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FAQs on Acclimation Methods/Procedures/Protocols

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

"Different strokes for... " uhh, different livestock, situations. For home hobbyists, commercial/transhippers...

Acceptable temp drop, during acclimation        9/5/19
Hey bob,
Is 3 degree temp drop considered steep for acclimation?
<F? No, C? Yes>
Fish came in today, floated for 20 minutes, placed fish in quarantine, same salinity.
Evidently 20 minutes floating bag was not enough, water in bag was 80, tank temp 77.
Would the 3 degree drop concern you?
Thanks, bob
<Welcome. B>
Re: Acceptable temp drop        9/6/19

Thanks bob, calmed my nerves a bit. Was talking Fahrenheit.

Lowering pH for acclimation; commercial        12/13/18
Dear Bob,
<Hey Branko>
We have used vinegar to lower pH so far. It worked fairly well however recently we have created acclimation system where we plan to keep fish for observation for first week before releasing them into holding system that's dosed up with medication.
We used our same old practice of reducing pH with vinegar on the whole system rather than reducing in acclimation tanks and simply release the fish straight into the system and let pH go up on its on over next few hours.
<? I would NOT do this. Vinegar/CH3COOH has other properties, potential side effects. I WOULD only use it (or hydrochloric/muriatic acid, CO2... DURING acclimation, flushing any acid/s out ahead of placement of the livestock in your tanks>
This worked wonders in first few days and we lowered fish loss to below 1% (after doa), however when bacterial bloom sets that's where problems with insufficient oxygen appear and fish begin to suffocate.
<Aye, yes>
This lead us to consider changing to something else rather than using vinegar which causes bacterial bloom.
We need to lower pH in our system from 8.1-8.3 to 6.3-6.6 I have read up our old E-mails and have seen us mentioning CO2 and diluted HCl.
<Oh! Yes>
Would you recon these two methods would be better and would not cause a bacterial bloom afterwards in the same system setup we used vinegar in?
<Likely so; yes; though AGAIN, I would NOT add them to your tanks. ONLY in whatever system/tubs... you're using for initial acclimation>
Would pumping all that CO2 required to lower pH to desired level still be safe for the fish?
What concentration of HCl should be used and does it have any side effects like bacterial bloom or other danger to fish if used in our system as planned?
<Please BE CAREFUL here; inorganic acids are "quicker" and often MORE concentrated than organics like vinegars. You NEED to practice, PRE-mixing a quantity of known concentration (I'd get 3 molar... aka Muriatic... pool acid and CAREFULLY measure and CAREFULLY mix (acid to water) a given quantity TO YOUR ACCLIMATION WATER that is premixed, AND after an hour or so, MEASURE the pH of the solution for use in dripping. ADJUST IT before use, NOT during>
We have 8% and 30% available at chemical stores.
What would the correct dose be for each of the mentioned methods per liter/gallon of water?
<USE the lower concentration (the 8%), the correct dose determination is a function of the alkalinity of your source water, the salt/s you're using.... BEST BY FAR to experiment as stated above; MEASURE the pre-mixed water volume (Mark it on the tank), AND MEASURE the amount/s of acid you're adding to lower the pH of the mixing/acclimation water; and ALWAYS measure pH of the solution before actual use>
Looking forward to your response.
Kind regards,
<PLEASE be careful Branko. Splashed concentrate acids are dangerous... Bob Fenner>
Re: Lowering pH for acclimation     12/18/18

Dear Bob,
<Ave Branko>
Thank you for your reply.
Having read all this, I assume it's best to use CO2 instead of acids, it will be safe for fish and it will evaporate out of the water and pH will go back to normal in desired time frame.
It should have no side effects like vinegar right, bacterial bloom etc?
Additionally, I have no FW experience so this may sound dumb. Would saltwater biofilter die if it was placed in freshwater or it would continue to work as intended?
<Too much change (saltiness and reverse) in too little time will kill off nitrifying bacteria. See Neale Monk's references on WWM re>
Im asking this, because I want to run my acclimation system with freshwater for a few days to kill off potential pests that aren't FW resistant. Idea is to sort of nuke it before each import without killing biofilter in the process.
<BEST to have some NEW filter media being cultured for such use all the time. GROWN in a tank or sump in your established marine system>
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards,
<I do hope this is clear; that you understand. Cheers, BobF>

Importing live wild corals       11/27/18
Dear Bob,
<Hey Branko!>
Your help was crucial to us being able to successfully acclimate imported fish and helped us to minimize the lose of life. Lately we lose less than 1% per shipment!
<Ahh, excellent>
However its time for us to start importing live corals from the wild. I did keep hard corals for years however i have never imported any, and i do remember how different things were with fish when
we started out. So i am hoping you have words of wisdom to help me with this matter as well.
Do you have an acclimating procedure for live corals and clams?
<Yes... there is a bit of variation for both, depending on where they've shipped from (mainly how long in the bags, amount of water... quality on arrival). Without knowing the condition of the animals, I'm a fan of matching shipping water pH, temperature (or a little warmer) and doing what you do for fishes drip acclimation wise, using all new or system water with a bit of freshwater added (lowering the spg a thousandth or two), throwing away all shipping water... AND for all cnidarians, ADDING a 3-4 or so times dose of iodide-ate to the drip. IF the animals don't look good, I'd add (for both cnidarians and clams), a teaspoon per gallon (or so) of hexose sugar (glucose is best)... to the drip as well. Do you have concerns re photoadaptation? I'd keep all under low light the first few days; otherwise, please read here:
What would you suggest for us to do.
Desperate for your advice.
Kind regards,
<DO write me w/ specific concerns if this isn't clear, complete to you. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine question; rdg.        6/8/17
Hello WetWebMedia Crew! First of all, allow me to say that I truly am a big fan of your forum as it is a source of much information ...... thank you also for quickly replying to my emails in the past.
<Welcome Kathy>
I have a quick question for you today, about quarantine procedures ...... I recently purchased some golden semilarvatus butterflies and a tigerpyge to be shipped from the USA to Manila. I have read that butterflies and Centropyge have a high sensitivity to copper and that the next best thing to get them started with the quarantine procedure is to do a freshwater dip with Methylene blue?
<Yes; one approach that is less toxic; effective>
1. What is the ratio of freshwater to Methylene blue?
<VERY safe; you just want the water VERY blue... Can't say the ratio, as individual products are of differing concentration. Put in enough that you can't see the bottom of the container>
2. And do I dip them as soon as the shipment arrives?
<No; need to flush out the ammonia in the fishes... and the water. READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm
and the linked files above; till you're sure you know what you're doing>
Or do I wait for a few days before doing the dip?
<For these species, I would do along with the acclimation protocol... i.e., on arrival>
I am just a bit worried that the fishes will be highly stressed out from the long flight time?
<I understand. IF they do appear too stressed, you can wait for the dip/bath procedure later... as you suggest.>
Would love to hear your thoughts on this. And thank you very much in advance.
Kathy ��
<DO write back if all is not clear. Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine question       6/8/17

Hi Bob! Thank you very much for the prompt reply.
<Certainly welcome>
Will read on the link you forwarded and will send you an email again if I do have further questions. Truly truly appreciate all your advice.
<Cheers, BobF>

pH adjustments. SW acclimation       12/4/16
I have been reading your pieces on isolation- quarantine tanks/dips for new fish. I am confused about two different explanations as to how to switch the new fish to the quarantine/isolation tank.
<Let's see if I/we can un-confuse you>
most say to float acclimate the shipped bag to match system temp then match the FW dip pH to the shipped bag pH ( usually using baking soda from 1/4 tsp - 1 whole tsp per gallon)
<Mmm; actually, the pH is almost always lower in (longer haul) shipped bags... thus a need to lower pH in the receiving (temporary) water. Most folks use a simple organic acid for this... Acetic/vinegar... or a commercial prep.; often sodium biphosphate>
then my question occurs- when transferring fish to the QT, some say to bring the QT pH to that of the shipped bag ( and FW dip) while other seem to say to bring the FW dip pH to that of the QT tank.
I believe these were the rec.s of different authors on site. please clarify.
<Better, perhaps best to simply have you read my SOP re such acclimation procedures. See (READ) here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm
and the linked files above. Do feel free to write back w/ specific questions (after reading). Bob Fenner>
thanks again for all your ongoing help.
Re: pH adjustments. Acclim. process, SW       12/5/16

I got the idea of baking soda from answers similar to -"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"
I think my tap water comes out at pH 7.2 , so it made sense to me that I needed to raise it for the FW dip since the transit water is usually in the high 7's.
I will send other questions in separate note
thanks, JS
<Jay; the pH should be matched w/ whatever the incoming shipping water is. I can't tell what this is... B>
Re: pH adjustments      12/5/16

