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FAQs on Acclimation 1

Related Articles: Acclimation, Quarantine ppt., pt.s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 by Bob Fenner, Acclimation Articles by Bob Fenner, Acclimation in the Business by Bob Fenner, Acclimating Photosynthetic Reef Invertebrates to Captive LightingMethylene Blue,

Related FAQs:  Acclimation 2, Acclimation 3, Acclimating Marine Invertebrates, & FAQs on Acclimation: Rationale/Use, Tools/Gear, Chemicals, Methods, Controversies, Troubles/fixing, & Acclimating Invertebrates, Acclimation of Livestock in the Business, Dips/Baths 1, Best Quarantine FAQs, Quarantine

Avoid incorporating infectious and parasitic disease (like the crypt on this Ecsenius Midas Blenny), by developing and strictly adhering to appropriate acclimation protocol.

Acclimation after Quarantine 09/18/2008 I'm sure I've overlooked this answer somewhere on the site. I am in the process of setting up a 55G reef that should be ready to go in about two months. My first tank was a 90G so this is a large downsizing for me. Anyway, I didn't utilize a quarantine tank for my last reef and was very lucky not to have to many problems. <<Very lucky indeed....Heeee>> However, I'm no longer in an apartment and now have some extra space for a 10G quarantine/hospital tank. <<Superb>> The question I have is about acclimation from the quarantine into the main tank. Since I would be using water from the display tank to fill the quarantine is acclimation still necessary? If so, am I to just float the bag and be very careful not to allow any water from the bag to spill into the tank? <<Nope, no acclimatisation required, as you will of already acclimatised to the quarantine tank when you purchased the inhabitants. Once QT'd, simply net or tub the creature over to the display tank. Always best, as always, to keep the water from returning back to the display tank when the time arrives to move them>> <<Hope this helps, A Nixon>>

Saltwater acclimating steps....HELP Hi Bob, <<Hello, it's actually JasonC but I'll see what I can do to answer your questions.>> I've written you guys once before but never saw anything from it, so I'm gonna try again. <<Sorry about that... let's go.>> My questions concern Acclimating. I've read all the FAQ's and the main site on Acclimating both Guerilla, and the regular around 6 times, trying to see if I read it wrong. My Questions are thus. Part A, B, C seem simple enough, put the fishies in a pan with an air stone. Right? <<Sure.>> Here is the more confusing part (at least to me). The holding water is trickled in or poured in small increments over a period of minutes. My question is HOW much water should be used as Holding water. I would say that there is only around 1.5 to maybe 2 cups of water in the bag that the fish are in that I get from our Wholesaler. <<Ah ha... the 'holding system water' is water from the quarantine system. The fish should already be in the bin, it it's shipping water. All attempts should be made to match the holding water to the shipping water; temp, pH, SPG, etc. As an example, if pH of shipping water is 8.2 - you might not need to alter the pH of the holding water. Always test first.>> (these are personal fish not store fish, my bosses don't believe in acclimating/dipping anymore than just temperature equilibrating). Do I add one cup of this fresh water mix to the salty bag water, do I add 2 or 3, etc. <<You want to at least match if not double the volume of shipping water. The more the better, but best to keep track of the amount for accurate dosing of various additives.>> The next question after all the holding water is in the litter pans and my fishies are swimming in this blue water, where do I add the Maracide and SW Maracyn. Is this to be added in with the fresh water with all the other stuff (Meth, acid, etc), or is there another step here I'm missing. <<All the same water. You might remove a cup or so to add and mix the treatment in, and then add that back to the holding water in the pan.>> Now after the litter pan, what do I do, it talks about transferring and leaving for 15-50 min.s, is that the time they are to remain in the blue water or is this separate water. <<the blue water>> If it is separate water how should I get them over from the blue water into this new water. If it isn't new water but the blue water with now all this stuff in it (Meth, etc), what should the Specific Gravity be. <<Matched to the shipping water.>> AHHHHHH so many questions, such a small brain (not the coral version either). And if they are to stay in this low SG blue water for the 15-50 min.s how do I go about putting them into the quarantine tank (I've started up a small tank, its only 3 gallons, I know not much but I'm a poor college student.) <<change the SPG in the quarantine tank to match the holding/shipping water. You can then bring the SPG back up over time in the quarantine.>>, or do you do a dip of saltwater/Formalin here or just Freshwater (which one is less stressful and most useful in eradicating parasites?), <<nothing wrong with a freshwater dip. Might just match pH and temp here and forgo the Formalin unless you are sure there is a problem.>> and then just place in the quarantine tank. <<yes>> My big concern here going from the low Salinity Blue Water to the Higher Salinity Quarantine or Dip is that the fishes Cell membranes will be perforated due to the Osmotic Pressure differential. <<good to be concerned or perhaps vigilant, but read previous comment - no worries.>> So any help you could give me would be most helpful. I want my fishies to live as long as possible and not be harmed by my attempted effort at helping them. <<I know what you are saying.>> I hope this letter makes some sense and would really appreciate any help that you could give me. Sincerely, John Bernhard <<Cheers, J -- >>

