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Shipping Standards


What can you ship with ShipYourAquatics?

You cannot ship illegal drugs, batteries, liquor, aerosols, firearms and ammunition, fireworks, explosives, mammals (no dogs, no cats), birds, dry ice and absolutely no venomous reptiles.

ShipYourAquatics.com is approved for the shipping of live aquatics and aquatics supplies to and from business and residential addresses.

You must follow all ShipYourAquatics.com Shipping Standards.

You must also follow all FedEx rules and restrictions. For more details, see this section of the FedEx site:

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Choosing a FedEx shipping service

ShipYourAquatics offers the following FedEx shipping services:

  • Priority Overnight
  • 2Day
  • Express Saver (three day)
  • Ground (to business addresses)
  • Home Delivery (to residential addresses)

Live shipments must be sent via Priority Overnight.

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Why you must follow these shipping standards

What you do affects the entire aquatics hobby and industry. Every time someone ships aquatics with substandard packaging, and that shipment leaks, dies or is otherwise adversely affected, it jeopardizes our future ability to ship easily and economically through the FedEx service. 

Take responsibility. Do your part. Pack your aquatics properly. Make sure it reaches its destination safely. It’s good for the animals, it’s good for the recipient, and it’s good for you.

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Using ShipYourAquatics.com shipping supplies

All shipping supplies and shipping kits sold on ShipYourAquatics.com meet the aquatic-shipping standards developed by ShipYourAquatics.com. If you use a ShipYourAquatics shipping kit according to our directions, you can feel secure that you’re shipping your aquatics safely and reliably.

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Using your own shipping supplies

You may use your own shipping supplies, but they must meet or exceed the standards developed by ShipYourAquatics.com, along with the FedEx live aquatic shipping standards and certification:

  • Cardboard box is new, with no markings that indicate a dangerous or illegal item (no alcohol boxes). Box must not have any kind of warning or hazardous material markings or stickers. Box should be labeled in accordance with the Lacey Act. See more on that here. Cardboard box must be rated at 275lb burst weight or greater. US Postal, Amazon and/or free FedEx branded boxes do NOT meet the requirement or SYA Shipping Standards. 
  • Insulation panel lining must be at least ¾ inch thick. The insulating lining must cover all four sides of the inside of the cardboard box, as well as the top and bottom.
  • Heat or cold packs must be used according to ShipYourAquatics.com Shipping Standards.
  • You must use a “triple container.”
    1. The fish bag or aquatic container.
    2. The insulating foam container with a 3mil thickness liner.
    3. The cardboard box.
  • You must seal the box adequately. All shipping labels must be fully legible.

If you have any doubts, use the supplies available on ShipYourAquatics.com.

Remember: What you do affects the entire aquatics hobby and industry. Every time someone ships aquatics with substandard packaging, and that shipment leaks, dies or is otherwise adversely affected, it jeopardizes our future ability to ship easily and economically through the FedEx service. 

Take responsibility. Do your part. Pack your aquatics properly. Make sure it reaches its destination safely. It’s good for the animals, it’s good for the recipient, and it’s good for you.

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Shipping service restrictions

All live animals must be shipped FedEx Priority Overnight, Monday through Thursday only. An overnight Friday shipment won't arrive until Monday- that is not acceptable and not permitted. 

Absolutely no mammals are to be shipped through FedEx or ShipYourAquatics.com.

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What is the Lacey Act and how does it apply to live aquatics shipments?

The Lacey Act is one of the broadest and most comprehensive tools in the federal chest to combat wildlife crime. 

It was first introduced in the House of Representatives in the spring of 1900 by Iowa Congressman John Lacey and signed into law by President William McKinley on May 25th, 1900. Its original purpose was to preserve native game and wild birds by making it a federal crime to poach game in one state with the intention of selling it in another. It sought to add weight to state laws already in existence for the protection of game and birds. Lastly, it also addressed concerns about potential problems that can arise with the introduction of non-native, or exotic species of birds and animals into the native ecosystems. 

