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FishLore.com's Freshwater Aquarium Book


ACCLIMATING TROPICAL FISH TO YOUR FISH TANK
This article presents information on how to acclimate fish and invertebrates to your aquarium.
So you've went out and bought some fish and the store told you to acclimate the fish by floating
the bag in the tank for 15 minutes and then release them into your aquarium. Right? Wrong!
The only thing floating the bag accomplishes is that it brings the water in the bag closer to the
temperature of the water in your tank. We need to be concerned about more than just
temperature. The aquarium water chemistry is just as important as the temperature when it
comes to acclimating fish.
Don't be afraid to ask the fish clerk to test the store's tank water for you. They shouldn't mind
testing their water right in front of you. They're trying to sell fish right? Ask them for, at
minimum, the pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings. When you get home, test your own
water to see how much the two sets of results differ. This can provide you with some insight
into how slowly and for how long you should acclimate your fish.
There are a few different recommended methods for how to acclimate fish to your aquarium
and we'll talk about each of these methods.
The most common tropical fish acclimation methods are:
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The Floating Bag Method
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The Bucket Method
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The Drip Method
The Floating Bag Method
This is probably the most common fish acclimation method and it works well. You just need to
be careful when floating a bag full of unknown water in your tank. Ideally, you're floating the
bag in a previously setup quarantine tank but, sadly, many new hobbyists don't use a
quarantine tank. After you've been in the hobby for a while and experience any sort of fish
disease outbreak you'll soon come to realize the importance of a simple quarantine tank.
After you leave the fish store you will want to go straight home to avoid ammonia accumulating
in the bag (in the form of fish waste). Once you get home, open the top of the bag and remove
about 25% of the water from the bag. Replace this water with the same amount of water from
your tank. Float the bag in your tank and bring down the hood opening on the open end of the
bag to help keep the bag secure. Every 10 minutes add about 1 measuring cup (use less if the
bag is smaller) of your tank water to the bag. Repeat this process for about an hour. After an
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