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Unread 02/09/2011, 04:09 PM   #1
Sk8r
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Drip acclimation can kill

Second sad post in a week from a caring and smart new reefer who lost a new fish trying to follow the accepted procedures: in both cases a long drip acclimation. I know drip's reached the status of sacred dogma in this hobby, but I strongly advise pre-setting your qt salinity to match your fish-source and totally skipping drip acclimation.

Here's a thread on what happens and why it happens, also discussion: that thread is locked because it was getting unwieldy and confusing, but feel free to comment here. I emphasize the title again, and I am so very, very sorry for the people who lost fish.
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1939508


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Unread 02/09/2011, 05:05 PM   #2
deangelr
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The thread didnt seem too confusing to me.. not sure why you closed it..

anyway, many of us just do not have QT tanks..

and lets clarify here... im not reefer and i have been drip acclimating for years! now you are telling me that its killing my fish? whoa, thats crazy


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Unread 02/09/2011, 05:06 PM   #3
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So even for organisms like anemones which people in the anemone forum all seem to drip acclimate for hours... should not be dripped?


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Unread 02/09/2011, 05:09 PM   #4
deangelr
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since we dont have QT's how long shoud we leave it in the bag to match salinity?


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Unread 02/09/2011, 06:26 PM   #5
heckfire
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its a tricky subject,, if the animal sat in a box in its own waste for 24 hrs you are gonna have a hard time regardless,, it sucks losing a animal


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Unread 02/09/2011, 06:26 PM   #6
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If you have no choice but to drip, the best collected wisdom says no more than 30 minutes: your mileage may vary with temperature (hotter means faster), time (distance from the lfs), etc. My advice is, if you have to drip:
1. The death clock does not tick until the bag is opened. Correct your temperature first by floating (15 minutes will do it under most ordinary circumstances) your unopened bag. Now---if you're warming it up, remember warmth accelerates chemical processes. So:
2. you are now warm. Open the bag and start dripping: reduce the water volume in the bag a bit and look at the clock. Say you've got the average water bag, and the rascals shipped you a fish at 1.021, and you're 1.026, a .005 difference in salinity, and you've got 30 minutes. You only need to change that salinity by .004 to be close enough for a makes-no-difference. So proportion out your drip time by segments of time (4) in which you have to up that salinity by .001 every 7 minutes or so. So just start dripping and measuring, and if you get to your first 7 minutes and you're not at 1.022, pick up the pace of the drip. If you reach 28 minutes and you happen to be at 1.024, and I had to choose between 5 more minutes of drip and getting the fish out of that bag water, I'd move him on over and get him out. Unless he's super delicate he won't die of a .002 difference: currents waft by in the ocean now and again---fish can vote with their fins in those instances, but your guy still is going to survive it.

The deal with ammonia is that it's toxic, and by the way it kills, from right away (if awful) to 3 days on, indicates to me that it blitzes the kidneys: takes a while for blood toxins to build up to a fatal level, if the kidneys are out of commission or nearly so. Hence the numerous accounts of fish that made it 3 days and then keeled over dead without a mark. The unfortunate owner doesn't know what happened: the fish was eating, no sign of ich, and everything was fine and now it is dead and no mark.

If you've got the freedom of a qt tank, and by that I don't mean a cycled tank, but a barebottom glass box or bucket that can hold a fish for a while for observation for parasites and to get them eating properly....it's just so much easier to adjust the tank instead of adjusting the fish. You then set about adjusting the qt to match display tank salinity by just letting evaporation handle it, and you're good and the fish has never had a moment of stress about his salinity.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Unread 02/09/2011, 06:33 PM   #7
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There are TWO lethal mechanisms involved in this issue.
-----------
1. no acclimation at all can mean OSMOTIC SHOCK, ie, different pressure inside versus outside cell walls: cell walls burst---instant tissue and organ damage.
--------------
2. Over-acclimation: ammonia poisoning.
Here's the chemistry of what happens: Sealed bag: the fish respires co2 into the water. This drops the ph. The fish poos. But the low ph keeps the pollution in the form of harmless ammonium.
Open the bag and co2, trapped in the water and held there by the pressure, gasses off quickly and leaves the water. PH then rises fast, causing non-toxic ammonium, which is odorless and harmless, to convert into toxic ammonia, which stinks and is highly toxic. The fish which has gotten a lethal dose of ammonia will die as toxins build up in the blood, usually within 3 days.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Unread 02/09/2011, 07:12 PM   #8
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What if you do the measureing cup method? Float unopened bag for 15 minutes then add how much water for how long to the next batch of water?


