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Acclimating new fish – quick tips to prevent fish loss.

So you just got home from the local fish store with a new fish?

Your first line of defense against fish loss is good acclimation and quarantine.

Right now your fish is freaked out, the oxygen level in the water is getting low, the ammonia level is rising, the PH is lowering due to

increased CO2 in the water, the temperature in the bag is not the same as the tank and the salinity is different. It is not a good idea to simply dump the fish in the aquarium and hope for the best. A gradual acclimation to the differences is a much better method, and will give your fish a better chance at remaining healthy.

There are many different methods of acclimation. Some are better than others, here is one used by many aquarists.

  1. Float the bag in the tank for approximately 20-30 minutes (adjusts temperature)
  2. Gently empty the bag into a 5 gallon bucket (make sure there is enough water for the fish)
  3. Cover bucket with egg crate (prevents jumping/carpet surfing)
  4. Run a piece of airline tubing from the quarantine tank to the bucket
  5. Start siphon
  6. Tie a knot in the tubing to control flow rate, adjust to 1-3 drops per second
  7. Allow to drip until the bucket has 3-4 times as much water as when you started (should take a couple of hours)
  8. Gently net fish and place in the quarantine tank

This method is fairly simple and doesn’t require a lot of work on your part, but it does require a little time. Do NOT buy a fish if you do not have a few hours to properly acclimate the fish. Slower acclimation = Better acclimation.

Should you have any questions or comments about this article please feel free to post in the Saltwater & Reef – General Discussion forum.

Filed under General Articles.