I have seen how a LFS acclimates...I'm not about to use them as an example. Their mortality rate is a lot higher than mine. ALOT!
, if fish stores used drip acclimation, most of their new livestock would die. You have to remember that acclimating something at home that made a 5 minute trip from the fish store to your home is a lot different than acclimating something that has been in the bag for 24 hours. This is especially true for animals that have been transhipped. Naturally the quality of the water in any bagged-shipped animal is going to change rapidly. The fish is constantly producing waste within the bag. The ammonia is increasing and pH decreasing. As the pH decreases more and more ammonia molecules (NH3
) are being converted to ammonium ions(NH4
+). Because ammonium is essentially non toxic, this conversion is needed in order to keep the bagged animal alive.
I've tested the water within the bag of transhipped fish and corals. Sometimes it is as low as 6.5. At this pH most of the ammonia has been converted to ammonium. Now an extended acclimation time could have negative effects on an animal that is living in a pH this low. Every drip of saltwater with a pH around 8.2 is increasing the pH of the bag water. With the increase of pH, also comes the conversion of ammonium back to ammonia. It is true that the ammonia is also being diluted, but not at a fast enough rate. The combination of the pH increasing faster than the ammonia/ammonium can be diluted and the conversion of non toxic ammonium to toxic ammonia can have detrimental effect on the fish.
, this is why most fish stores will only do temperature acclimation (and the fact that they don't have the desire or time to do a more complicated acclimation procedure). However, just doing temperature acclimation may be the best procedure. The question is which is more harmful: a sudden change in pH or exposing the fish to high ammonia concentrations for possibly hours?