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ThatReefGirl

The Great Acclimation Debate

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ThatReefGirl

I came across a rather interesting debate the other day about drip VS floating acclimation and was genuinely curious about what everyone's preferred method of acclimating saltwater fish is.

 

Personally, I've had the best success in the past with drip acclimation (the first lesson my dad taught me about aquariums), but I can see why not everyone likes it as it's not as straightforward as floating the bags in the tank to acclimate the fish. It's safer in my opinion as the PH levels have a chance to equalize to a certain degree and it's not so much of a shock to a fish's system as opposed to floating the bags and putting them in after 15 to 20 minutes. 

 

What's your opinion on this?

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Repower

Good topic.  I do the traditional, float bag for temp acclimation then pour tank water into bag every 3-4 minutes. Takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes tops. 

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ThatReefGirl

I've done the floating myself with my freshwater fish and never had a problem. I think I'm just super overprotective with saltwater since I know it can go belly up if you aren't careful. My biggest worry with floating the bags is sending the fish into shock if something isn't right and then losing them. I still do the good ole siphon tube method, but I might need to improvise since a mysterious four legged critter decided my old device would be a good chew toy 😑

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MrObscura

As far as I'm concerned not only is acclimation pointless. It can do more harm and just stress the animals out more. 

 

There's plenty of evidence backing up the case against it, and most major, importers, breeders, etc. are against acclimation. 

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ThatReefGirl

Oh? I've never heard of that before, but it sounds like an interesting thing to look into. I just had it pretty much beat into my head since I was a kid with Dad constantly having new fish coming into his fish room (or fish basement, but that's a story for another time). This is probably a stupid question, but without acclimating first, wouldn't that open the fish up to shock with a sudden change in water quality or temperature? 

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Tamberav

I never drip...when you open the bag and pH rises it makes ammonia in the bag toxic. Ammonia less toxic at low pH...aka a closed bag. This is especially important for shipped fish since they have been in the bag 12-24 hours.

 

Do we see wholesalers drip 100s of fish or even a LFS? Nope.

 

No need to drip unless there is a big salinity change. In my case they go in a conditioning tank to match anyways. 

 

All drip does is stress fish out. I float for 10 min and in they go.

 

Shrimp/inverts yes...fish no... Corals no.

 

 

Think about it...we do FRESHWATER dips on fish to remove flukes and Brook ect... This doesn't kill them. It generally the fastest way to help a fish and save it. Going in our tanks is nothing to them. 

 

Sorry Dad 😁

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ThatReefGirl

That's very true. I think really it just depends on the situation and what the keeper decides is best. I'd be open to giving floating another try, I'm just overprotective of my fish I guess 😂

 

Ah, he'd understand (I think). His bark is worse than his bite in any case. 😁

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Clown79

I float the bags for 20-30mins. Thsts it.

 

Fish go into qt for observation.

 

Corals get dipped

 

 

The only thing I have drip accclimated are shrimp and more sensitive crabs

 

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IHaveADegreeInMarineBioBut

This is a very interesting topic for me, too. I haven't been immersed in the hobby since the early 2010's, and a lot has changed! Back then everyone insisted on drip acclimating. At least from the shops I was going to. Usually now I'll do like @Repower said and add some tank water with a cup. But I would be really interested in reading any articles anyone has on it?? 

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Gourami Swami

I do drip acclimate. I find it doesn't stress the fish out any more than they already are from being caught and put into a bag, and possibly makes the transition easier for them. I mostly have experience with freshwater, where I also drip my fish most of the time. I have worked in the LFS industry for years, have worked in a store where we dripped, and stores where we would just drop the fish in. The store where we dripped, generally lost much less of the new fish order, and I do think it had to do with the acclimation. This store was absolutely fish in NJ, one of the best LFS in the country IMO, and they still drip acclimate their new fish.

I have also seen plenty of times (not at absolutely fish- at other stores which will remain nameless) where customers would bring in "donation fish", usually larger cichlids and plecos and the like. We would usually just drop them in a tank, and I haven't seen any adult fish die from this. So it's probably fine as long as the fish is not young, or already weakened. With saltwater, I would personally always acclimate, since I have read that changes in salinity (especially going UP in ppt) can be quite stressful

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IHaveADegreeInMarineBioBut
1 minute ago, Gourami Swami said:

This store was absolutely fish in NJ, one of the best LFS in the country IMO, and they still drip acclimate their new fish.

Well this explains why I've been told to drip acclimate! Hey neighbor 😉

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OPtasia

I float them until the temperatures match, then progressively blend tank water with the bag water over a ten minute period. Corals get dipped, inspected, scrubbed and cleaned. Fish and inverts get QT'd. 

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Tamberav
1 hour ago, Gourami Swami said:

I do drip acclimate. I find it doesn't stress the fish out any more than they already are from being caught and put into a bag, and possibly makes the transition easier for them. I mostly have experience with freshwater, where I also drip my fish most of the time. I have worked in the LFS industry for years, have worked in a store where we dripped, and stores where we would just drop the fish in. The store where we dripped, generally lost much less of the new fish order, and I do think it had to do with the acclimation. This store was absolutely fish in NJ, one of the best LFS in the country IMO, and they still drip acclimate their new fish.