<Hey Jay>
thanks for rapid response. I have read most if not all of acclimation/ dips info on WWM. I think points of confusion for me were too many terms for perhaps same stage/containers and unsure as to the time duration for
changes between stages.
<A few minutes is all... subjective to a degree... ALWAYS with you in attendance, MOVING the fish/es out if they're over-stressed>
Instead of repeating various answers in WWM and showing you where my misunderstandings are, I have tried to create a
detailed step by step .
So my current summarized plan for a FW/meth blue dip for new fish is as follows-
I envision 3 containers
1-The shipped bags o’ fish with usual marine salinity/SPG but a pH which has lowered in shipping to probably about 7.6-7.8
<Do test a few... will all likely be about the same>
2-The FW dip , using dechlorinated tap water, pre- oxygenated over night, with pH matched to bag #1 .( My tap water comes at pH approx 7.2, so I assumed I would need to add some baking soda to bring it up to the shipping bag pH. Methylene blue is added to this to create a medium dark blue concentration.
3-QT with SPG, salinity and pH all matching the display tank.
here is the process-
*Receive shipped bags o’ fish.*
*Float bags for temp equalization to system's 78-80 degrees.*
<Mmm; how to explain here... IF the temp. is w/in several degrees F. (really 7,8 F.), I'd NOT float... not worth the time, stress, and TIME is definitely of essence here. Just OPEN bags and start drip/mixing in the new pH adjusted/matched acclimation water>
*Have prepared ahead the QT and bucket of heated, oxygenated tap water FW.*
*Buffer the FW with baking soda to match pH of shipping water ( expected to be in 7.6-7.8 range. Various WWM rec.s for using baking soda range from ¼tsp to 1 tsp/gallon.)*
<Okay... sorry for the prev. confusion here. Our tapwater comes out 8.2-8.4... we actually have to LOWER to match shipping water>
*then dechlorinate the now buffered tap FW with Seachem Prime*
*Transfer fish and shipping water into a new container. Slowly add above
FW until this container is now pretty much FW. [ How long for this step?] *
<AS LONG as it takes to flush out ALL detectable free ammonia>
*Add meth blue till relatively dark.*
<This can be added before or during the drip>
*Observe fish behavior but aiming for 15 -20 min in FW/MB dip( which is still at shipping water pH).*
<I'd immediately start the drip>
*After duration of dip complete, slowly add water from QT to bring up salinity and pH to that of QT (pH of about 8.2-8.3), (again how fast?) *
<About a drop per second.... So/hence the pH change, NH3 flush will vary depending on the volume of shipping water mainly>
*transfer fish to QT.*
**** the fish I am expecting soon are a Carpenters Flasher Wrasse, One Spot Foxface and *Royal Gramma Basslet (Caribbean). You have mentioned that wrasses should have short duration FW meth blue dips, yes? How about the other 2 fish?*
<Run all as per above. These are long-distance shipped animals I take it. NOT one, two hour in-transit?>
*have you ever considered making a long detailed YouTube video for this process?
<I had not... but do agree that such might be of tremendous use. The process and its variations is confusing, involved>
I think it might be boring for you, but it would answer a lot of folks' questions.( a picture is worth a thousand words)*
<I'll direct if you do the emcee-ing!>
*thanks ,JS*
<Certainly welcome. BF>
Re: pH adjustments. Vis SW acclim.         12/6/16

please explain which container or what water you are referring to when you
say-start drip/mixing in the new pH adjusted/matched "acclimation water".
<The new, pre-mixed dechlorinated/dechloraminated water you're using to flush out the ammonia-laden shipping water>
I think you mean the buffered FW before the meth blue is added.
<The Methylene Blue can be added before use; but yes; this is it>
when I am adding this to the shipping water you say "as long as it takes to flush out NH3"- don't kill me but do you want this change done over a few minutes or by dripping in the FW over a couple hours?
<Minutes is best; via dripping as stated prev.>
--Up at the top of you response you say "a few minutes is all" -- (But hasn't the Seachem Prime already detoxified the ammonia anyway?)
<NOT within the organisms. DO TAKE CARE here, NOT to trust chemical removal>
when you say -"
<I'd immediately start the DRIP>
" are you referring to dripping the FW into the shipping water? Wouldn't this take quite a while ??
<Yes and yes>
As to my poor brittle star, I already have Kent Zoe and AquaVitro Fuel.
Can one of these or a mixture sub for Seachem Vitality?
<Yes they can>
Lastly, I use to work with your old WWM colleague Steve Allen, a pediatrician. Do you hear from him these days?
<Ahh! I have not. Please convey my regards to Steve. I do hope/trust all is well with him and his family. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

About Acclimation Saltwater Fish       5/3/15
My name is David and I have an aquarium shop in France. I apologize because
my English is not very good, but I hope we can understand each other :).
<Ah, oui. Your English is perfect. Much better than moi Francais!>
In the coming weeks we will receive our first import of marine fish from Philippines and I have some questions about the acclimation of the fishes.
I have read your website but I have some questions about this.
If I not misunderstood, the guerrilla method is:
- Open the boxes, float the bags and check the PH and Ammonia of the bags in the water.
- Prepare newly saltwater with the same PH of the shipping bags.
- Put the fishes with shipping water in to a container and drip new salt water (with the same ph of the shipping water) until it doubles the quantity or the ammonia test says that there was not ammonia (I'm not sure if this it's correct)
<It is>
- When the ammonia was undetectable, start dripping water from the system (at normal PH) until the ph raises up. When the PH raises... you recommend to make a dip or bath with RO water fish Methylene blue.. how can I dose the Methylene blue in the ro water?
<You can simply add the Methylene Blue... very safe at any dose... to the aerated freshwater of adjusted pH (sodium bicarbonate is generally all that is needed)>

- After the bath, we can put directly the fish in to the main system?
<You could... though better to place in separate isolation. DO try to not place new fishes with old; as the new are very weak>
Also.. I have to put aeration in any step?
<Best to yes; as stated above>

Thank you so much for your help!!!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Acclimation Question, comm., SW        1/28/15
Hi Bob,
I have a retail store stock acclimation question. I've been using the guerilla acclimation technique in all aspects other than instead of flushing out the shipping water right away I've just been treating it with prime.
<Mmm; can be done; but I wouldn't use this... better to slowly flush the ammoniated et al. water out>
We are shipping from Quality Marine
<The "A" player in the trade in the US>
generally in LA from
<to I'll take it>
<Oh! I'll be back up visiting the marine club there in a few months>
and fish are usually well packed and in boxes for about 14 to 18 hours.
I've had semi high mortality rates
<... unusual>

and I've been chatting a lot with the husbandry team at quality marine and they think I'm making the acclimation too long and too complicated given the time the fish are in the bags.
<Interesting... as the acclim. SOP I detail is largely adopted, adapted to that of QM from many years back... when Phil Shane and Mike Ibaraki owned and ran the place>
The pH is generally around 7.2-7.4 in the bag on arrival. And usually a couple hours before it's up to tank. They recommend the following method:
"We recommend that boxes should be opened and fish be acclimated in low light to reduce fish stress. For most species, bags should be floated for 20 -30 minutes in the tanks that will house them to compensate for water temperature differences. However, if there is any indication that the water has fouled, it is recommended that the bag is floated for no more than 15 minutes and the inhabitant should immediately be released to clean water.
It is always recommended that you have an idea of the Salinity and pH of the water used for shipping. This will allow you to adjust your system as necessary. Drastic changes in water quality greatly reduce survivability.
For sensitive species, such as starfish and ornamental shrimp we recommend drip acclimation; a process in which water from the system is slowly dripped into the bag. This precaution allows the organism to slowly adjust
to the change in water conditions."

