, and are sporting that famously striped coloration. Call your sales rep, these won't last.

If you are looking for a reef star that is slightly different, we have some really colorful Marble Reef Stars (Fromia sp.). These are hardy, useful, and just a little different. Try a couple.

The Lobophyllia brain (Lobophyllia sp) selection here right now is amazing. We have classified some of them as Lobophyllia pachysepta but they are the same lobo you and your customers love. Have your sales rep grab you a couple nice ones.

On the super limited, rare and cool front, we have a couple Blue Coral Banded Shrimp (Stenopus tenuirostris) in a very small size. Like I said, it is a very limited supply.