Questions on Acclimating Fish Bob, Thanks for your help in the past. A few additional questions in regard to acclimating SW fish (mail order) : What is the best mechanism for measuring ph in both fresh (dips) and salt water? I've used titration kits and have found them to be difficult to read (the difference in shades between 7.6 - 8.4 is minor - difficult to distinguish with the human eye - mine anyway). I've used pinpoint PH monitors (work well, but seem to require a lot of calibration when switching from salt to fresh water) and ph pens (similar to monitors, except less stable). Are colorimeters an effective mechanism? <Yes... even simple colorimetric assays are fine, precise/accurate enough... or even simply relying on a material/mix that won't dangerously over-elevate pH (try sodium bicarbonate/baking soda)...> I'm looking for something that costs less than $700 but will give me quick/dependable/accurate (within .1 PH) readings in both fresh (dips) and salt water with little/no calibration - what do the 'pros' use? <Oh! 0.1 will require some fancier gear... either electronic as in a probe or spectrophotometer/colorimeter... or too much titrametric work to interest me> In your web page on acclimation (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm) for SW fish, you indicate in step D that holding water should be PH adjusted to approximately the PH of the shipping water - and then this water should be slowly added to the 'shipping water + fish'. In step 'F' you indicate that the fish should now be transferred to the 'quarantine tank'. Shouldn't there be a step between D and F that involves slowly moving the fish from the shipping PH to the holding tank PH? <Actually... generally not... the time, trauma isn't "worth it"... in most cases for hobbyists... Wholesalers however, dealing with animals that have been in shipment for many hours, in very little water... are very encouraged to drop the pH of "mixing water" (generally with inorganic acids, typically HCl) to match arriving water pH, and slowly (half hour to several hours depending on condition, species) elevate pH back to holding water pH... generally done by aeration and the addition (drip) of system like water... with all mixed/acclimation water going to waste ultimately...> How rapid of a PH change can be made and still be 'tolerated' by most fish (i.e.. can the PH be changed by 0.1 every x minutes)? <Very good question... Mmm, am given to pausing, trying to devise in my mind and then paper... at least the major factors, co-factors (some linear, most logarithmic, like the LD50 for pH and unionized ammonia concentration for instance) that come into play here... Let's keep chatting this over if you'd like... suffice it to state that most (I really don't enjoy generalizations) organisms, in fair to good shape (visit New Jersey, the Garden State), under S.O.P. acclimation conditions (you can lead a horse to water, but I'd rather have a beer), can/will tolerate (not croak) given a pH difference of, um, hmmm, 0.5 (Yikes! Yes...) point between their shipping water and that of the receiving system> To eliminate ammonia toxicity that occurs when the shipping bag is opened, can I just give each bag a squirt of PVP based ammonia neutralizer immediately after it is opened?  <What will/would it take to have you join our industry? Yes, this is a very good idea... one that I've employed with good success (using mainly Kordon's JFKuhns products... e.g. Amquel)... you've got to be careful though, to do this in a situation where there is more water and mechanical aeration... due to a loss of capacity for the organisms to respire, lowered dissolved oxygen...> If so, how much (and how easy is it to poison livestock with PVP based Amm-neuts?). <Mmm, great questions... a "squirt" is okay in a cup or more water... by diluting (I like plastic kitty litter pans... but have used Styrofoam fish boxes... other more novel containers) to a couple of gallons... the neutralizer still works... and the toxic and delimiting effects are greatly lessened> Curiosity: Wouldn't acclimation be simpler - and more successful - if shippers shipped fish with PVP based ammonia neutralizers in the shipping water - and maybe even some Alk buffer? <These have been tried... and much other technology/experiments (a fave was a recirculating system of water and anesthetic spritzed over goldfish shipped in "peanuts" of styro!)... the PVP doesn't really "last" in transit solution... but buffers are a very good idea> (i.e. eliminating the ammonia toxicity that occurs as the bag is opened, oxygen rushes in, and PH rises). If so, why isn't this done by most shippers? <Mmm, most folks do something in the way of using "fresh" natural or synthetic water that is pretty much optimized for initial bagging, shipping... There is a great deal to be gained by allowing pH to drift down with time though... ionized ammonia at lowered pH's is extremely less toxic than most any (okay, you deserve a number... let's say 0.1 ppm) free ammonia in transit solution... and lowered pH has a narcotizing effect on many/most shipped organisms... as it does with humans (sorry for the nth derivation from the topic)... making them slow down behaviorally and metabolically... Thanks for writing. Bob Fenner> Thanks!

Help!!!!! (Icky Ich, crypto, and what else!?) I have my own tank maintenance company and have been having a big problem with saltwater fish in general. I have a resale license so I pick up fish for my customers. I have had a big problem with them staying alive in the holding tanks that I have. I have tried everything and I am pulling my hair out. They look great the first day or two, then they start breathing fast break out with Ick and die soon after that. I have tried meds, freshwater dip, and probably ten other things and nothing works. I have even torn the tanks down cleaned them out and set them back up and that doesn't work. Tangs are the worst and clowns run a close second. Any ideas? Any thoughts that you might have would be great. Jim <Sounds like they are beginning with Amyloodinium and progressing to Cryptocaryon or Brooklynella. Bob has written extensively on treatment and receiving protocols. Begin reading here for ideas and follow out to other articles and FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm You may wish to consider another wholesaler, too. -Steven Pro>

Copper from Store Water I don't know if this is something to worry about or not. I'm new to keeping reef aquaria, and have 1 month ago, started to set up a 15-gallon. I added 20 lb live rock along with aragonite sand bed that I seeded with live sand from my LFS. The tank cycled, and I added some turbo snails, red leg hermits, emerald crab. Everything looked OK for 2.5 weeks. Then I added a Percula. I didn't find your web site until I started searching for the reason the following happened. Of course, my LFS suggested I acclimate and add directly to the tank. Unfortunately, that's what I did. Two days later, the fish showed a white cotton-like film. They suggested I add copper, which I did not do. <Good instincts> I gave him a freshwater dip and placed him back in the tank. The next day he died. I've learned my lesson about a quarantine tank. I've since gone on and added a red open brain that appears to be doing OK (11-days ago). Unfortunately, I just discovered today that my LFS adds copper to their tanks which means when I added the Perc to my tank, I got some of their water in my system. How concerned should I be about the copper that was in their water in my tank. While I realize its a very low concentration, is it going to be a problem for future inverts? <Hopefully not, but a good reminder to never add any water to your system from any store. I always drip acclimate all additions and then scoop out the fish and place in the tank. I then discard all the shipping and dripped in water. You can find more info on acclimation on WWM.> Thanks for your input. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Question about Introducing fish to tank... Hello Bob, <Steven Pro this evening.> I was just wondering if you could give me your opinion on something I read online. According to the following site, this guy believes marine fish should be introduced to tanks (QT or main) without floating or mixing the bagged water with some of tank water, but the fish should simply be netted out and put into the destination tank. His reasoning is that fish are used to differing salinity, PH and temperature in the wild, <Quite untrue. The ocean is a vast pool of water that is usually very consistent in those categories.> and the floating/ mixing just adds un-necessary stress that outweighs the stress from a "no-float, no mix" introduction to the tank. <What stress could possibly be added by floating a bag.> What are your thoughts on this? If the temperature is approx.. the same, maybe slightly warmer than the bag, should I just omit the floating/ mixing? <I always float to ensure the same temperature. Most times I do add some tank water to the bad water to match salinity and pH, but I do not put the bag water into the main display. There is one instance where I would not recommend mixing the water. When working at a store, there are occasions when fish have been delayed in shipping for extended periods of time. At that point, I float and then net and drop into tanks as fast as possible, but I still match the temperatures. That is the only set of circumstances where I feel you would be doing more harm than good, but few hobbyists ever have this need.> Site is here: http://www.aquarium.net/1296/1296_6.shtml (to find the paragraph, do a search for "no float"). Thanks for your thoughts, Monty :-) <You are welcome to them. -Steven Pro>