<Mmm; well; am going to stick w/ my protocol. IF there's detectable ammonia in the shipping water (there is assuredly; even IF the organism/s have been shipped w/ the very best technique), I would match the flush water pH to it, and drip/acclimate the organisms with the new matched water till there was NO ammonia present, THEN I would drip/acclimate them with system water (of 8. whatever pH yours is)>
This seems, well, like it would be awesome, but definitely different than what I've ever done or researched. What are your thoughts.
<This is such a VERY important topic/subject that we should go over and over it till we are very sure of everyone's input. THEN you must decide. Quality handles more pieces/individual organisms in a week than most retailers will handle in a life time in the trade; but I too have processed hundreds of thousands of fishes and non-fishes. They themselves (QM) use
the identical SOP as the acclimation protocols archived on WWM; which are very tried/tested and of use. Bob Fenner>

Re: acclimatization; biz. and hobbyist?        1/31/14
Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Tomas>
I would like to know Your opinion.
What is Your opinion about keep the fish in quarantine/store tank for few months.
<Mmm; two weeks is "about right".
Stores won't get "more value" than running most all new fishes through a prophylactic/preventative dip/bath,  and isolating invertebrates, algae... more than 10-14 days. Longer costs  more (too much), and disimproves health from being in small volumes etc.>
You prefer keep in large tank with couple fish  together  (the same species or mixing ?)
<Some species; like most Tangs, yes>
or in the small tank with one fish?
<For expensive, solitary species, like Angels, yes>
How is the best for the fishes?
<Depends on species, sizes, sexes often>
Thanks for informations,
All the best
<Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
The first tray? Bob Fenner> 

pH Adjustment in Acclimation     8/27/13
Hello crew, I'm going to get some mail-order seahorses soon. Regarding acclimation, most breeders say to just use a short acclimation procedure.
One well-regarded vendor even says to just do thermal acclimation, then throw the seahorse in your tank.
<I would NOT do this.... Please read here (though I see you know most of it by reading below):
But I'm a worrywart, and I'd like to do a more thorough acclimation.
<You are wise here>
 I imagine they suggest an abbreviated acclimation to reduce the likelihood of ammonia poisoning. I understand the shipping water will have a low pH, which detoxifies ammonia. When you mix regular water with the shipping water, the pH goes up, and the fish get poisoned by ammonia. Reading on your site, I find the "gold standard" of acclimation to be mixing pH-adjusted water with the shipping water.
This protects from pH shock and keeps the ammonia from becoming dangerous. 
Bob Fenner's book says "if the pH is not adjusted, the resident ammonia in the organism's bodies may be converted to ammonium, toxifying the new life." Actually, isn't that a misprint?
<Yes it is...>
I thought it's mostly ammonium at low pH, and becomes ammonia at high pH.
<This is so>
 Also a point of academic interest...that statement implies the internal pH is largely a function of the pH in the ambient water. Is that true for fish, or just for inverts?
<Both; less so in fishes, larger organisms>
I thought a fish's metabolism regulated its internal pH, just like for people.
<Both are to degrees; humans more so than fishes>
And finally my main question...I plan to quarantine the new seahorses in their own tank for a couple of weeks. The quarantine tank will have a sponge filter that's been seasoned in the display tank for a couple of weeks. I can use "pH Down" drops to bring the QT water down to the level of the shipping water
<Mmm; no; don't do this. ONLY the to-be-mixed acclimation water s/b pH adjusted. ONCE the ammonia-ium has been flushed out of the mixed water, pH should be brought back up via drip (to that of your system, QT)>
 (I have an electronic pH meter). I imagine the pH will buffer upward gradually, or I can bring it back up to a normal marine level with water changes. But if the QT's water is reduced in pH to the low 7's (say), would that harm the sponge's nitrifying bacteria?
<Yes it would>
I've seen a downward pH adjustment harm biofilters in fresh water, but that was going from about 7.2 to about 6.5. I don't know how pH-sensitive marine biofilters are. Thanks for any information you can provide! Jerry
<Do please read the above citation; and write back if there are further concerns. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Green Wrasse Transfer     10/25/12
This is my first time writing. After reading some of the information on your forum I thought it might be wise to seek your advice. I have new Green Wrasse arriving over the next couple of days.
<Halichoeres chloropterus I'll assume; a neat fish. Just "put away" pix I shot of this in CT two wknd.s back>
 I am going to introduce it to my 55 gallon aquarium that currently has two pairs of clownfish.
<Mmm, I hope they leave it alone>
  It is my understanding that you recommend a wrasse have a shorter quarantine period compared to many other fish.
I am wanting to know what you recommend for my introduction of the Green Wrasse to my main tank?
 When it arrives do I do a freshwater dip and put it in quarantine, or should I simply freshwater dip it and put it directly into my main tank?
<Considering the source, it's appearance on arrival... I'd likely do the former... and add tank water back and forth for a week or so before introduction>
 If it goes into quarantine, how long should it stay there? As for the freshwater dip, I hear around 30 minutes is good,
<Much too long... a few minutes... Read here:
depending on the fishes tolerability. Is that that same for a wrasse, or should the freshwater dip be for a shorter period of time?
<A dip is even fine in most cases, most Labrids...>
Thanks so much for your help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Cherub angels, comp. and acclim. f's      10/25/12
Hi Bob, thanks for your response, quick follow up to let you know what happened:
Firstly, 9cm was way off the mark, he's more like 7.5cm!  Got a bit carried away there.
Anyway, after a weeks' worth of attempted trapping, involving baited cola bottles etc, no luck.  Predictably, the angelfish never went anywhere near it!
Helpful LFS guy suggested 24hour black-out technique, so I took the gamble, purchased the female, and cladded up the tank.  24 hours later and blankets off, was impressed at the effect this had on the resident fish - they were confused, wary, uncertain.
I am happy to report that the introduction has been a success - it is marvelous to watch them interact!
I think I will be using the black-out technique again, for new introductions.  As the LFS guy said, it seems to 're-set' the tank temporarily, giving new additions a foothold.
<Yes; better than simply turning the lights off>
Thanks again
<Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

acclimation, thermal diff.   2/4/12
Hi there,
I think I am having a problem acclimating...my new fish seem to be having a hard time lately...I am using the drip method and that is going well.
<Mmm, is there much difference, chemically, physically, twixt the shipping water and the system?>
 I put the fish with the bag water into a 5 gal bucket and start the drip....the problem is that the water in the bucket is about 10 degrees colder than the water in the tank...
<?! You need to allow the water in the bucket/bags to warm up ahead of this mixing. Perhaps by floating the bags in the main tank, w/ the lights out>
I acclimate for about an hour so what is the best way to get the temp up to match the tank water without stressing them out even more?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
the articles, FAQs files at the top. Bob Fenner>

Re: How old are Bob Fenner's articles ? Re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm, Acclimation - 10/06/2009
Thanks for your answer.
I do have one question more then...
Why not have the system water with same PH as shipping water and just put the fish directly into the system and then let the PH raise in the system ?
<Shipping water is almost always a much lower pH... Reducing the system water to match it will unduly stress/kill other life for one... And not making the adjustment outside the system will involve transferring
chemicals to the main/display that you want to keep out. A simplistic picture of a complex situation. BobF>

Re: How old are Bob Fenner's articles ? Adjusting pH through acclimation, cont.   10/8/09
OK, thanks.
but if I have a system without animals, like a quarantine system for the arrival animals.
can I have the PH low and put the arrival fishes into the same PH water directly and then let the PH raise in that system ?
Hope to hear from you soon,
<... the low pH will likely kill beneficial microbes, particularly nitrifiers... as in a sponge or other filter you'll need in place in the isolation/quarantine system. Do you understand this? Please re-read here re commercial acclimation: http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm
the second article down.

