Guide On How To Acclimate Your Saltwater Fish, Coral & Invertebrate

Properly acclimating your new saltwater aquarium specimens is crucial for early success. Follow these easy tips so you can enjoy your new fish, coral or invertebrate.

Fish acclimation:

You can use these steps to acclimate invertebrates and corals however we recommend to separate them and acclimate them in different containers.

In this video we are going to talk about acclimating fish. First, we are going to take you through the entire process, so you can do it step by step. My hope is if you can follow these steps, you will have more success with introducing new fish into your saltwater aquarium.

Anytime that you have fish corals or invertebrates being delivered to your house, I recommend that you are home the day of delivery because it's just going to make things a lot easier and your success rate is going to be much better.

Once you have inspected all the fish that have arrived and they’re in good health, it’s time to float the fish in your quarantine or display tank. It is very important make sure that you’re not leaving the light of the aquarium on while the fish are floating because this can dramatically increase the temperature within the bags.

Once they've been floating for 20 to 30 minutes it's now time to start the drip acclimation process. I like to use the Styrofoam container that comes with the shipment of fish. You’re going to want to lift one end of the container up to allow the fish to swim normally during the drip acclimation process. Also, it’s important to make sure the container is below the display tank or the quarantine tank, because this will allow, a better syphon into the Styrofoam container.

Now you’re ready to start your siphon. All you need is the air line tubing and a valve. Place one end of the airline tubing into the display tank or quarantine tank and submerging below the waterline. Then create a siphon by sucking the air out of the other hand quickly before you get a mouth full of water. Then you can control the amount of water that's coming through the air line tubing with the airline valve. If you don’t have a valve you can just tie a knot into the end of the airline tubing and then control the drip by how tight you have the knot. I look for one drop per second, a steady flow just streaming is too much and then one drop maybe every 3 seconds may be too little.

As you can see in the video, Right Here I have a drip rate that's all bit faster than I would usually use when I'm acclimating fish but I needed to get some water in the container prior to adding the fish. Typically, you don't want to start adding water until the fish are already in the container, but for this application I needed to make sure that there was some water for the fish to swim.

When you are adding the fish to the container you're going to want to cut the bag at the top, about a third of the way up the bag. As you pour the fish into the container you want to grab the bottom corner and hold the bag at the top and gently pour the fish into the container.

With Community fish, it's not a big deal to I have multiples of the same species in the same container. This is not the case with larger, more aggressive and fish of different species. During these applications, you’ll want to use multiple drip acclamation containers.

A general rule of thumb is acclimating your fish for about three hours but there have been cases where I have acclimated fish over a six-hour period.  I have use this approach when dealing with more sensitive species of salt water fish.

Once the fish have been acclimated for the appropriate period of time, I used a fish net to add them to my quarantine tank system.  Once I’m done acclimating, it’s important to discard the water use to acclimate the fish. At no point is it safe for this water to enter your quarantine system or display tank.

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