Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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CynicalSmile 03-28-2013 09:18 PM

Starting new tank, how long can fish stay in a bag?
So I've cycled my new 20 gallon tank, and I want to place mollies and swordtails together. I have two questions, though.

I've gotten mixed messages on whether this is a good idea; some say they're great together, others say it was awful. Will the two work well together?

Also, I was thinking of 4 mollies and 2 sword. How long should these be in a bag, as I might have to leave them in the car for up to 3 hours? Is there anything I can do? Plus, I've read that they can last anywhere from half an hour to five days. Any advice?

Thanks for all your help!

MoneyMitch 03-28-2013 09:45 PM

well fish are shipped by mail usually next day air so 3 hrs should be fine as long as they arent left in extreme cold or heat. they can handle cooler then normal or warmer then normal but not extremes.

AbbeysDad 03-29-2013 08:41 AM

Welcome to TFK!

I think it's generally held that fish can survive shipments in bags for 24 to 48 hours, but these are larger bags than typical pet store bags. You should be fine at 3 hours but as mentioned, make sure the temperature in the car won't get extreme. When I go for fish I often take a cooler (winter or summer) to moderate and insulate against the outside temperature. In winter I put a container of warm water in the cooler.

As to Mollies and Swordtails together I'm not aware of any problems but have no first hand experience. I did have some Mollies and Platys together once and they were okay.
You may have an issue with your numbers of fish unless you're getting all females. Live bearers do best when there is one male for every two females, otherwise the male tends to pester one female way too much.

fish monger 03-29-2013 09:07 AM

Some shops fill their bags with oxygen and some with compressed air. Naturally, the oxygen would give you more time insofar as respiration is concerned. As has been mentioned, temperature is a major consideration. Just make sure that the temperature in the car is kept at a moderate (mid seventies) range. In any event, get them home as soon as possible. As AbbeysDad said, be sure to get at least a 1 male to 2 female grouping.

Byron 03-29-2013 06:38 PM

Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

The best way to deal with the temperature in transit is to get yourself one of those picnic-type coolers. They come in various sizes and are not not expensive. Not only does this maintain a steady temperature, but it adds darkness which is almost as important. Fish in transit will be more calm if it is dark, total blackness, around them.

Tell the store the length of time involved. Some of the better stores will increase the bag size, add extra oxygen, etc. I would not delay getting them home any more that is absolutely necessary. Fish secrete pheromones and allomones and these can build up in the water, along with the ammonia of course. And molly are very highly sensitive to ammonia at very low levels.

To the question of swordtails and molly, in a 20 gallon the answer is no. Swordtail requires a larger tank as it is a larger fish and needs space to swim. Check the profile, click the shaded name. The Common Molly also gets a decent size, and in a 20g high I would not have more than 3. All male is fine; one female in with one or more males will mean hundreds of fry regularly, and getting rid of them is not always simple.


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