Acclimation/dip procedure for marine importer We're a freshwater fish importer/wholesaler about to bring in our first batch of marine fish.  The success of this shipment from Indonesia will help test whether we should invest in expanding to a marine operation (for this trial shipment we're leasing tank space in the quarantine area of a large retail shop).  Although constrained by the time and money pressures inherent in a competitive business, we want to do this right, or as close to right as we can get.   <Yes... know that marine arrivals are more variable, volatile than fresh> Since we don't have the luxury of isolating and holding all specimens for 3 weeks of quarantine, we've decided to use a dip method to remove parasites on arrival. <Worthwhile> Since the fish will have been in the bag for 30 to 40 hours by the time they get here, with pH somewhere between 7.2 and 6.5, we're trying to figure out a compromise between allowing them to gradually re-adjust to normal marine pH and getting them out of their ammonia-laden bag water quickly...complicated by the need to process several hundred fish in a few hours' time.  We'd appreciate your comments and suggestions on our proposed procedure. <The best ("A" players like Quality Marine in L.A. and Tropic Marine Centre in London, "meet" the arrival pH with artificial seawater that has been pH adjusted (with dilute HCL, aka Muriatic Acid, or carbon dioxide gas... which is very water soluble) to that of the shipping water... flushing out the existing water and mixed till there is no detectable ammonia present... then flushing with new near seawater synthetic...> Here's our plan: set up three 5-gallon buckets (actually several sets of 3).   Bucket #1 is salt water with pH reduced to some intermediate level between the fish's bag water and the target pH of 8.3.  We're thinking around 7.6? <Should be near or at the shipping water pH> Bucket #2 is water from the destination system. <Where are you going to get this? I suspect you mean water of 8.3 from your system... which you'll use then dump> Bucket #3 is a freshwater dip, also at pH 8.3. <Okay> All 3 buckets will be aerated for a couple of hours by the time the fish arrive. 1) sealed bags are floated in destination system, if needed, to match temperature. 2) a group of 6 to 10 bags are cut open, bag water discarded, and fish placed in bucket #1 for 7 minutes. <As long as it takes to slowly (over several minutes) flush out the ammonia... i.e. run new water (ala bucket #2 into the container (#1) till there is no ammonia. Better to use smaller volumes, less steep-sided containers like plastic kitty-litter trays with holes in side or tilted at angle here> 3) the fish are then moved to bucket #2 for 7 minutes, and the next batch of 6 to 10 fish go into bucket #1. 4) the first fish go into the freshwater dip, #3, for 7 minutes, the 2nd batch is moved, and a 3rd batch is started in bucket #1.  The time in bucket #3 may be altered if a fish starts flipping out. <Do add aeration to all "buckets"> 5) after freshwater dip, each batch is moved to the destination system. Aside from just "what do you think of this?", our questions are: 1) What should the pH be in bucket #1? <That of the shipping water>   Do we need a bucket #1.5? <Maybe, unless you change #2 as noted above> Is seven minutes enough here?   <Should be... but the transition between 1 and 2 (or 1.5) needs to be made with a test kit rather than a timer. You want to remove the ammonia from inside the specimens... no matter how long this takes... drip or run water from #2 (or 1.5) into each batch of #1 until there is no NH3> (we picked that time because it was appropriate for the FW dip, but if it's wrong for acclimation we can alter the procedure). 2) Should we use Methylene blue?  In which bucket(s)?  Is there any fish group we should NOT use it with? <This is fine... depending on the state of health of the fishes it may help some or not much at all. You want to observe all, continuously> 3) Which inverts should be FW dipped?  which ones should not?  (I assume no Methylene blue for inverts?) <I would NOT freshwater dip any of the invertebrates... nor expose them to the air... need to use flushes of just near seawater specific gravity (measure what is in their bags and match it) here> 4)  We are still looking for an affordable source of tank raised clowns, but in the meantime we do have some wild clowns coming on this order. <... Where are you folks located? What sort of volume do you do? Have you contacted ORA re?> Due to the pervasiveness of Brooklynella (or "perconella" as some around here call it), we're considering adding formalin to the FW bucket for clowns only.  Good idea or bad?  How much 37% formaldehyde to 5 gallons? <Very insightful... very common... and yes to being worthwhile to use formalin in a dip/bath here. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brooklynellosisart.htm About one cc. per gallon> 5) Speaking of T/R clowns, can you refer us to a producer who sells to wholesalers (and not at the same price they sell to retailers)? <Are you in the U.S.? I would try ORA: http://www.orafarm.com/ if you want to look into importing from the UK, TMC: http://www.tmc-ltd.co.uk/aquariumproducts/tropicmarintestkits.asp> We're also looking for other T/R fish, especially seahorses since after reading the Conscientious Marine Aquarist we won't buy wild seahorses at all. <These can be had from the above> Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Keith Langley Nautilus Wholesale Aquatics Denver, Colorado <Hope to run into you at the industry shows (was just out giving a pitch at "Marine Showcase"... would have come by for a visit...). Bob Fenner>

Drip Acclimation <Hi Rich, PF here tonight> Crew o' the New Millennium: I currently drip-acclimate my inhabitants from LFS to QT, and from QT to Display (after 4 weeks, of course).  I have not lost any fish or inverts to this method, but as my purchases get more expensive (over $50), I am starting to wonder if this is a good long term solution.  Currently, I am too apprehensive about dips and the "guerilla" technique.  I have read all I could find under "drip acclimation", and I see a lot of "slow" comments. What I need to know is how slow.  Could you give me some kind of "drips-per-minute" guide?  Over how long of a time?  How often should you spill out some water from the filling container, or only when it's overflowing? Thanks, Rich. <Well Rich, I don't think there is a generic number. A lot depends on the animal being acclimated. A very hardy animal could take a faster drip rate (say a damsel), while another would need something much slower (like any asteroids). The aforementioned damsel could be acclimated in an hour or so, while the asteroids should be done over the course of 8 hours, longer being even better. On the topic of dips, just be sure the pH matches, and you are using non-chlorinated water. It's an excellent method for removing disease organisms and parasites from fish. I'm sorry I can't give you a more definite answer, but in my opinion, there isn't one to give you, to much depends on what you are acclimating. Have a good evening, PF>

Re: Drip acclimation Crew: <Hello again Rich, PF again> Just to review, I was trying to find out general "drip rates" for acclimation and was told that there are no general rules.  Okay, I will take a chance and give you my future choices, and hopefully we can agree upon some sort of numbers.  Now, if it is just too much to ponder, that's cool - don't sweat it. 1-Bartlett's Anthias - Pseudanthias bartlettorum 1-Yellow Assessor - Assessor flavissimus 1-Flame Angelfish - Centropyge loricula 1-Scott's Fairy Wrasse - Cirrhilabrus scottorum 1-Purple Firefish - Nemateleotris decora 1-Fire Goby - Nemateleotris magnifica 1-Canary Wrasse - Halichoeres chrysus 1-Neon Goby - Gobiosoma oceanops (or G. evelynae) 1-Clown goby - Gobiodon okinawae 1-Rainford's Goby - Amblygobius rainfordi 1-Lettuce Sea Slug - Elysia crispata <These animals eat Bryopsis as juveniles, and other algae's as well when they are adults. I really can't advise keeping them. Even if they are solar powered slugs, they do still need to eat eventually, and if there's not enough food, they'll starve. There food of choice, is unfortunately, a pest.> ?-Various Hermits & Snails I don't mind being extra cautious, but I don't want to drip a fish for 8 hours if it will do more harm than good.  Is there a maximum number of hours I should worry about for inhabitants such as these?  Should the "drip speed" have anything to do with the amount of shipping water you start with?  Like, you start with 2 cups of bag water, so it should take at least 2 hours to drip 2 more cups?  Does this make any sense?  Please forgive me.  I am now 9 months into the marine side of this hobby, and I badly want to move up from "novice". Thanks, Rich <Well Rich, if it's any consolation, after about 14 months of reef keeping, and 2 years and some odd months of research prior to that, I still consider myself a novice, just one with some experience under my belt. I don't think you can do to long a drip, a slow acclimation is always better for the animals. As a general rule, between an hour and two hours for fish should be fine, with longer for corals and other invertebrates. The drip speed example you give sounds fine for fish, say 4 hours for most inverts and corals, and 8 for asteroids. I use a 10qt bucket and generally go till the bucket fills, with about 1 drip / every second or two (leaning towards the 1/second side). It also lets me do a small water change in the process. Hopefully this answers your question, have a good evening, PF>

Sri Lanka and Miami Fish Imports to UK - 7/14/03 Hello Anthony, <cheers, mate> I have a few more questions for you !-if you don't mind that is!!?!?!?!? <my pleasure> I am due a shipment from Singapore and Sri Lanka tomorrow. I am not sure what I will receive yet, until the packing lists come through tonight, however I have ordered lots of shrimps from Sri Lanka and as wondering if you had any tips on acclimatizing these? <dim overhead lights, dark aquaria... not too long in the shipping water as a slow drip acclimation will spike ammonia in the bag as pH increases (a common stress on newly imported fishes). I vote for 15 minute or less acclimation for delayed or transshipped fishes. Its the lesser of two evils to get them in the tank fast. Do test the shipping water and be amazed at the pH> I know acclimatization should be slow and steady, as they are very sensitive creatures. I have ordered Lysmata shrimps mainly, but there are a few other species Hispidus and dancing shrimps. <all fine> I have also ordered what where listed as 'LT anemones'. the Latin name is Radianthus Malu, <indeed one of the few that are remotely hardy> but I didn't think this species was shipped from Sri Lanka, in the past (about 5 years ago) when I was ordering from Sri Lanka, there were many different species of anemone listed and all they sent were carpet anemones! so I don't really know what I will receive! any comments of acclimatization? <none to speak of short of temperature... the anemones should arrive with little or no water if they are shipped properly> other species I have ordered are: xanthurus clowns cleaner wrasse Midas goby emperor angel red starfish porcupine puffer dogface puffer Percula clowns neon velvet damsel flashback Dottyback coral beauty angels yellow prawn goby feather duster tube worm <all good except the cleaner wrasses... wholly unsuitable for captivity for anything but the largest aquaria with the largest fishes (beyond issues of poor survivability on import)> Cuttlefish I thought I would give a cuttle a go - not sure how it will come in. <although some cuttlefish can be hardy as cephalopods go... this is really a creature for special orders and specialists only. I do regret to see them ordered casually> I was considering an RX-P (Kent product - main ingredient is pepper) dip for 10 minutes on all fish, before putting them into the system? any views on this? <yes... I personally would not take the product for free, and I would never use it on my livestock. Methylene blue and/or Formalin are tried and true for medicated dips. M. blue also helps with the solution/absorption/saturation of O2 in the water Sorry its a lot again, any help would be great!! Thanks again Regards, Sam <no trouble at all my friend... best regards, Anthony>

