Drop And Plop Acclimating

bunafireman825

I have been wanting to order some fish online and doing some research I found several suppliers recommend using the drop and flop acclimation method. I have always used drip acclimation before putting my new fish in my aquariums, but I have always bought my fish locally.

The issue that is claimed is with fish kept in a small bag for more than eight to ten hours that the ph and ammonia can swing dramatically from adding your water to the bag or by dripping. I suspect most here use a type of acclimation that involves dripping or mixing your tank water with the water the fish is bagged in but I wanted to get your opinions on the forum about it.
 

Aquaphobia

I actually asked this question recently after seeing it done that way in a Solid Gold video! I was surprised, hadn't heard about that before but the theory makes sense.
 

slayer5590

If you are buying fish online drop and flop is the way to go. I have suffered far fewer loses since I started using this method.
 

clk89

My PH is pretty hard, 8.2 and my KH and GH are also pretty high. I also test the containers that the new fish is in, and the water is usually softer then mine. The closest PH to me is apparently a fish only store an hour away. This is why even when I order online I still acclimate with float bag and putting my water into the bag, and taking some out methods. Perhaps I am just being too cautious and it's not necessary at all, but I feel like it is with my harness difference.

edit: Another thing that was brought up on another post on this was what about breathable bags?
 

bunafireman825

Yes the only way i've ever heard of this method was on the forums telling new fish keepers NO! you're doing it wrong lol.

But then again i've always bought locally, we did have a couple mom and pops stores in my area but they have both closed down leaving only petco and petsmart for buying fish. With both of them lately the african cichlids seem to be more and more of cross breed and so called hybrids and quite a few stay dull or to me anyways an off coloration. So I decided to look into buying online and stumbled across this actually being recommended as the preferred method and it kind of took me by surprise. I have been into fish keeping world since 2001 off and on because of a few moves that wouldn't allow me to have aquariums, and this was actually the first time I had seen it recommended.
 

slayer5590

If you are going to acclimate the normal way you have to use some Prime or something similar to neutralize the ammonia.
 

clk89

Yes the only way i've ever heard of this method was on the forums telling new fish keepers NO! you're doing it wrong lol.

But then again i've always bought locally, we did have a couple mom and pops stores in my area but they have both closed down leaving only petco and petsmart for buying fish. With both of them lately the african cichlids seem to be more and more of cross breed and so called hybrids and quite a few stay dull or to me anyways an off coloration. So I decided to look into buying online and stumbled across this actually being recommended as the preferred method and it kind of took me by surprise. I have been into fish keeping world since 2001 off and on because of a few moves that wouldn't allow me to have aquariums, and this was actually the first time I had seen it recommended.

Yup that's pretty much what I have always heard to since I started researching seriously in keeping fish little over a year ago. I'm still a bit of a beginner myself, so I am always learning, and I admit some of the scientific discussions can go over my head when not set in laymen terms. Funny thing is the petsmart, about ten mins away, has the softest water. It's only a PH of 7.2.
 

Summer22

really liked the video. Glad to hear I was doing it one right way. Probably more by luck LOL.
 

bunafireman825

My PH is pretty hard, 8.2 and my KH and GH are also pretty high. I also test the containers that the new fish is in, and the water is usually softer then mine. The closest PH to me is apparently a fish only store an hour away. This is why even when I order online I still acclimate with float bag and putting my water into the bag, and taking some out methods. Perhaps I am just being too cautious and it's not necessary at all, but I feel like it is with my harness difference.

edit: Another thing that was brought up on another post on this was what about breathable bags?

A breathable bag would allow for oxygen exchange, but would it do much for the ammonia build up which is where the main concern seems to be?
 

Aquaphobia

Don't shippers starve the fish for a day before shipping and also anesthetize them to reduce metabolism and therefore ammonia production?
 

