Proper acclimation of your new inhabitant to your aquarium is the most important thing. This is to make sure that there will be a smooth transition of transfer from the bag to your aquarium.
Try to imagine that you live your entire life in a warm climate. Then you were moved and dropped off somewhere cold let’s say Alaska or North Pole.
Getting used to your new surrounding will be hard and your body would become stressed and you might even get sick.
Same idea with your saltwater fish and invertebrates. They become stressed when they are taken from the ocean or from your local fish store to your saltwater aquarium at home. All fish, coral and invertebrates are very sensitive to water temperature, salinity and pH. Before going to the steps look at these factors you are acclimating for. This will help your animal adjust to its new environment and water chemistry.
The bags may have been shipped across country or even the distance from the fish store to your home, the arrival temperature will most likely to be difference from the temperature in your home saltwater aquarium. Proper procedure will take care of slowly changing the animal body temperature back to a normal temperature without stress.
Proper procedure will take care of slowly changing the animal body temperature back to a normal temperature without stress.
This is the specific gravity in your water. When there is low salinity level, this means that your fish is receiving higher level of oxygen when they breathe.
If your salinity level then is higher than normal, your fish are prone to common ailments such as ich. Maintain a salinity level of 1.019 – 1.022 for fish only aquariums and 1.025 – 1.028 if you have corals and/or clams.
Reef system requires higher salinity for optimum growth and colour of the corals.
Keep your pH level to 8.2 – 8.4. Water change and using pH buffer will help maintain this level. When your fish releases ammonia, this will cause the pH in the saltwater in the bag to drop. Slow acclimation brings back to a normal pH level.
Here are the procedures on properly acclimating Saltwater Fish and Corals.
Saltwater fish acclimation takes time but will reduce your disappointment of watching them struggle and stress or just sink to the bottom of your tank.
Proper acclimation helps reduce the chances of stress. This will make a huge difference in the health nd beauty of your new fish. There are few things to remember and to follow when you’re adding new fish to your aquarium. Try your best to follow these saltwater fish acclimation recommendations/procedure for the benefit of your new fish.
- Don’t rush! Be patient in the during the acclimation process. It will take at least 30-40 minutes.
- Your new fish is most likely stressed out.
- Keep the lights off for at least about four hours after the procedure.
- Try dimming the lights in the room where your saltwater aquarium is. Bright lights will cause harmful stress to the saltwater fish.
- If you see your fish is not moving or at the bottom of the plastic bag, try no to worry. Your new fish is most like be stressed out. Once proper saltwater fish acclimation is finished, it will take awhile before they swim normally around the aquarium.
Decide on anyone of these methods on how you would want to properly acclimate your new saltwater fish addition to your saltwater aquarium.
Which ever one you decide to use, each one will help your new fish to adjust to the things that causes them stress: lack of oxygen, drastic temperature and pH level differences and ammonia build up in the bag.
Measuring Cup Method
This method is a gentle, safe and easy way to introduce your new saltwater fish to your home aquarium, and usually takes less than an hour to complete.
This method provides re-oxygenation of the saltwater in the bag and slowly introduces the fish to your saltwater aquarium’s level of pH and other water chemistries.
You can use this method not only for saltwater fish acclimation but also for all other types of marine livestocks.
This method may have you move too fast and not allow enough time for proper saltwater fish acclimation process.
- Open the bag. If full of packing water, pour about half of it and discard.
- Cut or fold the top of the bag if there’s any excess.
- Place the bag inside your saltwater aquarium and secure to the top with any devise that can hold it still making sure that no water from the bag gets into the aquarium or vice versa.
- Drop airstone into the bag for a couple of minutes to help with re-oxygenation.
- Scoop out about 1/4 cup of you aquarium saltwater and pour it into the bag and wait 10 minutes.
- Repeat this process.
- You can test the temperature, salinity and pH level of the bag water to check if these parameters match your saltwater aquarium. If they match, then the acclimation is complete. If not, continue steps 5 and 6.
- Gently hand scoop, use a soft mesh net (you can usually get this from your local fish store), or use a small perforated container to lift the fish out of the bag and put it in your aquarium.
- Discard the water in the bag & Enjoy your new saltwater fish!
This method is gentle, safe and easy way to introduce your new saltwater fish to your home aquarium.
Once the drip line is started and the flow rate is set, it pretty much takes care of itself.
You can use this method not only for saltwater fish acclimation but also for all types of marine livestocks.
It can take up to two hours for this method to be completed depending on the size of size of the acclimation container being used.
There is a lot of set up involved.
If you are acclimating more than one saltwater fish, this means you have to either use a separate acclimation container for each one or put them all together in the same one. If you combine the fish, they may fight and injure each other even before you can get them into your aquarium, especially if they are of the same or similar species.