Re: Sri Lanka and Miami Fish Transshipped 6/13/03 Dear Anthony, Thank you for your reply! Unfortunately I had to place my order before I received your very informative e-mail. <no worries mate... sorry I could not get back to you quicker> Which is sad as I had gone with a few powder blue tangs. I understand the problems with this species, but I know that TMC (Britain's largest marine wholesaler) sources this species from Sri Lanka, with much success, so I thought if I used careful methods of acclimatization (as stated on your website) I may be able to settle this species well. <agreed... and true in part. But there are problems with this species and its suitability in captivity far beyond acquisition. Few receive the dynamic water flow and high levels of dissolved oxygen they need... the very large/long tanks... and the strict diet. A magnificent fish... but light years away in hardiness compared to Zebrasoma species> It is too late now and they are coming. I will do my best to save the ones in my box and next time I wont order these fish. <do consider importing them if they are handled well... but also try to avoid making them a ready staple for the uninformed or unprepared. All part of being a good merchant and sizing up your customers needs and abilities and educating them as you what best to buy from you. Serving you, your customer and the industry at the same time :) > I know what you are saying about triggers and lions, but the shipper is notorious for packing large fish, and I know I will wind up with massive lionfish! <Heeee... brother, ALL shippers are notorious for this <G>. Very good to be aware... but use your money as muscle: make it clear to this and any shipper what you will and will not pay for from the start... if they ship you fill ins or inappropriate stock... don't pay, or don't reorder without credit if COD> The triggers on the list were not too interesting, only the standard Undulated (which I find very aggressive), blue niger (which I have) and the Picasso. If there were clown triggers I would jump at the chance to get one. <do look at the black footed clowns from Sri Lanka... somewhat of a rarity here in the US. Also, the Sebae/clarkii clowns from here are breathtaking!!> Thank you for the advice on the Florida box. I would really like some Atlantic tangs, as I have dived with them in the Caribbean. These are not that common in the UK so these would be quite special. <alas... they get to 40 cm as an adult! Good thing you don't see many of them in the trade... would be heartbreaking> I would like to shoal them, or keep them in a small group, but I am not sure of their behaviour in such groups in captivity? <the behavior is reasonably good... but they are a fragile fish... and get quite large. I really cannot imagine too many private aquaria that can responsibly house even three adult blue tangs as they approach their adult size. Really best left in the ocean unless special ordered for large/public aquaria> what are your thoughts? also do juv.s do better than adults? <5-10 cm is likely to ship best IMO> what size would I expect to come from Florida (I know these questions are a bit 'dependable' but I should imagine you have a better idea than I have) <be careful of really small specimens so common from FL (under 4 cm). And definitely avoid all over 15 cm (very poor shippers)> I won't order horseshoe crabs, although they are very interesting creatures. <agreed> The hi hats will also be crossed off my list, I haven't much experience with these so I was ordering out of curiosity really (a bit un-ethical of me). I will QT these fish as you said, I do have a substrate but it is only fine white Silica Sand which is inert. I siphon this out regularly and replace it with new sand to remove any 'nasties' in it. also Decor is a minimum and lighting is subdued. When I unpack the fish this is done under red light (I use a red light bulb in my fish house just so I can see around) the fish are unpacked into small plastic containers (about 8"X5"X5") with traveling water. the containers are drilled with air line coming out as a siphon and then system water is dripped in using air line again from the main tanks. this is done for an hour then the fish are dipped (what are your suggestions, I usually use system water with Methylene (sorry about spelling) blue for around 2minutes ) then move the fish into the main system. <outstanding acclimation protocol my friend. Kudos to you> Do you think I should increase the dip time? <varies by species/group... many would benefit from longer... but some would suffer fatally (scaleless and small scaled fishes, dwarf angels, etc) Sorry for the long e mail again! I hope you can answer my questions! Kind regards, Sam Baker <no worries, mate... best regards. Anthony>

Wholesale Quarantine (actually acclimation) Protocol Questions Hi Bob, How do you quarantine clowns upon arrival? <When I was engaged in this part of the industry, yes. All wild caught Clownfishes were quarantined... with/in the invertebrate systems for such> I have headache with frequent massive death for Fire Clowns. Sometimes Percula Clowns do die in mass too. <Yes. They do here as well> Currently I'm using made in Japan yellow powder in packet form to quarantine clowns before putting them into my main tanks as suggested by some fish shops. <Likely a Furazone compound. Useful> Is this the correct method? How about quarantining clowns in controlled PH (8.0 to 8.4) fresh water with Methylene blue instead? Which method is best? <A blend of both... reduced Spg, the "yellow powder" and Methylene blue... a bit more of the chemicals and pH-adjusted freshwater bath/dip on arrival as well. These matters are covered on WetWebMedia.com> Can those sensitive fishes like Emperor Angel be quarantined the same way in controlled pH fresh water with Methylene blue before putting into main tanks? <Yes> Sometimes I have Emperor Angels having redness on the top fin. What really happen and is it being 'burnt' or suffering cut? <Very likely a "burn" from poor water quality during transit/shipping... and possibly a bit from rough handling, poor conditions before> Pls advise. Thanks for your help in advance Charles <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Dave Palmer, PAF Hi Bob, Do you know Dave Palmer from Pacific Aquafarms in LAX? Is he a big wholesaler there? <Do know Dave... a fine person in the trade. A good sized "player", yes. He helps folks deal in marine livestock from the tropical West Atlantic to the Solomons, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu...> This is what I plan to do for quarantining of wild caught clowns. I will bath/dip them in PH controlled fresh water with Methylene Blue for short while. After which I will place them in new marine water with 'Yellow Powder' for hours of further quarantine until they are fit to be in my holdings. Is this ok? <Yes... but do time the exposure. Most fishes can take five to ten minutes (with aeration or addition of water to the acclimation containers (do you have time to visit in Los Angeles to see how others have made gear for this?)> Is it necessary to put other corals or anemone beside clowns in bare bottom tanks in order to increase their survival rate? <Please read through the marine index and business Subweb on WetWebMedia.com re these issues. Too much to state in a simple email. Use the Google search tool at the bottom of the homepage with the term "acclimation". Bob Fenner> Pls advise. Thank you Cheers, Charles

Drip vs. Dip - Thanks for a great website and all the help.  I think I am starting to get it!! I have now read the Conscientious Marine Aquarist, and all the posts about acclimation. I understand the drip method, and I understand the benefits of a fresh water, or treated, dip for new arrivals.  But I am having trouble understanding two areas, and my wife is headed out tonight for a new Six Line Wrasse and a cleaner crew, so I better ask. 1) For new fish, when do you do the dip vs. when you do the drip acclimation? <Mmm... good question. I'd say for the most part I dip almost everything that isn't a known dip-unfriendly fish.> Do you do the drip acclimation and then do the dip right before moving the fish to the quarantine tank? <No, they're going to get stressed from the salinity change anyway, so might as well dip them and drop them in the tank.> Or do you do the dip as soon as they arrive and then put them back in the shipping water to do the acclimation? <Nope, once out of the shipping water, that stuff gets tossed.> Does it make a difference which way you do this if they are locally bought versus purchased online? <Nope, both should be dipped whenever possible.> By the way, for the dip I was planning on using a solution of ParaGuard (malachite green) in tank water with an airstone (8-10 minutes)  followed by a short freshwater rinse (5 minutes).  Sound close? <I'd skip the ParaGuard for now and just rely on the hyposalinity to do its job. Six line wrasses are good for a little more than five minutes... I'd go as long as possible. Just don't dip the inverts.> 2) What about dips for the cleaner crew invertebrates such as snails, cleaner shrimp, scallops, etc. <No... about the only thing you could do here is a dip in tank water with iodine added, but I'd hold off on this entirely... and don't buy the scallops.> Since these are so sensitive to osmotic shock, how do I treat these animals for possible parasites? <Quarantine.> Is it safe to just do a malachite green dip on these in tank water, maybe at a weakened concentration? <Heavens no, the malachite green will kill them.> Do you recommend quarantining snails and hermits? <Anthony Calfo suggests quarantining everything, I don't... although it is possible that they could carry in some "undesirables", the actual occurrence is very low.> Most of the posts and books are not very clear on this point. Thanks, Rick <Cheers, J -- >

- Drip vs. Dip - Thanks for the response, but now I am really confused. <My apologies.> So, I thought I had better ask for clarification. <And I thought I had been as clear as possible.> Based on your response below, it sounds like you are saying to forget the drip acclimation altogether. <Correct.> Just do the freshwater dip and then put them into the quarantine tank.  Am I reading this right? <I think that's what I said, yes.>  What about the potential sudden pH change causing problems? <Should be a pH adjusted, freshwater dip - match the freshwater pH to that of your tank. There is stress involved in this process, and there is no helping it. Getting two things over all at once should be no problem.> Or, are you really saying to use the drip method to acclimate them freshwater dip solution (ease the Ph transition), <No... here, let's say this. There's nothing wrong with drip acclimating your fish. Still... time is of the essence, so you don't want to keep them in the bag any longer than they need to be. If they've been in the bag for a long time - more than 12 hours, then you should at the very least test their shipping water and make sure the pH is not too low. If the pH is very low - in the sevens, then go ahead and slowly drip them up to normal - no harm done. If the pH is in the eights, skip the drip and go for the dip.> then move them to the dip for 5 minutes or so and then to the quarantine tank? <Quarantine, yes.> Thanks (again), Rick <Cheers, J -- >

