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Acclimation??? What are peoples thoughts on this?


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I have been reading, watching multiple theories on this. I did it once, but most of the time I float my bag in the tank 45 mins, and put them in. The opinions are VERY strong with this one. I don't even know at this point what is right or wrong to do anymore. The fish I actually did acclimate died anyways so its hard to determine the underlying cause. 

1) Acclimate from a LFS

2) Acclimate fish/shrimp from online purchase

3) Drip acclimation or 1/4 cup every 15 minute method?

I would REALLY appreciate some experienced feed back. I am really doing my best to do the right thing. Education and knowledge is the only way I am going to get over this hump. All in the hopes of having more than 3 fish in my aquarium. 

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I honestly would do whatever option you feel is necessary or suits you. I think I’ve heard enough opinions and experiences on each option, that they all have success and some failures. I really don’t think it makes much of a difference on how you do it. Bringing in fish is always stressful on the livestock.

I’ve always had success just temperature acclimating and then netting them out. When I first started in the hobby I drip acclimated and had pretty much the same success.

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I have only done acclimation for saltwater fish and shrimp. Everything else is just tossed in the tank and I've never had an issue that I know for certain was caused by that.  I have had virtually all problems come from disease or stress IMO.  I have only ever lost a fish if I've put them in a brand new tank except for my guppy incident. They were breeding and everything was fine for a long time and then they just started dying. Not clue why.

Even with 0 ammonia issues there seems to be untestable factors at play. Whether this is attributed to how we think about ammonia/nitrite or something else. 

I just started to quarantine fish and the differences are stunning.  So far 0 fish loss and the differences in look and temperament are decent.  They seem to be much more active and overall healthy. 

Overall if you just dumping fish in then the only time I would be slight concerned is that if it was an expensive fish or the water differences were a lot and it was known to be a sensitive fish. 

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In my experience it mostly depends on the livestock. Much hardier livestock like my guppies did fine with just temperature acclimation. Generally shrimp on the other hand are a bit more sensitive to water chemistry differences. Shrimp i will drip acclimate to avoid chemistry shock. And some fish like my pygmy hatchet fish were super sensitive to temperature swings. Water changes for guppies was dump new water right in. With pygmy hatchet fish i HAD to ensure the new water was the exact same temperature as the tank or i would have dead hatchet fish the next day from a simple water change. I believe the wide range of different livestock, is the main reason why there is a wide range of opinions on the subject. Some do fine and others do not. The only instance of acclimation ive experienced that caused harm was a delayed shipping order in which the bag of water was (im just assuming here) probably low in oxygen and maybe high in ammonia from poop. Something that may be a more common concern with ordering fish online compared to a quick trip to the LFS. 

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It takes fish several days or even weeks to acclimate to different water chemistry so any drip acclimation is fairly pointless. And for shipped fish it can be a killer! For shipped fish the water becomes slightly acidic and ammonia is converted to relatively harmless ammonium. But if drip acclimation is used, the ammonium can convert back to ammonia and kill the fish.

I acclimate for temperature only, then plop 'n drop right into the quarantine tank.

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I am pretty much where @MJV Aquatics is at for the same reasons. When I get fish (from any source), they go straight the aquarium plop and drop. That is I cut open the bag immediately and pour fish, water and all into their new aquarium.

I don't acclimate for temperature, chemistry, pH, etc. because my theory is that the best possible environment for the new fish is the clean water in the new home.

I don't know how this compares to others methods, but I have had experienced almost no mortality with this method over the last 50 years.

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2 minutes ago, Daniel said:

I am pretty much where @MJV Aquatics is at for the same reasons. When I get fish (from any source), they go straight the aquarium plop and drop. That is I cut open the bag immediately and pour fish, water and all into their new aquarium.

I don't trust that there may not be pathogens in the water, so I pour through a net and only add the fish. As far as temperature, it's really only an issue if there's a significant difference which most often is not the case with the possible exception of shipped fish. Still floating the bag to equalize the temperature doesn't hurt.

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1 hour ago, MJV Aquatics said:

For shipped fish the water becomes slightly acidic and ammonia is converted to relatively harmless ammonium. But if drip acclimation is used, the ammonium can convert back to ammonia and kill the fish.

This is exactly why i love the open discussion format of this forum. There is always something new to learn from veteran fish keepers. My experiences described above could very well be as described. That was my assumption as to the cause, but @MJV Aquatics may have more accurately described what i witnessed. 

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The only case where I have done any real acclimation was when I had fish shipped from a very hard water/high pH area to my very low pH soft water. I dramatically increased my water hardness in advance in their new home, and slightly raised the pH. But as the fish were heavily stressed when they came in after a long shipping, I tested the bag water, determined I was close enough,  temperature acclimated them and then netted and added to the tank--Over the next months I have been dropping the TDS and pH slowly with small weekly water changes. 

