Acclimatisation Procedure

sthn75 Moderator Posts: 3,487
edited September 2009 in Beginner's Forum
Acclimatising your new fish to your tank water is a must.

As the difference between your water parameters and the shop's water parameters can send fish into shock and even cause death if they are not acclimatised properly.

I recommend the Drip Method (as does Livefish) and I have about a 99.99% success rate (I don't believe that anything is 100% failsafe <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> )

Drip Method Procedure:

Items Needed:

1 x Length of air hose (mine is 1 metre long but you can have it at any length that suits you)
1 x Control Valve (or Clothes Peg... see pic below)
1 x Plant Weight (or something similar)


1) Make up a drip hose using a length of air hose with a control valve attached to one end and a plant weight wrapped around the other end (to stop it from floating)

My Drip Hose

Getting Setup For Acclimatisation

1) Put the bag (with the new fish) into a similar sized container (for support)

2) Using the drip hose put the weighted end into the tank & the control valve end into the bag with the fish (near the top)

3) To get a flow/syphon going you will need to suck on the control valve

4) Adjust the control valve to let the tank water drip into the bag at a rate of approx 1 drip per second for a time period of approx 1 hour or until the bag is almost full (hence the need for the container).

5) Then get a smallish net & net the fish out of the bag & into the tank. Never put the bag water into your tank.

This allows the fish to slowly become accustomed to the water parameters of their new home rather than shocking them with the difference all at once.

There is generally no need to acclimatise the water temperature by floating the bag in the tank. I believe it's unnecessary and potentially dangerous as you never know what the outside of the bag has been subjected to (ie fly spray, hand cream) and it's never a good idea to add the bag water to your tank as this could possibly introduce diseases or other nasties to your tank and floating the bag in your tank gives this a higher chance of happening.


  • livefish
    livefish Administrator Posts: 278
    Very good writeup!

    Please keep us posted.
  • sthn75
    sthn75 Moderator Posts: 3,487
    Thanks Livefish...

    My new fish arrived yesterday... so i've added more pictures <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D -->
  • NicholasC
    NicholasC Member Posts: 355
    Good write up! can we make this an announcement or a sticky?

  • BrenMacFish
    BrenMacFish Member Posts: 46
    So that gets them into a quarantine tank, (which I suppose at a minimum has to have treated aged water and a heater but preferably a fully cycled filter and a few floating plants as well)... how long would you keep them in quarantine before adding them to your main tank?

    I presume they've been already quarantined at Live Fish to see if they were fit for shipping?

    How long is the incubation period for more common problems and does anyone routinely treat new fish for common nasties with medications before adding them to a community tank?
  • sthn75
    sthn75 Moderator Posts: 3,487
    Good write up! can we make this an announcement or a sticky?

    It is already a sticky <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D -->

    As for how long to leave them in quarantine... usually 4 weeks is sufficient for most problems to show up... but there are a few which might not show any external symptoms for months & months but these are more rarer. It's usually the more common ones that you quarantine for like White Spot (Ich).
  • NicholasC
    NicholasC Member Posts: 355
    I am a lucky one i guess, had 100s of fish and never had to quarentine. Though i know many people who don't and loose many of there fish. Best thing to do is a quarentine for at least a week. See if you can just get a 3 foot tank with say guppies or neon tetras in it so you can monitor your new fish as well as your guppies for any signs of wear and tear <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) -->

  • Junkyard_Dog
    Junkyard_Dog Member Posts: 4
    tyty 4 the advice

    ill try that 4 sure

    its great to learn things like this
  • rtcs
    rtcs Member Posts: 192
    I am currently doing this with my two new Blue Rams, I have however tipped the water/fish out into a bucket (only use the bucket for fish stuff) and have the drip set up going into the bucket.

    Would this be ok?

    I have it set up with the quarantine tank where they will remain for a couple of weeks to make sure they're ok, do I need to acclimatise them again when I put them into the big tank?

  • sthn75
    sthn75 Moderator Posts: 3,487
    I guess putting the fish into a bucket for acclimatisation would be ok... I just think that it's one extra unnecessary move for the fish... ie from bag to tank rather than from bag to bucket to tank... after all ... they're already stressed enough from the trip, why put them through more stress... but that's just me and everyone has their own way of doing things.

    As for the possibility of having to acclimatise them between tanks... it depends on the water parameters of each tank... if they're all the same then no extra acclimatisation is needed. If the quarantine tank has different water parameters (ie different ph & nitrates) then you might want to consider re-acclimatising them when you decide to move them.
  • Hi, sthn75

    Thats a go way to climatise the fish, but prefer to climatise it to my quarantine tank first for a week or two before transfering those fish to the main tank.
    Which both my quarantine & main tanks are the same in eg, ph & temp as well. This works well with all freshwater fish.
  • Rohan R
    Rohan R Member Posts: 80
    Wise move using a quarantine tank to stop any chance of disease and parasite problems although quarantine should in truth be done for at least three weeks to be sure or even four weeks as with some few parasites it really can take up to four weeks to be identifiable as a problem.
    Rohan R
  • Nemo
    Nemo Member Posts: 208
    Wow, what a great idea, I've never heard of this before, I usually just float my fish in the tank before letting them out, I'll have to try it, thanks. Learn somethhing new every day, thanks guys. :)
    photo c94_zpse25ec6fb.gif
  • Mooo
    Mooo Moderator Posts: 7,653
    Yeah re the floating bag, most people do it, but, do you know what could be lurking on that bag, you don't ;) Best decant the fish into a tub or glass fighter cube :D very handy .
    Q tanks are invaluable ;;)
    photo mooo_avat.gif "I'm a Doug Addict" photo cow2heartkisses.gif