- My new Fish Procedures -  Hello everyone. I just wanted to get your comments/insight on a plan I have to introduce new fish to my aquarium. Got to get a process down. <Ok.>  Display tank: 125 gal, 6ft long, over 160 lbs Fiji Live Rock (made into two towers, with bridge in the middle).  Current residents: Red Lion fish, 20 hermits/snails, and a Sand Sifter star fish. When a new fish arrives to my home:  1) Remove the fish from the shipping bag with a net, and place into dip tank.  · Dip tank: 10 gal, freshwater, 80 degrees, Methylene Blue treated.  Is it OK to add directly from the shipping bag like this?  <For the most part, yes. I'd float the bag for a while, just to equalize the temperature of the water the fish is currently in.>  2) Fish will remain in Dip tank for approximately 5 to 7 minutes. <Ok.>  3) Fish will be netted again, and placed into the Quarantine tank.  · Quarantine tank: 20 gal, display tank water, 80 degrees, Copper treated. <I wouldn't just arbitrarily put copper in quarantine unless there is a problem you are trying to treat. We're talking about compounds that are toxic and there's just no practical reason to expose the fish to the same unless you absolutely have to.>  4) There the fish will stay for minimum 3 weeks. <Two would suffice - there is a tipping point at which the fish will fare less and less well if over quarantined.>  5) Fish will then be moved to the Display tank, with normal procedures of acclimation. <I'd actually freshwater dip them just one more time on the way to the display.>  Fish I want to acquire: Foxface Rabbitfish, Heniochus (2 or 3?), Threadfin, and a Raccoon (a French Angel or Naso Tang might be alternates).  Based upon the fish mentioned, does this sound like a good plan? <Sure... plus a couple of modifications.> Could, in general, the dip and quarantine be too much stress for these fish? <All in all, no... is pretty much necessary.>  Thank you for your time,  Daniel  <Cheers, J -- >

System for Fish at new facility... another satisfied customer Hi Bob and Crew <Evening> Since our last correspondence a month ago, my holding facility has been cycling well....6 weeks in fact (system details below) I had my first shipment from overseas come in 2 days ago, and applied the Guerilla Acclimation technique....I lost no fish from 160....BUT, some things alarmed me, and I would like to outline these to you...please tell me if something is not right. I prepared some mixing water...approximately twice the volume of the shipping water....I added StressCoat from Aq Pharmaceuticals, and some Methylene Blue ( but not a huge amount)...I added a whole bunch of airstones and put the chiller to work....I lowered the pH to 7.5 as a preliminary, so I could fine tune it a few hours later when the fish came in. When the fish came, we opened a few of the bags and tested pH.....down in the mid to low 6's.....was a bit of a shock !! <Heeeee! Happens> ....so we did the Kitty Litter thing with larger plastic containers, and poured the fish and shipping water into these....put in the airstones and waited 30 min.s....The fish generally seemed OK......Tested the Ammonia during this time and the result was deep Green ....quite high..... <Typical> Tested the pH again after this 30 min.s and it was 7.2.......we then fine-tuned the mixing water...... <Good> My 1st question is...is this normal?... <Very> and with the pH rising 0.7 in 30 min.s on it's own drastic enough for the NH3 to change and become nasty? <Can be> We then proceeded to slowly ladle in mixing water....took 1 hour or more to add double the amount than the shipping water, with the excess draining of through holes drilled in the trays.....tested Ammonia again, and it was still high, but not quite as high.......but the pH had risen again by a little. <Ahh... yes> I started to worry a little, but the fish seemed to be generally OK.........My system water was then slowly added......parameters for system water as follows,  Ph 8.3, dKH 8, Salinity 1.023, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphate all Nil....calcium 380..D.O  6+, and temp 24.5 Celsius....... Over the next 2 hours, we slowly added system water until the pH was 8.2 (pH was monitored constantly throughout this process)....... We prepared a freshwater dip to 8.2 also, and added a few drops of Formalin....in your article it said an ounce per gallon, but the bottle said a couple of drops per gallon...so I was really confused and went with a few drops........added 2 Yellow Tangs to try.....and they went ape in the Freshwater Bath......needless to say we then dispensed the rest of the fish into the system without the dip.... Within a few minutes   3 Yellow Tangs and a Declivis started to swim crazy loop the loop configurations...... <Again... par for the course> However....no dead fish !!!! <Amazing, eh?> Please read through what I did and let me know if there is anything I did wrong, or need to do better, as I have a Shipment from Brazil coming in 2 days, and these guys will have been in bags for 50 hours.....albeit in a damn sight more water than the Hawaii shipment...... Thanks in advance for your valuable advice. JD <More and more valuable as you consider... Bob Fenner>

Acclimation Techniques Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> We are trying to eradicate ich. When giving a freshwater bath to new arrivals prior to quarantine, you article indicated to match PH to the New Tank's water. 1) Shouldn't we acclimate the fish with a few cups of water before putting him/her into the Dip? It seems that shipping water may be a much lower PH than a normal tank - and we don't want to risk shocking the animal. <Good point. That's my personal procedure. Replace some of the water in the bag/bucket with water from the quarantine tank, try to match the pH in the dip as closely as possible to the quarantine tank, and proceed from there. However, I have seen many people skip this step and go right to the dip without problems. I'm not recommending this "shortcut", but I have seen it done before many times. I'd take the conservative approach myself.> Also a couple more dip questions: 2)Is RO/DI water with Reef Buffer the best thing to use for a new fish? We saw the post where someone's fish died after they used distilled water and are getting a little paranoid. <I'd aerate the RO/DI before using it> 3) Should we also dip fish before adding to fallowed tank who have been in quarantine 2 months with no signs of ich? <I'd probably pass under these circumstances. They don't need any additional stress> If so, how long would you recommend for a Watchman goby and Hippo tang? Thanks as always!!! Doug <As above. Sounds like you're doing things right! Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Acclimation before and after dip/quarantine   2/22/06 Hi Bob, <Joe> First up, I think your website is a great, a good stress reliever, in particular for myself, being new to saltwater. I've had much hesitation over whether to operate a quarantine tank but I must say the website persuaded me to go ahead with it! ;) <Yay!> My question is this: Upon bringing a marine animal home from the LFS, what acclimation procedures, if any, should be followed prior to carrying out a freshwater dip and then placement into the quarantine tank. I am aware that the freshwater used for the dip should be of similar temperature and ph to system water  but I was confused (after quite a bit of reading) as to where the normal acclimation technique of slowly adding system water to livestock over a period of time exactly fits into this process, if it does at all?? <Ahead of this dip/bath> Aren't the fish stressed by being quickly moved from shop water to freshwater and then to quarantine water without any transitional/intermediate acclimation? <Sometimes... up to folks to "evaluate" their animals' conditions... choose to do more/less in the acclimation/dip-bath process. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your time, Joe (Sydney, Australia)

Acclimation Weirdness :) actually, clarification re some very useful techniques, particularly for folks in the biz   1/25/06 Hi Crew, <Bora> Bora here. I work in a chain petstore and after "mysterious deaths" of saltwater fish, finally management decided that it would be a good idea for the "aquatic guy" to receive fish :). That would be me. Personally Bob F. is my idol <Rats! Wish I could sing> so I try to follow him mostly. I had a great shipment/success with "guerilla acclimation" but there was couple of things I was not sure. 1- I did regular chemicals/differences check on saltwater except for salinity at first. Went through the process. Original fish only set up I have is 1.021. but after the acclimation I wanted to see what the level would be and the final mixture in tub came out 1.029.  So is it logical to assume the vendor is keeping these fish at about 1.033 :) or because of the evaporation and gas exchange the water in the shipping bags became "saltier"? <Likely they were using natural water (1.025) and the animals "added" some more dense material...> (I even thought that since the vendor is in Florida, maybe they are cycling their water from the very shallow waters of ocean might effect the situation but hey I don't know much that's why I am seeking help lol) <Best to "meet halfway" here or so... Spg-wise... unless most fishes are very weak...  and to match for invertebrates, and fishes that live in close association with invert.s> 2- Is there a reason for the black Volitans lion to adjust takes longer time than the rest of the stock ? (I am saying this by observing behaviour such as getting out of corner and actively feeding and all) And also puffers in general don't do well, either, whatever I tried. I usually end up advising my customers not to buy "that" puffer. <Are slimier, and "moodier", and more spheroid/three dimensional...> 3- (Freshwater question over same type of acclimation) I had amazing results with Bob F.'s experiences also, yet the rainbow sharks were the only ones amongst the whole stock to get dizzy, and fell to the gravel after acclimation and laid dead for 15 minutes. Now they are alive and well. but what might I have done wrong to disturb the rainbow sharks? Any ideas? <These minnows are in need of high dissolved oxygen levels... and do suffer from the low DO in shipping. Add vigorous mechanical aeration (i.e. airstone bubblers) during acclimation/dips... and Methylene Blue if you have... and you will experience much different results (better)> Not enough "thank you's to WetWebMedia crew and Bob F.  for sharing years of experiences and the outcome of a lot of investments in any ways. Bora. ps: I have to say that I admire Ali's professional attitude over the "t-5 lights" issue. <Me too. Bob Fenner>

