Drip method is a way to gradually acclimate fish to your aquarium

Acclimating fish using drip method

Albert B Ulrich III Saltwater Fish Leave a Comment

Any time you buy a saltwater fish, it is important to slowly, gradually acclimate the fish to the specific conditions of your aquarium. There are a couple of reasons why you need to do this. This article will show you why and how you can start acclimating fish using drip method right away.

Drip method is a way to gradually acclimate fish to your aquarium

Any time you buy a saltwater fish, it is important to slowly, gradually acclimate the fish to the specific conditions of your aquarium. There are a couple of reasons why you need to do this. This article will show you why and how you can start acclimating fish using drip method right away.

1) It is almost impossible for the conditions of your aquarium to be identical to the conditions from your local fish store. So right from the beginning, the chemistry of the water inside the bag is very likely to be different from the chemistry of the water inside your aquarium.

2) From the very second the water and fish were put into the bag for transportation back to your home, the water quality in that bag began to degrade.

Because of these two reasons, you need to get your fish used to the water in your tank gradually. The process of gradually getting your fish used to the water is called acclimation. If you were to just drop your fish right into your aquarium, the fish would very likely suffer from shock–and could ultimately die.

Rather than shock your fish, you should acclimate fish gradually by using the drip method.

What is acclimating fish using drip method?

A very simple comparison here that may help illustrate this point is to think about the difference between jumping right into an extremely cold pool vs. gradually dipping your toe in first, followed by your foot, then your ankle, hands, and wrists. That gradual process of getting used to the temperature of the pool–that you would have done instinctively–is the same principle used when acclimating your fish.

But it is difficult to dip a fish’s toe into the water first–because they don’t have toes–and because they are quite slippery–and because…well, it doesn’t make much sense. Instead, what you can do is acclimate the fish using drip method.

So what exactly is the drip method?

The drip method is one way you can acclimate your fish gradually, over time–reducing the risk of shock and improving the odds of your success in the saltwater aquarium hobby.

Equipment needed to acclimate using the drip method:
-Bucket
-Length of air tubing
-Turkey Baster

Step-by-step instructions on how to use the drip method acclimating fish:

  1. Open up the bag and put the fish and all the water from the bag inside your bucket
  2. Insert one end of the air tubing into your aquarium so that the tip of the tube is submerged under the water by 10 centimeters or more. Close the aquarium lid to hold the air tubing into place
  3. Position the other end of the air tubing over the bucket so that water will drip into the bucket
  4. Squeeze the ball of the turkey baster (to expel the air inside) and place the end up to the air tubing. Try to make this connection as tight as possible
  5. Release the ball of the turkey baster to create suction inside the air tubing. This should result in a siphon that will draw water from your aquarium down into your bucket.
  6. Tie the end of the airline tubing into a knot to restrict the flow of water to about one drip every second.
  7. After five minutes, loosen the knot slightly to increase the water flow
  8. Wait another 10 minutes and then loosen the knot again
  9. Wait 15 minutes and loosen the knot even further
  10. Wait 15 minutes and loosen the knot completely
  11. Remove the tubing from the aquarium (allow it to drain into the bucket) and safely add your fish to your aquarium

A few tips for acclimating using the drip method

-Do not leave buckets unattended
-Monitor the water level frequently to ensure you don’t overflow the bucket
-If there is not much water in the bag–you can first pour the fish (and contents of the bag) into a small specimen container and place that inside the bucket–use a very slow drip and when the specimen container is full you can then pour the entire contents into the bucket and resume acclimation.

If you found this article useful, or know of someone starting out in the hobby who may want to know how to use the drip acclimation method, please share this link.

You might also want to check out my saltwater fish and coral pages for more great information and advice. You can also sign up for my newsletter by adding your email address in the field on the right-hand side of the page. If you sign up, I’ll send you free article and you will receive emails about every week with the latest news, advice and blog posts. Thanks again your support and for reading.

Image was by Leszek.Leszczynski under creative commons license from Flickr

You can also find more information about acclimating fish here

Written by Albert B. Ulrich III. Follow me on  and Twitter

 

 

 

Albert B Ulrich IIIAcclimating fish using drip method

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