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Live Fish

Live Fish


Shipping closes for the day at 10 AM EST. After 10 AM we cannot accept orders to ship the same day, or accept additions to orders already scheduled to ship that day. All shipments are guaranteed overnight service via UPS Next Day Air. Orders ship Monday through Thursday, with the exception of the major holidays and the day immediately following each holiday.

You will receive a confirmation email on the afternoon that your box is shipped. A tracking number will be supplied via email. All live fish are packaged in thick plastic shipping bags and filled with pure bottled oxygen. The bags are tightly secured with a rubber band, and then placed into a sturdy corrugated cardboard box. When necessary, an ice pack is added to prevent overheating. The box is sealed with packaging tape and a UPS shipping label is applied. The box then remains in a 62 degree holding room until UPS arrives to pick up all shipments for that day.

All fish are shipped using UPS Next Day Air, and will arrive the day immediately after they are shipped. In order to ensure that packages are delivered on time, there is no signature required. However, we strongly recommend that you are home to accept delivery and unpack the fish as soon as possible.

When Your Shipment Arrives

We recommend that all new fish, from any supplier, be quarantined for a minimum of two weeks before introducing the new fish to your primary pond. During the quarantine period, any possible health issues should become apparent. However, the decision to quarantine is ultimately yours to make.

If your fish do not appear stressed while in the shipping bag, you can float the bag in your pond water for 15-20 minutes before releasing the fish, in order to equalize the water temperature. If the area is in the sun, cover the bag while it floats with a towel or the cardboard box they were shipped in. This will prevent the water inside the bag from heating.

If your fish do appear stressed while in the shipping bag, you should forego floating the bag. Signs of stress include gasping for air with the mouth above the water, inability to remain upright, and overall lethargy and sluggishness.

When you are ready to introduce the fish to your pond, open the bag. Fish can be left in the shipping bag temporarily, or the fish and shipping water can be poured into a temporary bucket or container. DO NOT ADD POND WATER TO THE SHIPPING WATER. This can cause an ammonia spike in the water, and will risk the health of the fish.

DO NOT POUR ALL OF THE FISH INTO YOUR POND BEFORE CHECKING THAT EACH FISH IS PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR. Koi that have just gone through shipping are stressed and frightened. When first added to your pond, it is typical for fish to seek out a hiding place and to remain there for a few hours or possibly even days. Checking that you have each fish present, before adding the fish to your pond, will help ensure that there is no confusion about missing fish which may in fact just be hiding and acclimating.

    After your fish are added to the pond, they may initially display some unusual behavior. This can include:

  • Lying down on the bottom of the pond
  • Swimming quickly toward the surface of the water and momentarily poking their mouth above the surface of the water, then darting back down below
  • Swimming rapidly around the surface of the water with their mouth protruding above the surface

All of these are normal behaviors seen as a result of the stress involved in the shipping process. Provided your water parameters are correct, this behavior should subside rather quickly.

Even if none of this unusual behavior is seen in your new fish, it will still take considerable time for them to become completely acclimated with their new surroundings. Often it can take a number of days, possibly as long as a week, before new fish begin eating. This is normal, and koi have no problems going a few days without food.

Once your fish begin to eat, they should be fed periodically, depending on your current water temperature.

Couldn't find the answer to your question on this page? Please contact us with your question.

Water Quality

In order to succeed at keeping fish, ensure that you are providing the best water conditions possible. Too often, disease and death among fish is a result of bad water quality. The following are water quality parameters that you must adhere to in order to be successful.

Removing Toxic Chemicals

Chlorine and chloramines are commonly used to disinfect public water supplies. Both are lethal to fish. Eliminate with water conditioners, designed to neutralize poisonous compounds present in tap water.


Temperature should be between 65 and 85 degrees. Goldfish and koi will thrive below 65 degrees, but disease treatment is much more effective at higher temperatures, where the fish immune system is functioning better. Be sure to keep your holding facilities in the shade if possible to avoid high temperatures.

Dissolved Oxygen

Fish need oxygen in the water to survive. A lightly stocked pond may not need additional aeration. However, if you have more than just a few fish in your pond or holding tank, additional aeration may be needed. If the water is low of dissolved oxygen, the fish will come to the top and stick their noses out of the water, seeming to gasp for air.


pH is the measurement of hydrogen ions in your water. It is vitally important to continually monitor your pH level, attempting to maintain a pH of 7.9. The lower your pH is below 7.9, the more likely you are to suffer a pH crash, resulting in severe stress to your fish. To increase pH, add sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) @ 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons until the desired level is reached. A higher pH alone is not harmful. However, a combination of high pH and ammonia in the water is a deadly combination. Lowering pH can be difficult. Adding peat or vinegar is somewhat effective.


Ammonia comes from fish waste and decomposition of uneaten food. Ammonia levels will quickly rise to lethal levels in a system with new or uncycled filters. Levels need to be maintained as close to 0 ppm as possible. If levels are consistently above 0.5 ppm, you need to decrease stocking density and feeding, and/or increase filtration. A combination of high pH and high ammonia is especially dangerous, because with each 1 point increase in pH (for example from pH 7 to pH 8) the ammonia present becomes 10 times more toxic. You cannot smell or see high levels of ammonia. You MUST use test kits.


Bacteria in your filter system consume ammonia. Nitrite, a toxic byproduct of this process, must also be monitored. Nitrite accumulation will quickly kill fish in a system without fully cycled biofilters. An ideal nitrite level is 0 ppm. Anything above 0.15 ppm is stressful to fish and can cause disease. To reduce high nitrite levels, increase your water changes and filtration, and decrease your feeding and stock density.

14 Day Guarantee

Although we take every measure possible to ensure that your koi arrive at your doorstep alive and healthy, the occasional DOA is inevitable. For this reason, we offer a 14 Day Guarantee to ensure that you can shop with peace of mind, knowing that you will always be covered.

Our Live Arrival Guarantee covers all fish for up to 14 days after the arrival of your shipment.

The full cost of the fish minus any discounts you received will be refunded for any koi that are DOA, or any koi that expire within 14 days after arrival.

We will not assume responsibility for fish killed as a result of the customer not being available to accept the delivery on the first attempt. You must be home to accept your package on arrival.

To file a claim, you must first document the issue with a digital photograph. Send to with your order confirmation number. A member of our staff will respond promptly.

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6200 Days Cove Road, White Marsh, MD 21162
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