When adding a live product to your tank, proper acclimation is the most important factor peraining to the survival of your livestock..
How to Properly Acclimate your Livestock & New Order Concerns
Acclimating your coral or fish is an important step in protecting your livestock investment. The reason acclimation is so important is this. The water that your coral or fish is packaged in has different temperature, salinity, PH and other parameters than your set up. Livestock are very sensitive to changes in water parameters. This is why acclimation is so important. Failure to properly acclimate your livestock can cause your livestock to perish, especially invertebrates which are extremely sensitive to the changes listed.
Float or Drip? That is the question!
There are two ways to acclimate your livestock. One is the floating method and the other is through drip acclimation. We have provided detailed instructions for both below.
Should I be Concerned?
It is normal for your livestock to "stress" during shipment. To avoid further stress we recommend that you turn your lights off before acclimating your livestock. We recommend a minimum of 4 - 6 hours of no lights after acclimation; however, we feel it is best if you can keep your lights off over night. This will help to eliminate further stress to your livestock and allow livestock to adjust to its new home. It is normal for fish to hide when introduced to a new tank, so don't be alarmed if this happens. It is also normal for them to go a couple of days without eating. They take awhile to settle in. As far as coral, it also takes some time for them to adjust and fully extend their polyps. Do not be alarmed if your coral does not show immediate signs of like when placed into your tank.
What About Bad Critters & Disease?
Although this is not a requirement, it is recommended that any livestock you purchase, regardless of where it is purchased from, be placed in a quarantine tank for a couple of weeks. This is to reduce the possibility of introducing diseases and parasites into your tank and to be sure fish are eating properly and are in good health before the transition to your tank. We do inspect our livestock for any signs or illness, disease or parasites; and have never had a problem that we are aware of, however, sometimes symptoms do not appear until after livestock is sold. This is the reason we recommend you follow this procedure.
Is My Tank "Reef Ready"?
This is the question you want to ask yourself prior to adding any new livestock to your tank. If the answer is "yes", then order away! Please be sure the information below is considered prior to placing an order with us!
It is of utmost importance to check your water parametes (including salinity) prior to adding livestock to your tank! Parameters that are "out of whack" can cause death to your livestock! They can also affect the coloration of your coral as well as hinder growth. Water parameters that are not "pristine" just cause problems! Use every precaution to protect your livestock by taking a little extra time to insure your tank is "livestock ready". If you are unsure whether or not your tank is "safe", please contact us and we will assist you. This will make your experience much "easier on the pocketbook" and give your livestock a chance.
Salinity: Most invertebrates are more sensitive than fish to changes in specific gravity. Invertebrates should be acclimated to a specific gravity of 1.023-1.025. If this is not done, severe stress or trauma may occur. We recommend that you test your salinity using a refractometer (preferably) or a hydrometer. When using a hydrometer, fill with water towards the bottom of the tank and tap the bottom of the hydrometer on a flat, hard surface to remove any air bubbles.
Animal Behavior Upon Arrival & After Introduction To Tank:
**It is normal for tank mates in your existing tank to pick on new animals. This should pass. Just make sure that all animals are compatible prior to housing animals together.
Fish: Rapid breathing is normal upon inspection and introduction to your tank. Some fish will actually lie on their sides that are perfectly healthy. Wrasses will lay on their sides, play dead and / or spin a cottony substance in the bag. This behavior sometimes seen.
Coral & Anemones: As indicated above, some coral and / or anemones will take hours or days to completely open up or inflate. If an anenome is dead, the only way you will be able to tell is if it has started to disintegrate. Some coral and anemones will produce "slime" when shipped. This is perfectly normal and will clear up.
Snails: Snails may not move for days at a time. If snails do not move a few hours after placing them in your tank, pick them up to see if it smells rancid. If not, you can safely place the snail back into your tank and watch for a few days. If the snail has a foul odor, immediately notify us and we will instruct you further. Do not discard the dead livestock until you have spoken with us. Please see our Live Arrival Guarantee on our website for further instructions regarding filing a claim.
Crabs: Crabs may not move around when first introduced to your tank, others will move like crazy! If you do not notice the crab moving after a few minutes, move them around and they should began crawling around shortly thereafter.
Shrimp: Shrimp may be motionless when introduced to their new enviroment. Some move around immediately. In some cases they will hide. If your shrimp does not move after 30 seconds or so, move them and they should began moving on their own.
Starfish: Starfish may not move for days after introduction to a new tank, or they may move only covering a very small territory. This is normal. If you have any concerns regarding your starfish, you may pick him up and inspect him for any signs of disintegration.
