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How to Acclimate Your Fish

by | Mar 23, 2023 | 0 comments


Unpacking your Shipped Fish

Hey, welcome back. Today we’re going to talk about I just received my box of fish, and this is how we will acclimate them to make your life simpler and ours as well. We will answer many questions that may happen to you during transit and everything that is required to get these guys in your tank safely. All right, so we’re back. Your box of fish just came via UPS or through one of the airlines. And this is how you’re going to get it. Depending on the amount of fish, this is a smaller box. We have medium boxes and larger boxes. Irrelevant. It’s all the same procedure. The first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to pop your box open. Now, we try our best to ensure these fish go up as animal proof as possible. Now, I’ll bring this box down so I can show you how you will receive it. In a nutshell, you’re going to slide out the styrofoam. This one is no longer relevant. Now, we seal them, so there’s no water leakage in case something leaks. As soon as you pop it open, you’ll first notice this little pillow on top.

Sometimes they fall in. This is your heat pack. We use these only in winter, so the box stays relatively warm and keeps that cold air out. And if you notice, there will be an inner bag wrapped with bubble wrap. Sometimes there are so many of them we don’t need any bubble wrap. But once you pull it out, you’ll notice three individual or depending on the amount of fish bags inside. My suggestion is, don’t use this because you’re going to cut your fingers off, but use a pair of scissors to get in. And I’m going to look for a pair of scissors right now. So give me two seconds, and I’ll show you what you need to do. I got my scissors. Any scissors will do. Now, we don’t use rubber bands. So unless you can get a pair of pliers to cut this, which I don’t recommend, grab the scissor, cut underneath the staple, and that’ll release the bag. You’re going to do this for all the bags inside. Now, it’s very simple. What you’re going to do is you’re going to peel them back each one of them.

Acclimating Fish to your pH

Now, the nice thing about these boxes is that unless they’re cracked, they actually hold water. So we’re going to acclimate them in the box. And the way we’re going to do that is we’re going to grab a cup. It could be any cup, all right? A solo cup, this cup, doesn’t matter. We’re going to put them in the tank that we have established. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to grab this cup of water out of our fish tank. And from about this height, we’re going to pour a little bit of water inside each one of the fish bags. And what we’re doing when we do this is we’re acclimating them to the temperature that’s in the tank, so you don’t have to float the bags. We’re acclimating them to the pH. Remember, when you jump in a swimming pool and your eyes burn, everybody blames it on chlorine. But in reality, after 15 minutes in the pool, that burning sensation goes away. Okay? So it’s not the chlorine. It’s the difference in pH between your eye and the pool. We don’t want them to feel that burning sensation on their body.

So this is why we acclimate them. My suggestion, what I just showed you now, is every 15 minutes. So every 15 minutes, you come back and do another little pour. Okay? And you’re going to do this for an hour. In an hour, slowly, you’ll bring up the temperature to the one you have in your tank, and also, you’ll acclimate them to your pH. Now, once you’re done doing all of this, grab a bucket. We don’t want water from the traveling bag that might have some poop and urine in it. We don’t want that to go into your tank. So we’re going to use the bag as a net. We’re going to empty all the water in a bucket. You can see the fish inside. And then we’re just going to walk up to the tank and do this. And the fish is going to go right in. And we’re going to do this for each one of them. Bag as a net; squeeze. Fish can’t get out. Dump all that traveling water. Go right in the tank.

Leave Them Be

Next fish, same thing. Depending on how many fish you get, you will have to do this as often as you have the fish. That’s it. Now you don’t need to net them; you don’t need to scratch them. You don’t need to do anything. Now, this was very simple because we did it here at work. The fish came out of this tank. After bagging our fish today, we did everything for you, and they went right in. And as you can tell, we can’t even tell which was here and which wasn’t. But in your particular case, after traveling and sometimes mishandling by UPS or the airlines or whatever, they may lay down on you, which is normal. As long as they’re breathing, they’re alive. Remember, a flat fish will become flat on the ground, and that’s the most defensive mode it could be. And if it’s scared, their swim bladders might be pushed in, and they can’t swim properly, leave them alone, as long as they’re breathing. And if you don’t believe me that they’re okay, once you put them in, come back 15 minutes later and walk to the left and right, and that fish lying down will follow you with his eyes.

So he’s alive. He’s just stressed out after the trip. Leave him alone. They’ll come around. Give them a couple of days, a couple of hours, and you’ll start noticing that they start trying to swim erratically. And then all of a sudden, they’re swimming normally from one day to the other. You can’t tell who was lying down or not. Okay? Very normal. Okay? We’re going to show you videos where we bring in from the other hatchery to this hatchery, and it’s only a two-and-a-half hour drive, and they’ll lay down on us, and they come in buckets.

Another thing that may happen is they’ll get a split fin from thrashing inside the bag because they get scared. That’s normal. With a little bit of salt and a little bit of stress guard, if you have it, that split fin will mend on its own. It’ll just heal again. It’s not a big deal. These are probably most of the things that can happen in transit, and we want you guys to feel comfortable. I know you see a fish lying on the bottom of the tank and immediately think it’s dead.

No, leave them alone. Don’t coax them. Don’t hit them with the net. Don’t make them more stressed out. Don’t move them into a quarantine tank. Leave them in the tank that you put them in. Leave them alone. Give them a couple of days to relax. You can leave your lights on. I’m not a firm believer in lights shutting off the lights because, guess what? I want them to know what their new aquarium, their new home, will look like. I don’t want that light to go off because when the light goes on and they see that they’re not in the same environment they were a couple of hours ago or a couple of days ago, they will freak out. So we want all that freaking out to happen instantaneously. On top of that, we don’t want them to think they’re made out of glass. Okay? You have tanks for discus. Remember that. They’re hardy and robust, not as fragile as most people will make them out to be. And we want you guys to feel comfortable. So we’re giving you all the worst sides of a shipment that can happen so that you realize it’s normal.


Please, keep those questions coming because you give us excellent video ideas. Now that I’m in the mood and have help, like the guy pointing the camera at me, we usually stay behind after busy days. You can tell by the look on my face; obviously, there isn’t a single hair perfectly in line on my head. But we’re trying to bring this all to you so that you guys learn more and enjoy more, whether you buy them from me or not. I’m giving you a way to acclimate your fish so that you can enjoy them and not hurt them. Remember, we’re everywhere. Instagram, Facebook, we got the website wattleydiscus.com. We’re here for you and plan to be here a lot more now. And we’re going to bring you many more videos on the new hatchery as we go along. But once we get to that point, because we’re so busy. So I keep on telling you, thank you very much. This is Gabe Posada of Jack Wattley Discus, saying take care.



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