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Unread 02/09/2011, 07:15 PM   #9
Chuck H.
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I'm old school (LFS employee in the mid-80's while in high school), when I acclimate I float for 15 minutes, empty bag contents into specimen container and add about 1/3 cup of tank water every 15 minutes (removing 1/3 cup prior to and dumping down the drain) three times for an hour long process. I do not put specimen cup water in my DT. Seems to work for me so far, do it for all fish and inverts.


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Unread 02/09/2011, 08:09 PM   #10
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I usually float bag for 15 minutes to equalize temp then remove bag and poke a few holes in each side then float it another 45 minutes then remove bag pour off as much water as possible then dump into tank, this has worked for me so far.


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Unread 02/09/2011, 08:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sucker_fish View Post
I usually float bag for 15 minutes to equalize temp then remove bag and poke a few holes in each side then float it another 45 minutes then remove bag pour off as much water as possible then dump into tank, this has worked for me so far.
wouldn't that just allow water from the bag to go into your tank? might as well just dump the entire bag in for that matter. What happens if the LFS you got your livestock has bacteria or disease in the water column? This is now in your system


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Unread 02/09/2011, 08:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck H. View Post
I'm old school (LFS employee in the mid-80's while in high school), when I acclimate I float for 15 minutes, empty bag contents into specimen container and add about 1/3 cup of tank water every 15 minutes (removing 1/3 cup prior to and dumping down the drain) three times for an hour long process. I do not put specimen cup water in my DT. Seems to work for me so far, do it for all fish and inverts.
ditto for me has worked for along while now .


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Unread 02/09/2011, 09:55 PM   #13
IbanezIC300
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I would agree with Chuck H. I would call it the "quick drip method." This has worked for me for the past 10 years. I float the bag for 15 minutes and over the next 45 I add water from my tank to the bag and eventually pour out all of the bag contents into the sink and release the fish into the tank. Hasn't seemed to fail yet.


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Unread 02/09/2011, 10:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune_Fan View Post
What happens if the LFS you got your livestock has bacteria or disease in the water column? This is now in your system
Then the fish would be bringing disease or bacteria into your tank anyway.


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Unread 02/09/2011, 10:40 PM   #15
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i have done what others stated above. the slow drip, the add small amount of water every 10 to 15 minutes to bag, dump when half full & continue. or just bring temp up to match display & add to tank. i have had success for 5 years with all of these methods. the animal in question is how i decide which method to use. i have researched several places including here & other sources. and the small amount of water you will be adding from bag is not enough to harm display. unless you have a very small tank. 2 to 4 cups of water from shipping bag added to a 55 gallon or larger tank is not going to make any difference at all. compared to water volume in tank. this is just my opinion & my experence. so i do not recommend people follow it, its just what works for me


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Unread 02/09/2011, 10:55 PM   #16
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The most serious danger (outside of osmotic shock and ammonia) when introducing a new specimen is parasites, which can travel in a single drop of water---or unseen, in fish gills, or in the case of corals ( a different problem) so tiny you need a magnifying glass (red bug) ---at least you do with my eyes.
A qt is the absolutely safest thing---for your very first fish; and an observation bin for your corals: it's because your problem is microscopic. The ich bump on your fish is not the pest itself, so don't expect to see it with the naked eye. Inside that nasty little pimple are many, many ich-parasites, which once the thing pops (inexperienced folk say "Oh, look! It's gone! Hurrah!" instead of "Ouch. It's spread.")---head straight for a tank sandbed to reproduce and come back, attacking everybody remotely susceptible.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Unread 02/09/2011, 11:16 PM   #17
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?WHAT?

If your animals die during the acclimation process, it's not because acclimation is a bad practice. It's because you don't know what you're doing.


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Unread 02/10/2011, 12:07 AM   #18
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Do you also apply the 30 minute rule to inverts such as shrimp as well? What about adding a few drops of amquel to neutralize the harmful ammonia?


