Letís talk acclimation - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Letís talk acclimation

Whatís your acclimation procedure?

Obviously, we all float the bag. But, beyond that...

Do you drip acclimate? Do you take out x amount of water, and replace with tank water?

Do you QT?


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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 12:42 AM
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Depends on what's going in there. Most fish I've kept always got the whole float technique where a little of my tank water is added to the bag over the course of 30 minutes or so. After 50-75% of it is my water, I net them out and place them in my tank. I never allow strange water in my tanks.

For shrimps, I drip acclimate... no exceptions. Tougher species get a nice slow flow for about half an hour. Sensitive species get a few drops a second over the course of 2 hours or so.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 01:19 AM
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Float to equalize the temperature, then plop and drop. Always through a net, never adding fish bag water to your tank.
Drip acclimation is pointless for local acquired stock and potentially deadly for shipped fish.
For locally acquired fish it's pointless because it takes many days or even weeks for a fish to acclimate to different water chemistry. And depending on the distance, your water at home is likely similar to your LFS.
For shipped fish, the water in the bag becomes slightly acidic. Acidic enough so that ammonia is converted to fairly harmless ammonium. If you were to drip acclimate, the pH would likely increase and the ammonium would change back to ammonia and potentially kill the stock.

Regardless, it's always best to quarantine any new stock. Some od the YouTube guru's always treat with meds. I don't like meds and would rather just quarantine and watch the fish for 4-6 weeks. No signs of issue, they get moved. Otherwise, time to treat or cut losses!

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 02:14 AM
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So there is no aspect of water or water chemistry that a fish can acclimate to in a matter of hours?
Not temperature or pH or anything?
Somebody remineralizing RO water like myself isn't ever going to have water like the LFS. Even if I wasn't using RO water my nearest LFS is using a different water source.
So my water is probably always going to be different, but the assertion is there are no parameters that can be acclimated to in any time period less than days?
Regarding the pH issue in shipped fish a couple drops of something like Seachem's Prime should solve the ammonia conversion issue, but that'd be moot anyway because no acclimation can occur in hours anyway?
Does this apply to shrimp as well? Such that we could say there are no water parameters that shrimp can acclimate to in a matter of hours?
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Last edited by dmastin; 04-07-2018 at 02:16 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 02:46 AM
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I get all my fish mail order from The Wet Spot so I float the bags and then use the "Plop and Drop" method which has worked fine. Actually sometimes I don't even float the bags if the temperatures don't feel that far off and I have never had a problem.

I have two tanks with fairly expensive fish. I quarantine anything going into those tanks. The other tanks fish are more common/cheaper. I am less stringent about quarantining. Though in the future if I have the space I would prefer to quarantine everything.


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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Drip acclimation is pointless for local acquired stock and potentially deadly for shipped fish. For locally acquired fish it's pointless because it takes many days or even weeks for a fish to acclimate to different water chemistry. And depending on the distance, your water at home is likely similar to your LFS.
Presuming of course, you are using the same water as your locally acquired stock was in

My LFS uses the very hard local tap water, I use soft remineralised RO. That's the worst combo. Even advocates of plop & drop, will have a little rider saying don't plop fish from hard water into soft as it mucks up their osmotic pressure.

I adjust my quarantine tank to hard water, then drip to match TDS/temp. As they haven't been shipped and therefore not in the bag long, you don't need to worry about ammonia (the main reason for quickly plopping & dropping shipped fish).

Then during the month in quarantine I gradually adjust the water to match my soft tank water. Then when they are ready to go they can move straight in.

Might be overkill for some fish, but I like to minimise the possibility of stress as much as I can.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 04:29 PM
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Note: My post is based on 1) research revealing the opinions of experts, and 2) 50+ years in the hobby. Long ago I thought drip acclimation was the best approach but after 'listening' to the opinions of notable, if not famous fishkeepers, I came around to 'plop and drop' and it has always worked just fine.