Jocelyn Adelman

They do, but the fish are still producing ammonia, just at a lesser amount.
Interesting video... I've done it this way when I was in a hurry once and the pleco s were fine, but I usually drip them in a marina box hanging in tank... no more! On to easier acclimation!
 

svb3290

HI group
This is yet another question about acclimating shipped fish by the Drop & Plop method.
I have Electric Blue Acaras being shipped next week (overnight) and this being my first experience with shipped fish, I have some first time jitters concerning their acclimation. I'm accustomed to acclimating fish purchased locally. I usually drip acclimate as my water is soft and the LFS which is about 25 miles away has extremely hard water. The breeder who is shipping me the cichlids has water of similar hardness, within 1-2°, but his fish are raised at a pH around 8; my water and tanks run around 6.6-6.8.
I've buffered up my quarantine tank with Alkaline Regulator and it has settled out to around 7.6. Alkaline Regulator is a phosphate based buffer and is fairly stable. I plan on slowly acclimating the fish over the course of a couple of months through partial water changes to my main tank's lower pH.
Is this close enough for drop and plop acclimation or should I attempt to buffer the pH higher with crushed coral? I want to keep stress to a minimum for these guys once they're into the quarantine tank. The breeder said his pH was around 8 but wasn't more specific.
 

grump299

No IMO a fish should never be dropped and plopped acclimated no matter how close to to waters are a drip acclimation over an hour or so is the best way in almost all cases...
To only exception to this is moving fish between your own tanks that are from the same water and ph source...
 

svb3290

No IMO a fish should never be dropped and plopped acclimated no matter how close to to waters are a drip acclimation over an hour or so is the best way in almost all cases...
To only exception to this is moving fish between your own tanks that are from the same water and ph source...
So you advocate neutralizing the ammonia in the bag first and then dripping. Isn't the rapid rise in pH from opening the bag and then dripping to reacclimate to tank's pH more stressful than netting the fish from the shipping bag and adding to the tank?
I appreciate your advice, I'm just trying to figure this out. It would be great if there were some scientific studies done on which method is least stressful for the fish. I know that many people have success with both methods. I've always been more comfortable with drip acclimation but the shipper recommends just adding the fish to the tank after temperature acclimation.
 

Nikki2577

All fish that I have had shipped to me I drop and plop. If they look ok in the bag I float it for a bit to get the temp as close as I can. They did fine.
 

grump299

I always open bag pour it in a container with a small air stone and heater set low a few drops of prime to detoxify ammonia/nitrites/nitrates then start a slow drip about 1 drop every 2 sec then cover to stay dark and check in an out an 1 hour when ready I then net and put in to quarantine for a min of 4 weeks.

As you said this is only one way... Sorry if I sounded harsh I was just giving you options I have always done it this way with much success.
 

svb3290

I always open bag pour it in a container with a small air stone and heater set low a few drops of prime to detoxify ammonia/nitrites/nitrates then start a slow drip about 1 drop every 2 sec then cover to stay dark and check in an out an 1 hour when ready I then net and put in to quarantine for a min of 4 weeks.

As you said this is only one way... Sorry if I sounded harsh I was just giving you options I have always done it this way with much success.
No, you're fine. Drip acclimation is still on the table. Thanks for your feedback!
 

coralbandit

I usually tell people to drop and plop my rams .
My biggest concern is you buffed water and plan to acclimate slowly to source water ??
Not a good idea on either end IMO.Buffing without complete understanding always is trouble IMO.
I would drop them right in your water and get them on the road to living ,not adjusting …
Ph means almost nothing IMO. Many with lower pH then mine have higher TDS and vice versa ..
 

svb3290

All fish that I have had shipped to me I drop and plop. If they look ok in the bag I float it for a bit to get the temp as close as I can. They did fine.
Thanks! I appreciate hearing from people who have had success with this method. How imperative is it to have water parameters close to shipper's. I've read that as long as bagged water the fish have been shipped in is of lower pH than your tank's, you're ok to drop and plop. I do have an empty tank that I can put them in where the pH is higher and closer to the breeder's (7.6, the breeder is around 8). My hardness pretty much matches the breeder's. He said his TDS varies, but mine runs high for some reason, over 300. This has more to do with reducing post acclimation stress.