Got the jacket..., acclimating Declivis B/F, being Jason.C And some other things... looks like I'm in the digital camera age now. Picked up a used Nikon Coolpix 950 which seems to take some pretty good shots. I quickly snapped one of the new Declivis this evening but was in a rush so didn't grab the tripod, etc. etc. Will take a better photo in the AM. Lorenzo said the photo I shot made him dizzy so I'm not sending it around - I warned him, oh well. <You'll, it will get better with practice> Anyway, I apologize for not being a little more since my arrival back in the EST. <A little more what?> The time change threw me a bit and it's taken me a while to catch up not only physically, but also around the house and the tanks and etc... oh, and of course had to hook up that calcium reactor and start taking notes and the whole bit. So... my apologies, I'm trying even as we speak to do with just a little less sleep - seems to be the only place to shave time in the day. <No worries> I'll have to check my notes, I think it will be Thursday the reactor will have been running a week, so I should have some local/personal data from which to gather up an article/faq/methodology for Di's sites. I'm a little behind but have stolen enough time to get together all the Legos I need to do a facelift on the Knop site. I'm still working on the Miva stuff as the back-end interface is proving to be a bit like a 500lb gorilla who doesn't take to being tamed with a horse-whip. Anyway, enough lame excuses, I'm on it... should continue have stuff to show in little dribs and drabs. <Ah, she will be excited to hear> I would love to help Custom Aquatic, as like Zo, I'm in a position to help - knowledge, experience, etc. But, I also love to tell my employees, "I'd rather have you tell me you can't get a thing done, than tell me you can do it, and then not get it done." So... I really have to take my own advice and not sign up for anything else, as much as I'd like to help, it's just be another helping on an already full plate. I'd be lying if I said I could get it done within a week or two. <I understand> So... thanks for shipping back the jacket so quickly - didn't need to come FedEx for certain, but I can't say I'm not grateful: it's easily between 10 and 20 outside, and there's a stiff wind about, which is really drilling it home. On the other hand, the sky is clear black - can see the Milky Way - beautiful night, if you can keep warm. Thanks for sending back the jacket. <You're welcome> Now, the fish - always the fish. Would you have a Guerilla Acclimation Technique card on the Declivis Butterfly for a good dip time?  <Generally a hardy, ready to go aquarium species... little acclimation necessary> I would have to say, based on this one, I just got a bad one last time, and it was already having issues when I got it. This one is thick, very active, eager eater/picker/investigator - also a little larger all around than the last one - not starved thin. Not even remotely the same fish as the previous Declivis. So... same as last time I'm thinking (?), quick quarantine, pH-adjusted freshwater dip and in he/she goes... yea/nay? <Yes> Cheers to you, hello to Di, and "a quick shout out" those three silly dogs. J -- <Will relate all. Any further ideas on shared border sets for FP? Bob F>

Touchy fish acclimation and feeding Howdy Bob! <Howdy, Chief! Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob sits in a corner trying to crack brazil nuts open with his forehead> Because of all your good counsel and website information, my personal contacts are at least dwindling in their frequency. Thanks again, and I hope you will help me with a two-part question. < I shall do my best> Because my local LFS is dealing with some water-quality issues, and I still have a backlog of pre-paid fish coming in, I have taken to having them notify me ahead of their arrival (via air freight), and I go right down when they get them in, and bring them home. Naturally, this isn't as nice as if they had been living and eating there at the LFS for a period of time, but it is my present reality. <we do the best we can with what we can> Anyway, I carefully follow your guerilla guide to acclimation of my new arrivals, but it is my impression that by the time I remove them from their "combo-freshwater-shipping-water-with-blue-green- additives" mix, they appear more sluggish and 'wiped-out' than the ones from the same batch who go through an 'LFS standard' acclimation (of gradually adding tank water into their bags and then releasing). Watching my fish in their cat-litter-box they just seem to sit and sometimes their back end curls around a bit towards the front. I don't want to stress them further, so I don't poke & prod, and usually, after about 5 to 7 minutes, I gently transfer them to my lights-out acclimation tank. Sometimes they speed away when I put them in, sometimes they just seem to barely sink to the bottom, and hang out. <quite natural> So, part 1 of my question is this: Is this normal for a fish going through this kind of dip / acclimation treatment, and (just for reassurance) is it still better because of the reduced risk of disease than just mixing waters and releasing? <indeed...cannot mix waters> Part 2. In last night's delivery, I received a male/female pair of purple queen Anthias (they didn't have Lyretail). I know they are much more touchy fish, but they were beautiful looking <Arggghhh... not the best reason when unprepared> and I had spoken to someone who had had three in a very small and simple reef for a long while <more than a year and still fat at that time?> , so I decided to give it a shot. They are still sitting on the bottom of the acclimation tank, breathing OK, and watching with their eyes, but not real motivated to eat. I am going to try "first flake", <I'll eat your hat if they eat flake for you.. hehe. Need meaty food...may even have to resort to live> and Mysis shrimp, but wondered if you had any good ideas about how to tempt one of these pretties into eating? <frozen mysids and Pacifica plankton are good whole foods in the long run...a good specialized homemade recipe like in Bob's CMA will be better. In the meantime, try gut loaded live guppies or ghost shrimp if the fish are large enough, or enriched live brine (Selcon) if still small> Thank you so much for your help. Sincerely, Jim Raub <keep us posted please. with kind regards, Anthony>

Questions on acclimating fish for retail sales.. Hi Bob, My name is Leland Foley and I am starting a Marine Fish/Reef Retail store.  <Outstanding... I will gladly shake the hand of anyone who would (try to) be self-employed. Welcome to our industry> I have worked in many other retail stores, including a couple of years for Inland Aquatics.  <Ahh, Morgan Lidster and I are known to each other> Anyway, I have been around long enough to learn a great deal about fish acclimation, and I really like the way you suggest to acclimate marine fish, but I have a few questions. <Please> 1.) How do you incorporate dips into your Guerilla Acclimation Techniques? I believe, as I'm sure you do as well, that the PVP based dechlorinator, in combination with the Methylene blue really helps the fish to survive the stresses of shipping, <Yes> but after this acclimation procedure, would it be too stressful to put them into a formalin dip before putting them into the main system tanks? <Good question... as it has the usual (lame) "it depends"... by and large if most all marine fish livestock is in "good enough" shape from this point in an/the acclimation protocol, it's "probably okay" (more beneficial than potentially detrimental) to proceed with another dipping/bath sequence...> I'm a strong believer in formalin dips and freshwater dips. They are primarily what I use when I receive a shipment of fish, because I'm sure as you know Clownfishes, and others will die of Brooklynella or crypto quite quickly if not treated immediately upon arrival. <Agreed, especially with Clowns> My acclimation procedure consists of floating the bags to equalize the temps, and then in small batches putting the fish into a saltwater and Formalin dip, or a straight freshwater dip with bicarbonate. I've found that a great deal of fish will die in a freshwater dip, but do just fine in a saltwater with formalin dip. <As always... intelligence and experience go into deciding/judging dip types, duration...> Then the fish are removed from the dip and placed into a quarantine system (500 gal.) that is run by oversized wet/dries, mild protein skimming, and very strong U.V. sterilization. The fish are given high quality fresh seafood (shrimp, squid, marine fish, etc..) treated with garlic and Metronidazole for the first week then flake foods and various frozen foods are introduced. <Wow, quite an expensive undertaking... but worth it> I only use the garlic as a flavor enhancer, it might help remove worms, but this is not the primary reason I use it. <I understand> If a fish pops up with a bacterial infection we dip it again and carefully keep it overfed. If Ich pops up on 3 or more fish we add copper to the system. Which brings me to my last question, 2.) What form of copper chelated or non-chelated can be used with UV sterilizers on? Or better yet what brand do you recommend? <In a large operation, volume or livestock flow-wise, non-chelated like the Kordon or Aquarium Systems product... Wouldn't, don't use chelated varieties on sleeved or non-sleeved UVs> Sorry for the long post, but as you know this is what makes or breaks ones profits in this industry, <I do know this... agree. Please make it known if I may be of assistance. Bob Fenner> Thanks, -Leland Foley

