Acclimating Methods: LFS Bag vs. Suppliers Bag - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Question Acclimating Methods: LFS Bag vs. Suppliers Bag

I have always been a fan of acclimating my fish using a drip method, while doing temperature at the same time. I have a rig that uses tank water suspended above your bagged fish, so that the bag remains in the tank acclimating temperature while the tank water is dripped into the bag acclimating water chemistry. I typically pour off a good majority of the bag water so that I have room for acclimation water and also so it makes a change in the chemistry...the less water you have to change the faster it will change with a drip therefor making the biggest change with the time you put aside to acclimate.

There are two types of bagged fish I purchase, those scooped and bagged at the LFS, and bags directly from the LFS supplier that I ask them not to open and I arrive on the delivery morning. This is where I think the method should be changed on acclimation, fish that are bagged at the LFS 30min away should be dripped while the temperature changes. Those from the supplier should be dropped in without a drip. I read that when you open a suppliers bag it offgasses immediately driving the pH up so dripping into their water is not a very good idea, and if I do drip acclimate I hit the bag with a drop of Prime first.

What are your thoughts?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Teebo View Post
I have always been a fan of acclimating my fish using a drip method, while doing temperature at the same time. I have a rig that uses tank water suspended above your bagged fish, so that the bag remains in the tank acclimating temperature while the tank water is dripped into the bag acclimating water chemistry. I typically pour off a good majority of the bag water so that I have room for acclimation water and also so it makes a change in the chemistry...the less water you have to change the faster it will change with a drip therefor making the biggest change with the time you put aside to acclimate.

There are two types of bagged fish I purchase, those scooped and bagged at the LFS, and bags directly from the LFS supplier that I ask them not to open and I arrive on the delivery morning. This is where I think the method should be changed on acclimation, fish that are bagged at the LFS 30min away should be dripped while the temperature changes. Those from the supplier should be dropped in without a drip. I read that when you open a suppliers bag it offgasses immediately driving the pH up so dripping into their water is not a very good idea, and if I do drip acclimate I hit the bag with a drop of Prime first.

What are your thoughts?
Good topic, Just my opinion here. While opening the bag the gas exchange would be very rapid between the air in the bag and atmosphere but the gas exchange between water in the bag and atmosphere would be much slower and would lead me to believe that it would not be an issue to use a drip method in both cases.

Dan
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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I had a really bad experience with a bag of Galaxy/Firework Rasboras from the supplier, I ended up burning their gills during acclimation. Apparently the pH has an effect on how toxic the ammonia is in the water? They were deff ammonia burned, and I lost them all and have never been able to find them since. I am not sure what the blue color in the water is, but adding tank water to that blue water may not be effective at all depending on what the blue tint is. I know at the LFS they float the bags for 15min then tear them open over a net and a bucket, then plop them in. I feel that is cruel and stressful, the air is cold here in the north and getting out of a pool that is just a few degrees higher than air temperature makes you freezing when you get out of a pool. When I go to net my fish out of the acclimated bag I do it right next to my tank, they spend all of 1 second in the air, and I scoop them from the bag rather than dumping the bag into a net over a bucket....so they are gently lifted rather than forcefully plopped.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 07:36 PM
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I've tried them all at the commercial level and can't really tell if one is better than the other. The consensus I've gotten from exporters is to open the bags and exchange about 40% of bag water with tank water, then re-bag using oxygen. Float that for 30-60 minutes then open and dump them in less the bag water.
Over time I've often thought that they either come good or they come bad and there's not much I can do to change fate. I still follow protocols otherwise I have issues when submitting loss reports. lol

When dripping marine fish I believe the proper way is to fast drip using water with similar pH and temp to the bag water. That allows the fish to purge ammonia without the pH stress. That's about an hour process and followed with a final drip to better match perimeters of the system that will house them.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your advice