1) Turn the lights out on your system.
2) Make sure the room you are opening your box in does not have bright light. This can create severe stress or trauma if sudden exposure to bright light occurs.
3) Place the bag into your aquarium. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Do not open the bag at this time. Floating the bag will allow the water in the bag to adjust to the temperature in your aquarium.
4) When 25 minutes has passed, cut the top of the bag open (just under the metal clip or rubberband) and fold the sides down a bit. This will prevent the bag from sinking. For heavy coral that will sink we recommend that you place the bag with the coral into a separate, open container.
5) Using a measuring cup, add 1/2 cup of water to the floating bag. Do this every 5 minutes until the bag is full of aquarium water.
6) Remove the bag (including water) from the tank and dump half of the water out into your sink.
7) Place the bag back into your tank and continue filling the bag with 1/2 cup of water every 5 mintues until the bag is full once again.
8) Remove your livestock from the bag (using a net). Place your livestock into your tank. Do not add the bagged water into your tank. Discard water in bag.
**This method is move involved and is recommended for clams, sea stars, coral, shrimp and wrasses. If you are acclimating both fish and invertebrates, separate buckets should be used. Sponges (when stressed) can release toxins into their water bag that are hazardous to aquarium inhabitants and can kill them.
Drip Acclimation is a slow method of acclimation and has to be monitored. Make sure you have plenty of time to devote to this process when your order arrives.
WHAT DO I NEED?
- Airline Tubing
- (1) 3-5 gallon bucket that is either new and has been cleaned or has only been used for aquarium related tasks. This is important as not to contaminate your livestock.
- Use separate buckets for fish and invertebrates if acclimating both at the same time.
1) Float your bags in your aquarium in order to acclimate water temp. Refer to instructions #1 - 4 listed above.
2) Invertebrates should NEVER be exposed to air! WhWhile keeping this in mind, carefully empty the livestock along with the water into your bucket. You may have to tilt your bucket or have someone hold it at an angle for you to make sure your livestock is fully submerged.
3) This is where the air tubing comes in! Using your airline tubing, run a siphon drip line from your aquarium to the bucket. If using more than one bucket, you will nee a separate line to each. You can either use a plastic or non-metal control valve or hand tied knots to regulate the flow into the bucket. You should also secure the tubing in place.
4) Start a sipon by sucking on the end of the tubing that will go into the bucket(s). Water should begin flowing through the tubing. Now you will need to adjust the drip. You can do this by tightening one of the knots you tied in the tubing or by adjusting the control valve if one is used. You want your water to drip from the tubing at a rate of approximately 2 to 4 drips per second. Too fast of a drip can change the water parametes too fast can result in harm and / or death of your livestock.
5) When the water in your bucket doubles, pour out half of the water (discard) and start the drip once again until the volume of water in the bucket doubles again. This takes about an hour.
6) At this point, you can transfer your livestock to the aquarium.
REMOVING CORAL WITHOUT EXPOSING TO AIR:
**Note: Clams, Sponges and Gorgonias should NEVER be exposed to air! Here's how to safely remove this livestock without exposing them to air:
1) Remove the livestock from the drip bucket using the bag the livestock was originally in, being careful not to expose the livestock to air. Make sure they are fully covered with water.
2) Now time to place the livestock into your tank! Carefully fully submerge the bag and its contents into your tank water. Carefully remove the coral from the bag, using extra care not to touch the "meat" or "fleshy" part of the livestock. Seal the opening of the bag (while underwater) by twisting the opening and remove the bag from the aquarium. A small amount of water will escape into the aquarium during this process. This is ok. The water has been diluted and should not cause any problems.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
-Remember, never for any reason "rush" the acclimation process. Be sure you will have the time to properly acclimate your livestock when it arrives. Failure to do so will only result in disaster!
-Remember, It is not unusual for your new tank mates to be chased and harassed by other tank mates housed in your aquarium; however, prior to ordering, you want to be sure you are adding livestock that is compatible with eachother. If not, the end result could be death of your livestock either by injury, illness or stress.
-Remember, it is not abnormal for new arrivals to appear to be dead. We ask that you acclimate your livestock, even though it appears to be dead, unless it is obvious that it is disenegrating or you have concerns that it may be.
-Remember, lights out! This will reduce the stress on your animals and give them an opportunity to "settle in".
-Remember, make sure your salinity levels are as stated above to avoid severe stress or even death of your animal. Also, be sure to remember to check your water parameters prior to ordering!
-Remember, sponges, clams and gorgonias should never be exposed to air!