Flying With Fish in Carry-on Luggage

Hello SCKC,

Did you know you can fly US domestic flights with bags of live fish?

Our club president, Ron Harlan, contacted TSA about their current rules about flying domestically with aquatic life. I pasted TSA’s response (dated 5/21/2021) below for the benefit of the club and the general public.

When you go through security at the airport, tell the TSA agent you have live fish and you that you need a “hand check”. If the agent might already be familiar with the policy if you’re flying from an event where many people are bringing home fish. If the agent is not familiar with the policy, it’s likely you’ll need to request a supervisor to help. It’s a very good idea to have a printed copy of TSA’s regulations on live fish

Policy and Procedures

TSOs Have Discretion

TSA Officers have the discretion to prohibit any item through the screening checkpoint or onboard an aircraft if they believe it poses a security threat. This discretion applies even if the item is not on the prohibited items list. The permitted and prohibited items lists are not intended to be all-inclusive. You may ask to speak to a supervisor at any time.

For travel tips and information about our screening procedures and what you can bring, please visit

Plants and Animals

Pet Fish

You may travel with live fish in your carry-on bag. The fish must be swimming in water that is contained in a clear, spill-proof glass or plastic container. The container may be larger than 3.4 ounces. TSA Officers will visually inspect the fish at the screening checkpoint. If the fish is observed as alive and swimming, it will be permitted through the checkpoint. We recommend contacting your airline to inquire about any additional guidelines they may have for traveling with live fish.  

For travel tips and information about our screening procedures and what you can bring, please visit


What Can I Bring

We have developed a tool to assist you in determining if an item may be taken onboard an aircraft. The What Can I Bring? tool will tell you if the item can be taken in checked or carry-on baggage or if there are special instructions. Please visit

Southern California Killifish Club March 2023 Meeting Summary

The March meeting at Ray Van Veen’s home was another successful meeting for membership growth. We welcomed several new people, including those with planted tank backgrounds. The plants sold well at the auction, providing inspiration for those of us with bare-bottomed tanks.

In line with SCKC+ and the club’s expansion beyond killifish, the auction featured several species of wild-type livebearers, rainbowfish, and even dwarf crawfish. The club also discussed local areas where daphnia and moina could be found during the rainy season.

Please note that SCKC will not be meeting in April due to the 2023 Southwest Aquarium Keepers Event (SAKE) on April 22, 2023, in Phoenix. If you are able to attend, it is well worth the drive, as you will see fish that are not commonly seen in Southern CA clubs. Additionally, “regular” fish tend to sell for higher prices in Arizona. Our club president, Ron Harlan, who gave a great talk at last year’s SAKE will be speaking again this year. If you plan to attend, register below.

2023 Southwest Aquarium Keepers Event (SAKE) – April 22, 2023.  SAKE is a free all-day freshwater fishkeeping convention near Phoenix, AZ.  Email with the information below to register for SAKE

1. Your name
2. Any current aquarium club affiliation(s)
3. Current hometown (and state)

The AKA/ALA convention is scheduled for May 19-21 in Kalamazoo, MI, and there was an open question about whether SCKC would meet that month. The club will likely meet on May 28, but the venue is still to be determined. If the meeting happens, expect to see some new fish from the AKA convention. As soon as the details for the meeting are finalized, SCKC membership will be notified.

SCKC’s annual Fish Fry/BBQ will be held at Ray Van Veen’s home on Saturday, June 24th, at 1:00 PM. If you are new to the club and are interested in attending, please contact the club to introduce yourself. Last year, we had 40-50 attendees, including guests from Arizona and Northern California. The June meeting will be an excellent opportunity to meet new fishkeepers and reconnect with people who are do not attend our regular meetings.

Bonus content!

George (Kevork) went to his first SCKC meeting last month.  Some of the members toured his fishroom after the meeting and everyone who visited came away impressed.  Shortly after the meeting he posted a video tour of his fishroom on YouTube.  It’s a great watch, especially if you find breeding fish and densely planted tanks interesting.

George’s fishroom tour

Southern California Killifish Association – Club History

A longtime member of the Southern California Killifish Club brought a copy of the club constitution to one of our meetings. It is undated and for the “Southern California Killifish Association” or SCKA. If you know anything about the SKCA please leave a comment or contact the club.

Southern California Killifish Club February 2023 meeting summary

On Saturday February 25, Fish World in Ontario hosted the Southern CA Killifish Club’s monthly meeting. The club typically meets at members’ homes, and having the meeting at a local fish store brought strong turnout and new people to the club. I was happily surprised to meet new fish keepers who I did not recognize from the other large clubs in Southern California such as COAST and SCAPE.

The next meeting will be hosted by SCKC member Ray Van Veen, on Saturday March 25 at 6PM. If you are not on the club mailing list, please leave SCKC your contact information, or contact Ray at for an invitation.

The club will skip its regular meeting in April so members can attend the Southwest Aquarium Keepers Event (SAKE) on April 22, 2023.  SAKE is a large all-day freshwater fishkeeping convention near Phoenix, AZ.  Attendance is free and there will be lectures, multiple auctions, and a raffle.  Email with the information below to register for SAKE:

1. Your name
2. Any current aquarium club affiliation(s)
3. Current hometown (and state)

I am very thankful to Fish World in Ontario for hosting SCKC, and I look forward to working with Chris, the owner, to host future events for the aquarium community.

If you are looking for local fish clubs and aquarium societies in Southern California please check out the meetings and events happening in March 2023.

