4 Essential Tips for Ordering Fish Online

two red-tailed betta fish with black background
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Last Updated: August 22, 2023 by Dave Gibbins

If you’re passionate about fishkeeping or new to the aquarium hobby, purchasing fish online offers a wider range of options compared to traditional pet stores.

Ensuring the health and survival of the fish during shipping involves finding a trustworthy and secure online fish retailer.

Once you’ve selected the best place to buy betta fish online, optimize your purchase by choosing the fish, shipping method, and survival guarantee. Before you know it, the fish will be delivered right to your doorstep, enriching your aquarium experience.

1. Do Your Research

First, it’s crucial to invest some time in thorough research. Not only should you gather information on the specific fish species you intend to order, but also conduct research on the credibility and reputation of the shop

Initially, I ordered several types of tetra from a shop. Since I already had experience caring for various tetra species, I was confident in my knowledge of their optimal water temperature, pH levels, tank size, and expected adult size.

Unfortunately, my confidence led me to neglect to research the shop itself. It wasn’t until my order arrived that I realized my mistake – 6 out of the 13 fish were Dead on Arrival (DOA).

These poor little fish were afflicted with ick, and despite my best efforts, all but 1 of them died before the end of the weekend. Had I taken the time to research the shop, I would have uncovered its terrible reviews and chosen a different place to purchase from.

2. Prepare a Tank

fully functional fish tank on desk next to Rubik's cube and tablet computer

Once you’ve decided to order fish online, it’s important to set up your betta tank several weeks ahead of time. This is necessary to ensure proper water circulation. This applies even if you’re bringing home new fish from the pet store. Introducing fish into a freshly set up tank without proper circulation can be detrimental to their health. You can get more information from documentaries on Amazon Prime. Don’t neglect this opportunity.

In my case, I utilized my brother’s 20-gallon tank which had been sitting empty for quite some time. It already had a few plants, but no fish. The filter had been running for approximately two months before I brought the new fish home.

Additionally, it’s crucial to have good bacteria in the filter to maintain the proper pH balance for the fish in their new environment. If you’re not well-versed in pH or nitrate levels, I recommend conducting some research on water quality for better understanding.

3. Delve Into Delivery Issues

When ordering fish, it’s important to consider the semantics involved. Take the time to thoroughly review the shop’s shipping policy. Do they have a specific shipping day? Or do they ship whenever orders are received?

Also, consider the temperature in your area. Will it be hot or cold? If the temperature exceeds or drops below a certain degree, your fish will require a heat pack or cold pack to ensure their comfort. Many shops offer these packs as additional purchases.

Another shipping tip is to inquire about the specific shipping methods used. In my case, the fish were placed in bags, surrounded by packing peanuts, and placed in an insulated pack inside the box. However, in hindsight, I should have requested double or even triple bagging for added protection. Unfortunately, during shipping, one of the bags broke, causing water to leak and ultimately leading to the loss of four fish.

Friendly advice! The next time you order food for fish, use a VPN. Thanks to the Microsoft Edge client, you can protect yourself from scammers and hackers who can intercept your payment details. VPN encrypts them, leveling all the efforts of intruders.

4. Acclimatization

There are numerous methods to acclimate your fish. In fact, the shop where I got these little ones suggests using an ammonia neutralizer to add to the bag and then drip acclimating to adjust the temperature.

When fish are delivered, the bag they are in contains nitrates and ammonia due to being in a small amount of water for an extended period. Additionally, the chances of the bag’s water having the same temperature and pH as your tank is very slim. Therefore, it is ideal to acclimate them for both temperature and pH.

Of course, when you open the bag and oxygen mixes with the water, the toxin levels in the bag quickly increase. While you can use an ammonia neutralizer and drip acclimation, most of the research I found suggests that floating the bag for 20-30 minutes to acclimate the water temperature and then promptly removing the fish from the bag is the way to go.


If you go through 4 key stages, you will be able to choose the store with the best conditions in the market and their delivery. It’s not that difficult, but the pleasure of doing everything right will be with you for a long time.

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