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Ornamental Fish Acclimatization

When we would like to add new ornamental fish to the pond or aquarium, the acclimatization will be preformed gradually in order to prevent any harm being done to the new fish. The key here is not to make any drastic changes. All ornamental fish can adjust to the environment in which they will live in. However, an extreme change in a short timeframe, might harm the fish, and even cause death.

The ornamental fish have “sensors” which start and stop biological processes in their body. Using these sensors, the fish adjust different biological processes in their body. Not all ornamental fish are equality sensitive to their environment. The correlation between the fish to the environment is pronounced in a wide range of factors, including temperature and water values.

When we would like to add a new fish to the aquarium, we will need to make sure it contains the necessary equipment (filter, heater…) and water quality to accommodate the new fish population.

Before we present the acclimatization process of the fish, we will define what perimeters are to be equalized before the fish are released to the aquarium/pond:

  • Temperature: equalization between the temperature of the water in the bag and the temperature of the water in the aquarium/pond.
  • Acidity (PH): the water acidity level index.
  • Hardness: An index which defines us how many minerals are in the water. The more minerals in the water, the higher the water hardness is. This perimeter has an effect mostly on tropical fish (for example, the discus).

It is possible to accelerate the rate of the biological process advancement in the aquarium by adding bacteria additives to the aquarium waters. These additives contain a bacteria culture which houses billions of wanted bacteria, in addition to additives which accelerate the bacteria’s rate of development.

The steps to be taken from the moment the fish is in the bag until it can be released to the aquarium are:

  1. We take the bag where the fish is packed in, and untie the rubber band that ties it. Afterwards, we dip the bag into the aquarium, so it will float.
  2. We wait around 15 minutes for the water temperature in the bag to the equalized with the water temperature in the aquarium/pond.
  3. At this stage, we equalize the other water values by adding a glass of water from the aquarium/pond to the bag.
  4. Wait for 15 more minutes.
  5. We add an additional glass of water from the aquarium/pond to the bag.
  6. Wait for 15 more minutes.
  7. Now, it is possible to release the fish.

Rarely, we will notice that the fish we bought arrived in a bad condition, and there is a fear for their fate. In such a situation, it is possible to speed up the acclimatization, with the premise that the conditions in the bag are the cause for the bad condition of the fish.

The most common reasons for this are:

  • The bag lost air, and as a consequence, the fish did not have enough oxygen.
  • Ammonia poisoning, in the case of the fish being fed before their packing.

There is a more gentle method for ornamental fish acclimatization, by drizzling. In this method, we take The bag (with the water in it) and pour them into a container (for example: a bucket). Afterwards, we connect the aquarium to the container using a thin pipe, so the aquarium water will drizzle lightly into the container, for about 30 to 40 minutes. Afterwards, it is possible to pull out the fish from the container (possible by using a net) and transfer it into the aquarium.

It is possible to ease the fish transfer process by bringing them into an environment with dim lighting. The aquarium darkening can be done with turning off the lighting. The ornamental fish feel less threatened in the dark.

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