Acclimating Mailed Fish

gracerig

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I recently ordered a betta online that's being shipped through the mail. I read that the tiny amount of water they get shipped in builds up high ammonia, but the CO2 in the bag helps it stay non-toxic. Do I have to do anything special when acclimating him? Will opening the bag and letting in fresh air cause the ammonia to suddenly become toxic?
 

NightShade

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yes it can, just add a few drops of Prime water conditioner to the bag as soon as you open it, and then acclimate the fish as preferred
 

Lunnietic

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Unsure if this is the correct way to do it or not. I was told to quickly dump them out of the bag into a net. And put them in the tank with the lights off for a few hours before turning them on.

The CO2 ive been told will sky rocket the pH in the bag once it opens--and therefor its safer to pull them out of that environment asap.

Ive only done this once for the record. I had guppies and a mystery snail mailed.
 

sloughdog

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There are different ways to do it and I would use whichever one your most comfortable with.
I prefer the drip acclimation method because it works for me. I just use 2 sections of airline tubing connected by a 2 way valve ($.99 part at lfs). Prime the tubing and adjust the valve to a slow drip. I place the bag of fish in my water change bucket and poke a small hole in the bag to fit the tubing in. I let my aquarium water drip into the bag for at least 30 min (bag will over flow with water). Then I open the bag of fish and gently pour them into a net (net placed over the bucket or sink) and into the aquarium they go. None of the bagged water goes into the tank. Hope this helps and good luck with your betta!
 

Galathiel

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It depends on the bag used and how it's shipped. Some bags you can float and acclimate just like you picked the fish up locally. Others, the fish will suffocate if you let them float in their bags because of the type of bag used. If there are no instructions from where you purchased the fish, I would err on the side of caution and remove the fish (and water) from the bag and place it in a container. You can then start your acclimation process using the container (adding Prime or whatever you need to do to make it safe during the process).
 

popsikle

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Drip acclimation with mail order fish IME has been terrible for the fish. As soon as you open the bag the O2 levels will climb making the ammonia toxic. Everyone does things differently, but this is the one method for mail order fish I am vocally against. My preferred method is to float the bag in your QT to temperature acclimate and then bucket + net and right into QT. People often tell me that the swing in water params is bad for the fish (which is true), but the water the fish is in during mailing is going to go through an even more severe toxic swing.
 

Gadfly

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My mail ordered fish were all acclimated the same way my lfs fish were. I have received fish that took three days to arrive and it was all good. Never had any issues.
 

SegiDream

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popsikle said:
Drip acclimation with mail order fish IME has been terrible for the fish. As soon as you open the bag the O2 levels will climb making the ammonia toxic. Everyone does things differently, but this is the one method for mail order fish I am vocally against. My preferred method is to float the bag in your QT to temperature acclimate and then bucket + net and right into QT. People often tell me that the swing in water params is bad for the fish (which is true), but the water the fish is in during mailing is going to go through an even more severe toxic swing.
I have done this as well with sparklers and an endler guppy without any ill effects. Let them float and temperature acclimate, then get a wet net and bucket. Open the bag and pour it out over the net so the fish goes into the net and water into the bucket. Immediately move the fish into Qt tank. Rachel O'Leary has a YouTube video of this process if needed.

Edited to add I temperature acclimated because they had been outside in below 40 degree temps and therefore needed a long period to adjust. Otherwise Rachel says don't even temperature acclimate them unless there's a huge difference.
 

sloughdog

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Like I said there is more than one way to acclimate them. I don’t open the bag wide open to insert tubing for drip acclimation. Basically I push the tubing into the bag so opening is minimal (tubing cut at 45 angle to make insertion easier).
I’ve received mail order fish over a dozen times with shipping varying from 1 day to almost 4. Never lost a fish using this process. Maybe it’s my well water or the glacial water when I lived in Alaska...not sure but if it ain’t broke no use in fixing it. Part of it too is how the shipper preps the fish for shipping such as fasting them.
 
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