Sea Life

How Long can Fish Live in a Bag?

How Long can Fish Live in a Bag

While transferring the fish from one place to the other whether it is about transferring the fish from the shop to the home while shopping the fish or transferring the fish from the pet fish retailers to the stores where they are supposed to be sold, they are mostly kept in sealed bags. But, obviously they cannot survive in a sealed suffocated bag for too long. The fish in a sealed bag can survive from almost six to nine hours but their lifespan also depends on some other factors. So, it is not the case that all the fish in a sealed bag in all the conditions must survive six to nine hours.

Fish in bag sharksinfo

Sometimes, the delivery gets delayed and the traveling time increases but the fish still survive but sometimes the fish die before reaching the destination even before six hours of traveling. This is because of the environmental factors. As explained earlier, there are some factors that affect the possible lifespan of the fish. Let’s discuss the possible factors briefly.

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of the Fish in a Bag

Although there is a generally believed timespan for the survival of the fish in a sealed plastic bag, there are some other important environmental factors that make the fish either survive or die within this time period. The following are the major factors that affect the lifespan of the fish surviving in a bag.


Sometimes, while traveling longer distances, there are fluctuations in the temperature but the important fact to consider here is that fish need a certain level of temperature to survive. The popularly understood and declared level of temperature for the survival of the fish is about seventy two to eighty two degrees fahrenheit. A major increase or decrease in this level may lead to even sudden death of the fish. Moreover, even if the temperature slowly increases or decreases, it stresses the fish and the fish struggle to survive and this may also lead the fish to die before reaching the destination.


As the bags in which people carry the fish along with them are sealed. So, there must not be proper oxygen reaching the fish. Especially when the temperature rises, the level of oxygen on the water decreases, making the fish present inside suffer while breathing. This kind of suffocated environment is very harmful for the fish as it can suffocate the fish to death. So, in such cases it is possible that fish may not even survive the generally believed timespan that is six to nine hours.


The presence of ammonia in the water can also kill the fish while it is inside the sealed bag. Ammonia is basically created as a result of fish water and because of the metabolism processes of the fish. Ammonia is present in almost all the bags containing fish and it is present in larger amounts when the fish are overfed before traveling. So, it is recommended to not feed the fish before traveling.

The Bottom-Line

Fish kept inside a sealed bag mostly survive the timespan of almost six to nine hours. But, this does not imply all kinds of environments in which the fish travel. Some environmental factors like temperature, level of oxygen in the water and presence of ammonia also affect the lifespan of the fish kept inside a sealed bag. The fish can survive as long as the environmental factors are not going against their standard patterns to survive.

About the author

Hadia Atiq

A Writer passionate about learning and spreading the knowledge of sea life. I like to spread the knowledge of different types and species of fish and other aquatic creatures.