My friend continues to drip outside his tank, and says the tank water heats it but I think he is wrong. If you add 78F water to a bag that is 60F outside your aquarium your acclimated temperature will likely be less than 70F, then you shock the fish with about a 10F swing when you add it to your tank.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teebo View Post
I had a really bad experience with a bag of Galaxy/Firework Rasboras from the supplier, I ended up burning their gills during acclimation. Apparently the pH has an effect on how toxic the ammonia is in the water? They were deff ammonia burned, and I lost them all and have never been able to find them since. I am not sure what the blue color in the water is, but adding tank water to that blue water may not be effective at all depending on what the blue tint is. I know at the LFS they float the bags for 15min then tear them open over a net and a bucket, then plop them in. I feel that is cruel and stressful, the air is cold here in the north and getting out of a pool that is just a few degrees higher than air temperature makes you freezing when you get out of a pool. When I go to net my fish out of the acclimated bag I do it right next to my tank, they spend all of 1 second in the air, and I scoop them from the bag rather than dumping the bag into a net over a bucket....so they are gently lifted rather than forcefully plopped.

Yes increasing PH will increase the toxicity of the ammonia. With that said I really don't think you ended up burning their gills during acclimation, I would say this was already the case when you got them which could be due to a number of factors leading to very high ammonia levels. In my opinion I don't think the impact at which the rate of increased ammonia levels as a result of conversion of ammonium during a PH shift would be enough to be the determining factor in causing ammonia burn. The Co2 given off by fish will lower the PH some, how much would depend on several different factors but the gas exchange from the water to the air is not an extremely fast process so if anything I would say the drip would help dilute the ammonia as fast or faster than the gas exchange would raise the toxic levels of ammonia. Excluding breather bags because I have no clue of data on gas exchange with them. I think the danger to fish lies more with the production of ammonia than the impact of the Co2 and PH swing. There are important steps in my opinion that can help reduce the amount of ammonia when shipping fish and its a good idea to ask the shipper how your fish will be shipped since ammonia burn is a real threat and causes permanent damage. First keeping enough water to cover the fish but the majority of the bag should be air to provide for adequate gas exchange. Second request they don't feed them for 2 or so days before they ship, this will cut down a huge amount on the waste produced during shipping that will raise ammonia levels. Third is to keep fish from being shipped over crowded if you can request one fish per bag I would do so.

Just my thoughts

Dan
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 08:41 PM
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Experts tend to agree that drip acclimation is bad for shipped fish. For shipped fish, the water gets acidic and the ammonia the fish generates is converted to somewhat harmless ammonium. The drip acclimation raises pH so ammonium converts back to lethal ammonia.
Besides, it takes a very long time (days) for fish to really acclimate to a different water chemistry.

In all cases, it's best to float the bag for temperature, then pour through a net into a waste bucket and transfer the fish immediately to the tank.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Experts tend to agree that drip acclimation is bad for shipped fish. For shipped fish, the water gets acidic and the ammonia the fish generates is converted to somewhat harmless ammonium. The drip acclimation raises pH so ammonium converts back to lethal ammonia.
Besides, it takes a very long time (days) for fish to really acclimate to a different water chemistry.

In all cases, it's best to float the bag for temperature, then pour through a net into a waste bucket and transfer the fish immediately to the tank.
Ah I get it now. Its not the gas exchange that changes the PH quickly its the introduction of the new water changing the pH suddenly. Do I have this correct now?

Thank you for explaining that. I don't know how I didn't see that.

Dan

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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This helps a lot, you know what sparked my research and this thread? Rachel O'leary posted a video titled "How I Acclimate Freshwater Fish and Inverts and Why" look it up and listen to what she has to say about off gassing, pH change, and ammonia/ammonium conversions.

I have friends with tank nitrate problems that are always on the high end of the safe range, etc. However my nitrates are almost always 5ppm or lower so the drop and plop method is not so bad for adding fish into MY PARTICULAR tanks however there still may be other differences such as hardness, etc. I am not sure what the biggest perimeter difference would be or which is the most important? Rachel did mention something about temperature and how it makes the fish more active as it rises stressing them out as they float in a bag in your tank. I think you should do a blackout when acclimating fish to keep them calmer.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 09:25 PM
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This helps a lot, you know what sparked my research and this thread? Rachel O'leary posted a video titled "How I Acclimate Freshwater Fish and Inverts and Why" look it up and listen to what she has to say about off gassing, pH change, and ammonia/ammonium conversions.
I will definitely check that out.

