Don't Acclimate Your Coral

Don't Acclimate Your Coral

This is going to be a controversial opinion but hear me out...

I have been acclimating my animals forever. Since I started in the hobby in 1997 (even earlier in freshwater) I drip acclimated every fish, invert, and coral I added to my tank. Sometimes faster than recommended, never as long.

Then one day, I read anecdotal examples of people plopping and dropping anemones. 

"They equalize themselves!"

So I tried it. I matched water temp, made sure my water parameters and salinity were where I want them to be, and plopped. My anemone was open and happy within minutes.

I've never acclimated one since.

Then, I read about how ammonia builds up in the bag of water that fish are transported in. Drip acclimation adds fresh oxygen to the old water, releases the locked up ammonia, and stresses out the fish more than it already is.

I stopped acclimating my fish! Guess what... I don't lose fish when they arrive healthy.

Finally, I read this article on Reef Builders. If Julian Sprung says acclimation isn't necessary, that's good enough for me. So, now I don't acclimate corals ever. 

We don't even acclimate them when we receive new frags in the store.

We receive deliveries with hundreds of frags at Clownfish Cove. Guess how many we lose transferring them to our quarantine tank without acclimation... zero.

That's AFTER we dip them for pests. Dipping is stressful but it's my belief that if we can get them into moving, fresh saltwater fast, it gives them the best chance to survive.

So, stop wasting time acclimating your coral and fish. It may even be making the experience more stressful for them.

Here's what you should do when receiving a new fish or coral:

When receiving a new fish

  • We recommend preparing a quarantine tank to ensure your new fish is healthy before going into your main display. Our fish are raised in captivity and are pre-quarantined so prophylactic medication should not be necessary.
  • Prior to your fish's arrival, check your water parameters. Our water parameters are:
    • Specific Gravity: 1.025
    • Ph: 8.1-8.3
    • Temp: 78
  • Turn down the lights on the aquarium the fish will be entering.
  • Immediately remove them from the shipping container and inspect for damage or illness.
  • Float the bag in the aquarium they will be transferred into (hopefully quarantine).
  • Once the bag temp is matched to the tank, place a net over a bucket and dump the fish into the net. Then, place the fish into it's new home.
  • Do not feed your fish. It will probably not eat for at least a few hours. It is best to leave the room and aquarium as dark as possible as they adjust.
  • It may take a few days to a week for the new fish to fully adjust to their new environment.
  • If you are quarantining your fish in a newly setup tank, monitor ammonia closely. Plan on doing frequent water changes. Even better, add some Dr Tim's to bump the natural good bacteria.

When receiving new corals

  • You may want to setup a quarantine tank if possible. If not, following a proper dipping procedure will prevent most pests.
  • Check your water parameters. Our water parameters are:
    • Specific Gravity: 1.025
    • Ph: 8.1-8.3
    • Temp: 78
    • dKh: 9.5
    • Ca: 420
    • Mg: 1400
    • PO3: .5
    • PO4: .01
  • Follow your preferred dipping procedure
  • Inspect your new coral for any remaining pests
  • Add your new coral into your aquarium

The no acclimation method is easier and less stressful on everyone.

If you experience any issues with an animal you purchase from Clownfish Cove, please contact us immediately so that we can help.

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