I have also seen plenty of times (not at absolutely fish- at other stores which will remain nameless) where customers would bring in "donation fish", usually larger cichlids and plecos and the like. We would usually just drop them in a tank, and I haven't seen any adult fish die from this. So it's probably fine as long as the fish is not young, or already weakened. With saltwater, I would personally always acclimate, since I have read that changes in salinity (especially going UP in ppt) can be quite stressful

I dripped my freshwater fish, I don't have much experience with FW fish but I found it very helpful for my rummynose. Tomayto Tomahto. 

 

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MrObscura

 Usually, I'd say there's no one way to do things, but in this case I feel strongly since animals are being done more harm than good. 

 

Freshwater, but still applies... 

 

 

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MrObscura

And discushans, the US distributor of stendkar discus(one of the world's top) discus breeders) advocates the drop and plop method as well. And fish don't come much more sensitive than discus. 

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Natereef

Never acclimated anything. I even bought a pair of freshwater molly once from petco and put it in my saltwater tank to eat some algae when i first started and never acclimated them from fresh to salt, just plopped it in. Had plenty of babies that my clowns just ate, was in my tank for 2 years until I gave it away to my nephew.

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Tamberav

The ammonia to ammonium with pH change is the huge factor and what the video points out at the end. I get a lot of fish shipped to me though. It's based on facts and not just "because it feels right". 

 

 

 

4 hours ago, MrObscura said:

 Usually, I'd say there's no one way to do things, but in this case I feel strongly since animals are being done more harm than good. 

 

Freshwater, but still applies... 

 

 

 

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WuzzoFish

I float, but sometimes I need to put things in a bowl because it is hard to get to the bag.  I usually float for 15 mins then for 30-45 mins I put 4-5 TBSP every 5 mins.  It has always worked for me, I have acclimated fish to anemones with this method.

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paulsz

I've always drip acclimated. But I only get fish from the LFS, which is a 20 minute car ride. 

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Floundering_Around

 

Generally, my livestock has been in the bag for barely an hour. But I went to reefapalooza and they were in the bag for days. When I opened the bag, I immediately added ammo lock to detoxify the ammonia, then 'dripped' them since the salinity was way off, fish and coral got dipped (this dip can work on fish, I got it as a sample), then fish went into QT (bucket method for me). The same thing happened for my tailspot blenny when I got him from an LFS; the shock from  would have been too much IMO as the LFS keeps their tanks at 1.020 and mine is at 1.025

 

When I 'drip' acclimate them, I use a turkey baster to add water from my tank to the bag/bin they're in. I try to add enough to completely replace the water at least one time. I do this over a couple of hours. Fish are completely calm as I keep the container dark while I'm doing this. They have full coloration, normal swimming, normal breathing, etc. They usually get fed and accept food the next day.  I try to get food in them before I start any meds.

Freshwater is the same thing but doesn't take as long and I don't QT my fw fish (probably should). 

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ThatReefGirl

Loving how this has got people talking and sharing different ideas about acclimating! =D

 

I'm heavily debating on the float method for my new clowns when I pick them up now that I've seen others have done it with no problems. I'm not sure that I would go straight for not acclimating at all on the account of diseases but that's why my quarantine tank is hanging around. I have a LFS just down the road, but I prefer a nicer shop in Louisville, KY (about an hour away) for my livestock since they breed their fish there and have an excellent selection of clowns and gobies that are gorgeous. 

 

With FW fish, I've never quarantined. I know that's a big no no but I've never done it since I only go for fish from reputable breeders or from the fish shop I mentioned before. My guppies were all put in their tank after acclimating and have been absolutely fine since then. Same went for my betta Ember, but I don't like to make that a habit of not giving them a week or two in the qt. 

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Clown79

Stores often drip acclimate because they have been in bags for days shipped long distance with temp swings so it's the safest method rather than just dumping them in.

 

 

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MrObscura

That's exactly why they shouldn't be dripped but dumped right in instead. Unless the temp is drastically different, though it shouldn't be with proper packing/shipping, then float at most. 

 

Theres no evidence whatsoever that acclimation does any good, but there are indisputable facts proving that it can do harm. 

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05XRunner

float my fish in the tank while I take off my jacket, shoes and get my bucket and net ready to pour the water into the bucket and catch the fish and put in. They float in the bag for maybe 5min or so maybe a little more and in they go. Never really had any issue with this and wont ever drip. Drip is nothing more of a waste of time and keeping that poor fish in that bag that it doesnt want to be in to begin with

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Clown79
9 minutes ago, MrObscura said:

That's exactly why they shouldn't be dripped but dumped right in instead. Unless the temp is drastically different, though it shouldn't be with proper packing/shipping, then float at most. 

 

Theres no evidence whatsoever that acclimation does any good, but there are indisputable facts proving that it can do harm. 

That's the stores.

 

 I myself have never dripped fish. I feel keeping them in a bag with ammonia building, is just not healthy 

 

I did for shipped coral because it was the stores instructions in order to be covered under their warranty. They are the only corals that have died on me within 1- 2 weeks.

 

 

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