What is a breathing bag?

VioletThePurple

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So, I was looking into why people do drip acclimation for shrimp rather than floating the bag, I came across the term breathing bag. I looked it up and it looks the same as any fish bag. But I read that nonbreathing bags are the standard. How would you tell the difference? I would get shrimp from a store in person.
 

Sgooosh

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in person stores usually dont need breathing bags
breathing bags are used when shipping fish. thye have little ventilation holes to help "breathe " air
 

Colin_T

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Breather bags are porous and allow air into the bag but stop water leaking out. The bags need to be completely full of water for this to take place. They cost more than normal bags and pet shops won't use them, neither do most fish wholesalers because they weigh so much when full of water.

If you buy fish bags, the company you buy them from will sell them as Breather bags and they cost a lot more than normal plastic bags.
 
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VioletThePurple

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in person stores usually don't need breathing bags
breathing bags are used when shipping fish. thye have little ventilation holes to help "breathe " air
So, with a nonbreathing bag does that mean shrimp don't have to be drip acclimated?
 

GaryE

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I've long considered keeping shrimp as playing with my (fish) food, so I have no direct experience. I never drip acclimate fish though, and don't lose new arrivals.

Breather bags are like tents - if they touch something solid, they leak. But properly wrapped so they don't touch each other, they save a fortune on shipping. For single fish packing, which I used when I sold killies and uncommon livebearers, they increase survival rates, reduce weight and reduce box size. I sent killies to Europe and the US with great success, til regulations changed.

If you float them, you suffocate the fish though. There is no air in the bag, but there is oxygen exchange.

The best manufacturer discontinued production, and now there are knock offs out of China that don't give me a lot of confidence. I tried them off Amazon and wasn't impressed. They are more brittle and fragile. Each bag costs many times what a poly bag does.
 

Essjay

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Breather bags are for use in shipping fish not acclimating them.

The usual way to drip acclimate is to empty the contents of the bag - water and shrimp/fish - into a bucket. Then take some air line tubing and tie a loose knot in it. Put one end in the tank and suck water into the tubing, then the other end into the bucket. The knot is tightened so the tank water runs into the bucket at a few drops per minute. The theory is that the very slow addition of tank water to the water that the shrimps/fish came in will change the water in the bucket very slowly from the seller's water to your water.
However, in the case of fish, it takes days or weeks for them to acclimatise, not just a few hours so drip acclimatisation is pointless. And it risks ammonia going up in the bucket during the hours the fish are in there. So many people just do 'plop and drop', that is they float the bag in the tank for about 15 minutes to get the temperature the same, then net the fish out of the bag straight to the tank.
I know shrimps are more sensitive to water chemistry than fish, but I don't drip acclimatise mine.
 

Sgooosh

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So, with a nonbreathing bag does that mean shrimp don't have to be drip acclimated?
So, with a nonbreathing bag does that mean shrimp don't have to be drip acclimated?
Breathing bags have nothing to do with drip acclimation,
you still have to acclimate them to your tank so they do not get shocked. i prefer the drip method because it can balance ph, and my tank always has higher ph than the one the fish come from
 

Colin_T

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Breather bags are like tents - if they touch something solid, they leak. But properly wrapped so they don't touch each other, they save a fortune on shipping. For single fish packing, which I used when I sold killies and uncommon livebearers, they increase survival rates, reduce weight and reduce box size. I sent killies to Europe and the US with great success, til regulations changed.
I have to disagree with some of this. It costs more to ship fish in breather bags because the bags are full of water and courier companies charge by weight as well as size of container. If you have a number of bags full of water, it will weigh more than a number of bags that have 1/3 water and 2/3 air.
 

Byron

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Breathing bags have nothing to do with drip acclimation,
you still have to acclimate them to your tank so they do not get shocked. i prefer the drip method because it can balance ph, and my tank always has higher ph than the one the fish come from

Fish cannot acclimate to differing parameters (GH and pH here) in hours, or even days. It takes weeks, and months.

Second point, a change in pH of 1 degree should not harm fish, assuming this is a one-time issue and not fluctuating pH. How much does your pH vary from the store's tank water?
 

emeraldking

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I also use breathing bags when shipping. It does lower the stress because there's no water movement. This way is preferable when the shipping duration takes longer. If there's enough oxygen in the box, this way fish can even survive for 2-3 weeks (sometimes even longer) in such breathing bags. We even had fish entries coming in after 3,5 weeks in breathing bags and those fish were still happy and had fry born in those bags. Those fish were meant for an international livebearer show but came in way too late for the show. The longest duration of shipping of fish of mine were on their way to their final destination was 12 days. And they've arrived safe and sound.
 

Sgooosh

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Fish cannot acclimate to differing parameters (GH and pH here) in hours, or even days. It takes weeks, and months.

Second point, a change in pH of 1 degree should not harm fish, assuming this is a one-time issue and not fluctuating pH. How much does your pH vary from the store's tank water?
like 0.6-0.8 change. It is really strange why that specific store has a low survival rate of fish, so i assumed it was this reason. the other store's ph is the same as mine, around 7.8
 

GaryE

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I have to disagree with some of this. It costs more to ship fish in breather bags because the bags are full of water and courier companies charge by weight as well as size of container. If you have a number of bags full of water, it will weigh more than a number of bags that have 1/3 water and 2/3 air.
It might be a difference in systems. I ship single fish in as much water as the farms ship single Betta splendens. A 2 inch wide bag gets a one inch fish and one inch of water. It's about the size of a ping pong ball. They can survive and be in good shape for 2 weeks like that. In a poly bag, they'd be dead in 48 hours.
I generally shipped in boxes the size of shoeboxes, and would have a dozen bags in there.
I've gotten fish from Europe in the regular mail that way, with no losses. I've sent them too.

They also don't slosh around, and that can be a shipping advantage as people in the system get suspicious and open packages at borders if they make noise. Even if you have declared honestly and know the laws, the border people may not. It isn't exactly a giant part of the world's trade networks...

I imagine if you are working for an importer and shipping fish in 50 or 100 lots, breathers would be very expensive to use. But for single packing, they are ideal. I always dealt in fish that people wanted small numbers of, and hardly ever put two or more fish per bag. If one dies, all die that way. I took the expense of the breather bags in order to get the fish to buyers, since I had long since given up on it being profitable.
 

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