Most of the time I am very likely to plop and drop.

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I used to be a drip acclimator, but seeing the plop-and-drop advice here and elsewhere in the forum, plus learning more about how ammonia works and how fish stay alive during shipping, and how deadly it could be to slowly raise the temperature and pH in those situations, have sold me 100%.

I might do a quick bag float for locally purchased fish, but shipped fish will just get up to room temp and plopped.

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I purchased a drip acclimator, because I want to get some shrimp. I keep reading how sensitive they are, which is the reason I am so afraid to get them? 

Do any of you have Shrimp? do you follow this process as well? Do you QT shrimp? do they carry the same kind of diseases that tropical fish do?

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2 minutes ago, Sandra the fish rookie said:

I purchased a drip acclimator, because I want to get some shrimp. I keep reading how sensitive they are, which is the reason I am so afraid to get them? 

Do any of you have Shrimp? do you follow this process as well? Do you QT shrimp? do they carry the same kind of diseases that tropical fish do?

Shrimp have their own specific dieases. Not cross species contagious for vertebrates as far as I am aware.

But generally no, I don't find that neocaridina shrimp are particularly sensitive, and I would only quarentine if they were going in with other shrimp. I have called them little cockroaches. Other shrimp are more sensitive.

However, they do need the water chemistry to be pretty close to their water of origin, and your main losses will be from stock that comes from far away. If you do order shrimp (and I recommend ordering from someone reputable over a big box store, but locally bred is the very best) then the breeder should have very specific water parameters listed on their site, and you should try to match those in your water to begin with, gradually shifting them to your local parameters within reason.

The reason I would avoid a big box would be that you don't know where those shrimp were bred, and so you have to just guess at their parameters. If it is all you have availble, try to at least find out what part of the country they are ordering from, and expect some losses.

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10 minutes ago, Sandra the fish rookie said:

I purchased a drip acclimator, because I want to get some shrimp. I keep reading how sensitive they are, which is the reason I am so afraid to get them? 

Do any of you have Shrimp? do you follow this process as well? Do you QT shrimp? do they carry the same kind of diseases that tropical fish do?

I have a colony of cherry in an outdoor pool behind the house. I have broken through the ice to net some shrimp, walked in to the house and released the shrimp into a 75 F indoor aquarium with different water chemistry and didn't have mortality or noticeable ill effects. I am not recommending this, just reporting what I have seen first hand.

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@Brandy Okay cool... I have looked at ordering shrimp. But due to lack of experience, no idea where to even start with it. I live in NC, and am not sure if there would be a way to find out anyone that has local bred shrimp? 

My corydora's don't enjoy the plant detritus as much as I would like them to. My mystery snail suddenly died, so I am short another house keeper. When I started looking at getting shrimp, is when I saw all this acclimation stuff.. my head exploded right there and I pumped the brakes and came right to the forum to ask people who know what they are doing.. 

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One thing to remember @Sandra the fish rookie, is that our water here in North Carolina is all over the place with our various regions. Get to know your water and look for dealers via aquabid and other places that may have similar water.

If you don't mind me asking, what part of North Carolina are you from?  Maybe the hive mind of North Carolinians here might could point you in the right direction. 

Edit: I actually don't know if we can recommend a source? That might be community guideline violation.

Edited by Ben_RF
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Shrimp are the only critters I drip acclimate. Mostly because they seem to have the most issues within the first 24-72 hours. It seems like if I buy 15 shrimp, I'll lose 2-4 in the first couple days. Shrimp I've bred just get moved about between tanks without any real acclimation since the water parameters are fairly consistent across all my tanks.

For fish, I typically float 'em for 30 minutes while mixing a turkey baster or two of tank water into the bag. Since I only purchase fish locally I'm not super concerned about the water quality going south, but I can see the logic behind getting shipped fish out ASAP. I'm sure my method is unnecessary, but it makes me feel like I'm doing something.

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@Ben_RF I am in Wilmington North Carolina. I am on city water (Aqua) and have hard water, with a stable PH of 7.4 right out of the tap. I made sure to test my tap water just for baseline purposes. However, the LFS uses RO water, which can be a bit challenging when getting fish from there. Which is why I am concerned getting shrimp from that store.. 

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I am just north of you a bit up here in the Morehead City area.   I h

I have been looking for shrimp breeders for a long time here in Eastern NC, but haven't found any. My colonies at the moment are pretty small as I recently gave a lot way to different folk, otherwise I would just offer to meet you halfway and give you some. 

For the longest of time I had trouble keeping the shrimp that I was buying online. So what I had to do was eventually look for breeders on various sources like ebay and aquabid that had similar GH and KH parameters. That made the world of difference for me.  And even when I do that, typically I lose about 1/2 to 1/4 of the adults.  The big hump is getting over that first generation of shrimp.  The second generation will be much more accustomed to the water. 

  

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