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Acclimation Guide



Unsure on how to introduce your new livestock purchase to your aquarium?

Follow our simple 9 step Acclimation guide!

Check out how it works below!

1. Inspect Your Purchase

This only applies to fish purchased online or that have undergone some long journey, like an overnight car ride in a box.

First, dim the lights in the room and on your aquarium, this will reduce stress and avoid shock from sudden light changes when opening the box. Make a mental note of the condition of the box, as well as the temperature inside.  Inspect each bag carefully, ensuring all of the fish are alive. Should a fish arrive DOA (dead on arrival), report immediately via email or our socials. Reporting right away is mandatory in these scenarios.

2. Temperature Acclimation

Float the livestock bags in your aquarium, which will allow the water temperatures to equalise. Let them float for at least 15-20 minutes, sometimes longer if you feel the bag water was considerably cold. Never open the bags during this process.

Be aware the bags can block your overflow, be sure to keep the bags clear of your overflow while floating.

3. Empty Bags And Water Into Bucket

One at a time, remove the bags from your aquarium and empty the contents into a bucket. Be sure you’re holding the bag securely inside the bucket before you cut it open and then gently pour the fish and water out. 

The bucket needs to be small enough so that the fish stays submerged. The bags won’t contain a lot of water so if you have to, tilt the bucket on its side so all the water flows to one corner while you’re emptying the bags. 

Once emptied, add an ammonia reducer (Seachem Prime or AmGuard, Continuum Fraction) according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to detoxify ammonia that has built up in transit.

4. Start Drip Acclimation

There are two approaches to drip acclimation which accomplish the same thing; essentially the slow transfer of your aquarium water into the bucket containing your new livestock. 

Small Siphon Method (Preferred Method) – You will need a metre or so of small diameter flexible airline/silicone tubing. You also need a small valve to adjust the rate at which the water enters the bucket.  If a valve is unobtainable, a gentle knot can be tied in the tubing to slow the flow.   

Secure one end of the tubing onto your aquarium, being sure the end of the tube is submerged underwater. Place the other end of the tube into your bucket and then start a siphon. Once the water begins to flow, dial back the flow to a slow drip using the valve/knot. You want to be moving roughly 2-4 drops of water per second.

Cup Transfer Method – Manually transfer 1/2 cup of tank water every 5 minutes into the bucket.

5. Remove Water

Once the water volume in your bucket has doubled, you want to remove half of the water and dispose of it down the drain. Continue with your siphon/water transfer and let the bucket water volume double again.

Compare the salinity of the water in the bag to that of the aquarium and continue acclimating until these values match.

6. Stop Siphon

After you have doubled the water volume for a second time, check that the salinity of the bucket water and your aquarium match, if so, stop the siphon.

The entire process should take about 20-45 minutes depending on your exact drip rate.

7. Transfer Fish To Aquarium

Be careful not to add any significant amount of bucket water into your QT whilst transferring the livestock.  You can scoop the fish up with a net, use your hand (with a glove), or even a small cup. Safely dispose of the bucket water down the drain after all livestock has been transferred

Please Note –  Don’t use your hand if the fish is poisonous. Fish fins, gills, or spines can get caught in a net, free them carefully with your hands or cut the net, don’t just shake the net. Do everything you can to minimize the amount of water you transfer from the bucket to the aquarium. 

8. Refill Aquarium

Since the water was removed from your aquarium, you should fill it back up with some clean seawater.  Never pour the remaining bucket water into your aquarium.

9. Wait To Turn Lights On

Don’t turn the lights on until the following day. Give the fish some time to adjust and acclimate to the new environment before returning to your regular light schedule. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Acclimate?

Yes, acclimation is your best route for ensuring a successful and safe transfer of live fish, coral or invertebrate into your Quarantine Tank or display. While a small minority of hobbyists might argue against drip acclimation specifically, it is the most widely used and successful method of acclimation.

Should I Quarantine?

Fish are vulnerable to a wide range of diseases which they may catch at different points throughout the supply chain before reaching you (collector, importer, retail premise). Regardless of how diligent these commercial operators are, chances are that the fish may still carry disease. Once these diseased fish are added to your aquarium, it will affect your entire aquarium and may potentially take the lives of all your fish! So without a doubt, we recommend quarantining any and all new fish!

Important Facts

We ship our fish, invertebrate and coral at a salinity of 1.024-1.026SG (33-35ppt)

Fish have been conditioned to accept a variety of the following food items: Ocean Nutrition/Hikari Mysis & Brine Shrimp, Ocean Nutrition Formula One/Two Pellets.

Be patient – never rush the acclimation procedure. The total acclimation time for your new arrival should take no longer than one hour.

Always follow the acclimation procedure even if your new arrival appears to be dead. Some fish and invertebrates can appear as though they are dead when they arrive and will usually revive when the above procedure is followed correctly.

Never place an airstone into the shipping bag when acclimating your new arrival. This will increase the pH of the shipping water too quickly and expose your new arrival to lethal ammonia.

Keep aquarium lights off for a minimum of four hours after the new arrival is introduced into the aquarium.

In some instances, your new tank mate will be chased and harassed by one or all of your existing tank mates.  We recommend introducing new fish using an Acclimation Box, available instore or via our website.

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