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This website is dedicated to Ol'Conrad.  He passed away shortly after Christmas, 2013.  He had made stupendous contributions to our hobby through his dedicated and careful breeding of aquatic animals.  He was a good friend and best buddy of Pete's and will not only be missed greatly by Pete, the hobby will forever have lost a valuable friend and asset. But his progeny will live on forever in his memory.

Pete, Ol'Lotsoffish gets asked all the time how to properly pack boxes. Following is his advice for freezing weather. Warm weather is the same, just no heat packs:

  First you need the "stuff".USPS number 7 boxes (12x12x8) The Post Office gives these out free
  3/4 Inch Styrofoam Carpet Tape.
  cellulose insulation
  72 hour heat packs
  Guts and courage

Plus all the "normal stuff" you need to bag up fish and pack them for a trip to a new city. Next you have
 to get in to the mood.It's you against everything else. You are fighting mother nature, the USPS, the airlines, even your own customers have to be on the ball. Everything has to work perfectly because when it's
 frigging FREEZING out there is absolutely no room for error. If one thing get's frigged up you will be
 frigged. BTW, for the rest of this post just substitute the word for
 frig every time I use it. That means this post is actually titled "How to ship fish when 
it's f g FREEZING 
Pete, Ol'Lotsoffish gets asked all the time how to properly pack boxes. 
Following is his advice for freezing weather. 
Warm weather is the same, just no heat packs:

I usually crank this tune up just to get in the friggin mood to pack my boxes when I know it's friggin freezing out.http://lotsoffish.tripod.com/more%20music/tednugentstranglehold.mp3. I am totally serious about the music. It helps and it can make the difference between you losing your nerve, and you shipping that box out when it's 6 degrees outside where you live and you're shipping to some joker in West Saint Paul Minnesota who informed you it has been getting down to negative 15 there at night but he bid 88.77 on your awesome Endlers Species # 2 auction anyway. Believe me folks, when you get a new customer who is willing to bid 88.77 on three Pr's of Endlers you REALLY want to make sure that guy gets warm, happy healthy fish, so if you haven't already fire this up-

http://lotsoffish.tripod.com/more%20...ranglehold.mp3 .

and now would be the time to get your RYOBI 18 Volt drill out along with your paint mixing bit cuz it's time to fluff up the frigging insulation.
Next, I want to talk about heat packs. Now look, when it's frigging freezing out you are going
 to have to get aggressive with the heat packs. After all, while 99% of these other sellers are
 E mailing their customers saying they are pussified, and they are not going to ship until things
 warm up sometime in April you have Ted Nugent cranking away and you are planning 
on shipping even though it's so frigging cold out you might have to stick a 100 watt light bulb
 next to
 your car battery 
just to get the thing to crank over your engine to drive these boxes to the post office later.
 (That really frigging works you know? Try it sometime instead of being a loser and calling the 
AAA like most wimps would do.)When it is this cold I burn all 72 hour heat packs. I used to burn
 one 40 also but I don't think that zappa helps me if I am shipping to a cold area. It's best to still 
have all the 72's burning when the box arrives at it's final destination. We are going to use a total
 of 3 72's per box, and we are going to use them as strategically as we can.We will burn two underneath
 our bags and one above them.

Next we are going to get the heat packs ready. When it is this cold out you want a nice air flow
 in this box so we are not going to use the paper bags like we do in the Spring and Fall. Trust me,
 I have sent more boxes to myself just to experiment with this friggin crap than some folks have sent out period.

Get your extra boxes out cuz you will need some cardboard and also grab your carpet tape and scissors. 
Now we are going to put our bottom heat packs in the box. We are going to burn two
 72 hour heat packs
underneath our bags. Don't worry about cooking the fish. That's not going to happen and 
later on when you are outside shoveling and you can't feel your ears after 10 minutes you
 will be glad you were aggressive when you packed this box.Cut a piece of card board to fit
 in the bottom of your box so it looks like this-Oh, I almost forgot. You can use those FREE
 boxes to make these pieces of card board. See? Do I know what I am doing or what?

 Now listen up slackers cuz this parts important. You want to attach those heat packs to that piece of card board without wrapping a bunch of tape around them. Using to much tape restricts the flow of air going through your heat packs and it will cause them to get hard
 faster and hard heat packs are spent heat packs. Apply 2 pieces of carpet tape about
 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch to that card board on both ends of it and then gently press those
 heat packs on to it so you end up with something that looks like my photo's below.

Then place the card board along with the heat packs into the box just like you see below.
Can you dig it? This is almost frigging fun ain't it? Crank up the tunes if you start feeling nervous, we are going to get these fish to their destination alive or my name isn't Goober!  

OK now back to packing this box, next you want to add some of that nicely fluffed up cellulose insulation to the box. That stuff serves a couple different purposes. It will absorb any drops of water you accidentally get in the box, if a bag gets a small leak in it it will help absorb that water too keeping it away from your heat packs and it will create a barrier in between those heat packs and your fish bags, plus it allows some air flow which is very important.
  Add the insulation and then gently press it down to flatten it out. You don't want to jam much of it under that card board either, we want a nice airflow under that card board. You want to end up with about 1/2 an inch of it above the cardboard.

