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Acclimation is a process through which fishes go from one tank or bowl or plastic bag to the main tank or bowl. Apparently, this looks like a very simple process but actually, it is not. There are lots of unseen water parameters that you should consider while acclimating a fish from one tank to another.
There are three ways to acclimate a fish. Drip acclimation is the safest but slowest option but mandatory for saltwater fishes. For freshwater fish pour the old tank’s water by a small cup into a new bowl or bag every 15 minutes to acclimate fish and the last way is to put the bag unopened into aquarium for 20 minutes to acclimate.
But you should know a comprehensive idea about those three ways. So here I want to give that comprehensive guide about the acclimation of fishes from one tank to another.
How to acclimate fish from one tank to another
Way no 1 – keep the unopened bag with fish in the aquarium
This is so simple and the easiest way to acclimate the fish. Most of the aquarists suggest this way to acclimate fishes from one tank to another.
After getting fish, packed in a bag you should keep it unopened into the water tied with anything else. That’s it in this process. After 15-20 minutes, you should open the bag to bring out the fish gently with fish net and put it into the aquarium.
This is so simple process but this process has some limitations.
- This process doesn’t acclimate other water parameters without temperature
- This is only for hardy fishes
- This is not for saltwater fishes
Note: – This process must apply at the starting of the rest of those processes
Way no 2 – Put some water gradually into the bag from the aquarium
This is the second process that you should consider to acclimate fish from one tank to another. Here in this process you first need to apply the first process to bring the temperature at the same level of both (aquarium & bag) water. After 15-20 minutes, you should take a small cup and fill it with old water and pour it into the bag.
This process should repeat at an interval of 15 minutes. When the percentage of old water will be more than you should take that bag and pour the whole water with fish into the aquarium. But this process has also some limitations. Let’s know about it.
- This is not for saltwater fishes
- This process doesn’t acclimate pH
- Ammonia spike may occur suddenly
Way no 3 – Drip acclimation method
Drip acclimation method the safest but slowest way to acclimate fish from one tank to another. Through this process, almost all water parameters get acclimated. But as this is a very slow process that’s why lots of aquarists won’t recommend it. But if you want to acclimate saltwater fishes then drip acclimation is the best method.
In this method, you need some materials which are
- Air line tubing (4+ feet) 1 piece
- Union fitting 1 piece
- 90° elbow fitting 2 pieces
- Air line valve 1 piece
- Air line magnets or suction cups 2 piece
Now to start the drip acclimation method first you need to cut a piece of tube from 4+ feet air line tubing and attach two elbows with both ends.
Now cut again a 3 inch piece of airline tube from the main tube and attach it with one end of that elbow and at the other end attach the main airline tube.
Now take union fitting and attach it with another end of the 3-inch piece of airline tube.
Now take the airline valve and attach it with another end of the main airline tubing.
Now take one airline magnet or suction cup and fit with the airline valve and another magnet should fit with the union fitting.
This is the whole set in which you need to apply the drip acclimation method to acclimate your fishes from one tank to another.
Now you should put a magnet in the aquarium where union fitting has been attached with it and the air line valve should keep in the bag where the new fish is swimming. The whole method is based on the airline tube through which water will pass and go to the bag by dripping. This will take hours to complete.
This method has also some limitations. Let’s know about it.
- This is the slowest method which will take hours to complete
- This is not for freshwater fishes.
Why do you need drip acclimation for saltwater fishes?
In shop, fish keepers reduce the salinity of the saltwater by using copper. Now if you introduce a new aquarium to a fish that has high salinity then that fish will face major respiratory trouble. This may lead to death even also. That’s why you must know the salinity level of the shopkeeper’s aquarium.
You should increase salinity by drip acclimation not more than 0.02 per hour. So if your fish comes from 1.015 salinity then you need 3 hours drip acclimation to reach the salinity level of 1.018 (assume the salinity of your fish tank is 1.018)
If the difference is more than you must continue the process 2-3 times before putting it into the aquarium and for the extreme case you need to set up an acclimation tank. The water parameter should be the same as the bag. You should increase the salinity of that acclimation tank very slowly. This is a very time-consuming process. This will take weeks or even months.
Read more:- How to set up a community fish tank with cost analysis
Do you need drip acclimation for all types of fishes?
You don’t need drip acclimation for all of the aquarium fishes. Some fishes which are called hardy fish don’t need this long acclimation process. For example guppy, molly, goldfish, zebra danios etc you can take.
This type of fishes can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. So there will not be any problem if you just acclimate it quickly.
As high ammonia level is poisonous for aquarium fish that’s why this should be checked. Generally, your aquarium should have a very low ammonia level or zero ammonia level but the fish bag may have a higher ammonia level than your aquarium. So that will not be any problem if you put fish from high ammonia level to low ammonia level.
For nitrate and nitrite level should also be zero both in your aquarium and the fish bag. So there will not be any problem if you don’t use the drip acclimation process for all types of fishes.
For pH you should know the range of pH level of your shopkeeper and that will be enough to take a decision while acclimating fish. If the range of pH of your shopkeeper’s aquarium and your aquarium is very wide, then you should go for drip acclimation. Otherwise, you don’t need that if you don’t buy any saltwater fish.
From all three processes, we can understand that the second method is safer and time saver than anything else. You can go for this method to acclimate fishes. But if you see there are some wide ranges of any water parameter like pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, or phosphate level then it’s better to go for drip acclimation. Otherwise, you don’t need such a long time-consuming method to acclimate fishes from one place to your aquarium.
So best of luck & happy fishkeeping 🐟