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Acclimating a New Fish

Acclimating a new fish is by far the most important step you can follow to keep a fish healthy and disease free.  Acclimating should never be avoided.  A rapid change in their environment increases stress levels making them susceptible to diseases.  If the water changes are made gradually, adapting from one, water chemistry to another, it decreases stress keeping your fish healthy.

When your new fish arrive home, open the shipping box in a dimmed area,   preventing a shock from one or two days in total darkness to a burst of light in seconds. Inspect your new fish.  If the fish look healthy, maybe a little frighten from shipping, then start acclimating.  You do not want to keep your new fish in the shipping bags any longer than you have to.  If your fish look sick or are gasping for air, start emergency acclimation procedure below, immediately.  Caution:  only if you are absolutely positive the fish need the emergency procedure!  Your new angels should be quarantined in their own tank for about 7-10 days from the rest of your fish.   Hoses and nets should be kept clean and separated.  This not only protects your fish, but the new arrivals as well.  Never just float a bag, either when receiving fish by mail or from a local pet shop, it is very unhealthy and even dangerous to the fish.  We are often told to do it this way, but it is bad advice.  As the temperature inside the bag rises, ammonia levels increase as well. Ammonia levels of just .02 PPM could harm or even kill your new fish.  We ship our fish in the Kordon breathable bags, these bags allow oxygen in and CO2 out.  You can read about the breathable bag on Kordon.  We will e-mail you the configuration of fish per bag so you can plan on this before your order arrives.  Have extra bags on hand or a clean plastic container that can hold about 8-10 cups of water.  There are many different ways to acclimate a new fish.  This way has worked for us, without experiencing any losses or diseases due to improper acclimating.  The following instructions should be followed.

Acclimating Procedure

Put one shipping bag inside a clean 3-5 gallon bucket.  We ship are fish with up to 10 angels per bag and 4 bags per box.   Plan on this before your fish arrive.  Open the bag and gently pour both fish and water into the bucket.  Add a cup of clean water from the tank your fish are planning to go in, then additional cups every 10 minutes for 40 minutes, (4 cups total in 40 minutes.)  Gently net each angel and add to your tank. Discard acclimating water from bucket.  Never add any shipping or acclimating water to your tank.  Repeat above steps as necessary.  Keep the lights dimmed or off for a few hours to allow the new fish to get familiar with there new surroundings.  Donít worry about feeding your new fish for at least 3 hours.


Emergency Information

Most likely youíll never need the emergency procedure, but I have included it just in case of any unforeseen problems during shipping. After inspecting the fish and if any appear to be gasping for air or sick looking, forget using separate buckets there is no time.  Dump all of them into a clean bucket.  Caution:  only the bags that contain the gasping or sick looking fish.  The other bags acclimate using the acclimating procedure above.  Add one capful of Amquel or another liquid ammonia remover, and a cup of water from the aquarium your fish were intended to go in.  For every fish bag added to the bucket, add an air stone to the bucket to cause some surface water movement.  This will help to release C02 faster.  If you have an extra heater around, set it at 83-85 degrees Fahrenheit.  Always follow instructions for the proper use of the heater, or any other electrical device around an aquarium.  Your safety always comes first.  Once you have completed the above steps. Start to replace the water in the bucket with fresh de chlorinated 83-85 degree water every 15 minutes.  For example, for every one cup of water removed from the bucket replace one cup of fresh de chlorinated 83-85 degree water to the bucket.  At this time, most or all the fish should be doing fine.  If this is the case start to acclimate.  Use a clean plastic container that can be floated in the intended aquarium.  Fill with water from the bucket, and add the amount of fish in proportion to the size of the container.  Float container in the aquarium for about 15 minutes.  Gently net from container and add fish to tank.  Discard water in container and repeat as necessary.  For any remaining sick fish, keep them in the bucket until they appear to be doing fine, than acclimate.   Or if they die, read our guaranteed fish section.

Emergency Acclimation Procedure

Add bags of sick fish to a clean bucket

Add a capful of Amquel, Amquel Plus or another liquid ammonia remover for each fish bag to the bucket.

Add a cup of water from the intended tank for each fish bag added to the bucket.

Add an air stone for oxygen and to release CO2.

If possible, add a heater to the bucket set at 83-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start equally replacing water from the bucket with de chlorinated 83-85 degree fresh water.

Acclimate the fish in a clean floatable container in there intended aquariums that are doing fine.  



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Westland, Michigan
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