Re: Tesselata Eel When you say "not if sufficient aeration added.." do you mean that I should add an airstone to the Eel's bag while acclimating?  <Yes> I heard once that this will peak ammonia levels, certainly killing whatever is in the bag.. is this false ?  <Not totally false, but highly unlikely... aeration may raise pH and if there is much ionized ammonia, convert it to a more toxic format... Best to add something to the protocol here: Check the ammonia concentration in the bag, if small (less than 0.25 ppm, to undetectable, add aeration... if more than a quarter of a part per million, keep changing out shipping water for new acclimation water till it is lower than 0.25 ppm and then add aeration...> Should I aerate the bag while adding water? <Same criterion> Thanks again, I go to pick up the new eel in an hour. (Hope you're near the pc, :) I'll acclimate it without aeration until I hear from you.. and will ask LFS if it is a good idea, perhaps they know. Bill Hammond <They should. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Central System (going over on acclimation, quarantine procedures) Hi Bob, I think the selling point that Consistent sea, Inc. had was that they hand picked nice healthy fish and offered them for resell to stores that can't drive to the wholesalers (such as myself).  <Yes... "selection services" have been around for as long as there has been livestock distribution. My friend Walt Smith ran his for decades out of Phil Shane's Quality Marine...> He said he started his business by moving to LA to hand pick fish for a store in NY. He then started offering it to other stores. Any way, I was just wondering of you knew of this company. I'm kind of leery of businesses that I can't find much info about. <I am not familiar with the company, its agents. I would do as you are... check with others who have used their services> I know that you are a busy man, but if I could give you the specs of the central and quarantine systems that I installed this summer, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions that you may have. <Sure> Central System 12 - forty gallon long aquariums - drilled - with different coral substrates in each 2 - 100 gallon sumps plumbed together Aerofoamer 848 skimmer - pump rated 2000 gph (Works wonderfully) Water pumped through biomedia at 2400 gph 2 - Mag 2400 return pumps each pumping about 1200 gph - Seems to have about 200 gph through each aquarium 2 - Aqua UV 57 watt sterilizers (Doesn't seem to have much contact time - short tubes) <And not many watts for this size system, flow rate... but worthwhile nonetheless> Am Marine pH Monitor Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water <Nice feature> pH - Avg 8.1 Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 30 - (I think an employee was overfeeding) Salt 1.023 Fish seem to do OK in the central system except for an outbreak of Ick from a shipment that was rerouted and got cold. (The quarantine system was dismantled and was being rebuilt when this shipment came in so they had to go in the CS.) (Did you know saltwater and metal shelving doesn't mix?) <Umm, ah, yes> I fought this for 2 months until I got a copper test kit and raised the copper to the right level. (Coral must have been absorbing it). <More likely calcareous rock, substrate... this happens> It doesn't seem like the UV does much in preventing the spread of Ick. <You have to have many watts, long contact times to get close to 100% kill rate... realistically, UV's will not prevent, let alone treat parasitic problems> I didn't want to put copper in the CS, but I felt I had no choice. I was also told that UV can't be used while medicating with copper.  <No. Only certain types of chelated coppers are affected by UVs> Should I keep copper in the CS at the recommended level or should I remove it, turn the UVs back on, and possibly add 200mg/hr of ozone? <Are you using non-chelated copper? I would keep it up till your quarantine system, procedures are in place fully> Quarantine Systems There are two separate identical systems. Each has: 6 - twenty gallon aquariums - drilled - painted bare bottoms 29 gallon sump with biomedia Red Sea Berlin Skimmer Mag 1800 return pump - returning about 600 gph - 100 gph per tank Aqua UV 40 watt sterilizer Am Marine pH Monitor Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water pH - Avg 8.1 Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 30 Salt - 1.023 Fish come in and stay in a system for two weeks. Another shipment comes in the next week into the other system. They continue a two week rotation. <And you bleach filter media in-between use/cycles> The QSs don't have copper in them. I noticed in one system today, though, that there is Ick in a couple of tanks. (AAAGGHH!) A customer told me that other stores with similar systems keep copper in the quarantine systems. Is this advisable?  <Mmm sometimes... routinely... better to have good suppliers, use pH adjusted freshwater baths enroute to the quarantine systems... and do w/o the copper...> Should I turn off the UVs and do this? If so, what about dwarf angels, lions, and other copper intolerant fish? <I would hold off coppering if you could... or move the copper sensitive animals to the other parallel quarantine system... though at this point they are likely infested> When a shipment comes in, I try to follow your recommendations for acclimation. I have two 15 gallon acclimation aquariums. I dim the lights, divide the fish up by aggression, and pour fish and shipping water into the aquariums. I drain out excess shipping water, add airstones and start siphoning water from the QS into the aquariums. I add Methylene blue, Novaqua, KM Ammonia Detox, SW Maracyn, Seachem ParaGuard. I let this work for an hour or so as the water slowly mixes. This is one part I am confused on - I don't adjust the pH of the water coming from the QS into the acclimation tanks. Which would be better: Allowing the pH to rise from the shipping level to 8.2 from the acclimating water over an hours time, or lowering the incoming water to that of the shipping water then moving them from the lower pH to the higher pH of the QS all at once? <Slowly is better, in the acclimation procedure... with airstones, inorganic-acid reduced pH mixing water...> Or is there a better system? <Trays with system water and reduced pH water both... airstones... red lighting overhead... all mixed water to waste... all nets, trays, specimen containers to bleach and rinse buckets between use> I guess I just want to know if the equipment seems to be sized right. Then if, when, where, and how to use copper in these systems. Any other things that I am overlooking? <A seeming lifetimes worth... but you are on the right tracks, path> Thank you very much for any info you can give. I just want to have the best quality for my customers to keep them happy and in the hobby. <I'm totally with you here. If you have troubles with suppliers or finding same... do contact me. Bob Fenner> Larry Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR

