Acclimation protocol

AnnieT

New Member
Oct 19, 2023
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Illinois
I stopped by my LFS for some otocinclus today and asked what their pH is. To my dismay, their pH was 8.1 and the employee said it’s often higher than that. She also said it takes weeks for fish to acclimate to a different pH, so the store just acclimates new fish to temperature and then “dumps” them into the tank. I currently have the otos acclimating to my quarantine tank’s temperature and plan on using my standard acclimation protocol, which includes slowly dripping water from the tank into the bag. I'm wondering what others think. Thanks!
 

Allwissend

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It's definitely not a one size fits all, with factors such as differences in the 2 water parameters playing a role as well as the expected amount of a ammonia in the bag at the time of opening. With local fish store I would expect the time the fish are in the bag to be short so no/low ammonia levels, allowing for a longer acclimating time. pH is abit of a false factor, in that it's easy to measure but may not be as important for acclimating as electric conductivity, KH and GH. I would rather measure those than pH.

I fail to see the logic in what the employee said... it takes weeks to acclimate to a different pH->so we dump them in the tank / make the shock as great and as quick as possible. Either pH is important for acclimating and you should take weeks or it's not and you can get away with what they do. It would be like saying it takes hours for a deep diver to be able to resurface so he should swim as fast as possible towards the surface.

I live in a region with very hard, very high KH water and have some of my aquariums with remineralized RO water at rather soft, low KH parameters. In my experience even a few hours of gradually mixing with aquarium water can help the fish greatly...it's the acute osmotic shock that we are trying to prevent in this situation.
 

Stigigemla

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Jan 30, 2022
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Gemla Sweden
When fish arrives from a long yourney there is often low pH and a lot of ammonia in the water.
Ammonia is much less poisonous at low pH so if you mix in hard water with a lot of kH You will raise the pH and the ammonia will become poisonous.
Therefore after long transports is it often better to take out the fishes from the old water and put them directly in the new.
The absolutly best method is to mix a little soda stream treated water to the new water to adjust the pH to the same value as in the transport water. Put in the fishes with no transport water and put an airstone in the bucket. Wait for the pH to rise to about the same value as in the tanks and then move over the fishes.

If you buy fish from a tank in a local store there should be no risk of ammonia in the water and a stepwise water change is good.
I agree that for most fishes kH change (osmotic pressure) is more important than pH.

Some exporters add salt to their transport water to reduce osmotic pressure. (Inside the fishes the salinity is about 0,4%) If that is the case it is best to adjust the tank to about the same salinity.
Normally it is very soft water in the transport bags so they add usual table salt but without fluoride. That is mostly for livebearers.
In that case it is best to measure the TDS in the bag water and adjust the recieving water to the same. Some black water fishes dont stand that water so only if you measure high TDS.

Normally if you buy from a LFS they use the same tap water as you and it is just to move the fishes over to the tank after the temperature is checked. Dont bother for a pH difference of 1.0 or less.
 
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AnnieT

New Member
Oct 19, 2023
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Illinois
Thanks for your replies! I'm working on my first high-tech tank and have been diligent about measuring KH and GH, and I have a TDS meter, so you've given me a good strategy to go forward. I'm so glad there's a forum like this, it's a relief knowing help is close by. Thanks again!
 

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