Acclimation After Shipping

mossman

In response to this thread: How Do I - Acclimate shipped fish, couldn't one pierce a tiny hole in the bag to get a 5mL sample of water and test the pH so see if it has in fact dropped drastically? If it is within a safe range (+/-0.5?) then one could acclimate slowly rather than plopping it into the tank after temperature acclimation.
 

bizaliz3

The concern isn't pH. The concern is ammonia.

Personally I temp acclimate and then spend maybe another 5 minutes adding tank water to their bag water before plopping them. So I do a very very short acclimation period when receiving shipped fish.
 

mossman

The concern isn't pH. The concern is ammonia.

Right, but the buildup of CO2 in the bag causes the pH to drop, making the ammonia less toxic. When you open the bag there is a rapid rise in pH, thereby causing the ammonia to become toxic, which can kill the fish if you delay removing them (i.e. by performing a normal acclimation routine).

Personally I temp acclimate and then spend maybe another 5 minutes adding tank water to their bag water before plopping them. So I do a very very short acclimation period when receiving shipped fish.

If anything, that is what I will do as well. However, the vendor I am receiving the fish from says to simply remove most of the water out of the bag, then dump the fish in without delay. I think I'll test the water to see what kind of condition it is in before and after the bag is opened, for my own education.
 

Mcasella

Right, but the buildup of CO2 in the bag causes the pH to drop, making the ammonia less toxic. When you open the bag there is a rapid rise in pH, thereby causing the ammonia to become toxic, which can kill the fish if you delay removing them (i.e. by performing a normal acclimation routine).



If anything, that is what I will do as well. However, the vendor I am receiving the fish from says to simply remove most of the water out of the bag, then dump the fish in without delay. I think I'll test the water to see what kind of condition it is in before and after the bag is opened, for my own education.
That is called "plop and drop" it doesn't concern with differences in ph, temp, which can be okay sometimes however there are some fish or inverts that need to be acclimated even after a long shipping process. (I personally do plop and drop as long as the water isn't icy or too hot, then I will acclimate to temp and get the fish into my water as quickly as possible, I have had several shipments where the seller obviously didn't care about the fish and sent way too many fish in too little water and a tiny bag, where there were dead fish or fish were rough looking and needed to be out of the shipping water).
 

mossman

I just unboxed the fish. It was in a small bag with hardly any air and only 12 ounces of water :/ Kind of surprised. I measured the water and it had a pH of about 7 and ammonia of greater than 5ppm! Curiously, the water had a blue tint to it. Maybe they added some sort of chemical to it. Anyway, the fish appears to he fine. He's not colorful like the advertisement, but maybe its from shipping stress. We'll see if his/her color restores after a couple days.
 

coralbandit

The blue was likely methylene blue or a product like ship shape FF to control the ammonia and increase 02 intake. Reading ammonia doesn't mean it is active if a conditioner like prime or ship shape have rendered it non toxic.Most conditioners last 48 hours but still show a positive test result.
 

Carbeo

Drop and plop, as I know it, does float the bag for temperature. But keep it sealed so we don't have the oxygen, ph, ammonia, lethal chain reaction.
 

mossman

Okay cool. The outside temp is virtually the same as my tank so I didnt acclimate at all. Also, I tested the pH 15 minutes later and it hasn't risen at all. He was in the bag for only 24 hours, so maybe there wasn't much C02 buildup.
 

mossman

Not that it makes a difference now, but shouldn't the bag have been filled with more than 12 oz. of water and more air for a nearly 3" fish? The bag only took up maybe half of the package, so I imagine he was tossed around quite a bit on the flight from California to Virginia.
 

Inactive User

Right, but the buildup of in causes the to drop, making the less toxic. When you open the bag there is a rapid rise in pH, thereby causing the ammonia to become toxic, which can kill the fish if you delay removing them (i.e. by performing a normal acclimation routine).

But keep it sealed so we don't have the oxygen, , , lethal chain reaction.

I've read beforehand about CO2, oxygen, pH and their effects on ammonia while acclimating, but I'm not sure whether the explanations are cogent.

Just to clarify, generally I've read of two explanations:
  1. Accumulated CO2 from fish respiration lowers pH, shifting the NH3 <=> NH4+ equilibrium towards ammonium (NH4+). Opening the bag causes aqueous CO2 to volatilise to achieve equilibrium with atmospheric CO2. This raises pH, and shifts the NH3 <=> NH4+ equilibrium to free ammonia (NH3).
  2. Ammonification of accumulated nitrogenous waste (excreted by fish) by heterotrophic bacteria is inhibited by low Total Dissolved Oxygen. Opening the bag causes an influx of oxygen, resulting in a surge of ammonifiying activity.
The major issue, I find, with both explanations is that gaseous exchange between a volume of water and the atmosphere isn't instantaneous: it's typically rather slow. As an example, a glass of water straight from the tap that's high in dissolved carbon dioxide takes anywhere between 2 to 24 hours for the CO2 to volatilise.

I think a more cogent way of approaching acclimation is just to weigh the risks between alternate approaches: the risk with a plop and drop strategy is osmotic shock as a result of a significant difference in TDS (particularly KH, i.e. carbonate salt concentration), and the risk with drip acclimation is prolonged exposure to toxic concentrations of ammonia.

In addition, I find that both the two aforementioned arguments place too emphasis on the toxicity of free ammonia (NH3) without duly considering that ammonium (NH4+), too, is toxic to fish. I think it's more appropriate to consider the toxicity of ammonia as a whole: 5 ppm ammonia (from mossman's test), whether at 6 pH or 8 pH, is far too excessive.

