Your shipment has finally arrived and you are wondering how you can best place your new reef inhabitants in your aquarium? No problem! Here you get important information and tips for acclimating fish, corals & Co.
Acclimation of saltwater fish
- Switch off or dim the light
- Pack the closed fish bag into the tank water for about 15 minutes to adjust the temperature
- Open the bag carefully with scissors
- Drain as much transport water as possible (not into the aquarium) and transfer the fish quickly into your reef tank
For the transfer you can also use a trowel or similar to get the fish out of the bag into the aquarium with just little water. You should avoid air contact of the fish (e.g. when using a net). Leave the light off for a while or at low intensity.
We recommend that you do NOT drop the fish slowly. Background: Fish should be removed from the transport water as fast as possible. A slow acclimation of the fish by dropwise adjustment can sometimes cause more stress for the fish than a quick transfer. Depending on the duration of transport, the pretreatment of the water and the size or number of animals, the transport water may contain high ammonium/ammonia levels with a simultaneously low pH value. If fresh seawater (with a high pH value) is gradually added, the pH-dependent ammonium/ammonia ratio shifts towards toxic ammonia - i.e. the fish are slowly poisoned by the dripping. You can avoid this by simply putting your new arrivals directly into the tank (with as little transport water as possible).
By the way: An exception is the acclimation of fish larvae.
Additional tips before and after acclimating new fish:
- To avoid territorial behaviour, feed your "old" reef inhabitants well before newcomers arrive.
- Break up existing territories by moving the reef structure and/or changing the water flow.
- Feed your newcomers the next day with high quality food and vitamins if necessary.
Acclimation of corals
- Open the transport containers, pour some water into a bucket and carefully put the coral frags inside
- Now double the amount with water from your aquarium
- Examine the frags thoroughly and carefully (!) free them from detritus by using a feeding pipette
- First place the new corals near the bottom of your aquarium so that they can get used to the light conditions
- After a few days you can place the corals in the reef tank with the help of coral glue (epoxy, superglue or similar) according to their care requirements
Additional tips for acclimating new corals:
- Be careful not to touch the tissue of the coral, but only touch the frag plug when moving it.
- Zoanthus and Palythoa should be treated with special care, as some species contain a toxin.
- In general: SPS corals like strong water flow and lots of light (especially Acropora), LPS corals like moderate lighting and flow. The exact care requirements of each coral can be found in our product descriptions.
Acclimation of anemones, invertebrates and fish larvae - the dripping method
- Switch off or dim the light
- Float the closed fish bag into the tank water for about 15 minutes to adjust the temperature
- Place the bag in a bucket and open it carefully with scissors
- Take a thin hose (e.g. air hose, silicone hose), place one end in the aquarium water (attach if necessary) and the other end in the bag
- Tie a knot in the hose or use an air valve to regulate the water flow
- Suck the water from the aquarium and adjust the air valve or knot so that about 2-3 drops drip into the bag every second
- Once the amount of water in the bag has doubled, discard half of it and repeat the procedure until the amount has doubled again
- Now carefully transfer the animal into your aquarium (e.g. using a cup). Make sure that it has no contact with air
After transfer, leave the light off for a while or at low intensity.
We hope these checklists have helped you to acclimate your reef inhabitants. Feel free to give us feedback and tell us about your experiences. Enjoy your new reef tank inhabitants!