Acclimating Your New Fish

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"Quick Start" Summary (Watch the videos above for a full explanation and demonstration. A transcript of the videos is below)

  1. Prepare your aquarium for new fish by doing a partial water change a day or two before your fish arrive.
  2. Open the box as soon as the fish are delivered to your door.  Check to see that the fish are alive and active.  If there are any problems, follow the instructions for reporting losses that come with the fish.
  3. Remove an inch of water from the aquarium and turn off the lights.  Set the unopened bags in the tank to let the temperature in the bag become even with the tank water (about 10 minutes).
  4. Open the bag and cuff the top like a sock, which will allow the bag to float while staying open.
  5. Use a small cup to transfer about ½ cup of water from the aquarium into the bag of fish.  Repeat the transfer of water every five to ten minutes for about a half hour, or until the bag is full of water.
  6. Release the fish by taking gently tilting the top of the bag into the tank so that the fish can swim out.  You can also remove the bag with the fish, gently pour them into a net and then release them into the tank; this is only necessary if the water in the bag looks very dirty or has a bad odor.
  7. Top off the aquarium with clean, dechlorinated water and replace the top.
  8. Leave the lights off for a few hours… overnight is best.
  9. Do not attempt to feed the fish until the day after they are acclimated to the aquarium.

Complete Video Transcript

Getting new fish for your aquarium is always exciting. We will send you the best we have so there are some steps we would like you to take to prepare for their arrival and acclimating them to your aquarium.

This video will describe those steps. You can also find written tips for receiving fish on our website.

A day or two before your receive your fish do a partial water change on your aquarium around 20-50%. This step is especially important if you have not preformed a water change on your aquarium in more than a month.

Your fish will be delivered to your door by Federal Express. The boxes are clearly marked. If you are not going to be home please leave a note telling the delivery person not to leave the boxes in direct sunlight.

Your fish will arrive inside plastic bags nestled inside an insulated box. Please open the box as soon as possible and inspect your shipment. Make sure your fish are alive and swimming upright. If there are any problems you will need to follow the steps in the guarantee section of the website.

The water that your fish are traveling in may be very different that the water in your tank. Acclimating them is very important. It is easier to acclimate them if the top and light are removed from your tank. You are going to float your bags in your aquarium and your bags are going to displace water, so start out by using a siphon hose to remove about an inch of water from the tank.

The fish will be double bagged inside of the 2 plastic bags. Remove the outer bag and packing material. If there are any packing materials left on the inside bag go ahead and rinse off that bag with lukewarm water before placing it in your aquarium.

Begin the acclimation process by floating the unopened bags in the aquarium. This will begin equalizing the temperature between the water in the bags and the water in your tank. Let the bag sit in the water undisturbed for 5 to 10 minutes then go ahead and roll the tops of the bags down to create a cuff. This will trap air in the bag and allow them to float.

Use a small cup to transfer a cup of water from your tank to your bag. Repeat this process every 5 to 10 minutes until your bags are almost full. Once the bag  is almost full of water let the bag sit for another 5-10 minutes. Then unroll the top of each bag and slowly tilt the bag into the aquarium to let the fish slowly swim into the tank.

Once the fish are free, top off your aquarium if needed with clear dechlorinated water. Place the top and the lights back on the aquarium but leave the lights off for at least another 5 minutes. If you can leave them off for an hour or so your fish will feel more comfortable in their new home. Your fish will soon be exploring and growing accustom  to their new surroundings.

It is best not to try and feed them until a day after being put in your tank.

After adding fish to a new aquarium it will take a few weeks for the water to be balanced to the greater number of fish. So it is important to plan on doing a 25% water change 5 or 6 days after acclimating your new pets.

Thank you for taking the time to correctly acclimate your new pets from We hope they do as well for you as they have for us. We look forward to our next opportunity to serve you.