This method may have you move too fast and not allow enough time for proper acclimation process.
- Put the fish in any container of enough size to be covered.
- Set the bucket on the floor close to the aquarium you’ll be putting the fish into when done.
- Using some plastic air line tubing and an air gang value, set up and run a siphon drip line from the aquarium you will be placing the fish into, to the bucket.
- Siphon and slowly the tank water to drip into the container using the gang air valve to adjust the drip rate.
- Do not set the water drip rate too fast nor too slow. Set it in between.
- If you are acclimating several fish, it’s the best way to do it individually in a container of their own.
- When the water in the container equals to about two to three times the volume of the bag water, test the temperature, salinity and pH level of the bag water to check if these parameters match your saltwater aquarium.
- Gently remove the fish and place it into your aquarium where the dripped in water came from.
Turkey Baster Method
This method is also gentle, safe and easy way to introduce your new saltwater fish to your home aquarium and takes less than an hour to complete.
The bag water will be eventually replaced by your own saltwater.
This method also provides re-oxygenation of the saltwater in the bag and slowly introduces the fish to your saltwater aquarium’s level of pH and other water chemistries.
No nets, scoops or other stress inducing methods are used avoiding acclimation shock and any other stressful situation for the fish.
Fish are individually confined if you have more than one you are trying to introduce to your saltwater aquarium.
You can use this method not only for saltwater fish acclimation but also for all types of marine livestocks
This method may have you move too fast and not allow enough time for proper saltwater fish acclimation process.
- Open the bag and lower it into your saltwater aquarium.
- Secure to the top with any devise that can hold it still.
- Let the water temperature from the bag stabilize with the temperature of your saltwater.
- Using a large new plastic turkey baster that has no metal parts, add 1 or 2 full squeeze bulbs of your tank water to the bag and wait for about 10 minutes.
- Remove 3 bulbs of water from the bag and throw it away. Add 2 more bulbs of your tank water and wait for another 10 minutes.
- Repeat 4 and 5 until the recycling of bag water is complete.
- Now you can test the temperature, salinity and pH level of the bag water to check if these parameters match your saltwater aquarium.
- Submerge the entire bag under water and let your new saltwater fish swim out.
Another challenge that you will face when keeping a saltwater aquarium is corals acclimation.
Here are the corals acclimation procedures that you can follow to help you do this. Following these steps and AGAIN “being patient” pays off.
It will cause less stress to your fish and you will have healthy inhabitants.
Let’s start with how to hold them. How do you do this correctly? They seem so delicate. Well, there are different types that require different techniques on how to hold them.
- Beginner corals such as soft corals, polyps, and mushroom are usually attached to a small rock when you purchase them. Handle them only by the rock and try to avoid touching the polyps.
- Hard corals have large and fleshy polyps and have hard exoskeleton on their base. Handle them by the base. Others are mostly attached to a plug or rock and should be handled by the base as well.
Using a pair of gloves will decrease the possibility of irritating and stressing them when handling. Always handle all them gently so you can avoid the chances of damage.
Lighting acclimation is of great importance for them.
Since there are many different species available, there are also many differences in where they grow and the lighting conditions that they survive in.
Some are more sensitive than others in terms of lighting conditions.
Others get sunburned by your lighting if it’s too intense, and others need intense lighting in order to grow and survive.
It takes time for them to acclimate to its new environment. So try again to be patient!!
Follow these easy steps for proper corals acclimation into your saltwater aquarium.
- Turn of the lights in your saltwater aquarium so it can slowly acclimate to your system lighting condition. Some of them slime during shipping. This is normal! Don’t panic and think that their health condition is bad.
- Have the unopened bag float into the display or the quarantine tank for a good fifteen minutes. This way the temperature in your tank will match the temperature of the water in the bag where the specimen is and vice versa.
- Open the bag.
- Add about a cup of water from the aquarium to the bag where your corals are.
- Repeat the process every 5-10 minutes for about an hour.
- Place them on the lower part of the aquarium leaving your lights off.
- Leave them alone and the lights off for about 3 hours. Do not get to anxious turning on the light and admiring your new addition to your saltwater aquarium. AGAIN! Patience!!!
- You will know that they already adjusted to the new environment when they appear fully expanded and shows full coloration.
- Now, you can move them to your desired location. Aquascape with these amazing creatures.
- Continue to monitor them when you move it to its new location. If they seem not to fully expand and there’s a decrease in coloration, try to move them again to a lower position in your aquarium.
- Research their lighting, water flow, nutrition requirements.
- Also find out about their aggression toward other inhabitant in your saltwater aquarium.
- There is a chance that your coral may get knocked over by snails, hermit crabs and other cleaners in your tank (happened to me a lot!), try using an epoxy that is safe to be used underwater.