COAST Fish Club
Mar. 5th @ 12:00 PM
Fountain Valley Senior Center
17967 Bushard St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

San Diego Tropical Fish Society
Mar. 12th @ 6:00 PM
Balboa Park, San Diego
Casa de Prado Room 101

San Diego Killifish and Livebearer Group
Mar. 19th @ 10:30 AM
Boll Weevil at Lakeside, CA
9741 Winter Gardens Blvd
Lakeside, CA 92040

Southern CA Aquatic Plants Enthusiasts (SCAPE)
Mar. 25th @ 12:30 PM
St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church
6201 E. Willow St
Long Beach, CA 90815

Culturing Daphnia

Daphnia and moina are a great live food for killifish and other tropical fish. Their jerky movement through water is appealing to picky eaters, they stay in the water column until eaten, and can be used as “vacation feeders” without fouling the water.

Raising Daphnia
Daphnia are planktonic filter feeders and can eat a variety of foods suspended in the water column. Murky water contains algae, infusoria, and bacteria and is slowly “filtered” by the daphnia. Different species of daphnia range in size from roughly 3mm-5mm to slightly larger than baby brine shrimp. Productive cultures will contain a range of sizes with adults and smaller juveniles mixed together.

A container as small as a 5-gallon bucket can maintain a small daphnia culture. Larger containers such as 10 gallon aquariums or plastic tubs will produce more daphnia and have more stable water conditions. Your container should be ready with aged aquarium water or green water before you add your starter culture. Green water can be easily made by leaving a container of aquarium water out in the sun for a week. Starter cultures can be acquired from other hobbyists, local fish clubs, and even online. Starting a daphnia culture with dechlorinated tap water isn’t ideal but with luck the daphnia will acclimate and reproduce. As daphnia filter-feed, they will turn green water clear and will need a small amount of supplemental food. Absent green water, daphnia will eat yeast, various types of flour, and powdered algae such as spirulina. An air bubbler keeps food suspended in the water column and replenishes oxygen consumed by the daphnia and by decaying matter.

In an ideal environment, the female daphnia reproduce parthenogenically, and each adult female gives birth to 10-20 live young about every week in room-temperature water. A productive culture can quickly become overcrowded, and it is important to harvest daphnia regularly to keep up production. As long as the water is occasionally changed and the daphnia are fed and harvested, you now have a limitless supply of food for your fish. Daphnia cultures will eventually crash for reasons such as overfeeding, overcrowding, environmental change, or for no obvious cause so it is best to maintain at least one backup.

Daphnia are not strong swimmers and it is important to not have strong water flow in your culture. An air bubbler is all that is needed to circulate the water for food suspension, oxygen exchange, and basic biological filtration. Mechanical filtration will remove food from the water column and even a sponge filter is not recommended. Plants such as pennywort or pothos can be used to remove nitrates and waste, but these plants may outcompete algae for nutrients. Turn off your power filters when feeding daphnia to your aquariums. Hang-on-back or cannister type filters will easily overpower and vacuum up free-swimming daphnia.

Harvesting Daphnia
To harvest daphnia I use a shallow container such as a plastic shoebox filled with an inch of water and a fish net. Gently move the fishnet through culture in a figure-8 motion to capture daphnia. If the net moves too quickly it stirs up detritus from the bottom of the culture. Daphnia are attracted to light and shining a flashlight on a dark tank for several minutes concentrates the daphnia on one area. The captured daphnia can be put in the shoebox to feed to the aquariums by pouring or using a turkey baster.

Daphnia can be raised in indoor and outdoor cultures. I have done both and I will outline the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Indoor culture benefits
– Convenient access to aquariums
– Lack of pests such as dragonfly larvae
– Room temperatures ensure good production during winter months
– Harvest your daphnia from your fish room at any time.

Indoor culture drawbacks
– Culture is unsightly with “dirty looking” water
– More electricity needed to provide lighting for green water
– Size of culture is limited
– If mosquitos or midges lay eggs in the water the you will get lots of bugs in your home

Outdoor culture benefits
– Space to run larger “operation” and produce more daphnia than is practical indoor
– Natural sunlight provides green water
– Noisy air pumps unsightly tubs are less of a problem outdoors
– Larvae from insects are additional protein

Outdoor culture drawbacks
– Pests such as water beetles and dragonfly larvae can enter the culture. These will eat daphnia and can harm small fish.
– Potential to culture unwanted hair algae in sunlight.
– Daphnia slow down in the colder months and production is low when the water is under 60 Fahrenheit.
– Outdoor daphnia is further from the fishroom and are inconvenient to harvest at night.
– Culture can be contaminated by air pollution, especially during wildfire season

My outdoor daphnia cultures, grown in 50-gallon tubs with an air bubbler in each tub

Meeting Notes – February 19, 2022


The club met at one of our member’s homes in Culver City. We discussed a fish-collecting trip in Cameroon.

Killifish species exchanged

  • Old World killifish
    • Aphyosemion (7 species)
      • Chromaphyosemion (3 species)
    • Epiplatys (1 species)
    • Nothobranchius (5 species)
    • Fundulopanchax (4 species)
    • Callopanchax (1 species)
    • Pachypanchax (1 species)
  • New World killifish
    • Austrolebias (1 species)
    • Rivulus (1 species)
  • Other Fish and Plants
  • Food cultures
    • vinegar eels
    • daphnia
    • microworms
    • fruit flies
    • Grindal worms
  • Other Fish (11-12 species)
  • Plants
    • Java fern
    • Java moss
    • Pellia moss (susswassertang)
    • Vallisnera
    • Guppy grass
    • Frogbit
    • Sagittaria 
    • Ludwigia repens
    • Baby tears
  • Other items
    • Yarn
    • Brine shrimp filters