Acclimation P & P  12/9/05 Lorenzo, you asked about my acclimatization procedures. <Hello again!> I equalize the temperature by floating the bag in the tank, and then drip acclimatize. I have used package water to describe the water the fish came in and aquarium water to describe my cycled water. If the fish/critters do not show signs of distress after 20 minutes, I increase the rate of flow a bit, or else, I reduce it. It usually takes me about an hour. <I assume you control the temperature in the bag during this time, perhaps by leaving it floating in a heated system.>  (I scoop out half a cup of package water for every cup of aquarium water added). When the package is full of aquarium water instead of package water,  <You understand this condition is nigh impossible, mathematically/chemically, yes? Nevertheless, that's about the right way to do it.>  I net (or in the case of the clown used a specimen jar) the fish out and put it in the tank. Whenever I drip acclimatize, I use the water of the QT tank into which the fish is going and not my main display tank. <Sounds good.>  I acclimatize again, though not as extensively when the fish go into the main tank (just in case) but by the add-a-half-cup, remove a half cup, wait 15 minutes, repeat method until water replaced, then net and add. As you can see, I spend a *lot* of my time transferring water from one place to another. The temperatures in my display and QT tanks are the same (78 degrees) but I am anal like that. <Good practice.>  My angel fatality: As for my angel, she had small strips of Sea Veggies and tang heaven Nori around the tank on sterile ornaments to help her graze. I did not wish to keep live rock inside the tank but I wished her to have the opportunity to simulate grazing. I came back from work, and she was dead. No other fish in that tank, except for a shrimp. A tiny peppermint shrimp, nothing predatory. And she was an adult! <This fish may well have been cyanide-caught, or otherwise stressed, perhaps by poor transit conditions.>  New fish in tank: I just want a fish that is out and about, not one that hides in the rockwork all the time. If a royal Gramma is a hider, then I'd like to give him a wide berth. I love wrasses. I just don't know what wrasse could fit in a 30 gallon. I thought they all needed 50 gallon or bigger tanks? <A six-line wrasse would work, and they're quite busy. Not the flashiest colors, though beautiful details.>  Once again, thanks crew.  Sweta <Always a pleasure, Lorenzo> 

Acclimation worries?   9/1/06 Hello, <Hi there> Not quite sure who will be answering today, but thank you in advance. <Me neither, but welcome> I didn't see anything in the acclimation sections that answer this so here goes: I am maintaining my quarantine tank 65 gallon fallow tank with large sponge filter and Eheim Ecco 2232, at slightly lower salinity levels (1.019 at 82 C) when I receive livestock the shipping water can be anywhere from about 1.024 to 1.026 - how should I acclimate the stock so that it can be placed in to the quarantine tank? <Mmm, for one, you should "meet" the specific gravity of the shipping water... Please read the Acclimation articles again> Should I be maintaining my tank at higher levels and then try to bring the salinity levels down later on to try and inhibit the likelihood of marine diseases? <Can do...> Or should I just maintain my salinity at a level that will be closer to the shipping water that the livestock is received in? <Your choice... some species (e.g. those that live in close association with invertebrates, like symbiotic gobies... "like" higher/steady Spg> When the stock is moved from the quarantine to the main tank (being maintained at 1.022) should I be worried about shock to the livestock from altering the salinity in such a large increment in a relatively short period of time (I usually take about an hour acclimating stock from tank to tank) <I would move the new fishes environment to be close to this over a few days time... no more than a thousandth in a day> Any and all advice would be great - thanks. Aehsun <Bob Fenner>

When acclimating Lysmata amboinensis - 11/09/06 Alight thank you  I will read on WetWebMedia.  One more quick question When acclimating Lysmata amboinensis.  What is the best method to use? <Very slow drip into an open container... a length of air-line tubing either tied to reduce flow, or a nut, couple of washers, and bolt to pinch/restrict. Bob Fenner>  

Saltwater Acclimation/Dipping - 04/21/07 Good afternoon all!   <<Hello Kim...morning now>> I am having a hard time getting a clear answer to the confusion I'm experiencing. <<Oh?>> I am planning on using the Guerilla Acclimation Technique for the first time (salt water). <<Mmm, I see>> In addition, I would like to do a freshwater dip. <<Ok>> From here, the fish will go to QT for the appropriate amount of time. <<Excellent>> I understand that the pH of the treated water during acclimation should be adjusted down to the level of that in the shipping water (ex 7.8). <<Per the 'Guerilla Acclimation Technique' article, yes.  But keep in mind this article appears to be geared toward those in the industry receiving fish shipments that may have been bagged/in transit for long periods and that bringing/keeping the pH "down" in the initial stages of acclimation reduces the toxicity of the accumulated ammonia.  I'm not saying that the procedure won't work for the average hobbyist, but I think there is a more simple process for acclimating/dipping specimens purchased from your LFS>> I also understand that the pH of the freshwater dip should match that of the QT tank water (ex. 8.2). <<Agreed>> If one is to acclimate, as well as use a freshwater dip, where in the process is the fish acclimated to the differing pH between the acclimation procedure and the dip?  (assuming that the shipping water, and therefore the treated water for acclimation is lower than that of the QT??)  Because of my lack of understanding, I don't know whether to dip first and then acclimate, or vice versa??? <I understand your confusion, and scanning the article, I don't see the answer to your question either.  I definitely would want to match the pH of the holding/acclimation system water to that of the quarantine system before transferring the fish.  I think this would be best accomplished by slowly adding/replacing the acclimation water with water from the quarantine system (This can easily be done "after" following Bob's acclimation procedure and "before" performing the freshwater dip).  Once the pH is matched, I would then prepare the freshwater for the dip (Ph and temperature adjusted)...dip the fish...and place it in quarantine.  Or more simply...float the bagged fish in the quarantine system...add/replace water until pH/temp are matched...net-out the fish (disposing of the water in the bag)...dip the fish...place the fish in the quarantine tank>> Thanks for all your help.   <<Hope you find it useful>> Regards, Kim in Boston.   <<Cheers, EricR in Columbia>><The pH should be allowed to "drift" back to NSW... the same about as the water that the fishes are being moved to next. With depressing pH through the use of inorganic acid (like HCl) or CO2 gas... new water of NSW (Near Seawater quality) is dripped, otherwise delivered into the acclimation mix, allowed to overflow or be dipped out... over time matching pHs. RMF>

Re: Saltwater Acclimation/Dipping - 04/23/07 Thank you for taking the time to respond.  As always, your advice is always appreciated. <<Quite welcome...is what we do>> Our new addition is swimming happily and eating well in the QT tank! <<Good news indeed!>> Regards, Kim <<Thanks for sharing.  EricR>>

Compatibility/Acclimation 1/23/08 Hello crew, <Hello> I know that you hear it a thousand times a day, but it's still worth saying. You are the go to site on the web for information. Any time I am ever tempted to get a fish/coral/ invert, I always check out what you have to say about it first. As you have mentioned not every published person is even remotely correct on certain issues; (granted there is always some range within what is true). Anyway onto the questions: One of my tanks is a 30g mixed fish/reef. It has been up and running for 9 months now and doing well since I added the Remora pro skimmer- lots of hair algae before that now zero. Currently residing in the tank are: False Percula Clowns Coral beauty- not a nipper :) Blue damsel CBS <Coral Banded Shrimp?> Hawaiian Shrimp (Saron marmoratus) And various SPS, LPSs, soft corals I feed the tank a varied diet at least twice a day and all my parameters are within acceptable ranges. My question is this, who bit the Coral Beauty? <I'm betting on the Blue Damsel.> If not as soon <?> as the bite out of the tail fin healed, another two circular bites appeared in the same location. I would assume that it was the damsel because of their notorious reputation but... Lately the clowns have been hosting a Goniopora. (I know, hard by itself, even harder with the pestering of clowns- I have noticed a bit of recession after two months) Anyway, the female has become quite protective of it's host. Is it likely that the clown could be the culprit? <Both, as you say, this coral is difficult to keep without the Clownfish agitating it. You do not mention your lighting and this coral requires very high light levels to survive, and even at that, most will not survive long.> Or should I go ahead and remove the damsel and see where it goes from there? The reason I ask is because I have never seen any aggression between any of the tankmates. Even when I first added the Coral Beauty two months ago, I saw no signs of discontent. Why all of a sudden? <With you being in front of the tank, it could change the mindset of the damsel, more concerned with you than the Coral Beauty. I'd remove the damsel.> Second question: after reading the explanation of the two ways to acclimate fish and inverts- normal and "guerrilla" I guess- I am still left with one question. What is the purpose of acclimating a specimen to your exact pH, salinity, etc. if you're just going to put them in a freshwater/ Methylene blue dip for five minutes? Are you suggesting to just jump to the dip after temperature acclimation? <I do not strive to match the pH and other parameters exactly. A pH within .1 is fine along with an SG within .001 is fine. Temperatures can be within a degree. As far as the freshwater dip, I'm really not a fan of dipping a perfectly healthy fish. Why put it through unnecessary stress, much better to quarantine a new specimen and treat only if needed. As far as acclimation, I prefer the drip method. This type of acclimation will slowly adjust all the water parameters within a safe time frame with no need to manually adjust the shipping water. There are inexpensive kits on the market now for drip acclimation.> Thanks for your time <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>  

