What Is The Best Fish Acclimation Method?

What Is The Best Fish Acclimation Method?

Another simple question that holds disastrous results for the unknowing aquarist.

The primary goal of acclimation is to safely match Ph, Salinity, and Temperature between your aquarium water and the water that your new livestock resides. The two methods most commonly accepted in the aquarium hobby are the Float Method and the Drip Method. There are other methods practiced in the hobby, including piercing the bag and then floating, however, many of the other methods have inherent danger for either the new or existing livestock and are therefore not discussed in this article.

In general, the Float Method is the preferred method for novice aquarists. The float methodology is a quick and easy way to acclimate new livestock to your aquarium. The Drip Method is suggested when acclimating very difficult to keep livestock (i.e. – Linkia Starfish). Below we’ve provided a step-by-step process for both of these generally accepted practices and provide additionally insight from our experience in reef keeping into the pros and cons of each method.

1) FLOAT METHOD (time length: 40 minutes)

MIN 0: Turn off aquarium light
MIN 0 – 25: Float bag Closed in aquarium that livestock will be installed*
MIN 25: Open bag and roll edges so the bag floats **
MIN 26: Add 1 cup of water to the bag***
MIN 30: Add 1 cup of water to the bag
MIN 35: Scoop fish out of bag with safe net and immediately put in tank

*Opening bag while floating can cause ammonia toxicity in livestock.

**Keep fish floating in display tank.

***Use the same cup for all acclimations. Never wash cup with soap.

PRO – Quick, standardized, and easy to perform

CON – If not performed in accordance with timetable ammonia levels will increase

2) DRIP METHOD (time length: varies with livestock)

Turn off aquarium light
Float bag Closed 25 Minutes in aquarium that livestock will be installed
Open bag, roll edges and place in larger container
Immediately start drip-line and place in new livestock bag*
Allow bag to fill. Extra water will overflow into larger container**
Once the water level in the second container is 2.5 inches below the livestock water level open the drip line to a solid flow rate
Once the water chemistry in the bag matches the chemistry in the main display then float the bag to temperature in the display
Scoop fish out of bag with safe net and immediately put in tank
*Use a broken drip rate, not a solid stream of water.

**Top-off aquarium with salt water as needed.

***Use the same cup for all acclimations. Never wash cup with soap.

PRO – Consistent bacteria supply, and good for sensitive livestock

CON – Time length varies and requires fresh saltwater

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