You can mediate the risks by using a slightly faster (30 minutes) drip acclimation: it lowers the risk of osmostic shock, and it also lowers the toxicity of total ammonia by diluting it in a greater volume of water. That can be followed by a longer (60 minutes) drip acclimation.
 

coralbandit

Not that it makes a difference now, but shouldn't the bag have been filled with more than 12 oz. of water and more air for a nearly 3" fish? The bag only took up maybe half of the package, so I imagine he was tossed around quite a bit on the flight from California to Virginia.
I actually use exactly 12 oz of water for shipping my rams [a pair per bag]. I do the same for swordtails and only place one electric blue acara per bag .
Old school without breather bags say 1/3 water and 2/3 air [I use o2] .
I don't leave any space in box for bag to move as I am sure they are not handled gently [ no matter how labeled ] .
Properly shipped fish are not supposed to have room to swim [the activity would use up 02 and generate waste] but fit 'comfortably' [in our eyes] .
3 inch fish [my acara] would go in 12 oz of water in a 5 inch bag.
 

mossman

Okay. Good to know.

So, I'm a little upset that the Ram I received is not red like what was advertised. The one I received has a lot of pink on the fins and yellow on the body. This is not what I wanted. It looks genetically modified to me. Not sure if it actually is, but this is not the type of fish I want in my new tank. I would put it in my daughter's tank, but I'm worried the Glofish would nip the fins. Attached is an of the fish I ordered (a lot of red) followed by the one I received (pink, yellow). Does anyone have a Crown Ruby Ram that is mostly red like the below?
 

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Fawkes21

Okay. Good to know.

So, I'm a little upset that the Ram I received is not red like what was advertised. The one I received has a lot of pink on the fins and yellow on the body. This is not what I wanted. It looks genetically modified to me. Not sure if it actually is, but this is not the type of fish I want in my new tank. I would put it in my daughter's tank, but I'm worried the Glofish would nip the fins. Attached is an of the fish I ordered (a lot of red) followed by the one I received (pink, yellow). Does anyone have a Crown Ruby Ram that is mostly red like the below?
I only have EBRs, but his colour change could be due to the stress from shipping?
I know with my rams it took a while for their blue to really come in.

I also purchased a goldfish online that looked nothing like the picture... Much paler/bronze than the orange/black 'tiger' look advertised. Then I moved him to my new tank with a different substrate/new light and his colour changed to dark orange and black as advertised.

Maybe try changing light/substrate to bring his colour out?

That said, the first photo does look a bit edited, especially the red on the body.

He's still a stunning fish!
 

Culprit

Its very likely still stressed. I'd give it a month or two to color up. Feed quality foods (frozen) and keep him as comfortable as possible and dark colored substrate and tons of plants.
 

Jocelyn Adelman

Fish take time to color up, give it a few days before judging true coloration. Often best coloration is shown with dark substrate and a good amount of plants, sometimes too much free space causes lack of coloration as wel.
 

mossman

He was nearly pale when he arrived Tuesday, but a lot of color was restored after just one day. However, I find it hard to believe the pink fins will turn to red and his body will turn mostly red. I'm basing this off of the many pictures online of Rams that look like the one I have (lots of pink and yellow). I agree it is a pretty fish, but not what I want in my main tank. Are you saying mine will eventually look like the mostly red/black one in the ?
 

toeknee

Just agreeing with most of the above ^^. I get my fish exclusively online. Years ago I used to do slow acclimation and always had a bunch of deaths and never understood why until I learned exactly what's going on in the bag. Now for the past few years I only do the "plop and drop" and have had no deaths with this method. If you get fish from a nearby LFS however then a slower acclimation is recommended.
 

mossman

Just agreeing with most of the above ^^. I get my fish exclusively online. Years ago I used to do slow acclimation and always had a bunch of deaths and never understood why until I learned exactly what's going on in the bag. Now for the past few years I only do the "plop and drop" and have had no deaths with this method. If you get fish from a nearby LFS however then a slower acclimation is recommended.

This is my understanding as well, and it's good to know you've had success doing it this way for so long.
 

toeknee

My water parameter are often quite different than the water of the bags as well (besides temp). Fish are better off adjusting to different parameters than being introduced to lethal ammonia and rapid p.h. drop. ....And as others have said above give them time to color up. I had bolivian rams show up and they were borderline pure white. It took a couple weeks before they became comfortable, established territories and began eating well. They have colored up very nicely and show bright reds and yellows.
 

mossman

My water parameter are often quite different than the water of the bags as well (besides temp). Fish are better off adjusting to different parameters than being introduced to lethal ammonia and rapid p.h. drop. ....And as others have said above give them time to color up. I had bolivian rams show up and they were borderline pure white. It took a couple weeks before they became comfortable, established territories and began eating well. They have colored up very nicely and show bright reds and yellows.

Reds like the I posted? Not pink? Can you post a photo?
 

Culprit

Check out msjinkzd acclimation technique. I used it for 30 shrimp I got and didn't have any deaths. A week later I had multiple berried females.
 

toeknee

Reds like the I posted? Not pink? Can you post a photo?
Unfortunately I'm currently visiting family in Michigan and my tank is back in Colorado. I'll post some pics when I get back on the 20th if I remember. My dominant Bolivian Ram has some bright/deep red coloration on his fins, my less dominant Bolivian Ram is a little less vivid but still looking nice. I'll get some pics next week.
 

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