How to correctly Drip Acclimate New Fish for Your Planted Tank

How to correctly Drip Acclimate New Fish for Your Planted Tank

Maintaining your planted tank is not always an easy task as you have to spend a lot of time and effort keep its parameters balanced and your livestock happy. When getting new fish, it is never really a good idea to just dump them straight into your tank. If you were not told when you bought it, then let me tell you now:


Let me apologize for being so loud, but I felt I needed to make it clear. It's kind of pointless to spend money on these little guys if you are not even going to give them the opportunity to succeed. If you've looked into it before, then this will be a review or brush up; for others, this will serve to point you in the right direction on correctly drip-acclimating your new fish to your planted tank. You can do this manually or buy contraptions to aid in the process, either way, there are a few ways to cut this loaf of bread, and I want to let you know what a few of them are.

Failing to correctly acclimate your fish can have visible effects. Your little fella could be lethargic and swim as if they are lost. This can be caused by the fish having a hard time adjusting to such sudden changes in the environment. If the fish is unable to gain its bearings, then the lasting effects of improper acclimation, may result in the death of the fish.

Acclimating your fish in the correct manner

Research and progression in the aquatics community have presented a few ways or methods to acclimate your new fish, and by following these tips, you can enjoy easy and simple solutions for acclimating new fish. Immediately transferring new fish into the aquarium can cause huge damage to which some basic steps must be followed. Some people would advise you to insert the bag into the aquarium and release fish after a certain period of time. Really! Come on. How does this even make sense?

This is certainly not a better idea as it is really only adjusting it to the temperature of the planted tank. There are several other factors, which should also be considered other than tank temperature in order to ensure a smooth acclimating process to promote better fish health and growth.

So far we have mentioned the 'dump n' go' and for some odd reason, we also told you about the 'temperature bag method,' which had to be stated for some, but we love you all the same. Believe it or not, it is considered one of the most commonly used techniques and is actually referred to as the 'floating bag method,' and not the previously stated label. Other methods of acclimation other than the floating bag method include the bucket method and a real drip method for which certain precautions must be used.

To Float or not to Float?

To continue, we look at the floating bag method. It is the most used technique by fish tank owners and is simple to perform. Once you have bought your livestock, it is recommended to head home quickly to avoid any potential ammonia attacks. Once you have made it home, open the bag, pour out a quarter of the water and replace it with water from your planted tank. What this will do is help adjust the fish to the water chemistry at a gradual rate.

Next, float the closed bag in the tank, You can close the hood to help keep the bag secured and partially submerged. Make sure the light is off so as not to stress the fish further. After every 10 minute interval, repeat the pouring out (not into the tank!) and replacing of 25 percent of the water for an hour. By the end of the hour, your new fish should be properly acclimated and ready for its new environment, and you should use a net to transfer your fish to their new home. This gives more time for your fish to adjust to the tank environment, instead of using the dump n' go method, which can also result in various diseases or parasites. Using this method now you should have brought fish to their new home without any side effects. Make sure they are fed as per species requirements in order to avoid any further problems.

Fulfilling Your Bucket List

Coming over to the second technique known as the 'Bucket Method,' this whole work procedure is the absolute same as the floating bag approach. Can you spot the big difference? Yep, instead of floating the bag directly into the fish tank, here we should place the bag inside a clean bucket and place aquarium water in the bucket. By doing this, you can stop any bag water from entering your tank without making any extra efforts.

Repeat the process floating method for an hour until you think water temperature is feasible for the new fish to sustain. Take a smooth net and carefully remove the fish out of the bag and add them to your fish tank. As now you are done with the procedure, do not forget to focus on proper feeding and necessary medications.

Best of all methods to Drip Acclimate your fish

Lastly, comes the 'drip method,' which is most recommended and used by a large chunk of planted aquariums and fish tank owners. This approach is suitable for being used for invertebrates and salt-water fish too. The approach automatically handles pH and chemical requirements. To start with the drip acclimation method, a few things you will need are a vegetable clip, a bucket and some hosing that is long enough to approach the fish tank. Or you can use this product: Innovative Marine 939021 Auqa Gadget Accudrip Acclimator.

Place one end of the tube into the vegetable clip and place on the bucket with one end of the hose pointing down. The other end of the hose should be clipped to the tank. Make sure your hose is not too wide as it will be a direct tank drip we are making. Now that we have fixed our hose let's move on to the fish. Place the bag with the fish open inside the bucket positioned under the opening of the hose.

Typically, freshwater species will acclimate within the hour, sometimes sooner, but in saltwater, especially with inverts, it may take a little longer for their bodies to adjust to environmental changes and could require some additional effort when acclimating. If this is starting to seem like too much, you can head to your local LFS, and they should be more than happy to help you understand. Below we came across this great video explanation of the drip acclimation and how easy it is to set up:

Finishing it and Looking back on Acclimating

As all of the fish tank owners at some point will either have to or simply feel the need to replace their existing fish with new and younger ones. Proper transfer procedures are recommended, and we have briefly mentioned the three most popular ways to acclimate your little swimmers into your new tank. If you have questions about the water requirements, be sure to ask your LFS or pet store where you are buying your livestock to learn more about the species you are buying.

In order to ensure better adaptability of the fish into your aquarium, you can see what some experts advise. So, if you do get new fish and are determined to transfer your fish into their new home without any worries or hassles, then be sure to choose the correct acclimation method. We enjoy the drip method. What is yours?