Re: Central System (commercial acclimation, quarantine procedures) Bob, I have a few questions here regarding your reply. > Fish come in and stay in a system for two weeks. Another shipment comes in the next week into the other system. They continue a two week rotation. > <And you bleach filter media in-between use/cycles> *(Define filter media - filter floss, carbon, bioballs???) <<Yes... to eliminate or greatly reduce the likelihood of transferring infectious, parasitic organisms to the "new batch">> > The QSs don't have copper in them. I noticed in one system today, though, that there is Ick in a couple of tanks. (AAAGGHH!) A customer told me that other stores with similar systems keep copper in the quarantine systems. Is this advisable? > <Mmm sometimes... routinely... better to have good suppliers, use pH adjusted freshwater baths enroute to the quarantine systems... and do w/o the copper...> > Should I turn off the UVs and do this? If so, what about dwarf angels, lions, and other copper intolerant fish? > <I would hold off coppering if you could... or move the copper sensitive animals to the other parallel quarantine system... though at this point they are likely infested> > When a shipment comes in, I try to follow your recommendations for acclimation. > I have two 15 gallon acclimation aquariums. I dim the lights, divide the fish up by aggression, and pour fish and shipping water into the aquariums. > I drain out excess shipping water, add airstones and start siphoning water from the QS into the aquariums. I add Methylene blue, Novaqua, KM Ammonia Detox, SW Maracyn, Seachem ParaGuard. I let this work for an hour or so as the water slowly mixes. This is one part I am confused on - I don't adjust the pH of the water coming from the QS into the acclimation tanks. > Which would be better: Allowing the pH to rise from the shipping level to 8.2 from the acclimating water over an hours time, or lowering the incoming > water to that of the shipping water then moving them from the lower pH to the higher pH of the QS all at once? > <Slowly is better, in the acclimation procedure... with airstones, inorganic-acid reduced pH mixing water...> > Or is there a better system? > <Trays with system water and reduced pH water both... airstones... red lighting overhead... all mixed water to waste... all nets, trays, specimen containers to bleach and rinse buckets between use> *(Let me see if I have this right. Reduce the water that is to be used for acclimation down to the pH of the shipping water which is around 7.3 or so. After the water has been slowly added to the shipping water the pH should still be around 7.3, but the QS pH is still 8.2. This is where I get confused. Should you: 1. Remove the fish from the 7.3 mixture, freshwater dip them, then put them straight into the 8.2 QS? 2. Slowly raise the pH of the 7.3 mixture to 8.2, freshwater dip them, then add to the QS? 3. Lower the entire QS to 7.3 and slowly raise it back up to 8.2 over hours/days? <<For most species, specimens, situations more a combination of #s 2 and 3. Lower the pH of the acclimation water, raise back in minutes to an hour (rarely a couple or three hours), then a pH adjusted freshwater bath...>> I really appreciate your advice on these systems. Do you know of any stores that are doing everything right that I might could fly in and visit in a days time? Someone that would be willing to spend some time and show me how they receive fish and operate their systems? <<There are a few shops that "do this" religiously... have designated facilities, go the stolid path of quarantining, acclimating all incoming livestock... I would post to our chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ ask who is known in your geographical area... Otherwise, if you come this way, can direct you to Los Angeles or Phoenix...> Also, do you know of any friendly discussion boards for aquarium store owners? <<Unfortunately no... a diffuse industry, that attracts "independent" types... who in general have no time, people skills, attitude for such sharing. A great shame>> Thank you again for your time and advice. <<A pleasure, honor and gladly accepted duty my friend. Bob Fenner>> Larry Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR

Shipment coming tomorrow... acclimation question Hi Jason, (or Bob if you're back). Thanks for being there with all the great assistance! <You are welcome by both of us> Tomorrow I will receive my first shipment of mail-order livestock, (from FFExpress) and I think I'm ready. I have read and re-read your page on acclimation (www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm), and am all set up to follow the saltwater fish "guerilla" acclimation technique. I have just a couple small questions: #1 Using the kitty litter boxes, is it safe to acclimate several fish in the same container at the same time (as long as they are not the types to be aggressive towards each other)? <Yes, quite safe... In wholesale practice we often separate venomous fishes (e.g. Scorpionfishes, plotosid catfishes...) and larger, very aggressive fishes (e.g. triggers), but otherwise, most often mix together as bags are opened/processed> #2 Though it indicates that inverts, etc "merit a separate discussion", I couldn't find anything, so maybe you could give me counsel on the few non-fish I'm getting: a. 3 cleaner shrimp b. 3 peppermint shrimp c. 1 fire cleaner shrimp d. 1 green bubble anemone e. 1 Indonesian red Recorded <I would place all of the shrimps together for acclimation, and the two cnidarians together... but do "drain" (I strain with hand movement) the anemone's shipping water in moving it to the acclimation tray> Thanks So Much! Jim Raub <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Shipment coming tomorrow... acclimation question Hi Guys (and welcome back, Bob). <Hello and thank you> Sorry to be dense, here, but I just want to confirm that the same fresh water, pH-adjusted, PVP, Meth blue, Maracide, Maracyn acclimation solution I will use on the fish is A OK for the shrimp and cnidarians. <Mmm, not freshwater... I would use the same other components, but with seawater of about the same density as the shipping water the non-fishes are in> Also, confirming that unlike with the fish, where we keep their water and add in the acclimation solution, I should try to drain away as much of the shipping water as possible from the cnidarians, and basically just immerse them into the acclimation solution. (That hand-straining thing... should I worry about being stung?) <Yes to the technique and no problem with the calloused parts of your hands... do try to keep the stinging-celled animals off your wrist skin... and take care to wash your hands after handling... can be a real owee on your mucus membranes...> Really Sincere Thanks and Appreciation for all your help! Jim Raub <A pleasure my friend. Bob Fenner>

