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Quick Acclimation Question--Help!


KaitieG
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Hello!

I just got my super delayed fish shipment from Aquahuna.  The local PO called me immediately when they received it and I drove in to pick it up, but it had been in the mail for 8 1/2 days.  All but one bag of fish is alive and looking relatively good.  A few very skinny dwarf chain loaches, but other than that so far things look okay.  I decided to plop and drop since they'd been in transit so long and ammonia levels were at least 5 ppm (I just dipped a tetra test strip...haven't done the API test yet, and that's where the test strips max out). 

Here's the thing...AquaHuna's acclimation instructions CLEARLY say to dump the bag water into the tank.  I haven't done that yet at this point. It's only a 10 gallon QT tank, and if I dump a gallon of 5ppm amonia water in there....ew.  But their water is acidic (as low as the test strips will go at about 6.4) and mine is very alkaline (8.2).  Their water is also softer with a lower kh and gh than mine.  So, do I add the nasty bag water?  Do I try to lower my ph to let them gradually adjust?  Do I just cross my fingers?

Edited by KaitieG
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Well...we'll just have to see what happens I guess.  Thanks for the quick responses!  We'll just have to see how they handle the Ph Swing I guess.  I'm very so many actually made it!  I wasn't hopeful when I opened the box and smelled it.  The one bag that died was extremely nasty.  But everyone else looks quite good.  If I can get them to eat and they don't all decide to die at my ph, I'll be thrilled!

 

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I can’t say what the right answer is one way or the other. I definitely would not have added the bag water, but kind of wonder about not drip acclimating them. I understand wanting to get them out of the situation they were in, but worry now about temperature or pH shock. But drip acclimating would have only taken an hour or two and let them adjust to their new water parameters more gradually. I mean we say this all the time about acclimating fish, but can meaningful physiological changes happen that quickly? To some extent yes and to some extent no depending on the situation at least for human physiology. Not judging one way or the other but wondering what others rational would be for the benefit or damage of drip acclimating in this specific situation  

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1 minute ago, AquaAggie said:

I can’t say what the right answer is one way or the other. I definitely would not have added the bag water, but kind of wonder about not drip acclimating them. I understand wanting to get them out of the situation they were in, but worry now about temperature or pH shock. But drip acclimating would have only taken an hour or two and let them adjust to their new water parameters more gradually. I mean we say this all the time about acclimating fish, but can meaningful physiological changes happen that quickly? To some extent yes and to some extent no depending on the situation at least for human physiology. Not judging one way or the other but wondering what others rational would be for the benefit or damage of drip acclimating in this specific situation  

I think drip acclimating them might be the worst option depending on the buffering capacity of tank water.  There's a good chance it'll raise the ph which would make that 5ppm ammonia way toxic.

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Just now, CT_ said:

I think drip acclimating them might be the worst option depending on the buffering capacity of tank water.  There's a good chance it'll raise the ph which would make that 5ppm ammonia way toxic.

But you are simultaneously diluting the ammonia at the same time. Especially if you added extra prime (which I have seen suggested before). So the question really is weather or not you raise pH faster than diluting the ammonia. 

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1 minute ago, AquaAggie said:

But you are simultaneously diluting the ammonia at the same time. Especially if you added extra prime (which I have seen suggested before). So the question really is weather or not you raise pH faster than diluting the ammonia. 

at 50/50 with well buffered tank water you could be close to the tank ph already with 2.5ppm ammonia still. 

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1 minute ago, Streetwise said:

@Daniel does plop and drop. I enjoy all the advice that helps me relax about fish-keeping.

Even though when I add fish it includes the bag water (in order to avoid netting the fish), if I had already netted the fish and had them in the aquarium, there is no way I would go back and add the bag water.

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I did consider temp shock, but a couple of the bags were pretty badly collapsed and with fish stuck in the little wrinkles and not moving (they are alive in the tank), and they'd been indoors in the heated post office for at least an hour by the time I picked them up and then had the drive home with the car at 74, and by feel the bag water seemed close to the 74 degrees I'd dropped the tank to since I figured they'd be pretty cold when they arrived.  So I guessed. 

Usually I acclimate by mixing tank and bag water, but I do have high ph and high kh (about 250) so I didn't really think that super high ammonia water mixed 75/25 or 50/50 with my high ph water would be a great idea even with prime.  Fish who just made the hour long ride from the LFS?  Sure. 

I hope I haven't killed them all after they made that horrible journey in the mail.  Not sure there was a "right" way to do this, and if there is I probably didn't do it...I'll keep you updated on results.

My current plan assuming they don't all die is to feed them up for a week or two and then run them through the med trio.  How does that part sound?

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I am going to try for a fish transport metaphor: returning from a trip.

You might be acclimated to the hotel. You might be all set for the mall-bubble of an airport. You might be okay with the closed-air and pressure regulation of the flight home. You might still be awake when you finally get to drive home.

But there is no better feeling than being back home, and getting cozy! Your tank should be the Shire for new inhabitants.

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2 hours ago, KaitieG said:

My current plan assuming they don't all die is to feed them up for a week or two and then run them through the med trio.  How does that part sound?

That sounds like a great idea. Get them comfy and fed and de-stressed before hitting them with the trio. Great work and fast thinking there about pH. I think your fish have the best chance they could get in this situation.

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When I get fish shipped to me, whether they have been in a bag for one day or several, I float the bag for 15 minutes to temp acclimate, then dump fish into a net over a bucket then into the tank they go, no bag water in tank. When I get fish from a LFS or another local hobbyist at a club meeting, swap etc, I float bag, open it and dump in a little bit of tank water, wait 10 minutes, dump in some more water, doing that a few times, then let fish go.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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