Transporting Goldfish From One Pond to Another

by Brendan
(Berkshire, UK)

I have to give up my pond, so I have to re-home my goldfish - they range in size from 1.5 to 5 inches.
They can travel in plastic bags (put in a box) filled with pond water.
How big should the bag be to travel say one hour.
Thank you for your advice

Grant's Reply

Hi Brendon

Transporting Goldfish is all about temperature.

Temperatures are starting to rise in your part of the world in June and as water gets warmer, the oxygen content goes down.

The water for the plastic bags should be fresh aged water, in other words fish haven't been in it, so there is no waste for bacteria to feed on which competes for the oxygen. In a cubic centimetre of aged water inhabited by fish, there may be more than 10 million suspended bacteria.

At the end of the journey, you need to check the water parameters your fish will be introduced into, so pH and temperature need to be the same to avoid increasing the stress on already stressed fish.

As long as the fish aren't gasping, keep the bags closed while the temperatures equalize as opening the bags can cause an ammonia spike.

As for the size of the bags, and using one five inch (body length) fish as an example, I would use a bag that would hold 2.5-3 litres of water, which represents 20-25% of the total bag volume. The rest of the bag volume would be air. It's more important to have lots of air in the bag rather than water.

Using that example, you could put 3-4 1.5 inch fish in the same size bag.

Ideally, travel in a car with air conditioning that is turned down and keep the box(es) covered to keep the fish as calm as possible. If that's not possible, travel on a cooler day and if possible line the boxes with polystyrene.

I would also take a container of water with me as added insurance in case you are unexpectedly delayed.

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