Additional Acclimation solution question Hi Bob! <<JasonC here, filling in for Bob who's away diving>> Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! <<thank you>> Thanks again for your previous helpful responses. Things are continuing to progress well in my aquarium, and I took it a bit slow on the introduction of all that livestock. So far I have added a handsome blood red Hawkfish, a red scooter blenny, a Solomon island orange tailed damsel, a coral banded shrimp, a Banggai cardinal, a pajama cardinal, and a pale-maroon serpent star. I'll be putting in some more, a few at a time over the next weeks and months. <<quick word of caution about the Hawkfish - these are best kept in fish-only systems, and even then a tough fish-only system. Why, you ask? Simple, they are the type of fish that will eat everything that can fit in its mouth. Ok, so it has a small mouth... now. It will grow, it will eat that shrimp, and it will move on to the scooter blenny. Keep your eye on it - hard to say about one of my favorite fish, but certainly true to its nature; Hawkfish love shrimp as food.>> So... to my question. In your acclimation instructions, two of the items you mention are Mardel Labs: Maracide, and Maracyn. Both are fine products which you endorse. I wanted to know your thoughts about: Kordon Malachite Green (instead of the Maracide... it's much less expensive), and Mardel Labs Maracyn II (which is Minocycline) instead of, or in addition to the Maracyn? The Maracyn II seems to be effective against a couple of additional items: dropsy, septicemia, and secondary/internal infections. <<well, while many of those are mentioned in the acclimation FAQ, it's my interpretation that those are saved as the most severe methods, for the worst of circumstances. On any other normal day, you'd do best to just add some Methylene Blue and Novaqua [if you want to use all Kordon Labs, they are quite good] as directed to your acclimation water and go from there. No sense in doing a complete de-worm/de-pest/de-tox/de-brief/de-gauss/de-fish on every newcomers as this could actually do more harm than good. Get a second tank for quarantine, and this is where, under observation that one might begin to apply a Maracyn II or Malachite Green, etc to treat something that has come up, albeit separate from your main system. Additionally, you have another "weapon" in your acclimation regimen - the freshwater dip - also mentioned in the acclimation articles: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm >> Thanks for taking the time to assist. Jim Raub <<my pleasure. Cheers, J -- >> P.S. For soft corals, gorgonians, anemones... would you recommend any type of the commercially-available dips? (Tech-D, Warner's Coral Dip, or other?) Or, as I have gotten the impression from some of your other replies, maybe just a short immersion in a KI solution, such as Lugol's? If yes, how strong and how long? Thanks again. <<Ahh, see... you've looked into the crystal ball. You know what is coming now. Yes to the Lugol's and just use as directed on the package. Carpe carp or perhaps Carpe fish - seize the fish!>>

Acclimation vs. Dipping, plus some other questions Hello, Bob. Although so many others have already said as much, I also want to express MY SINCERE THANKS for your investment of time, energy and money in making this website so useful to all of us in the aquarium community. (And for sharing your knowledge and experience in such an engaging and non-condescending manner). <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words> With that, I'd appreciate it if you could clarify something for me. Actually, as I wrote this email, a few nagging questions also popped up, if you please... Background: I've had several freshwater aquariums over the years, and this is my first saltwater effort. I've had the setup going for about 6 weeks, and the whole family is having a great time. <Ah... for me the anticipation, planning is a huge source of fun as well> Setup: 150 gal all glass, AMT Turbo insert (2 hi-flow Rio pumps, 4-layer filter [acrylic micron pad, Chemi-pure, Nitrex, bio-foam]) Aquanetics UV (I know... but too late to return) w/smaller Rio pump, custom-built PVC protein skimmer, 2 6' 165w VHO bulbs on an Icepack, and 1 6' Actinic on a separate ballast, Ebo-Jager 250W heater keeping aquarium at 76-77 F. I also have been floating a couple of Algone bags in the top of the skimmer. <I would add another 250 watt submersible heater... perhaps at the opposite end of the tank> Substrate: total is a good 3", 30lb. washed/sterilized tropical sand from Home Depot (this might have been a mistake?  <No mistake, problem> but it is at the very bottom) 65lb. aragonite, 25lb. live sand, 20lb. GARF grunge. Contents: 180lb. live rock, mostly uncured, from several islands, including Fiji, Maori, Namoli, Marshall, and Tonga. Critters: 150 mixed snails and hermits, 1 Mithrax crab, 1 sand-sifting starfish, 1 sm. yellow-tailed damsel, 1 sm. false Percula, 1 sm. yellow tang, 14 various sm. soft corals (from GARF) including Shrooms, Capnella, an encrusting gorgonian, Zoanthids, wood polyps, green polyps, etc. Fish are all eating well, corals are all open, swelling, and look happy. Actually, my tang (after 8 days) is still pretty shy and doesn't come out if anyone's up close and watching. The Situation: Everything seems to be pretty good. Ammonia is zero, Nitrites are low, maybe zero (I'm having a tough time telling on the test kit I use. Is Salifert any better?) <Yes, but not necessary> Nitrates are maybe 5ppm, SG fluctuates a little .021 - .024 (I'm still gaining skill during top-offs and water changes), <Mmm, place a small piece of tape on the upper corner of the tank, mark it for water level... top off to this daily if need be. You don't want more than about 0.001 variation in a day> pH is 8.2 - 8.4, alkalinity reads a bit high,  <How high?> and calcium is 370 and steadily coming up. I had a substantial algae bloom (several flavors, incl. brown, red, hair, filamentous, and bubble) during the curing process, and certain coralline algae all turned white. My phosphates were very high (over 1), and I've run through two uses of Kent Phosphate sponge with moderate success (down to .4 now). The critters have eaten a bunch of the algae, the lower phosphate levels are helping, and I'm getting what appears to be new coralline growth (purple, maroon). Unfortunately, there's also a quarter-size spot of blue-green on a piece of branchy live rock, and another piece (flat shelf type w/bumps) which is just starting to get a slight greenish / blue-green cast. <This will go> The Plans: I would like to start adding substantially more livestock over the next few weeks, but don't want to be unwise. A LFS about 45 min. away is having a 20% off sale this weekend, and I'd like to start there.  <Be careful here... particularly if this is a "just out of the bag" sort of new livestock sale... often trouble> I would then use my one-time 20% discount from FFExpress the following week, and may also purchase some items directly from a diver in Florida (mostly inverts). In a few more months, I plan to add several hard corals from GARF (SPS and LPS). <Do take the time to isolate, quarantine this livestock from such disparate sources.> Liquid Assets: I use all RO water from a Spectra Pure unit for which I have just purchased a deionization unit (to prevent any new silicates from getting in that way. I use B-Ionic 2-part Alk & calc, and am planning to switch to SeaChem when this is used up. I used Instant Ocean salt to start, but will soon be switching to "Marine Environment" (from Aquacraft). I have also been lightly using Marc Weiss "vital" product and black powder, but now know that may have been a contributor to my algae, so will discontinue the "vital". <I would> So, (finally, you say), here are my questions: a. The guys at GARF suggested I not run the UV or protein skimmer yet, stating that I would kill off more good stuff than bad. Yet, with my planned additions and algae troubles, wouldn't it be good to start now? <I would definitely be running both now> b. Does it sound like the system is at a point where I can proceed with the my livestock acquisitions? (quarantine & dip question coming later) <Yes> c. To lower my phosphates some more, would you keep using the Kent product, or move to something like Poly Filter? Should I keep pulling them down to "just above zero" (since the symbiotic algae in the corals need some). What is the chance that they came from my Home Depot sand? <I would go to the PolyFilter, and try culturing macro-algae. Some chance the phosphates came from the HD sand, but very small... much more likely from die-off from live rock> d. I have also very high silicates. We live on a well, so that's where some of them came. Could that Home Depot sand also be a source, and if so, could that be ongoing? <Yes, the HD/Southdown Sand product could be a contributor> Any recommendations in this area? (Kent's Phosphate Sponge also claims to adsorb silicates, once the phosphates are out of the way). <Just use your new water treatment protocol... the silicates will "cycle out" in a short while otherwise> e. If I take a brush to the blue-green spot, at the same time as I siphon out the stuff which scrapes off, would that likely be a sufficient step at this time (esp. if I turn on the UV)? <Just turn on the skimmer, proceed with your stocking plans... siphon, disturb the BGA patches when doing regular maintenance... they will be gone soon enough> f. I plan to cut off the most of the bottom of the GARF Aragocrete plugs when I attach the soft corals to the main live rock. You have expressed some hesitancy about the composition of Aragocrete-type products. Do I need to worry about any dissolving/leaching into my system? <Not if they've been in place for months... get coated over, become largely inert> g. Do you think it too risky for me to add one red tree sponge? I'm not going the route of sea apples or cucumbers, though I might put in a lettuce Nudibranch, too. <I wouldn't add another... now... not easily kept in newer systems> h. (LAST QUESTION - multi-part - and the original reason I wrote you) I have not dipped anything so far, nor do I have a quarantine tank set up, but I am convinced of their value at this point. It seems from your articles that a real good acclimation step would accomplish more than just a dip, but not as much as a full quarantine. To clarify for me, your step C) adds air, but I've read that this can raise the pH and thus the shipping water's toxicity.  <Mmm, not appreciably... that is, pH is not raised much in this procedure by aeration... you can easily "do an experiment" to prove this> I see in step D) that an acid is introduced to compensate for this. <Actually, the addition of an acid is to match the ambient/shipping water conditions, hence sustaining/prolonging the pH of the acclimation water to allow ammonia to exist in a less toxic state... for a time... to allow this material to "get out" of the fish/livestock... w/o having it convert to more toxic state within...> Should I even start the airstone until after I've adjusted the pH? <Not necessary to wait> Also, in your step D), reference is made to treated holding water. I believe this is fresh (no salt) water (RO or tap?) plus the PVP and Meth blue. From what I can understand, <Yes> the color will be a very dark royal blue. Because that will be diluted as I add it into the shipping water, should I start out with an even greater Meth concentration (or is that only when you are "dipping"). The length of time they stay in this solution varies with the fish, but how can you tell if they are in discomfort, especially if you can't see them through the blue?  <Hopefully. No real reason to make the water "that blue"> Also, other than inverts, corals, cardinals, and wild angels, are there any other fishes you would simply not put through this process? <Mmm, a tough call... "depends" on their apparent health/state... if specimens very beat, would skip any/all species> Bob. I realize that this has taken you a long time just to get this far. I apologize for the imposition, but I am sincere in my desire to act responsibly in this pursuit, and once again, appreciate your help. <No worries. Take your time. Thank you for your well-thought out message. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Jim Raub

