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How do you personally acclimate shipped fish?


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Hello!

Seen a lot of conflicting information on acclimation processes lately, and as I'm getting a shipment on Wednesday of some fish, I was curious as to what the nerms are doing to acclimate their fish. My process so far has been to pour the shipment bag out into a container, and slowly replace the water with my tank water by filling it up, emptying half, etc. since I don't have a good actual drip acclimation method. For this upcoming shipment, I was thinking to add all the fish (3 different species) into one larger bucket with an airstone, add Stress Guard/Prime, and repeat the same process. My concern would be:

1) Is there harm in adding water from different bags of fish together, even if they came from the same facility?

2) Is the slow acclimation process worth it, or is it more dangerous to leave them with their bag water?

3) What is your current favored method for more delicate fish? There are Blue Neon Rasboras and Reticulated Hillstream Loaches in this shipment.

 

Thanks y'all!

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So I've only received shipped fish three times, and last week I had a shipment where it was multiple bags of different fish from the same facility. I faced the same conundrum of whether or not to mix them all in one container or not. I didn't have much time to think, because I had one individually bagged angel in the group whose bag leaked in transit and he had barely two teaspoons of water left.

I went for it, and mixed them all together in a bucket and started a drip. In retrospect, the drip was too slow, because after an hour the pH was still too low compared to the water I was placing them in, and I definitely shocked them when I transferred them. If I were to do it again,.I'd do what you outlined by replacing the water in increments.

The fish all made it through the shock, fortunately, and I didn't see any adverse effects of mixing multiple bags in one container for acclimation. I don't know if stress guard is necessary; I'd be careful not to overdose it, and maybe it'd be better put to use in the aquarium they end up in, and not the acclimation container.

That shipment I had included orange laser corydoras, which I would consider more sensitive, and they made it with just a drip and a bit of shock from 7.2 to 8.0 pH. (The 7.2 is what I raised up to after an hour of dripping. I should have tested to compare BEFORE I started moving fish)

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I immediately put a drop of prime. I quick drip 2x the amount of water they came in to get the ph closer then hang for 10-15 minutes since the quick drip( I use accu drip because the tubing is smaller than airline and run it at the slowest stream I can without actually dripping) bring temp close. Takes 20 minutes total. My goal is always to get them in clean stable qt and the stress reduced as quickly as I feel is safe. It works for me right or wrong. I even do shrimp this way. Shipped or store bought it’s my standard. 

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When I get fish in, I float the bags for about 10-15 minutes to acclimate to tank temp. Then, I open the bag, dump the fish into a net and put them into the tank. If they come in a breather bag, I let the bag sit out on the top of a tank for 15 minutes or so, then open bag, pour into net and into tank. 

I have found that the quicker I get the fish into my stable tank water, the better they do. When the fish have been in bags for overnight or even days, the waste builds up, lowers pH of water, as soon as the bag is opened the water becomes toxic, and I want to get them out of there ASAP. I do acclimation this same way no matter if I pick up fish at a LFS and they're only in bags for a couple of hours or if I get them imported in and have been in transit for a couple days. 

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27 minutes ago, gardenman said:

If the seller provides details on how they want the fish acclimated, I follow their rules. That way if there is an issue later, I can say I did everything as they suggested. I also document it each step of the way with video.  If there is no required way to acclimate, I tend to temperature acclimate then plop and drop.

Like the OP we watched a lot of videos on the topic, and decided that as far as getting them shipped that we'll generally do what you said and get the temp right and get them out of that bag ASAP.     

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I like to get it done in less than 20 minutes.. Remember, when getting shipped fish, that water isn't that great and ammonia will spike once opened (thanks to a quick change in pH as well that increases its toxicity).  Also while in a separate container, unless you add an airstone, there's very little oxygen/co2 exchange.  

The only things I do longer than 20 mins is caridina shrimp, but even then I try to have their main water about half or more replaced within 30-60 mins or so.  At that point, I'm just trying to stabilize the parameters to their new home.

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I use one of these...

https://www.amazon.com/Innovative-Marine-IM01177-Accudrip-Acclimator/dp/B009M3M37O

Plastic pail, located below destination tank, dump contents of transport bag, drip for an hour.  After that, I pour the "acclimation pail" into a large net located over top of another pail, then transfer contents to destination tank.

Simple and easy.

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I check the temperatures of the box/bags with my temp gun. If there's a big difference I will float the bags for 10 or 15 minutes or so to get it closer. That's about it. I'm a believer of Ye Olde Plop n' Drop, feeling that it's better to get them out of the bag water and into a stable, clean environment a.s.a.p. Haven't had any issues thus far.

BUT... if it's shrimp I will drip acclimate for an hour or two after adding a drop of Prime. I find I have a better survival rate with them if I do. But shrimp don't seem to foul their bag water like fish do.

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