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Acclimating fish in breather bags


tolstoy21
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What's the official word on how to do this? Do any of the companies who make them post acclimation instructions? (I've been looking and can not find any yet).

As usual, I read conflicting information one the internet about how this topic, like "don't float, you'll suffocate fish", "don't float the bags are toxic to the existing aquarium environment" to "I float therm all the time no problem".

Like I said, can anyone link me some reputable information, like info from the manufacturers themselves?

EDIT - I don't want to start a fish acclimation flame war here. I'm just hoping someone stumbled across something from Kordon, etc. that addresses this topic.

Edited by tolstoy21
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40 minutes ago, gardenman said:

I know nothing official, but since temperature acclimation is important, I half float the breather bags, but prop them up so they're just half in the water and half in the air. It's the best of both worlds option to me.

Thanks.

Yeah, I've seen a lot of people say they do the same with success on the internet.

I was just wondering if anyone knows for sure, definitively, if the presence of water on the outside of a breather bag (like a closed breather bag submerged in water) can or cannot exchange O2 and CO2 through the bag walls.

I could always bag up a fish and keep the bag underwater for a day and see what happens. But that wouldn't really answer my question. It would only tell me what happened in my scenario. And I could end up with a dead fish! 

I guess i could also just see if Kordon or Long Life respond to customer inquiries. Doesn't cost anything to ask a question!

Edited by tolstoy21
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  • 6 months later...

One of the places I order fish from uses breather bags. The instructions that they send with the fish are float to temp open pour fish and water through a net and put fish in the tank. I’ve not had any issues acclimating CPD, panda or Pygmy corydora I’ve received from them this way. Edit I float and add to a qt tank not main tanks. 

Edited by Guppysnail
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@tolstoy21; I'll let the bag float in my tank for 30 min., then I'll transfer enough water from the bag into a one-pint Mason jar so that it floats upright in my tank. I'll catch the fish to put it in the jar, put two fingers over the mouth of the jar so the fish doesn't swim or jump out as I pour half of that water out so I can refill the jar with water from my tank. I'll let it float for 15 min. and repeat the process a second time, I'll let it float for another 15 min., before repeating the process again. After 15 min. I'll slowly refill the jar and allow the fish to either swim out on its own or I'll slowly pour it into my tank. I've never lost a fish due to lack of acclimation and I've never introduced any diseases into my tank from pouring all of that LFS water into my tanks.

Breathable bags? If a bag will allow oxygen to enter and allow CO2 to escape, it will also allow water to escape which would make for a messy ride home from your LFS. Think about it.

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On 12/12/2021 at 9:38 AM, Gator said:

I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying here? Breather bags are designed to allow water to escape?

Since I posted this some time back, I’ve experimented with floating breather bags and didn’t have any issues floating the fish to acclimate them.

My original question was not how to acclimate fish. It was if anyone knew of any published, official stance on acclimation via floating with breather bags from any of the breather bag manufacturers.

Edited by tolstoy21
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On 12/12/2021 at 6:22 PM, Gator said:

@tolstoy21; I'm sorry, I misunderstood your question, I still have never heard of breather bags before, what are they? My guess is that since I've never heard of breather bags before, I can't help you with any manufacturers' info, maybe your LFS can help.

Breather bags are made of a special plastic that is water tight, but allows oxygen and gases to flow through thereby allowing gas exchange, so when shipping fish, you just put in the water and fish and then tie the bag right at water level, you don't need to include air, thus taking up less space in a shipping box. 

I have only gotten fish one time shipped that were in breather bags, and I just let sit on top of my tank not in water for half hour or so to acclimate to air temp and then poured the fish and water into a container then over a half hour or so added water to double the amount of water in container. 

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The reason people question breather bags is that when shipped, you're supposed to put something breathable between them. (Wrap them in paper towels/foam/cloth, etc.) "The bags need to breathe." Hence the name "breather bag." Breathing underwater tends to be a tad challenging thus the questions about whether to float the bags or not. That's why I use the half in/half out approach. There's enough water to bag contact to acclimate for temperature, but still enough exposed bag for breathing purposes.

Breather bags are great for shippers as they take up less space with no need for air in two thirds of the bag. You can put a lot more into one shipping box. (Though legally, fish need to be double bagged for shipping and you can't double bag a breather bag.) Just do whatever works for you. I play it safe with the half in/half out approach, but whatever works for you is fine too.

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