Acclimatising stock, from the shop to your Aquarium.
At the shop and travelling home.
A very Important part of any fishkeeping hobby is the introduction of livestock to their new enviroment. We obviously want to make this transition as easy and stress free as possible. Being caught and put in a bag and carried home is hard enough on your new arrivals.
First things first and often overlooked is making sure your stock is in good condition before you actually purchase it! Any good retailer should never sell stock that isnt ready to go and we pride ourselves on conditiong stock before it leaves us. if you are unsure about the health of something then simply do not buy it. If it is a known fussy feeder then ask to see it eat. If you are unfamiliar with a particular species then ask or research them. We have free to use wifi which is always handy but we are more than happy to talk you through requirements of a potential purchase.
Once you have your new purchase, try to take a direct trip home, livestock is not a fan of sitting in a bag. If you have other journeys to make, do them before hand or dont hang about. Of course sometimes this isnt possible so just try to keep your purchase in mind until it is in your tank. If you are coming from a distance then we are happy to provide a polybox to maintain temperatures on your journey.
Although the urge grabs us all it is best if you do not take the fish out of the carrier bag till you are home. if you have people who wish to see your new purchase then try to make sure they have seen it before it is packaged. Fish amd invertebrates feel very vulnerable in a bag with nowhere to hide so it is very stressful for them especially after being chased around with a net, coral on the other hand won't mind but will probably look completely different and often deflated when packaged.
Once home it is time to decide how best to acclimatise your new goodies.
Fish (Slow method)
Fish are a funny one as far as acclimation goes as the longer they are in containers the more stressed they will be. This acclimation period and method can be adjusted according to how similar your parameters are to the shops. If the shop you purchase from runs hypo salinity (low salt levels) and copper on their system i would use the dripping method to ensure salinities are equalised slowly. Its easiest using a clean bucket, it can be an old salt one, or a polybox and placing the coral and contents of its bag into the bucket. We highly recommend the tmc aquahabitat drip acclimation kit as it does make the process a lot easier. Attach the drip to your tank and feed the other end into the container, often it will start on its own, then reduce the water flow to a slow drip maybe a couple/few drips a second. Now you just wait, if the container is small and fills quickly remove some of the water and pour it away. I would say over the space of 30 mins to an hour if the water has at least been doubled then the fish should be ready to go in.
BUY ACCLIMATION KIT HERE
Fish (Quicker method)
If you know the shop runs closer to reef salinty then you should get away with allowing the water to mix faster as their isnt as big of an adjustment, i.e over 20 minutes rather than 30-60. If in doubt use the drip method. if you do not have a drip available then you may use a clean jug to add about a 3rd of the water the fish is already in. Fish find it much easier adjusting from high to low or a similar salinity rather than low to high. It is important to take it slow with fish from hypo salinity as the water may not be as oxygen rich in your tank. A few things to note is keeping the room fairly dark and quiet while acclimating the fish, you should also either dim the lights or turn them off on the aquarium to keep stress levels to a minimum.
Clean up Crew
We generaly reccomend you use the slow fish acclimation method for any clean up crew (cuc) such as snails, shrimp, crabs and starfish as they can also be sensitive to parameter changes. Personally i find crabs settle well with a feed shortly after introduction. I imagine them being in a bag is the equivalent of us walking on ice so they are sure to have worked up an appetite!
Soft corals and most LPS
For the majority of soft coral and some lps you should be able to put them straight in your tank to no ill effect. This obviously come down to your parameters being in the wide tolerance ranges of most these corals. If they are not in this range then should you really be adding new stock to your tank? As with all coral we would suggest a dip before introduction to your tank in a bowl of your tank water. Amounts depend on what your brand of dip suggests, a nice concentrated dip and one we have great succcess with is seachem reef dip. This particular dip recommends 5ml per 4l of aquarium water. It is much more effective if you can add a small powerhead to maintain movement of the dip around the coral. It is always good husbandry to prepare the coral before it goes in your aquarium, again we pride ourselves on dipping new coral arrivals but as many will know eggs usually are not affected by dips so it is always worth another once over.
Sps is where you may wish to take it a little slower as they do not react nicely to quick changes in parameters. Then you should follow slow fish acclimation method or If you think the shops parameters are significantly different to your own then extend the acclimation period further. Towards the end last 5-10 minutes you could think about adding some reef dip, as with the soft and LPS coral, and a small powerhead to get the dip out of the way. Once complete simply remove the coral from the container and add it to your tank!
A few notes
If using a polybox i would float the bag in the aquarium water to match temperatures before mixing water. Buckets will lose heat fairly quickly so no point in swinging the temperature more than necessary.
Most fish can take two weeks or more even when in the tank to adjust and acclimate properly. It is important to ensure the fish looks and eats well even after the first few days and act accordingly if not. You also need to watch for aggression from it or the other tank mates that may develop, It is never a good idea to have a holiday just before adding something to the tank.
Never add shop water to your tank, it doesnt contain any magic potions and is best flushed down the drain rather than portentially adding any pathogens to your tank.
Some may not agree with our methods but we ave chosen these methods through experience. There are many ways to do the same thing, this is our preferred way.
Thanks for reading and if you ever have any questions we are here and happy to help.
The Kraken Corals team.