There are a couple of different methods to use for acclimation of your new fish or marine life, the float method and the drip method. The two different methods are explained below.
The Float Method
Before you open the container in which your new animals have arrived in be sure to turn off the lights in your quarantine tank or aquarium and dim the lights in the room. Once you have the lights dimmed open the container to check that all of your new animals have arrived in good health and the bags are intact and will be able to hold up during the acclimation period. The float method is the most useful for acclimating most fish and invertebrates.
To begin acclimations float the bag or bags in the quarantine tank or aquarium for 20 - 25 minutes to allow the temperature to equilibrate. Remember it is very important NOT TO OPEN the bag during this first 20 - 25 minutes. Once the bag containing the new animals has been floating for at least 25 minutes carefully open the bag and roll the edges down an inch or two this will make the bag more stable and help to keep it afloat. If for any reason it will not evenly stay afloat clip the bag to one side of the tank with a clip or clothespin. Now begins the next step of acclimation, add a quarter cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag. Be sure the water from the bag does not spill into the tank. Now every 4 - 7 minutes add another quarter cup of the tank water to the bag, continue this process until the bag is full this should take about 30 - 45 minutes. Once the bag is full discard half of the water in the bag, roll the edges down again and begin the process of adding water to the bag again a quarter of a cup at a time every 4 - 7 minutes until the bag is full again this will take another 30 - 45 minutes. Once the bag is full again the second time it is time to remove the animals from the bag and place them into the tank or aquarium. If you are transferring a hardy fish or motile invertebrates, use a net to do so.
If you are transferring tangs or other sensitive animals, use a cup to capture them, be sure to pour as little of the water from the bag into the tank as possible. When transferring sessile invertebrates, such as corals or anemones you should probably use your hand. Just be sure to use clean, sterile and powder-free gloves, discard the remaining water in the bag.
The Drip Method
As with the float method, before you open the container in which your new animals have arrived in be sure to turn off the lights in your quarantine tank or aquarium and dim the lights in the room. Once you have the lights dimmed open the container to check that all of your new animals have arrived in good health and the bags are intact and will be able to hold up during the acclimation period. The drip method is the most desirable method to use when acclimating sensitive animals such as clams, shrimp, snails, cucumbers, urchins, starfish, or animals sensitive to pH and salinity shock. All animals from separate bags must be drip acclimated separately in separate containers. If this is the procedure you chose pleas ensure you are present during the entire procedure to prevent spillage.
Begin by floating the bags in the aquarium for 20 - 30 minutes to allow temperatures to equilibrate. DO NOT open the bag while the bag is in the tank; remove it from the water to open it. You will need a sterile plastic tub or bucket to use, gently pour the specimen into the holding container. You will need to set up a siphon from your main aquarium to your holding container using airline tubing, or the Pisces Pro Acclimator. Start the siphon and adjust flow to about 1 - 3 drips per second. Depending on water volume, you want the volume to double in 45 - 60 minutes. Once your container volume has doubled, discard half of the container's water, and resume dripping for another 45 - 60 minutes until the water volume has doubled again. This process will need to be repeated a third time for sensitive animals.
Now you can remove the animal from the holding container and place it into the aquarium. For motile inverts, use a net to transfer them. When transferring sessile invertebrates, such as corals or anemones you should probably use your hand. Just be sure to use clean, sterile and powder-free gloves, discard the remaining water in the bag.
Sophie writes for Marine Aquatic. Marine Aquatic offers you Saltwater Acclimation Methods for exotic saltwater fish, rare corals and marine invertebrates. Stop by, check out the informative articles, helpful tips and procedures all focused towards a healthy marine aquatic tank.