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Old 04-16-2011, 11:52 PM   #1
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Drip Acclimation

Hello,

I am just recently starting into the saltwater hobby. I have a 60gal tank with over 60lbs of live rock. I believe the tank is fully cycled, and have recently added some hermit crabs and turbo snails.

I've read both of these are very "hardy" (especially the snails), but I still wanted to do my first attempt at drip acclimation.

Getting a 5gal bucket and a $2.99 tubing w/IV limiter, I was able to easily get the drip set for 2-4 drips per second. I first plopped the store-bought bag into the tank for 15 minutes before dumping the contents into a bucket (tilted to create a higher level of water of course).

Over the course of 30-45 minutes, I dripped... then took out cups of water... continued dripping... then took out more cups of water...

I then simply transferred the livestock from the bucket to the aquarium. But during the process, I noticed a potential serious mishap with this process!!!

I could literally FEEL a significant temperature difference between the water in the bucket vs. the water in the tank. The water in the bucket felt "ice cold" in comparison to the water in the tank (even though I left the bag in the tank initially for 15 min). I wouldn't be surprised if the temperature's difference was way more than 5 degrees (maybe as much as 10 to be honest).

I live in California, and it's a pretty warm season right now... but I'm starting to wonder if this drip acclimation is better than... let's say... acclimating by leaving a bag in the tank and gradually adding tank water to help with salinity, pH, and all the other non-temperature related stuff. At least this way the temperature would remain fairly constant.

I'm at a loss of what to do. It seems like a lot of effort & work to purchase a second aquarium heater... just to heat a "bigger bucket" of water surrounding the "smaller bucket" to acclimate, etc.

Any thoughts from the experts on this site? Any help is appreciated.

Thank you so much,
Sheldon
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Old 04-16-2011, 11:59 PM   #2
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I also have realized this same problem. But haven't thought of an easy fix yet.
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:04 AM   #3
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How cold is the air in the room around the tank? you have to remember that when you move water from the tank to the tube, the more surface area there is thus water can change temperature quicker than lets say sitting in a tank. You should have a 2nd heater anyways because when you do PWC, the temp should be the same for the new water and the tank water
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:25 AM   #4
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WOW. I thinking of this, it never even dawned on me that I should heat the temperature of the water I'm placing in the tank. Then again, my water changes so far have been about 10% weekly.

I have felt the temp of the water going in, and it was pretty close (about 2-3 degrees if off at all).

So what *exactly* is the recommended drip acclimation method from start-to-finish to solve all acclimation problems? It seems silly to dunk the bag for 15 minutes in the beginning if everything gets very cold thereafter.

The temperature in the room was probably around 78. The temperature from the thermometer in the tank said apx. 80-81 (but even though it's a mercury thermometer I think it might be 2 degrees off). The water in the still 5gal bucket felt like it was 65 degrees (but was probably no colder than 75).

Sheldon
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:26 AM   #5
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I agree with Henry405. It always good to have spares of power heads and heaters and whatnot. Especially heaters cuz if it goes at an inopportune time and you do catch it in time that spare heater could be the difference between dodge'n a bullet and loose'n fish and inverts.

What has worked for me is, I leave the fish i purchased in the bag and float it in the tank for about 10 mins. Then I cut the top of the bag enough for me to add a scoop of tank water into the bag and leave it float'n on the top of the tank make'n sure it doesnt tip over into the tank. Then I wait about 5 mins and take the bag and pour close to half the water into a bucket and then I add the same amount of tank water back into the bag and let it float for 5 more mins. I do this about 3 time total and after the third time i pour all the contents of the bag and the fish into the tank. I've done this with all my fish and inverts for close to 3 years now and it's worked pretty well for me. I hope that helps a little. Good luck with you're new setup.
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike73 View Post
I agree with Henry405. It always good to have spares of power heads and heaters and whatnot. Especially heaters cuz if it goes at an inopportune time and you do catch it in time that spare heater could be the difference between dodge'n a bullet and loose'n fish and inverts.

What has worked for me is, I leave the fish i purchased in the bag and float it in the tank for about 10 mins. Then I cut the top of the bag enough for me to add a scoop of tank water into the bag and leave it float'n on the top of the tank make'n sure it doesnt tip over into the tank. Then I wait about 5 mins and take the bag and pour close to half the water into a bucket and then I add the same amount of tank water back into the bag and let it float for 5 more mins. I do this about 3 time total and after the third time i pour all the contents of the bag and the fish into the tank. I've done this with all my fish and inverts for close to 3 years now and it's worked pretty well for me. I hope that helps a little. Good luck with you're new setup.
Sounds like a solid method.. other than dumping the water in the bag into the tank. Do you do this because it is all your tank water at this time? Is it even true you're not supposed to dump bag water into the tank water?
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:36 AM   #7
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I do it because I figure after diluting it 3 times with a half a bag of my tank water I feel comfortable enough to pour the contents into the tank cuz its mostly my tank water. But I can also see you're point, it couldn't hurt to add the fish with a net separate from the water. It's personal preference I guess. I do it my way cuz I feel it puts less stress on the fish
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:35 AM   #8
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I would never add any amount of water from an outside source in my tank. Many LFS owners treat their water with copper based meds to keep their fish healthy and vibrant, which is a good thing. But a small amount of copper in your water could wipe out your inverts. Another issue is disease, the lfs may have an ich outbreak in their tank, you may have bought a fish with no signs of it, but its in the water. At the end of the day it is personal preference, but always ask yourself what you may be introducing to your DT. Furthermore, if you decide to net your fish, please verify it is a fish that can be netted. I.e. puffers shouldn't be netted, pour them in a strainer and then introduce them.
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike73
I agree with Henry405. It always good to have spares of power heads and heaters and whatnot. Especially heaters cuz if it goes at an inopportune time and you do catch it in time that spare heater could be the difference between dodge'n a bullet and loose'n fish and inverts.

What has worked for me is, I leave the fish i purchased in the bag and float it in the tank for about 10 mins. Then I cut the top of the bag enough for me to add a scoop of tank water into the bag and leave it float'n on the top of the tank make'n sure it doesnt tip over into the tank. Then I wait about 5 mins and take the bag and pour close to half the water into a bucket and then I add the same amount of tank water back into the bag and let it float for 5 more mins. I do this about 3 time total and after the third time i pour all the contents of the bag and the fish into the tank. I've done this with all my fish and inverts for close to 3 years now and it's worked pretty well for me. I hope that helps a little. Good luck with you're new setup.
I also do it this way
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:42 AM   #10
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I would always prefer a drip. Adding a significant amount of water every few minutes is better than just floating; however, a slow drip allows the fish to slowly adjust to your water and reduces the stress on them. I used to use this method, but I did my research and started dripping, usually your lfs will give you tubing for free.
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