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 05:15 PM
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I have different procedures for different fauna. Mostly I float for 20 minutes and plop them in, ditching 100% of the bag water. But that's with tank raised hardy stuff, or when I get large quantities per bag. Wild caught fish, I temp acclimate, then pour in roughly 20% tank water every 10 minutes 4 or 5 times. The exception for me, is if there are a lot of fish in one bag and/or no Purigen was used in shipping. Then I plop and drop as soon as the water hits fresh air (that's when the ammonia spikes in the bag). Another exception is cory cats. They put toxins in the water and you want to remove them asap. I usually drip new shrimp, but if I'm moving tanks with different chemistries, I just put them in a cup and do the 20% every 10 minutes thing.

If I know and trust the source I'll roll the dice and do the above straight into my display tanks. If anything is "iffy" I do the above into a QT

92% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Note: My post is based on 1) research revealing the opinions of experts, and 2) 50+ years in the hobby. Long ago I thought drip acclimation was the best approach but after 'listening' to the opinions of notable, if not famous fishkeepers, I came around to 'plop and drop' and it has always worked just fine.
Can you name some names?
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 06:07 PM
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Don't forget we're designed as pattern recognition engines and see patterns even when they don't exist (Type I error).
Most our history we've relied on advice (https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-authority) and personal experience (https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/anecdotal) to make decisions.
To really know the answer we'd need someone blind to the question following prescribed instructions and sharing the results for replication.
That being said, I appreciate AbbeysDad and opinions of experts as human experience is where all investigations begin.
Now all we need is a grant! Actually, that would be kinda cool, for a company like Seachem to grant very small grants, say $100 or so to execute an approved methodology and share the results.
Maybe some university has done this, but when conditions get hobby specific vs, say, fish farming for food, the research may not be out there or not as applicable to our small scales (so to speak, he, he).
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-08-2018, 12:17 AM
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Can you name some names?
Here's a few:
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-08-2018, 02:55 PM
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Rachel O'leary uses the plop and drop method for shipped fish. She handles more fish in a month than I'll ever do in a lifetime. She's tracked survival rates and claims her mortality rate has been cut in half. She also has a video explaining why as well as the how. She doesn't even do a temperature adjustment unless she can feel a considerable difference with the bag.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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What about inverts?

Is 'plop n drop' the way as well?

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Koenig44 View Post
What about inverts?

Is 'plop n drop' the way as well?
Depends on inverts. If you mean shrimps, I wouldn't plop and drop, no matter what anyone says. There's a reason reputable breeders drip acclimate. Changes in osmotic pressure alone validates the need.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 10:41 AM
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Here's a few:
I think you have to watch out for sound bites, yep, it might work as a general rule, but there are situations when it doesn't. So make sure you understand why and when they do it don't just follow it blindly. Otherwise at some point you might hit one of the situations where it's not so good without realising it.

In that video they are all talking about fish that have been shipped to them or they ship out.

Shipping means the fish are often in a small volume of water for days, that means potentially the ph has lowered and ammonia built up, when you open the bag and expose it to fresh air, the ph rises again swapped the ammonia from safe to poisonous. That's why people that regularly receive/send big shipments of fish plop & drop. Leaving the fish in the bag whilst you drip acclimate exposes them to ammonia for a long time - that's a bigger issue than a change in water parameters.

Rachel O'Leary specifically says IF you are going from softer water into harder water it's safe to plop & drop.

In the comments of her own video she says "This IS specifically for shipped critters" and "With low pH- I do a very, very prolonged acclimation over several days" and "Generally speaking, if going into water of similar or higher TDS, the shock is very low. Going from high TDS to very low can cause issues".

And from her website:

"I have no issue with the drip method, but in order for it to really be effective, it should be done over a minimum of several hours.... From my experience, most hobbyists do not take enough time for drip acclimation to be less stressful than just adding the fish directly to the tank which is why I counsel to just add them quickly."

Ted Judy said if buying locally with no time for ammonia build up there is no danger to drip acclimating them in to bag if you want to.

So yes, if they've been shipped and ammonia is a potential issue, then that outweighs the other considerations - plop & drop.

If you have brought them from your local fish shop and you both use the same tap water then you are probably also safe plop & dropping (which is the most common situation and why people say 'I do it all the time and the fish are fine').

But, if they are sensitive species, or the fish shop water and your tank water may be different, particularly if the fish shop water is harder than yours (often the case if you use RO, rain water or remineralise shrimp water) then drip acclimating over hours or adjusting quarantine tanks over days won't hurt and can help.
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