Acclimatization – Preparing Your Fish Tank for the Arrival of Your Fishes:

Fishes are sensitive to rapid changes in their environment. The water that your fishes are packaged in most likely has different levels of pH and salinity and different temperature from that of your home aquarium. For this reason, proper acclimatization is vital when introducing new fishes into your aquarium. Acclimatization helps your fish adjust to the new chemistry of your tank, thereby ensures the health of your new addition. The acclimatization process must begin immediately upon arriving home.

Important Details to Consider Before You Begin Acclimatization:

  1. Be patient and do not rush the acclimatization process.
  2. Follow the acclimatization procedure even if your new arrivals are inactive and appear to be lifeless. Some fishes may appear lifeless when you first get them home, but may revive when the acclimatization procedure is followed correctly.
  3. Do not pour the fish into a net. This removes the protective slime coating and makes the fish vulnerable to disease. Always release by allowing the fish to swim out of the bag.
  4. Never place an airstone into the bag when acclimatizing your new arrivals. An airstone increases the pH of the water in the bag too quickly and expose your new arrivals to lethal level of ammonia.
  5. If possible, keep aquarium lights off for several hours after your arrivals have been fully acclimatized and introduced into the aquarium.  This will help keep the stress level down.
  6. For those with existing fishes in their tank, we highly recommend that all new arrivals be quarantined in a separate tank for a period of 1 to 2 weeks to reduce the possibility of introducing diseases and parasites to your existing fishes, and to ensure the new arrivals are accepting food, eating properly and are in optimum health before the final transition to your main display.
  7. In some instances, a new fish will be chased and harassed by one or all of your existing fishes.  Here are some suggested solutions:
    1. Feed your existing aquatic life prior to introducing any new life. This will help alleviate possible aggressive behavior.
    2. Change or rearrange the décor in your aquarium prior to introducing the new aquatic life. This change will alter established territories and may help alleviate aggression.
    3. Scoop the aggressive fish into a perforated plastic keeper and float in the aquarium for several hours while the new arrivals adjust to the new environment. By segregating the aggressor, you reduce the stress on the new arrivals as they explore and get familar with the aquarium without being harassed by the existing fishes.

There are several steps you must take to ensure a smooth transition from the carrying container to the fish’s new home. If not done properly, moving a fish can result in injury or trauma, so you must make the process as stress free as possible.

Contact us today to find out how to acclimatize your fishes when they arrive.

Steps To Follow:

  1. Before buying any new fish, properly cycle your tank with established good bacteria. Make sure your tank water is fully cycled to avoid ammonia spikes and algae blooms. Cycling can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the size of your tank.
  2. Bring a paper bag or carrying container with you when you go to pick up your new fishes. Most fishes are sensitive to light, and moving the fishes from indoor to outdoor or from one light source to another can be shocking. Once your fishes are placed into the store’s clear plastic bag, put the plastic bag into the carrying container.
  3. Place your fishes away from direct sunlight or your vehicle’s heating or cooling vent on your way home from the store.The heat/cold source will cause the water’s temperature to fluctuate much faster than the fishes can handle.
  4. Turn off your aquarium light and dim the lights in the room where your fish’s new aquarium is located. Do this before you remove it from the carrying container, since fish are sensitive to light and may be traumatized by a sudden change in lighting.
  5. Turn off aeration and air stones in your tank to make sure oxygen levels don’t fluctuate in the bag. Strive for a stress-free environment while acclimatizing your new fishes.
  6. Thoroughly wash your hands to remove perfume, lotion, etc.
  7. Open the carrying container and carefully remove the plastic bag. Keep plastic bag unopened. Be careful not to jostle the fish or the container, as this may cause injury or undue stress.
  8. Touch the outside of the plastic bag and feel the water temperature. Compare this with the water in your aquarium. Do not open the plastic bag right away. One important aspect affecting the fish’s health is constant supply of adequate oxygen. If you open the bag you will destroy the fish’s oxygen supply.
  9. Place the unopened bag and its contents inside your fully cycled aquarium. Let the bag float on the water surface and the fishes inside acclimatize to the tank water. This 30 minutes process allows the water in the plastic bag to slowly adjust to the temperature of the aquarium water, while maintaining a high level of dissolved oxygen.
  10. Open the plastic bag and pour some of the aquarium water into the bag. Wait 2 or 3 minutes and then add a little more. Continue repeating this process until the plastic bag is filled mostly with aquarium water. Let the fishes relax in the bag for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. Open the bag, net out your fishes and place them gently in the aquarium. Do not mix in water from the bag into your tank to avoid potential contamination.

Contact us today to find out how to acclimatize your fishes when they arrive.