Betta travel!
May 11, 2011 6:57 PM   Subscribe

How to travel across country with a betta fish...?

I've had a betta fish this year at school. Problem is, now its time to drive across the country back home. On the way there, I will be stopping about 3 times to stay overnight. So, I will traveling for about 5 or 6 days. Whats the best way to transport my lovely little fishy? What is the best thing to do to not stress him out and keep him happy during the travels? He needs to breathe air the whole time, so he needs to be in an open container.

Any suggestions for travel containers? (I still have the one I got him at the pet place in)
Suggestions to reduce travel stress or water movement stress?
Just tips in general on traveling long distances in a car with a betta! (Leaving him here with somebody is not really an option)
posted by fuzzysoft to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
I used to drive home (from Ohio to DC) a few times a year with my beta fish in a jar with ahole-punched lid, which I placed in the cup holder. This was a 6+ hour trip, and I had someone at home place a jug of water out (to adjust temperature? I can't remember the particulars) ahead of time. At any rate, the fish lived for years with no evident adverse effects from travel.
posted by BundleOfHers at 7:07 PM on May 11, 2011

Put him in a clear plastic container with a lid, poke some holes in it, fill with water, and strap him in with a seatbelt. It's a fish, it'll be just fine.
posted by Sal and Richard at 7:09 PM on May 11, 2011

Why not put him in a wide mouthed water bottle, like this tupperware one? Then he can fit securely in the cup holder, and the opening on the lid is small so it won't be at risk for spilling.

If you can secure the container between something so it doesn't slide around, technically any of those microwave containers that have a vent in the lid would work as well, if you want a bigger one. Or a juice jug with a strainer opening on the lid.

I think the only real concern here is to take it easy when driving, brake gently, don't shake him up.
posted by lizbunny at 7:10 PM on May 11, 2011

I'm pretty sure I did what Bundle did and put him in a container with a lid (with air holes) in the cup holder. I didn't have nearly as far to drive, so maybe change the water in the cup when you stay overnight? (Don't forget to treat the water first.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:14 PM on May 11, 2011

Siamese Fighting Fish are incredibly hardy and live in small pools in the wild so it should be fine. Get a fair sized plastic tub (like a family ice cream tub) with a tight lid and punch a few holes it. The more water he has the slower the water temperature will change or waste products build up. If you have it in too small a container he's going to get stressed. Take a bottle of water conditioner with you so you can change the water if it's becoming fouled, have some proper food with you but don't over feed it and most importantly avoid major temperature changes. Don't leave it to freeze or cook in the sun. Bettas like to have somewhere to hide as well, so if his tank had plants put them in the tub as well. Secure him snug in the car so his tub isn't sliding about, keep him out of direct light, drive like you've got the Queen in the back seat and he'll be fine.
posted by joannemullen at 7:22 PM on May 11, 2011

I'm pretty sure you wouldn't even need airholes if there's a cushion of air between the top of the water and the lid. Just as humans don't die (for a very long time) just because windows and doors are sealed, the oxygen in the container will be enough to support him for a long time. If you are worried, just open the lid to recycle the air every time you stop.
posted by lollusc at 7:23 PM on May 11, 2011

back when you could take liquids in a plane, my friend took her beta fish in a thermal cup.

[but then she forgot it at the airport and a classmate took it home for the summer and returned it to her in the fall, also via thermal cup]
posted by Neekee at 7:32 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do not leave a fish in a car during daylight hours: Once the AC's off, even a little sun shining through a window can raise the temperature radically. If you have no choice, move the fish into the trunk until you get back. Since the trunk has no windows, it does not heat up as quickly as the interior of the car.
posted by Ys at 7:36 PM on May 11, 2011

Alone. Do not leave the fish ALONE in the car.
posted by Ys at 7:37 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

While bettas tolerate smallish containers* and poorly oxygenated water (my labyrinth organ, let me show it to you) they can be sensitive to temperature fluctuations and do not tolerate cold at all. I'd keep him in a insulated container, such as a Thermos.

*Keep a lid on whatever container you choose**. A betta's way of expressing its dislike for sub-optimal environments is travel to a new location by jumping. Keeping him in the dark will also reduce his stress.

**but remember to open it up now and then to refresh the trapped air pocket. Every hour if you're the forgetful type, every few hours if you're not.
posted by jamaro at 7:44 PM on May 11, 2011

I had a betta fish that within a few months traveled up and down the east coast a number of times. They are are pretty easy fish to travel with. I wouldnt worry about it that much.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 3:21 AM on May 12, 2011

Fish are shipped and transported in plastic bags filled with air and sealed, the same way you get them from the aquarium store. You could do that. Any aquarium store would probably give you the bag. I wouldn't trust a zip loc or something like that. The nice thing about the plastic bag is that you don't have to worry about it tipping over.
posted by chrchr at 8:13 AM on May 12, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for your responses! Looks like his temporary home will be an old, large yogurt container with holes poked in the time. I will be bringing along room-temp water in a gallon jug and water conditioner, too.

I hope he's okay!
posted by fuzzysoft at 7:32 PM on May 12, 2011

Response by poster: PS he made it!
posted by fuzzysoft at 4:23 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

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