Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Great Article On Aquarium Filtration & Maintenance From The Experts At Big Al's - Part II

You've braved the traffic, consulted the pros, made your choices, and returned home with your prized new additions. Now what? Fish need to be gently eased into a new environment - it greatly increases their chances of survival. The following are three different methods of acclimating fish - you can try them all and decide which you like the best.

1) The bag of fish (still sealed) is floated for about a half an hour. Water inside the bag will now be the same temperature as the tank (it usually changes about 1 degree Fahrenheit per minute.) After floating for 1/2 hour, cut open the bag just below the knot and add an equal amount of aquarium water. Then curl the top edges of the bag down to form a 2 inch lip, which can be partly hung over the edge of the tank to prevent it from tipping. The top of the bag should be kept spread open in a circle to maximize surface area. After 10 to 15 minutes, the fish is then netted out and the bag of water is dumped down the drain. The above method does not work well with large, active fish (which are powerful enough to rip the bag), or bags crowded with fish (which could start to gasp after the waters have been mixed).

2) The bag is floated for 30 minutes and then punctured below the waterline with a pen or pencil to create a 1/4 inch hole. The bag is positioned so that this hole is exposed to the tank water only, which will then gradually mix through it. After an additional 30 to 45 minutes, the fish are released.

3) The fish is immediately placed in a clean glass or plastic container (e.g. Big Al's Heavy Duty Pail) of sufficient volume to hold 3 to 4 times the original amount of water. The container is placed next to or below the tank and Big Al's airline tubing is used to siphon water constantly from the tank to the container. A loose knot is tied in the tubing and adjusted so the water flows in at a fast drip - just short of a trickle. When the water level has exceeded triple the original, the fish is netted out and placed in the tank. This last method is the best by far, but is also the most time consuming. I strongly advocate its use for sensitive freshwater fish (i.e. Discus, Stingrays, wild caught fish) and all marine fish. You will note that in method #2, pet store water can be introduced to the tank. Many people figure this can somehow contaminate the tank by introducing diseases. Whatever disease organisms are present in the water are also on the fish, so I do not see the harm; but if you wish to play it safe, use either of the other methods. Regardless of the method used, I strongly suggest the following actions as well: Be nearby when acclimating; fish can jump out of an open bag or can be suffocated should it collapse. Check on them every few minutes. Give the tank a light feeding a minute or two before releasing the new fish (this will distract the bullies!) and turn the tank lights off immediately upon release (this will calm everyone down), you can leave the room lights on so you can observe the newcomers. Many fish may go into a shocked state in the bag or upon release - do not constantly poke or prod them - they may move around but it will only add to their stress. For cichlid tanks, rearrange the decorations while floating the bag - it will help destroy existing territories, putting the new fish on more equal footing. Also try to add more than just one fish at a time. (FOR STRESS RELIEF ADD BIG AL'S MULTI-PURPOSE WATER CONDITIONER WITH THE HEALING POWER OF ALOE VERA). Finally, allow 2 to 3 days for newcomers to fully adjust to their new environment. They may not behave as expected or eat before then; have patience. 

Livestock Manager
Mississauga Location

*Big Al's Canada

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