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How to Acclimate Your New Fish and Coral

Acclimation is an important process that properly introduces your fish and coral to their new homes. When your fish and coral arrive at your door, the water they’re kept in has a much different temperature, pH, and salinity levels than in your aquarium. Fishes and invertebrates like corals are sensitive to sudden changes in their environment, especially temperature and pH balance parameters. With proper acclimation, you can ensure the health and survival of your new specimens as you relocate them.

Now, there are two effective acclimation methods that you should follow. Remember that this process takes time and should not be rushed. After your fish and coral are introduced into the aquarium, you must keep the aquarium lights off for around four hours to help them adjust to their new environment. Although not a requirement for acclimation, we recommend setting up a separate aquarium to quarantine your fish and corals. This will prevent potential bacterias or parasites from harming your tank.

Floating Method

1. Turn off all aquarium lights in your tank to help reduce the stress of your fish and corals. Make sure to keep your aquarium lights off for around 4 hours after your fish or coral are in their new home.

2. Keep the lights in the room you keep your aquarium in down before opening the shipping box.

3. Remove the bag with your fish or coral from the shipping box. Let the bag float on the aquarium water for 15 minutes. 

4. After the 15 minutes are done, create an air pocket by cutting open the sealed bag under the metal clip and rolling this edge down. If you have corals inside your sealed bag, place it in a bowl or container so that it floats.

5. Add ½ cup of your aquarium’s water to the bag and continue adding water every 5 minutes until the bag is full. 

6. Remove the bag from the aquarium and empty half of the water. Do not empty the bag into the aquarium.

7. Float the bag in the aquarium water again. Add ½ cup of water from the aquarium into the bag every 5 minutes until the bag is full. 

8. When the bag is completely full, grab a small net to fish your specimens from the bag into the aquarium. Make sure this process is done as gently as possible.

9. Throw away the water inside the bag. Do not dump the water inside the bag into the aquarium. If a small quantity of water is dropped into the aquarium, this will not harm your marine life.

Drip Method

Please note: The dripping method is generally applied to sensitive marine organisms like corals, sea stars, and shrimp. This process requires airline tubing and a clean 3 to 5 gallon bucket that’s intended for your aquarium only. You must also carefully supervise the entire process from start to finish.

1. Turn off the lights in the aquarium to reduce your fish or coral’s stress. You should also keep the aquarium lights off for around 4 hours after your fish or coral are in their new home.

2. Turn the lights down inside the room where your aquarium is located. Open the shipping box. 

3. Remove the bag with your fish and coral from the shipping box. Let the bag float on the aquarium water for around 15 minutes. 
    4. Gently remove the content of the sealed bag into the 3 to 5 gallon bucket. Make sure to tilt the bucket at a 45 degree angle so that your marine life isn’t exposed to the air. You should also use a prop to keep the bucket in this position until there is enough water. 

    5. Use airline tubing to run a siphon drip line from your aquarium to the bucket. Make sure to tie several small knots in the airline tubing or use a plastic control valve to help the water flow into the aquarium. 

    6. Suck the end of the airline tubing to create a siphon. While the water enters the tubing, adjust the drop by tightening the knots or adjusting the control valve to 2 drips per second.

    7. Once you have enough water inside the bucket, empty the bucket and restart the drip process until the bucket fills up again. It should take at least one hour to finish this entire method.

    8. Place all of your marine life in your aquarium. Your fish and coral should be handled gently throughout this transition. Submerge the bag in the aquarium water and let all your specimens out of the bag. Afterwards, throw away the bag and water.

    Note the following

    1. Remain patient during the acclimation process. The total acclimation time should take about one hour.

    2. If your fish or invertebrates do not react or seem dead when they first arrive, don’t worry. Many marine specimens revive once the acclimation process is done.

    3. Avoid placing an airstone into the bag throughout the acclimation process. This can increase the pH levels inside the bag’s water, which may lead to a potentially deadly loss for your fish or coral.

    4. Many species of invertebrates and aquatic plants are highly sensitive to changes in salinity. To protect your fish from stress and trauma, keep a specific gravity of 1.023-1.025 to avoid stress and trauma by using a hydrometer.
      5. Some corals produce large quantities of slime during shipping. Once you finish acclimating your coral to its new home, shake the coral gently by holding it by its skeletal base. Avoid touching the delicate, fleshy part of a live coral.


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