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The Importance of Acclimation

Why Acclimate?

  • Acclimation is an important part of introducing any fish to a new tank whether the fish is new to your house or if you are just moving fish between tanks in your house. Whenever a fish is moved from it's tank to another it experiences high levels of stress which makes it very susceptible to various diseases.  Acclimation is done to help reduce the level of shock, which can stress fish when being introduced to a new tank. Even though your new ediition may not seem to be under stress and might do just fine without acclimation, why take the chance?

  • The standard "float the bag in the water for 15 minuets to get it to temp and then release the fish" method is not really recommended anymore. Aquarium temperature, however is not the only variable that fish need to acclimate to. There are several chemical properties of the water the fish must also adjust too such as PH, water hardness, salinity, and any other chemical treatments being used. Proper acclimation takes a little of your time and will eliminate the disappointment of having to watch any new fish or other marine livestock introduced to struggle or just sink to the bottom of your tank and lay there after you drop them in. 

  • Fish and inverts which have been shipped by mail will be under additional stresses, as they are usually in the bag for at least one day. PH starts to drop and ammonia starts to rise as soon as fish are bagged for shipping. 

Acclimation when done correctly can greatly reduce stress and stress related diseases in new fish. The best and probably the safest way to acclimate new fish is over a period of weeks in a quarantine tank(QT). Not only does this allow the fish to be separated so you can check for diseases but it also give a perfect opportunity to slowly raise/lower the SG over a period of weeks which is the most recommended way of doing it. The next best method is The Slow Drip method and  then there's THe Bag method. Regardless of the method you choose, each one allows your new additions to adjust to four basic things that causes stress: Lack of O2 (oxygen), drastic pH and temperature differences, and ammonia build up in the bag. Both pH and water temperature affect how much of the toxic form of ammonia is present in your water. Higher pH and higher temp result in a higher proportion of the total ammonia being present in its toxic form (NH3). pH has the largest effect on ammonia toxicity. So if you have low pH and low temps, higher total ammonia can be present without it being as toxic as at higher pH and temps.

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