Then add a second piece of card board above the insulation. That's to prevent to much heat transfer from hitting your bags you are going to now place in the box. Remember, we are trying to warm up the entire box not just transfer heat from the heat packs to the bags through actual physical contact. It's starting to frigging take shape now, huh?  

Next add your fish bags!  

Oh ya, I forgot I was going to tell you folks I find the easiest way to let folks know what I am putting in the bags (sometimes I sort of add crap they don't know they are even getting) is to just use masking tape and to just write on the tape with a pen that won't run if the ink gets a little wet.
   I know that's not really relevant to shipping when it's frigging FREEZING out and if you don't like these tips just frig off and stop reading my thread. That means you too Goober and Msdevine

OK, now you want to set up your top heat pack and you do that just like you did the bottom ones except you don't need to use as big a piece of card board.   
OK, now at this point you want to add any free food, or music CDs or bumper stickers that say "Fishaholic" on them or whatever other stupid crap you might add to the box. Skiboy tapes a penny to it for good luck etc.

and then take 3 sections of the newspaper and just sort of set them inside the top of the box.

Then add your final heat pack, (in my photo I have mine in a paper bag but you don't really want to do that in sub zero temperatures.

Any more questions yet? We are frigging done! Holy frig, this was a lot of typing for me. :roll eyes:

This praise appeared in Dec during the coldest weeks plus storms of 2013,  on AQUABOARDS.COM  

This might be a long one. So, if you don't have time to read the whole damn thing let me try to sum it up for you:

I HIGHLY RECOMEND doing business with LOTSOFFISH. He backs up all that smack talking. Don't let bad weather, 5 or 6 days of shipping time below freezing worry you one bit. Oh, and if they look dead let them warm up slowly. They're prolly not dead.

If you want to look me up on AB; I am Jrm2468 on there.

On to the full version:

12/3: I have been eyeing Lotsoffish's auctions for a long time and was wanting some sweet swordtails to mess around with. Well I found some that I wanted and low and behold I got my rear end kicked on the first auction. There was another one that had some sweet koi swordtails and MM platys. I figured what the hell, lets get them. BTW, I do enjoy adult beverages and had a few by now. Back to the situation at hand. I WON them! I was pumped! The wife thought I was bat **** crazy for a moment. I mean, who types furiously on an iPad for 15 to 20 minutes then jumps up and start yelling "I got them! I got them!". Well, that would be me.

I promptly pay what I owe and send an email that goes something like this:
blah blah blah bat **** crazy blah blah blah. We have crappy weather coming in and you may want to hold that shipment till next week.

I get response of blah blah blah we call that spring here blah blah blah. This is what I remember so it may not be 100% correct but it's damn close.

So, my devil horns come out (smiley face with devil horns. I know, I need help!) I'm thinking to myself OH REALLY Mr. New Yorker, OK, send those bad boys in your spring time weather. For those of you not from the DFW area; this place shuts down when ice hits. I mean everything stops for days until the ice is gone. For an example: The client that we are doing work for agreed to put us up in hotel rooms as close as possible to the job site so that we could hopefully make it to work to try and meet a deadline.

Anyhow, I left the conversation about the shipment alone and hoped that the weatherman could be wrong. I didn't push the issue with Pete because, well, he's from that backwards state and there was a 100% satisfaction guarantee anyways. Oh, and the devil horns were still out. I know what you're thinking. My wife wears me out about it.

The next couple of days I spent refreshing the the USPS tracking info several times a day hoping that the package was going to get here before the storm hit. I new better. The storm hit and like I said before, DFW shuts down and I was stuck in a hotel Thursday night thru Sunday. I got to go home late Sunday but the package was still out for delivery. I hoped that the package would make it Monday because the wife and kids would at least be there to accept the fish Popsicles. I was hoping that a few would make it if they were delivered Monday. Well the delivery didn't happen and I lost hope for any survivors.

On to Tuesday morning: My wife always gets up with me in the morning and makes my lunch and we visits. I of course said I hope they make it today so that the worry will be done with and I can start trying to get the replacement fish. I had lost all hope for any survivors at this point. I know she is thinking "Replacements? How is it his fault that the post office didn't deliver on time" I head off to work thinking that at least our mail is usually delivered in the afternoon and that she is home when the mail lady shows up. This way the box can be opened up immediately and photos can be taken to try and get replacements or a refund. I had given up hope that there were any survivors at this point.