I agree that these types of threads are amazing, they provide for debate and different perspectives and lead to good information and clarity. I was born with a terrible condition that makes me question everything to the 10th degree until I can understand that terrible thing named "WHY". I have a hard time accepting blind statements as truth until I can understand the WHY behind it. So if I ever come off as stubborn and I'm certain at times I do and will its only because I will lay awake at night trying to figure out the WHY behind something.

Dan
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 11:21 PM
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Just thought I would chime in with some anecdotal experiences. I was trying to add some amano shrimp to a tank. Had a QT tank all set up, heater, filter with cycled media etc. bought 6 at one store, plop and drop into the qt tank (shouldn't be any ammonia issues was 15 minutes in the bag) tank and store have basically identical parameters since we're on the same water supply. all 6 dead with 48 hours. by 6 from a different store (figured maybe bad stock from the first store), every thing is the same as the first store including time in bag. Plop and drop, 48 hours later all 6 are dead. Now I'm starting to think the methodolgy is flawed, go back to the second store, get 4 more from the same tank, drip acclimate for 30 minutes, to this day they're still alive.

Not sure what happened with them, but i've used the plop and drop method with snails and fish before and never had any issues. I net cherry shrimp out of one tank walk across the room and drop them into another tank with no issues either. I'm not sure if the amano's were particularity sensitive, but i have had issues with them.


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Experts tend to agree that drip acclimation is bad for shipped fish. For shipped fish, the water gets acidic and the ammonia the fish generates is converted to somewhat harmless ammonium. The drip acclimation raises pH so ammonium converts back to lethal ammonia.
Besides, it takes a very long time (days) for fish to really acclimate to a different water chemistry.

In all cases, it's best to float the bag for temperature, then pour through a net into a waste bucket and transfer the fish immediately to the tank.
Agreed. I was curious about this with the most recent "fish" I had shipped (they were snails, but the concept is the same), so I tested the bag water for ammonia about 5 min after opening the bag - ammonia was well over 5 ppm (basically only barely within the limits of my test kit). Note: these snails were not fed for 24hrs prior to shipping and still had that level of waste. I did remove the snails immediately when I opened the bag; I just saved the water for testing. My snail friends are all doing well.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 03:03 AM
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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So basically temp acclimate in the bag without opening it, THEN plop and drop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dman911 View Post
I will definitely check that out.

I agree that these types of threads are amazing, they provide for debate and different perspectives and lead to good information and clarity. I was born with a terrible condition that makes me question everything to the 10th degree until I can understand that terrible thing named "WHY". I have a hard time accepting blind statements as truth until I can understand the WHY behind it. So if I ever come off as stubborn and I'm certain at times I do and will its only because I will lay awake at night trying to figure out the WHY behind something.

Dan
haha the question "why" got me in trouble a lot as a kid.


Quote:
Originally Posted by theatermusic87 View Post
Just thought I would chime in with some anecdotal experiences. I was trying to add some amano shrimp to a tank. Had a QT tank all set up, heater, filter with cycled media etc. bought 6 at one store, plop and drop into the qt tank (shouldn't be any ammonia issues was 15 minutes in the bag) tank and store have basically identical parameters since we're on the same water supply. all 6 dead with 48 hours. by 6 from a different store (figured maybe bad stock from the first store), every thing is the same as the first store including time in bag. Plop and drop, 48 hours later all 6 are dead. Now I'm starting to think the methodolgy is flawed, go back to the second store, get 4 more from the same tank, drip acclimate for 30 minutes, to this day they're still alive.

Not sure what happened with them, but i've used the plop and drop method with snails and fish before and never had any issues. I net cherry shrimp out of one tank walk across the room and drop them into another tank with no issues either. I'm not sure if the amano's were particularity sensitive, but i have had issues with them.
My friend had similar issues, only with temperature differences. Apparently they are prone to temperature shock it damages something in them, other than temperature they are badass hardy shrimp that literally pickup gravel and clean under it where my cherries would just clean between them lol.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 10:10 AM
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I rarely test ammonia in shipping bags anymore unless we're working with an exporter to solve a loss issue. Bag water will almost always test higher than 5 ammonia, it's so green it's more blue than green. Specie also matters as some can recover from the nasty bag conditions while others can't. I have never had an exporter suggest dripping freshwater fish.

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