Re: Acclimation vs. Dipping, plus some other questions Hello, Again, Bob! I can't believe you would be able to respond to me so promptly. Thanks again! <A pleasure my friend> Re. the "high" alkalinity, I am using a RedSea test kit, and it does not give me a numerical reading. Just... low, normal, high. <Bizarre> My color is just over the normal into the high. If you know of a better test, I'll gladly use it. <Look into Salifert, Hach, LaMotte> Also, I could reduce the part 1 of my B-Ionic (the Alkalinity part), and continue only with the calcium. Downside, though, is that's the only place I'm currently getting trace minerals ('til I switch to the SeaChem). <Not to worry here... I would reduce the part one component> I will stabilize that SG as recommended, and adjust my routine to include a daily top-off. So... if I determine that the fish store is not just "selling things right out of the bag", would you think that a good acclimation/dip process would be sufficient for the livestock before introducing them to my display tank? (I'm not sure I can have a working quarantine by this weekend, or that it would be large enough to house a sizeable number at one time.) <You must trust your judgment, knowledge here... if the organisms appear fit...> Thanks again for your help. Jim Raub <Anytime my friend. Bob Fenner>

Acclimation questions Dear Bob, I read your article about acclimation of marine fish and had a few questions. <Okay> The fish are initially put in buckets( kitty litter pans) with an air stone and the final holding system water with Methylene blue is added after lowering the Ph to match the transit water. After 15 minutes the fish are transferred to the main holding tanks. Will the fish suffer from Ph shock since the holding tanks will have a higher Ph?  <Yes, this is very, very common! And very deadly/stressful... as you might know, there is often a large metabolite concentration in shipping water... particularly ammonia (of which more becomes ionized, NH3 to much more toxic NH4OH at elevated pHs... inside and outside the acclimating livestock... during these transitions... The best wholesalers "temporarily", often with inorganic acids like dilute HCl reduce pH (to shipping water levels) during acclimation...> How should the Ph be equalized before moving the fish? <Hmm... before... as in before putting away into a holding system? Either the type, apparent health of the livestock is "good" and the pH can be elevated rather quickly by introducing water of NSW (near seawater) conditions, while aerating the solution of pH adjusted acclimation table water (with the livestock in it)... OR if the livestock is apparently suffering and/or of a "touchy" nature (by species, size, source location...) it can be left to more slowly (hours) drip in the NSW water overflowing the mixed water to waste...> What is the concentration of Copper in the holding tanks for fish and for how long should the fish stay in these tanks? <The "active" ingredient, cupric ion... 0.15 (no less) to 0.3ppm (no more). Take care to understand the type of copper solution you are using... check the manufacturers labeling... as chelated coppers will give different measures on non-chelated types of testing gear... and do measure frequently... at least twice a day... and re-administer accordingly.> Thanks, Karun <You have asked questions that would save tens, if not hundreds of thousands of fishes lives a year if the protocol technology was understood and applied. Do share this with people in the trade. Bob Fenner>

