Packaging materials for live fish shipping – what do we use at Kenya Marine Center?!

Transportation of fish is a tender loving care process that is needed to ensure fish arrive safely and alive to their destinations. Tolerance of fish to transport is related to their ability to resist or adapt to stressful conditions.

 

The determinant of a successful shipment therefore lies in the packaging materials used; are the materials watertight, do they prevent rapid changes in temperature and will they withstand handling during shipping?! All the above measures should be considered when settling for shipping materials.

 

kenya marine center packing bags

 

A watertight element is most vital in placing the fish for transportation. The packing material should be of the best quality with the ability to withstand temperature changes and not susceptible to expanding at higher temperatures.

 

Fish bags are made of transparent polyethylene plastic and should be at least 3mil thick to withstand some abuse without leaking. Common “pillow slip” bags have a single bottom seal that creates sharp corners when filled with water. Small fish can sometimes become trapped in these corners during shipment and die. You can “square up” the corners by folding them up and taping them to the side of the bag (however this is much work and will take up time when packing large shipments).

 

 

Some bags have square bottoms so that they sit flat on the bottom of the box. Square-bottom bags are more expensive but have become standard in the industry because they do not trap fish in the corners and use the space in the box more fully. The packing bags are available in many sizes to cater for different fish sizes.

 

At Kenya Marine Center we use food grade quality polythene bags able to withstand friction and handling better than any other forms of bags. The fish contained cannot therefore rip or tear the plastic easily. We do realize however that, even the sturdiest bags can be punctured during shipping and so we double fish our bags to maintain the permeability. The rubber bands we use to seal the bags are also of great quality to avoid breakage when significantly stretched.

 

kenya marine center packing bags

 

We also should note that we take control of the quality of our bags by producing our own plastic bags through a reliable manufacturer. We therefore produce our bags with the gazette bottom shape for shipping fish to avoid losing fish that tend to stick at the corners of the bags. Our bags which are double sealed with the right thickness of plastic are produced up to about 0.6tons monthly.

why us_

Top 4 reasons why Kenya Marine Center is the leading ornamental fish exporter in the region

Kenya Marine Center is located at Kikambala, Kenya; the heart of tropical marine fish. Kenya was the 1st country involved in the aquarium trade in Africa. The ornamental fish trade here dates back to the 1960s, with up to 15 companies exporting in the 1980s.  Today, there are only about five exporters operating in the trade. With more than 10 years in the industry, we have grown to establish ourselves as the leading exporter in the region, having built trust with our customers and always providing the quality that we promise.

 

So why do we stand out from the rest?

 

Location: Kikambala is a pristine unspoilt oasis of palm fronds and white sands north of Mombasa. The area is not marred by development and has therefore maintained a sense of tranquility and sereneness conducive for a good work environment. Marine life here is also intact and protected aided by the sustainable fish catching methods that we practice. Kikambala boasts of beautiful brightly colored fish on the reef.

 

Our location allows us short transit time both from the fishing grounds and to the airport thus our fish do not undergo a lot of stress due to many hours on the road. The fact that we are also very close to the ocean means that we have access to good water quality for our fishes at the holding facility.

 

Experienced team: Kenya Marine Center constitutes a team of highly experienced individuals in the aquarium and fishing trade. We have a team of divers and snorkelers, some having over 15 years under their belt in the profession. Our packing team is also very efficient and adept at their work. There is good communication between the management and the rest of the team which provides for a good environment for great team work ensuring that we only offer quality to our customers.

 

Kenya Marine Center has established an international supply network ensuring that we reach a wide variety of customers globally. We are also affiliated with a number of trade associations including OFI, IATA & OATA amongst others.

 

In-house Functioning: While other exporters mainly rely on freelancers, we have ensured that all our functions are in-house so as to maximize on productivity and maintain a smooth running process. In doing so, our fishermen are permanently contracted, we have in-house maintenance team to ensure we have functional equipment; we have invested in a number of transport company cars enabling fast logistics for quality healthy fish.

 

Company Growth: Over the years we have been able to grow our market share exponentially not only in Africa but Worldwide. Our export power is seen in the supply of estimated thousands of boxes monthly. Our rates are unbeatable! This coupled with quality fish, good customer relations, supply satisfaction and good relations with authority; Makes us the leading exporter in the region.

Cerithium Caeruleum (Black Sand Snail): Why this cleaner is a must have in your marine tank!

Known for their ease of care, Cerith snails are among the hardiest of animals in the marine aquarium trade and are easily established in the tank. They can be identified from their pointy shells and are usually dark to black or tan in color. The size of the species commonly available in the aquarium trade varies from less than an inch (<2.5 cm) to close to two inches (<5 cm). They are known to be very long lived.

Like all molluscs these snails should be acclimatized slowly through drip acclimatization when moved to a new tank. Allow at least 2 hours for acclimatization. Although being hardy, Cerith snails are intolerant to copper and high nitrate levels (over 20). They prefer a specific gravity of 1.023 – 1.025, pH 8.1 – 8.4 and a temperature of 72-78° F / 22-25° C. They do best in aquariums with a lot of live rock and a deep sand bed.

Cerith snails will do a lot of good for your reef setup seeing as they scavenge and will eat any uneaten food, fish waste, and detritus as well as algae. Their preferred food source is however algae and if there are enough algae in the aquarium they will eat exclusively algae. If the aquarium has little algae the snails need to be fed supplement food, such as dried sea weed wrapped around a rock or otherwise fixated on the bottom of the tank. They are best fed at night as they are primarily active during the night even if they can be out and about in the daytime as well. They will burrow through the sand in search of food and a safe place to sleep; thereby making sure no oxygen depleted areas are created in the bottom substrate. They are among the only snails that will eat algae growing on the glass beneath the sand bed.

 

Cerithium caeruleum

Cerithium caeruleum, the Cerith sand snail, is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Cerithiidae. This snail is an important cleanup crew as it feeds on Cyanobactera – the red slime algae menace. The Cerith Sand Snail (Cerithium caeruleum) mainly stays in the substrate during the day. It also frees the sand from cyanobacteria by chewing it through. At night it becomes active and rasps algae deposits off stones and glass. It also eats organic waste. Thus the Cerith Sand Snail has an important cleaning function in the aquarium.

The Cerith Sand Snail should be kept in aquaria from 10 litres which offer enough fine substrate. In order to achieve the desired cleaning effect circa 10 snails per 100 litres should be introduced. The snails are in general very peaceful and easy to care for animals.

Facts about Cerith sand snail:

  • Scientific name: Cerithium Caeruleum
  • Common name: Cerith Sand Snail
  • Max size: 3cm
  • Care level: easy
  • Compatibleness: peaceful
  • Feeding: Cyanobacteria, algae, organic waste


Why should you get a cerith snail?

  • They are exceptionally easy to care for.
  • They are quite resilient and long-lived, and are comparatively less sensitive to changing aquarium conditions (e.g. salinity fluctuation).
  • They are completely reef-safe, and have not been reported as a threat to any kind of beneficial organism.
  • Their smallish size (usually less than an inch) permits their use in nano aquaria and allows them to reach into tight crevasses between rocks (and notknock over small attached items like coral frags). Their burrowing behavior helps to stir and aerate aquarium substrates.
  • Best of all, they serve as overall effective aquarium bottom cleaners; not only will they consume particulate matter that is trapped within the sand bed, but they will also grab anything they can on the surface such as hair algae or ever cyanobacteria. Many aquarists who keep them do not realize how active they really are, since they forage mainly during the dark hours. When they can be seen, however, they are fairly attractive animals.