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Re: Acclimating fish to severe pH differences?

Kelly wrote................
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 09:48:03 -0600
From: "Beard, Kelly" <KBeard at comdata_com>
Subject: Acclimating fish to severe pH differences?

Say you buy some fish at your LFS.  You bring home the fish in a bag and
stick your pH probe in the bag - 7.4.  Your tank's pH - 6.5.  Ouch.  Don't
recall ever seeing this info on thekrib or other resources.  Anyone got a

Kelly Beard, Cat IV, Team Allanti
President, Allanti Cycling Club - http://www.allanti.com
IBM Global Services

I keep planted discus tanks and this is always a concern.  I start by
floating the bag the new fish is brought home in directly in the top of the
quarantine tank (this procedure works putting fish directly in show tanks
but with discus I can't afford the chance of re-infecting an existing
community of discus in my 125g).   The quarantine tank is heavily planted
believe it or not, and maintained at 85F, pH5.8-6.0, mostly fast growers,
swords, hygro, and some anubia.  I slowly add tank water to the bag maybe
1/4 cup every 10-15min.  I read somewhere that a siphon using airline tubing
will "drip" water from the new tank into the bag slowly.  Sounds like a good
idea but I have never used this method.

When the bag starts to get more full I start taking water out of the bag and
dump it out - NOT BACK IN THE TANK!  Depending on the fish and tolerances to
pH/temp changes this should take anywhere from 30minutes to 4 hours.  I may
also dim the lights and/or even add an air stone to the bag but usually the
planted tank will maintain adequate O2 levels so some O2 is being added to
the bag.  I may put a few drops of ammonia neutralizer into the bag just
incase  or I might add Nova-Aqua...which supposedly helps their slim-coat
regenerate??...I guess it's like a double-martini after work kinda thing for
the fish.    Watch out cause some of these products will effect the pH and
buffering capacity of the water in the bag, so use very little of any at all
Once the temp/pH are about the same I net the fish from the bag, put it in
it's new home and discard any water from the LFS/suppler.

Over 4 hours I may have dropped the pH from 7.4  to 5.8 and increased the
temp. from 75 to 85F without any problems or significant signs of stress.
Just don't rush the procedure! I will tell you I have had instances where
the bag the new fish is in tipped over and sank to the bottom of the tank
and shock the bajesus out of one of my fish, the pH drop burned his gills,
he turned black as coal for a couple of days  but he seems fine now.
Actually I am surprised he lived through this.   After a couple of days I
start a treatment of quarantine meds (Clout for flukes and disco-worm if
they don't eat after 4-7 days ) and/or observe the fish for 2/3 weeks before
putting them in their final home/show-tank.

This has been my experience, YMMV.

Hope this help Kelly!
Tom Brennan
brennans at ix_netcom.com