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Acclimating Aquarium Fish
The advice you've read elsewhere is likely wrong.
This page discusses the proper method of acclimating aquarium fish, which is very very easy. If you buy fish from us, you'll need to acclimate them to your aquarium.

Almost all other sources of aquarium information recommend an improper method of acclimating aquarium fish that is very dangerous to the fish's health.

Click here if you begin reading the instructions below, and you think this advice sounds very wrong and against common sense.

You'll need a pair of scissors and a big bowl or a utility bucket.

Acclimate the fish using the following procedure, even if the fish appear to be dead.

1. Cut the top off of bag below the metal clip with a pair of scissors.

2. Pour most of the water from the bag into a clean bucket, but leave the fish in the bag.

3. Then pour the fish and the remaining small amount of water into your fish's new home.

Important: Do not float the bag of fish. Do not slowly add your water to the bag. Do not aerate the water in the bag.

It should not shock the new fish if the temperature or chemistry of the water in the bag is different from the water in their new home, provided you have cleaned your aquarium, washed the gravel, and added fresh water on the previous day as described elsewhere on this website.

Additional Tips for Acclimating Fish
1. Feed your established fish just before you add the new fish. Well-fed fish are less aggressive than hungry fish. Feeding your fish will lessen the amount of stress on the new fish.

2. Move the ornaments around in your aquarium, so the landscape looks different to your established fish, and they will not be so eager to defend their old territories.

This will lessen the stress on the new fish and give them a more equal opportunity in your aquarium.

3. Open the box containing the new fish in dimmed light. The fish have been shipped in complete darkness. Bright lights will greatly increase the level of stress.

Turn the lights off in your aquarium for 12 to 24-hours, after you've added new fish to allow the new fish to rest and recover from the trip.

4. Treat your aquarium with Quick Cure (Q.C.) and Aquarium Salt (A.S.). But use only 1/2-dose strength. That is 1-drop of Q.C. per each 2-gallons, and 1-Tablespoon of A.S. per 10-gallons.

So a 20-gallon aquarium would get 10-drops of Q.C. and 2-Tablespoons of A.S. Repeat the 1/2-dose of Q.C. each day for four days, but add A.S. just once.

We've tested these methods many times under many varying conditions, and they work. We have acclimated many millions of pet fish, and we've discussed these procedures with other leading fish professionals.

These methods have the widest agreement. Finally we've made many calculations to check and be sure there are good scientific reasons to be confident in these methods.

Bad Advice from our Competitors
We just finished making a review of the advice about Acclimating fish from all of our competitors on the internet. Everything we read was just plain wrong and more difficult than it needs to be.

This shows that they don't really know what they're talking about, and should diminish your confidence in them as suppliers of live fish for your aquariums.

The Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, have been breeding, raising, and shipping live fish for over 50-years. They are two of the most trusted aquarium experts in the world.

Advice to slowly add scoops of water to the bag of fish or to siphon water through an airline into the bag of fish may sound like commonsense. But it will probably harm the fish.

Bad advice like that, given by our competitors, leads us to believe that they don't know what they are doing, and since they don't know how to acclimate fish, there are probably lots of other important things that they don't know how to do. So Beware.

The Chemistry of Acclimating Fish
This section may contain more than you really want to know. But still it's fun to learn more about fish and aquariums and the water!

The water in the bag of fish contains ammonia that's been excreted by the fish. In water the ammonia converts to ammonium ions, as shown in the following chemical reaction

NH3 + HOH <== NH4+ + OH-

The concentration of ammonia, on the left in the equation, is largely determined by the pH of the water. The lower the pH; the lower the concentration of ammonia and the higher the concentration of ammonium ions.

Ammonia is known to be much more toxic to fish than ammonium ions.

The shipping water also contains lots of carbon dioxide, which lowers the pH, and thus lowers the amount of ammonia in the water, making the water less toxic to the fish.

If you aerate the water in the bag, the carbon dioxide will rapidly decrease, and the pH will go up, increasing the ammonia, and poisoning the fish.

If you add water from your aquarium to the bag, that water from your aquarium will almost always be of a higher pH than the water in the bag, and again the ammonia ions will increase in the bag and poison the fish.

This sort of chemistry has been well known to chemists for a long time. But it's not widely known or used in the aquarium hobby.

The Bailey Brothers, who own, were among the first in the aquarium business to discuss and apply these principles.

Final Comments
Most aquarists have been hoodwinked by bad advice about how to acclimate new fish to their aquarium.

All the advice about gently adding or even better dripping aquarium water into the shipping bag sounds like good common sense. But it turns out to be false.

In almost every area of knowledge there are things that sound like common sense but are not true, and how to acclimate fish is one such area. 

Even so, eventually science prevails against false ideas like the flat earth and slowly acclimating fish.

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