Tuesday at 11:00am: My wife calls and says the fish are there on the front porch! I'm like crap they're early, wth! I tell her to take them in the kitchen and turn all the lights off. She starts asking questions and I tell her to humor me. She then opens the box of fish and the first words out of her mouth were "He sent us a Christmas wreath!". The horns (I know you remember them from earlier) came out again along with some 4 letter words but quickly disappeared. I needed her and couldn't make her a combatant just yet. She's talking to me while she is taking everything out of the box."Oooh food, (horns again), oh honey I'm so sorry these look dead, oh sweetie I'm so sorry these look dead, gosh these look dead to. Oh my gosh this one is ALIVE!" My response is "I need you to take pictures and send them to me. Just leave them on the counter with lights off." Of course, she goes "sorry, I don't have time I'm in a hurry!". UGH! "Alright I'm on my way". I Let the office know I have to run to the house right quick. On my way to the house I receive a text from my wife:
technical issues ATM but this is supposed to be a pic of a Fluke 62 indicating a temperature of 53.5 F of the water in the bags. Now mind you that these bags have been sitting on the counter for 10 - 15 minutes in a warm house. Of course I think to myself; the sorry bastard that made it is a goner as well. I arrive at the house 30 minutes later to discover that the one that was alive is the male koi swordtail which I am super happy about. I then proceed to take pics of the MM platys belly up, 2 female kois on their sides, 2 more female kois BARELY doing the death spiral in the bag and 3 young black swords belly up. . I then haul ass back to work while thinking at least the sweet male made it and maybe I could find some females somewhere to go with him. Get to work and sent Pete a email that goes something like this:
Blah, blah, blah, The male made it, couldn't believe it. The rest are dead except for the 2 doing the death spiral but they'll be dead shortly. Blah blah blah. See attached pics.

I sneak out early from work so that I can get my male in a tank. At this point it's about 3 in the afternoon. I walk into the kitchen and see things moving in bags that I know have dead fish in them. WTF is going on here? I start looking at all go the bags of fish and it looks like they're all moving but 1 MM platy. Granted they all look like death warmed over and they could kick the bucket at any minute but they're moving non the less. The wife immediately gets a call and she thinks I'm pulling her leg. I get her off the phone and shut the lights off the tanks that these bad boys and girls are going in and start floating them. I'm thinking to myself the whole time that this guy in New York is going to think I'm a complete idiot when I tell him that the fish weren't really dead. The pride gets swallowed and he receives this:

I don't know what y'all are doing up there in New York but the state
department is going to be VERY interested in your practices.
Especially since you have found a way to create ZOMBIE fish. hahahaha!
I can't believe it; everyone of those suckers came back around except
for 1 platy. Granted the blacks and the platies are looking pretty
rough right now but I am keeping my fingers crossed that they make a
full recovery. No matter what happens, I am ecstatic!

keep in mind I have sent him 2 emails now and have not received any back. 1 stating that the plague wiped everything out including the food and garland. Then 1 stating that I'm a dumb ass and everything is fine.

I received this in response after he read the first email where I said the world ended:
What the hell, I though these were going to arrive to you last Friday.

I don't need photo's or any of the other things most sellers ask for.

After you get everything sorted out AND you feel what you have is healthy and going to survive just tell me how much money you want refunded to you and I will take care of it immediately."
Blah, sorry, blah, sorry, blah. Hahahah!

At this point I knew that he hadn't read the last email I sent him about the zombie fish. He read the zombie one a little later and sent this:
"Yea well you would have been REALLY impressed if you would have saw these fish after only 2 days in the box.

Lets just keep an eye on what you received today and then lets wait until say the weekend and then we will square up.

Those fish were in that box for 6 days. Lets give everything a few days to settle in before we consider everything good."

What else can you say about someone that stands behind their product like this? I can't think of anything else to say except THANK YOU! BTW, all of the fish made it except for 1 platy and that asshole (lotsoffish) wanted to give me money back. I had to threaten to ban him and refuse to be a new life long customer to get him to back down on giving me my hard earned cash back but I'm not even sure that threatening the banning thing worked. It did make me feel better though.

continued in a minute. 

As stated above, you speed readers pay attention now.
I would highly recommend buying from lotsoffish especially if you are concerned about top QUALITY fish from anyone in general or top quality fish from an auction site. I mean really, what other fish comes back from being in 53 degree water for god knows how long, belly up and throw 2 of them doing the death spiral on top of that. WTH does he do with these fish to get them to survive that?

If you're concerned about buying anything from AquaBid or anywhere in general, do a little research before you buy. Hell, it doesn't even have to be lotsoffish that you purchase your loot from but make sure that the seller of the auction or goods you are trying to win has good feed back and you understand the sellers policies. It is really no different than buying something at the store as far as I'm concerned.
Also, a little bit of patience goes a LONG way. Once the fish are in the mail system neither the seller or you have any control over what happens. Worrying yourself or sending emails, phone calls, etc. to the courier or seller about what is going on with the package does nobody any good. All you're doing is stressing yourself out and annoying everyone else. Once the package is shipped it gets to you when gets to you. Save your energy for when the package arrives because you may have to do some quick thinking like leave them on the counter to slowly warm up for a few hours while you have to go back to work. 

I only made 1 change over what I was doing last year.

I am now using a specially made bag as a "draft barrier".

The bag is "gusseted" and it has a flat bottom. It measures 12x12x30 and if any of you slackers want some E mail me privately.

I use this bag on the OUTSIDE of the Styrofoam to create a 100% shield from ANY cold air seeping in to my box and I believe it is highly effective.
This photo does not show the gusseted bag but it is there.  :)