Get a Bucket & Drip!
When you get your fish from the local store,
you should acclimate them OUT OF THE BAG
no matter what the store told you!
A bag can be depleted of oxygen in an amazingly
short period of time. Though water parameters
are not generally all that different, your fish
still should be acclimated properly. I suggest
getting a small plastic container of some sort,
of about a gallon or two gallon size. Take a piece
of airline tubing, cut it in half and reconnect
the two halves with a plastic air valve in the middle.
Start a siphon by sucking through the airline
(now a drip-line) from your tank, into the
"bucket" you will be placing the fish into.
Cut the bag the fish came in and pour both
the water from the bag and the fish into the bucket.
Now, using the valve, adjust the drip to a very
SLOW, but steady
"trickle" of water from the tank into the bucket.
Sometimes I will put an airstone in with a
VERY LIGHT stream of bubbles to keep the water "oxed up."
Now is the hardest part ... to wait patiently, taking
an hour or two, slowly getting the fish acclimated
to your tank's water. Most fish will come home in
a quart of water or so. So, when you've doubled the
water volume (which should take at least an hour),
the water is now 50% store water and 50% your water.
If you haven't noticed by now,
your tank is undergoing a slight water
change in the amount of water it will
lose during this process ...
so, be sure to have some new water
ready to replace it with.
When you've quadrupled the original amount of water,
it's 75% your water now. After some time past this
point it will be OK to put the fish in your tank.
NEVER put any store water in your tank!
Net or hand hold (if you're good with handling fish)
the fish and introduce it gently to your tank.
If it is an established setup, where several fish
have territories, it is best to do it in the dark,
after "lights-out." Also, moving a piece or two of
coral or live rock will cause a rearrangement of
territories, eliminating much of the beating
newly introduced fish often take.
Of course, it is always preferable to use a
quarantine tank at first to eliminate the chances
of introducing diseases into your established system.
But, remember when you buy a coral or piece of live
rock, there is a chance of "ick" or something else
being carried into the tank on it. If you have no
quarantine tank, it might be a good idea to give the
fish a medicated bath before you put it in the tank.
There are several good dips available for
this purpose, as well as old-fashioned, but
tried-and-true methods like a quick freshwater bath
(watch for distress), or a formaldehyde bath
before putting a fish into your system.
The main thing is to GO SLOWLY when acclimating, and dip the fish to sanitize
it before you put it in your system if you are not using the
quarantine tank method.
When I move a freshwater fish from one tank to
another, I acclimate it with a bucket and drip line.
It is essential equipment if you intend on building
a live fish collection!
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