Acclimation procedure, SW  2/29/08   Bob, re-write, sep. FW, SW...  <Done! 3/1/08> Bob, I read your article regarding salt-water acclimation and related article on Methylene blue dips. I am a little confused and concerned regarding how many acclimation procedures to put the fish through. <There are a few variations on the theme... depending on where you are in the "chain of custody", the species in question, their apparent state of health> When bringing fish home from the LFS do I first acclimate them to the QT saltwater conditions or do I just start adding/acclimating to the RODI treated water? <Most of the time the former... some folks advocate prophylactic dipping/baths... by hobbyists...> By treated water I mean RODI water <Mmm... I would use tap/source water... the mineral helps, and using such assures it has been at least likely aerated... RO/DI is gas-less...> that is the same temp & ph as the QT tank, no salt added, but with Kordon's Meth Blue, Malachite Green & Novaqua, (should I add dosages as recommended by the manufacturer?). <Mmm, you could... I would not generally use Malachite in a dip for livestock...> After approximately 15minutes do I then start another acclimation to switch the fish to the QT saltwater tank? <If you were in doubt as to the likelihood of external parasite faunal presence, you might dip/bath enroute from your dealer to your quarantine... IF you have no such QT, a dip/bath may be prudent going from the source to the main/display> I purchased the Methylene blue from Kordon Corp, is this pharmacy grade, (I would assume it is since the President of Kordon is the one who made the statement to you)? <You can read Dr. Rofen's co.s stmt.s on the Net re> I know we don't want to risk exposing the fish directly to the main display without some precautions however I don't want to kill parasites at the cost of killing the fish. Don't you feel that the fish is stressed moving from the ocean to the LFS to the shipping bag to the dip method to the QT? <Oh yes> Only to be moved at a later date into the main display. Can the fish survive all of this? <Most can, do... far less stressful than living on reefs> I am just wondering if all these procedures adds to the stress of the animal and in and of itself can increase mortality rates. Thanks for your input, I look forward to your reply, Frank <The apparently too-complicated methodologies are S.O.P. in wholesale livestock, aquaculture facilities and public aquariums the world round... Bob Fenner>

Re: Acclimation procedure follow-up question 2/29/08 Bob, just a couple of last questions on this topic: you state below that you would generally not use Malachite in an acclimation process for livestock however in your acclimation article you state the following: E) Additives: I endorse the use of Maracide and Saltwater Maracyn ingredients for saltwater acclimation. These fine products from Mardel labs should be used in similar concentrations as for listed above for freshwater. From the freshwater acclimation procedure: ...we add two more chemicals to the treatment. As a matter of availability and convenience they are Maracide (principally malachite green) and Maracyn (the antibiotic erythromycin) by Mardel Laboratories. <Mmm, yes... you stated you are dealing with saltwater, NOT fresh> Are you differentiating between a dip and acclimation procedure? (If so would you employ both processes or is one the preferred method?) <Don't know if I'm following you here. These are two different processes. Are distinct> I would like to follow a prescribed method to give new fish the best chance of survival in my main display w/out possibly introducing undesirables into the main display/infecting established livestock: would you agree with the following: bringing fish home from the LFS in a shipping bag 1) transfer livestock & shipping water to cat litter tray, 2) start to mix treated water into the shipping water, treated water is defined as conditioned tap water, (proper ph & temp), with Meth blue and Novaqua (HOW LONG SHOULD THEY REMAIN HERE?) <10-20 minutes likely, with aeration> then 3) transfer to QT tank or Main display tank. Or 1) mix main display or QT saltwater slowly with the shipping water, 2) Dip livestock in treated tap water for a couple of minutes 3) transfer livestock to QT or main display. Frank <The former procedure is much better. Bob Fenner>

Re: Acclimation procedure LAST follow-up question 2/29/08 Bob, Not trying to be argumentative but rather trying to clarify. <Frank... so sorry that my correspondence, indeed, old articles on this important topic are so unclear. I assure you, the lack of clarity lies with me, not you... Let's see if I can help here> see below: Per your article on Saltwater acclimation: E) Additives: I endorse the use of Maracide and Saltwater Maracyn ingredients for saltwater acclimation. These fine products from Mardel labs should be used in similar concentrations as for listed above for freshwater. From the freshwater acclimation procedure: ...we add two more chemicals to the treatment. As a matter of availability and convenience they are Maracide (principally malachite green) and Maracyn (the antibiotic erythromycin) by Mardel Laboratories. <Mmm, yes... you stated you are dealing with saltwater, NOT fresh> I am dealing with saltwater but am confused over your response of using Maracide (malachite green) as an additive. I am assuming that Maracide and malachite green are the same. <Is the principal ingredient, yes> Use with the acclimation process or am I confusing your article? Frank <Do note the statement in this section of the article: "Additives: This, once again, is my own garden variety formulation for almost all types of freshwater fish livestock. Specifications are okay at approximate drops per gallon. In actual practice we re-use sixteen ounce squirt bottles of standardized-available stock solutions." Do you see that this statement applies to FRESHWATER livestock? "almost all types of freshwater fish livestock"... The article is written for both FW and SW applications... and is unfortunately confusing. You are dealing with marine fishes, correct? Please ignore the statements/sections referring to freshwater livestock. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

A Heartfelt "Thanks!" & SW Fish Acclimation/Dips   7/5/08 Dear Bob, >Joe< I have been a reader of WWM for several years and would like to thank you and the crew members for the huge amounts of effort, experience, wisdom, as well as common sense that has went into the site. I have NEVER had to write because every question I've thought of has been within these pages. In addition, I would like to give a huge 'Thank you' to both you and Anthony for the books, 'CMA' as well at 'Reef Invertebrates'. I would like to encourage all readers to purchase both because there is additional information not posted on WWM in these pages that is extremely valuable! These are the most detailed books that I've read regarding the hobby and I appreciate every word! I'm already on my 2nd copy of CMA! <Heeee!> My first ever question is actually more of a clarification. In the past I have not quarantined or dipped specimens and have been very lucky regarding disease. This is all going to change. After reading every acclimation article on WWM, every FAQ, and every chapter (repeatedly) in CMA, I'm still a bit confused as to proper acclimation/dip procedures. I know this is a relatively simple procedure and I think that the root of the confusion that other readers have had is from not actually seeing/experiencing the proper procedure first hand. There is a big difference between reading and actually witnessing someone properly acclimate/dip a specimen. <I totally agree with you> I have done my best at compiling the information and have created a general step by step acclimation procedure with dip. I would GREATLY appreciate a critique. I believe that this step by step layout will help other aquarists like me that have difficulty understanding the complete and proper process. <Ok> This is a general procedure for most common marine fish that appear to be in general good health, 1) Upon bringing the specimen home, float bag in quarantine tank to equalize temperature for about 10 minutes. 2) Add an air stone to the bag and begin drip acclimating to quarantine tank for 40-50 minutes. 3) While drip acclimating, prepare dip water in separate container. Use pre- aerated RO water that is temperature adjusted and buffered with sodium bicarbonate to about 8.2 <Will only raise to about 7.8> (same parameters as quarantine) with or without Methylene blue added according to bottle instructions. (Or should this dip water be made 24 hrs in advance?) <New is fine> 4) When drip acclimation is completed, scoop specimen with net and dip in prepped water for 5-10 minutes depending on size and reaction to dip. 5) Net and place directly in quarantine tank 6) Observe in quarantine for at least 4 weeks and administer treatment if symptoms arise. 7) Upon quarantine release, drip acclimate to display tank (turn lights off or dim) and release specimen. *Never mix bag water with quarantine or display <Sounds good> Obviously there are other ways to go about this. But in general, how does this look in your valued opinion? >Fine< Again Bob, words cannot express how your and all of the WWM crew's work has helped me and countless other aquarists. THANK YOU! Joe W. Wichita, KS <Glad to help you. 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> 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

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>

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>

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 Ricordea <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>

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

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

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>

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!

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 -- >>

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