Transporting pet fish to the Veterinary Hospital

Here are some tips and tricks for getting your fish to the veterinarian and being prepared for the appointment when you arrive.

Please transport your fish in an appropriately sized container. Consider bringing your small fish (betta fish) in at least a 1.5 gallon aquarium or for a larger fish (koi) a clean 5 gallon bucket or large cooler. You will need to have a battery operated air stone to have in the aquarium during transport. Depending on the species of fish, we recommend either bringing along a heater or wrapping the outside of the aquarium with towels to keep the temperature more stable during transport.

Also please bring extra water, not including the water your fish is in for transport. Why do we need extra water for your appointment? One reason is that fish get stressed during transport and it is important to be able to do a partial water change on their transport water before heading home from the appointment. This allows us to have the best water quality before, during, and after the appointment. The second reason is to have extra water in case your fish needs to be sedated or anesthetized. We are able to make dechlorinated water, but the water chemistry can be vastly different from the water you are using at home. The last reason is we want to run a water quality sample. This sample should be taken from the aquarium the fish is in before you leave. Please bring at least 1 cup (8oz) of water for the water quality test. How much extra water do you need to bring for the rest of the appointment? For smaller fish bring at least 1 gallon and for larger fish bring at least 5 gallons. We recommend you do a water change a few days before your appointment and save half the old water and mix it with new water to dilute it in the container for transport and the appointment. Make sure you heat or cool this water to the appropriate temperature for your fish beforehand.

Please have the following information ready to relay to our health care team to ensure a thorough appointment:

  • What diet is offered and how much is consumed?
  • Are you using any supplements or over the counter products?
  • What type of aquarium or enclosure/ environment is your fish in?
  • How many gallons?
  • What substrate/ furnishings?
  • Are there any live plants, coral or any other species?
  • How often is the aquarium cleaned and how is it cleaned?
  • What type of filtration system is in place?
  • What lighting?
  • What type of heating or chilling system are you using?
  • What is your aquarium temperature range?
  • Any recent husbandry changes?
  • How long have you had your fish?
  • Where did you obtain your fish?

If you have any questions or concerns about getting your fish to our office, just give us a call and we will be happy to help. Please check out our other articles about fish health.