GBRs survive five days of ground shipping in December
So I ordered a pair of GBRs from a breeder in SoCal last week. They shipped on Wednesday and were supposed to arrive on either Friday or Saturday. Nothing on Friday and nothing on Saturday. Heat packets only work for 72 hours. Uh-oh. On Sunday morning, USPS listed the fish as recently having arrived at Portland (two hours away). Uh-oh. Rather than bringing them to my door this afternoon, USPS left them outside in the mailbox. Uh-oh.
I opened the box, pulled away the packaging and saw two still fish in the bag. Uh-oh. I picked up the bag and - whoah! - they began swimming around. Bag was full of fish poo, but they were alive AND had decent color! The heating pads were still slightly warm and the water in the bag seemed to be either at or slightly above room temperature. I was pretty surprised. Thankfully, our weather has been relatively mild over the past few days (mid-40s to mid-50s).
After transferring into a large Zip-lock bag and acclimating, they seem to be doing OK (knock on wood) and spent their first couple of hours in their new home at the front of the tank, watching me watch them. I don't know how well they'll do over the long-term, but I couldn't have asked for a happier ending to this mess.