Your shipping water is easy to prepare. If you are using Sea Salts, mix the water in a large bucket or larger container. We used a 32 gallon garbage can, refilling it from our system water when needed, when shipping. Mix the water to about 1.019 SG. The lower SG reduces stress for the fish and makes the trip easier for them. Add about 2 tablespoons of AmQuel (you can't overdose) to 32 gallons of water. We also used a good antibacterial medication (Nitro-Furozone) in the packing water to help protect the fish from potential bad bacteria exposure that can occur from fish pooping in the bag. Fish in a bag over an extended period of time exposed to fouled water can result in the fish becoming ill shortly after the move.
Aerate the water with an air stone for several hours before packing. The more O2 you can dissolve in the water, the better for the fish.
How you are shipping (vehicle, airlines, etc.) determines the type of boxing you will need. If you are just coming home from the LFS, a simple cardboard box will work. This will protect the bag and keep it from tipping over.
If you are transporting a distance in a vehicle, you will want to go with a more secure containment. You can use an inexpensive styrofoam cooler, an ice chest or go with an insulated shipping box that the pros use. Most LFS will have some of these laying around from the last shipment they received and are happy to get rid of them. The pre formed "styros" with a cardboard liner are the most popular. We used a cardboard liner with slab styro in ours, due to the shipping costs to Moloka'i. They were stored more easily and were a lot cheaper to buy.
If, when you are putting the bags in the boxes, you have room left over, crumple up some newspaper and stuff the empty spaces. This will hold the bags upright and keep them from rolling around.
Preparing Fish for Transport
Don't feed your fish for two or three days prior to shipping. This helps them clean out their digestive tract and avoids the "fouled bags" that eat up oxygen and choke the fish during shipping. Surgonfishes are reknowned for this problem as they have a very long intestinal tracts for digesting high fiberous algaes. It takes them longer to clean out then most other speices. If you are shipping your substrate, perform a thorough tank cleaning four or five days before shipping. This will get rid of any excess material in the substrate and still give the resident bacteria a period of time to repopulate before shipping. Shake any excess material from your corals and live rock before shipping.