Question about acclimation, leaving lights on Hello, I was reading about the Flame Angel on your site. You say to extend the photo period for 24 hours when we introduce him to a new aquarium. I'd like to understand why. <Ah, thank you for asking for this... Leaving the lights on serves a dual purpose here: it allows the new fish to "settle in", see where all is, avoid current inhabitants... and it disorients those current tankmates... perhaps disrupting current territorial dynamics... again, allowing the newcomer to settle in. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Nathalie

Re: question about acclimation, leaving lights on Thanks for answering...BUT 2 questions...1) Everyone normally says to turn off the lights...so that the new fish gets less stressed... does this have any validity? <To some extent and argument, sure. Life is "a series of compromises" in one view... which is better here: to leave the lights on, turn them off? Turns out most livestock is lost... at night... and on the day of arrival... Better to leave some outside light at least on... for the first day> 2)Is your theory along the same lines as..."when introducing a new fish, some people say to move the coral-decorations around"... ? Therefore if we do leave the lights on, then we do not have to move the decorations around, right therefore less stress on the other fish)?? <This is a very similar argument for the one benefit, but does little to help the new livestock to see its way about its new surroundings. Very many "bumps" in the night on first arriving. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Nathalie

Re: question about acclimation, leaving lights on My hubby & I are having a 'little' argument (And I will be right of course..) <Hmm, perhaps you both will be, maybe neither...> After reading your answers, I say that you are saying 2 things, we can either leave the aquarium lights on for 24 hours OR the kitchen lights (in our case the aquarium is dividing the kitchen & living room) on for 24 hours...and He says, that the only choice we have is to leave the kitchen lights on low only...who is right? :) <Ah! As I surmised/guessed, both and neither... you "can" of course elect to do either or neither... I would leave the kitchen lights on 

Acclimation/Dip Order Bob, Just a quick question for you, Do I acclimate the fish in the tank first then do a freshwater dip? or do I put the fish in the freshwater dip right away from the Pet store then put in the main tank or hospital ? (Hmm. Good question... depends on the health of the livestock... If it 'good initial health?, the dip-bath and then to the hospital-quarantine system... if not in great shape... the opposite protocol) Thanks again bob your always a great help. by the way how did you like the Philippines ? (You're welcome, and very much... very good people there... kind, hard-working, honest... much like in Mexico where I am currently visiting. Wish you were here to go diving... Bob Fenner)

Acclimating during dip I'm sort of confused on dips. If you have a new fish, how do you acclimate and do a dip at the same time. Do you just forget the acclimation, and just dip and put in the new tank. I read the FAQ , I didn't see anything on acclimating during dip. <Hmm, well, these are two different operations in many cases... If you "do" dips, then use them as the acclimation process to the quarantine system if possible... otherwise if risking placing new livestock directly into a main system... use the acclimation procedures to ready the specimens for the dip itself... with the conditions of the dip (temperature, pH...) approximating the main/display system water... All covered I think in articles, FAQs on the site: Home Page > Also do you have a suggestion for a colorful fish to go with a dogfaced puffer and blue boxfish in a 75 gal tank. Something slow moving and not to difficult to keep. I was considering a powder blue, till I read you didn't recommend it. Thanks Bob for the site. >> <You're welcome, and I would look into one of the Surgeonfishes of the genera Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus for right now... they're also covered on the site. Bob Fenner>

Acclimating new fish? Hello, You have been giving me great advice on restocking my 120 gal FOWLR. I am presently at the point of ordering some new fish. However, I have a few questions before I venture forward. I have a 20 gal. quarantine set up and ready to go. How many fish can I safely quarantine in this tank?  <One to a handful> What is the general rule on this if any?  <No useful general rules... depending on temperament, condition... size half an inch of fish per gallon...> Do I want to dip the fish first and then add to Q-tank?  <Usually yes... depends on species and their apparent health... some fishes I rarely dip... and if in bad shape... I don't dip any.> Is it a good idea to let the fish go through the hyposalinity treatment at this time as a preventative treatment?  <IMO no... a brief freshwater dip/bath (ten minutes or so) going into quarantine and/or out will do all a hyposalinity stay of days, weeks will do> Lastly, when seeding a sponge filter for a quarantine tank should the sponge had been placed in the sump of the main display tank connected or disconnected to the air pump?  <Connected is better> Oh by the way, I was thinking about adding first a Miniatus Grouper, and a Clown Trigger. Next on the list would be a Golden Puffer, and a Maculosus Angel. I presently have a Stars Stripe Trigger would the Golden Puffer do okay? <Should be fine... a nice assortment> I really do thank you for all the help you have given me it has been very helpful.  Regards, T. Finley >> <Glad to be here, Bob Fenner

Here's a very simple question I can't seem to find the answer to...How does one get a sponge from the ocean to my tank in Kansas without either exposing it to air or contaminating my tank with shipping water??  >> Good one. Mainly by "Boris Karloffing" the water at the last stages... moving the animal throw a succession of changes by pouring off most of the shipping water and adding your system/quarantine water to add volume.... ultimately, some of the "mixed water" is going to end up in the quarantine, main systems... what you're shooting for is maximum dilution. Bob Fenner

New fish When introducing new arrivals to the reef do you turn the lights off or keep on for 24 hours? >> Most of the time I leave the cycle as it has been... sometimes with a late (day) entry, I'll leave a "house" (out of the tank) light on overnight. Bob Fenner

Q. I know how to acclimate fish when bringing them home from the store, but what about a freshwater dip? I assume this would replace the acclimation process? I know that the acclimation process is important for the fish, yet it seems that a freshwater dip would be important as well.-To get rid of any parasites. It is one or the other right? Please tell me your thoughts on this. Thanks, Kimberly <R. Thanks for writing Kim. Yes, freshwater that has been treated for chlorine/chloramine, and buffered (often with just sodium bicarbonate to a pH of about 7.8) is pretty much a/the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for most all marine fish and invertebrate acclimation. Purists do match the pH of the dip/bath water more closely by testing the shipping water... and some people drip the new in, while others drop out (by pouring off or transferring specimens entirely) all the shipping water, to avoid "metabolite" (like ammonia) shock from the procedure. Even after such acclimating efforts, it is still a very good idea to quarantine the newbies in a separate system for a good two weeks. Besides further avoiding the possibilities of introducing parasitic, infectious diseases, and pollution,  this "rest time" gives the new stock the opportunity to harden from the trials of collection and transport. This is (as you might presume) not the whole story either. Please see the two feature-length articles on the topic of acclimation at the URL wetwebmedia.com. Bob Fenner>

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