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Unread 02/10/2011, 12:55 AM   #19
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I've always floated for 15 min and then they go into a small bucket. Drip for 15 min, then remove some water and drip for another 15 min, then remove some water and drip for another 15 min. After that, net (fish), into QT. Same for corals and inverts. Works very time.....


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Unread 02/10/2011, 09:10 AM   #20
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again, read the technicals; time depends on various factors. Shipped-in specimens are the most urgent to get out of the bag: living a block from the fish store gives you extra time. Getting a fish in the afternoon delivery from across country gives you a fish at maximum risk for an mishap---but paradoxically, the fact that it came in somewhat chilled can give it a better chance of surviving it. To evaluate situations where fish did well after a longer drip---you have to know the particulars, the temperature, the origin, the distance, etc, and the size, the species, etc---plus the owner's skill to watch the fish's behavior and say, 'this fish needs to go over now.'

Drip, even if survivable, serves no purpose if you have a qt ready for the fish you intend to acquire.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Unread 02/10/2011, 09:55 AM   #21
deangelr
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What do you think about adding an NH3 binding reagent while the bag is acclimating..?again I am not using a QT.


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Unread 02/10/2011, 10:09 AM   #22
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I mean it all makes sense..

PH drops due to gas exchange rates in the closed bag during shipping (buildiup of CO2 due to respiration of the fish).. As the PH drops this means there is an increase in the number of free H+ ions and therefore un ionized NH3 wants to join with H+ and form NH4+ (non toxic ammonium). Fish is safe in the bag.

When the bag is opened, gas exchange occurs quikly and the PH rises. This takes away those free H+ ions and turns NH4+ back to to NH3. Dead fish. Chemistry right?

I guess I am just a little ****ed I spent 2 hours acclimating an anemone a few months ago that ate the dust. It was completely evicerated upon arrival and looked that way thourough the acclimation. I guess it would have been beneficial to have put it in the tank sooner.. (Its health did improve after placement in the DT, but only temporarily)


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Unread 02/10/2011, 10:20 AM   #23
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There's no reason you can't use media during the process: it just gets a little cramped in a bag. If on the other hand you have a small polystyrene bucket you can use as an intermediate step, preset at the right salinity, it gives you all kinds of spare time to make adjustments and transit your specimen at leisure. The main thing is getting it out of the bag water: then you can safely drip to your heart's content. It works with inverts as well as fish, including corals: in the case of corals, make it also your anti-parasite dip, and you're doing two operations at once.
The reason we recommend fullblown 4 week qt with fish is because of the life cycle of the predominant parasite, marine ich, which hides in the gills and lurks in sandbeds. But I understand the problems of students and trying to find room in the closet for a bucket.
You might find additional info in the chemistry forum.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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Unread 02/10/2011, 11:28 AM   #24
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Sk8r-excellent advice! I ALMOST lost mt Yellow tang the first night due to over dripping it..A friend had told me to drip over the course of over an hour and after i did, the tang started bugging out that night in the QT. I shut off all lights, and left him alone and he pulled through....

I just got two true clowns and i dipped the bag for 15 minutes in tank water then opened and put water/fish in a container. I removed some water and then added tank water every 15 minutes for 2 times, then removed some water and did it twice more. These guys are doing great.....Dont think i will chance the drip again........


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Unread 02/10/2011, 11:55 AM   #25
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I might mention too---the commonest salinity for inverts and corals is 1.024-6. I keep mine at 1.025 to give me leeway either direction. And of course I know the salinity of the sources I deal with.

With fish shipments, and with fish-only (no inverts) tanks, a more common salinity is 1.021. Fish are often shipped at that salinity. So if you're fish-only, the chances of a fish coming in AT your salinity are high, and 1.021 is a good 'setting' for a fish-only if you don't have inverts. If you have a fuge, however, you should be setting it at 1.024-6, and expecting to adjust salinity of incoming fish: in qt, evaporation can do it handily.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, yellow tang, sailfin blenny,royal gramma, ocellaris clown pair, yellow watchman, 100 microceriths, 25 tiny hermits, a 4" conch, 1" nassarius, recovering from 2 year hiatus with daily water change of 10%.
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