Can Fish Suffocate In A Bag?

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Written By Fun Fish Tanks

I Love my Fishes 

Everyone knows that fish are transferred in a bag. Whether you buy it online or from aquarium stores you have to carry it in a bag before adding it to your aquarium.

This is a confusing thing for beginners as in a bag one cannot maintain the water parameters required for the fish’s well-being or survival. Fishes can survive in a bad for a certain amount of time, but not always.

Leaving a fish in a bag for too long will eventually lead to death. Although it is not recommended, one must have to keep fish in a bag at some point in time. It can be while buying it and bringing it home, while moving homes, or while moving the fish to another tank

In this article, you will find everything that there is regarding keeping fish in a bag.

How long can you keep a fish in a bag? 

How long can you keep a fish in a bag? 

If you have seen fishes being kept in a bag, then you might’ve wondered how long can it survive in a bag. A fish can survive for about 8 to 10 hours in a bag. Many pet shops or aquarium shops will add additional oxygen to the bag, allowing the fish to last up to 48 hours.

The amount of oxygen within the bag will have a big impact on the fish’s survival. However, it doesn’t mean that you should leave your fish in a bag for the exact amount of time it can survive. Leaving your fish in the bag for 5 to 7 hours is optimal for both you and your fish. 

Can fish suffocate in a bag? 

Can fish suffocate in a bag? 

A fish can suffocate in a bag. Although, it happens when the oxygen within the bag runs out. As mentioned, a fish can survive for about 8 to 10 hours in a bag filled with atmospheric air.

But avoid keeping it in a bag for the exact amount of time. You also must not add too much water to the bag, as more water results in less air within the bag.

So for the survival of the fish, if you’re traveling somewhere, it is best to fill the bag with oxygen rather than air. But as the oxygen runs out, the fish will suffocate. 

How long can fish survive without oxygen?

In shallow water without oxygen, a fish may live for around two days. If it is the sole fish in the container, it can live for up to a week. When a fish is swimming in shallow water, its movement causes the water to circulate, which allows the fish to absorb oxygen from the surface.

In a crowded environment, fish will compete for more oxygen, resulting in the faster decrease of the oxygen, meaning they may not live more than two days.

Measures to take while keeping a fish in a bag 

One day or the other a situation rises up when you have to keep your fish in a bag for quite some time. There are certain things that you have to keep in mind before keeping your fish in a bag. 

Fill the bag with oxygen instead of atmospheric air

If you must keep your fish in a bag in a situation such as traveling, fill the bag with oxygen instead of air. It is permissible to fill your fish bag with air for brief periods, for like an hour. In that time, you’re unlikely to have any suffocation issues.

However, if you need to travel for several hours, it’s advisable to fill the bag with oxygen to avoid the fish from suffocating. The oxygen should take up two-thirds of the bag to keep your fish safe when in a fish bag. If the right circumstances are fulfilled, this can keep your fish alive for hours or perhaps a day or two.

However, you should not travel with your fish in a bag for more than 5 to 7 hours. 

Large bag, less water and more air 

If you’re considering keeping fish in a bag, make sure the bag is large enough. There is more space in a larger bag, which can be filled with oxygen. The increased oxygen in a bigger bag allows a fish to stay in the bag for longer.

The fish can also take more oxygen from the water’s surface. It eliminates the need to repeatedly open the bag to restore the amount of oxygen within. 

You should not fill the bag with too much water as well. It will not leave much space for the air. Only one-third of the bag’s volume should be filled with water. If you fill the bag primarily with water, there won’t be enough room for air or oxygen, and your fish will perish.

Try to keep one fish in a single bag

In a single bag, you must keep only one fish. When there are more fish in a bag, the pace at which oxygen is utilized is faster. Although if the bag is big enough and the fishes are of small size, you can keep more than one in a single bag.

Though not for extended periods. For bigger fishes, you must find a suitable size bag and keep only one of them in a single bag. If you’re traveling for prolonged periods, keep one fish in a single container. If you have bought a few fish and the store gives them to you in one bag, the sooner you get home, the better.

Keep the temperature moderate 

You must keep the surrounding temperature moderate at all costs if you’re carrying fish in a bag. Whether you’re traveling or taking new fish to your home from the store, keep the temperature moderate. Fish can tolerate normal temperature, but if it is hot or cold outdoors, the temperature of the water in the bag will fluctuate frequently. 

When combined with unfavorable outdoor temperatures, this can harm your fish and lead to death. If the weather is particularly hot, try to ride in an air-conditioned car to keep the temperature under control. You can opt for cold or hot packs to maintain the water’s temperature. Just don’t let the unfavorable temperatures affect the water of the bag.

Don’t keep the bag stagnant

Though fishes can create water movement by swimming in the bag which allows the oxygen to get into the water. Some fishes can die if the container is kept stagnant. The movement of the water allows oxygen from the atmosphere to enter the water, allowing the fish to breathe. So from time to time, make some water movement by moving the container to let the oxygen circulate in the water.

Avoid and control the build up of ammonia

You must not feed the fish for a day before traveling. As you will be keeping the fish in a bag, if the fish creates waste in it, ammonia will build up rapidly. Fish can go for up to a week without food, so you don’t have to worry about them being hungry. Excess ammonia can be a concern for fish, although it is uncommon for it to reach a life-threatening situation.

The accumulation of ammonia can also be reduced by keeping the water temperature low. Allowing the water to grow too chilly might cause problems for your fish as well.

Don’t keep the fish in the bag too long while traveling 

Try to keep the amount of time you keep the fish in a bag as minimum as possible. While you’re traveling or moving to a different home, make the fish the last thing you pack.

Also, the fish should be the first thing you must remove from the bag after reaching the destination. Remember to have a large bag, with shallow water and let it be filled with oxygen rather than atmospheric air.

Can you keep a fish in a zip-lock bag? 

You must be thinking that a zip-lock bag is also viable to transport the fish in. But it is not. The reason for this is that certain zip-lock bags may be laced with hazardous substances that seep into the water, they can be problematic for transporting your fish.

This can become hazardous to your fish, it’s advisable to use a high-quality polyethylene bag instead. You may secure the bag with a tight knot to guarantee that no oxygen or air escapes.

How to move the fishes from a bag to the aquarium? 

You should move the fish from the bag to the aquarium with utmost care. You must not dump it in straight away. First, what you need to do is let the bag float on the surface of the water. With this, the bag’s temperature gradually comes close to the aquarium’s level.

To get the fish acclimated to the tank’s water, start by transferring roughly 20-25 percent of the tank’s water into the bag. After a few minutes, add around half and see whether your fish is still happy. Do not allow any of the bag’s water to enter your tank.

You should only add water to the bag and let the amount increase. Then scoop the fish using a net and put it in the aquarium. Allow your fish to swim freely in the tank only once it becomes accustomed to the new water.

A fish will suffocate in a bag. Although, it depends on several factors. For the fish to survive in a bag for prolonged periods and not let it suffocate you must add oxygen to it. Avoid adding more than one fish in a single bag, keep the water level low, and the bag must be large. Maintain all these, and your fish can stay in the bag for longer hours. Don’t feed the fish to avoid ammonia developing in the bag. Although keeping a fish in a bag for too long is never recommended. Always keep the time to a minimum.

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