The Lacey Act has been amended several times since it was first signed into law, broadening its definitions and increasing the penalties it could exact. In 1969, the act was expanded to include mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, and reptiles. 

Here are some “quick facts” about the Lacey Act as it stands today: 

  • Protects both wildlife and plants
  • Prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold
  • Works with federal, state, and foreign laws protecting wildlife
  • Prohibits the falsification of documents for wildlife shipments (criminal penalties)
  • Prohibits the failure to properly mark wildlife shipments (civil penalties)
  • Administered by the Departments of Interior, Commerce, and Agriculture, which includes the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service

Super duper official federal government guideline docs here and here.

To be compliant with the Lacey Act, legally a live package needs to be labeled with the word Wildlife and include quantity and species listed either externally or immediately available on a packing list under the top flap. To meet expectations of the most stringent states, we strongly suggest labeling all domestic U.S. live animal packages with "Wildlife - Live Harmless Animals" with quantity and species listed with both scientific and common names clearly visible on the outside of the box. Failing to do so may lead to delay, return, confiscation, fines or legal summons. 

You can add this labeling manually but the easiest way to do this is with our Lacey/IATA label, which can be purchased as stickers here, or downloaded and printed at no charge here

See "How should I label the outside of the box?‚Äč" for more details.

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Provide accurate information

Be sure to enter a complete, accurate destination address, as well as accurate package dimensions and weight.

  • FedEx charges an extra fee for an incomplete or inaccurate address. This "address correction" fee is currently $14.00.
  • FedEx measures every package and charges for the greater of the dimensional weight (L x W x H / 139, rounded up to the nearest pound) or actual weight. If you enter 1 pound when you book your shipment, but FedEx measures your package at 10 pounds, FedEx charges us the difference -- and we will charge you the difference.

All additional fees charged by FedEx will be charged to the credit card or Paypal account you used to book the shipment. If your credit card company declines the charge, we will charge the additional fees to another card we have on file. We reserve the right to charge for the time spent processing these fees.

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How should I label the outside of the box?

In addition to your FedEx shipping label and the FedEx reference note (we provide it when you book a shipment and here below), it's important you mark your package to indicate its contents.

The Federal Lacey Act and various state regulations require different labeling.

It is IMPORTANT that you clearly indicate quantity and species and label your live package appropriately, according to both Federal and State laws. This includes meeting the IATA labeling requirement and the Lacey Act labeling requirement. Failure to label your live shipments accurately and/or completely may result in delays, inspection, confiscation, and/or monetary fines. Florida and California are especially vigilant about inspections and citations. It is YOUR responsibility, and it only takes a moment!

To assist you in compliance we have provided a FedEx Reference Note & Package Label. Simply cut it out, complete it and tape it to the side of any live reptile/aquatics package.

FedEx Reference Note & Compliance Label Information Sheet

FedEx Reference Note & Compliance Labels - 4 per page

To meet the IATA labeling requirement you must check/circle the appropriate Live Animal Indicator- Aquatics or Reptiles.

To meet the Lacey Act labeling requirement you must list your species by quantity, and both scientific and common name. Florida is requiring BOTH scientific and common name listings, complying with the Florida requirement will ensure that you are labeled appropriately throughout the country. Failure to label completely may result in delays, confiscation, and/or fines.

Completely cover the reference note with tape to prevent tears or weather wear (or use a label-envelope).
In case of questions regarding ShipYourReptiles/ShipYourAquatics account status, live animal shipping certification or residential shipping allowance, the note linked here instructs FedEx employees to contact the FedEx Live Animal Desk through their internal system for clarification. 

The note for FedEx agents is provided for reference only. FedEx employees are not required to look up this account info for each shipment. This note is simply to alleviate any rare concerns they might have, while also ensuring proper labeling of species and quantity for any inspection or audit.

Be sure to include your paperwork* inside the top flap of the box, on top of the foam insulation.

*Sales receipt or packing slip, as well as the species and quantities of live harmless reptiles contained in the package.

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