Your saltwater aquarium is finally all set up and you are ready for your first fish to be introduced to the tank. You can’t just throw the fish right into the water though. Your fish needs to acclimate to its new saltwater aquarium. How do you do this? Follow the steps below to ensure that your fish has a healthy and safe acclimation.
Drip acclimation is the best method of introducing new fish to your aquarium.
An indispensable tool for acclimation and many other aquarium tasks.
A great tool for acclimating new fish right in the bag that they were delivered to you in.
Transporting fish is stressful for them. Stress relief will help increase their health.
Fish are very particular about their living environment. If you throw your fish directly into your curated saltwater tank too quickly, you run the risk of shocking your new fish. Your tank probably doesn’t match the same parameters as the tank that was previously housing your new fish.
Fish need time to adjust to changes in the water like water temperature, ph, and salinity. By taking the time to acclimate your fish, you guarantee that the fish is receiving as little shock to their system as possible. This helps to reduce stress and keep your fish happy and healthy.
If you bought your marine fish online, the room where you first open the box containing the new fish should be dark. The fish have just spent their entire transit in darkness and throwing open their box in a well-lit room will come as a shock to their systems.
Instead, open the box from the side and let a little light into the box. The fish will slowly begin to get used to that little bit of light and then you can more safely remove the fish from the box.
If you bought your fish online, the room where you first open the box containing the new fish should be dark. The fish have just spent their entire transit in darkness and throwing open their box in a well-lit room will come as a shock to their systems. Acclimating to the light in the room can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
Don’t throw the bags into your aquarium just yet, you should check your saltwater aquarium’s salinity and temperature. If the water reads a comfortable salinity of 1.020 – 1.026 or 27- 35 PPT and your temperature range is between 76 and 80F, you are ready to go.
make sure to properly rinse and clean any acclimation container you may want to use.
Gathering the materials now will prevent confusion and delay when acclimating your saltwater fish. If this is your first time, the materials you gather now I recommend you keep together for whenever you get new fish. This will cut down on time in the future and ensure that you are always prepared for transferring your fish.
Fish acclimation kits are also available for purchase. If you are not interested in DIY, you can buy a premade drip line that has a flow regulator already installed on it. The kits are relatively inexpensive and could save you a little bit of time from learning how to make the hose yourself.
The two most common (and trustworthy acclimation methods) are the float method and the drip method. You will want to select the method that works best for you and the type of creature that you are trying to acclimate to. The float method is better for fish while the drip method is better for heavier creatures like invertebrates and coral. A reminder that with all of these acclimation processes that the time shouldn’t take longer than one hour. The longer you take to complete the acclimation process the colder the acclimation containers can become.
The float method is most common for fish when trying to get them acclimated to their new aquarium life. Careful not to allow any of the bag water into your aquarium.
This method is much more involved than the float method, but this acclimation process is especially good for the heavier inhabitants of your aquarium including corals, sea stars, and wrasses. You will need the following items for this method: 3 to 5-gallon bucket (acclimation container), 3ft of airline tubing, scissors, and a clothes peg.
You have just bought your new fish, but you need to pick it up from the store. How do you guarantee safe travel for your new saltwater fish? You should bring some sort of container, like a box or bucket, in your car to place the fish. The container will help prevent the fish from rolling around too much as you drive home.
The container should be located somewhere secure and I recommend where you can see it. You don’t want any mishaps taking place before you can bring your new saltwater fish home.
Quarantining your fish is not required but you are running an unnecessary risk if you just begin to acclimate your fish. By quarantine, you are making sure that you are only letting specimens into your saltwater aquarium that are safe. The last thing you want is for one sick fish cause a whole slew of issues for your entire aquarium.
To quarantine a fish, you need to have a second aquarium available. Since you are only quarantining the fish, the second quarantine tank does not need to be anything fancy. It only needs to be able to house the fish for about a 6-week period.
Remember that whenever a fish moves to a new container, they should be acclimated to it. Please follow the methods listed below for acclimating your fish, whether that is to your main saltwater tank or a temporary quarantine tank.
Now you have all the information you need to safely acclimate your new fish to their new saltwater aquarium home. If you are patient and careful with the acclimation process, you should have no trouble transferring your saltwater fish into your aquarium.
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