I usually tell people to drop and plop my rams .
My biggest concern is you buffed water and plan to acclimate slowly to source water ??
Not a good idea on either end IMO.Buffing without complete understanding always is trouble IMO.
I would drop them right in your water and get them on the road to living ,not adjusting …
Ph means almost nothing IMO. Many with lower pH then mine have higher TDS and vice versa ..

Thanks Coralbandit. I decided to go ahead with brief temp acclimation and then plop and drop.
The only reason for buffering up the pH in the quarantine tank was to get the ph closer to what they were raised in (my gH matches the breeder's). I then planned to slowly adjust the parameters of the quarantine tank over the course of 4 to 6 weeks to match my water which is on soft side. This was suggested by another fish keeper who advocates the plop and drop method and who has soft water. It may be totally unnecessary but it sounded logical.

Coralbandit. Hi, just an update. Received my E.B. Acara today and followed your suggestions on acclimation (Drop and Plop). I did a brief temp acclimation as the bag was extremely cold but the drop and plop went smoothly. There were absolutely no signs of stress and within seconds the fish was exploring the tank. The lights are still off but his colors are great, respiration normal and he is very actively checking out his surroundings. Of course he has to get through quarantine, but at this point I don't foresee any problems. Thanks again for your help and advice!

Thanks Nikki2577! Acclimation went without a hitch. Fish doing great with absolutely no signs of stress. Colors great and exploring tank within seconds of being added.
 

Nikki2577

Thanks Nikki2577! Acclimation went without a hitch. Fish doing great with absolutely no signs of stress. Colors great and exploring tank within seconds of being added.

Glad it went well Your very welcome!
 

goldface

Glad it worked out, which to me is no real surprise as long the fish are healthy. Drip acclimation is, in majority of cases, an unnecessary waste of time. I've never done one, whether it be for fish or inverts. Not sure if the method has been a thing for a long time or not, but I never even knew what that was when I got back into the hobby a couple years ago.
 

mossman

It is my understanding that as long as the destination water is LOWER pH than the source/shipping bag, you are fine. Apparently a drop in pH isn't as stressful as a sudden rise in pH. I believe this is why some breeders keep the pH higher, because they expect the customer to have a neutral pH, which will always be lower. Could be wrong. Regardless, I always temperature acclimate shipped fish (bag closed) for 15 to 20 minutes, then pour them into a large net over a bucket, then plop them into the quarantine tank. I keep the tank dimly lit (partially covered with a towel if necessary) for a couple days to help calm them. I observe them in quarantine for at least 4 weeks and only using meds to treat retroactively.
 

svb3290

It is my understanding that as long as the destination water is LOWER pH than the source/shipping bag, you are fine. Apparently a drop in pH isn't as stressful as a sudden rise in pH. I believe this is why some breeders keep the pH higher, because they expect the customer to have a neutral pH, which will always be lower. Could be wrong. Regardless, I always temperature acclimate shipped fish (bag closed) for 15 to 20 minutes, then pour them into a large net over a bucket, then plop them into the quarantine tank. I keep the tank dimly lit (partially covered with a towel if necessary) for a couple days to help calm them. I observe them in quarantine for at least 4 weeks and only using meds to treat retroactively.
I did have to treat him for internal parasites (Metroplex on his food) as he had a sunken belly and was spitting out his food. When I got him, he also had beginning of some fin rot in his dorsal fin (ammonia burns?). He looks great now and he is out of quarantine and has grown over an inch (he is almost 4 inches) and he is slowly getting some regrowth on his dorsal fin. I agree with you that throwing a bunch of meds at these fish is just more stress and it's better to wait and treat as issues arise. Paraguard knocked out the fin rot. I always heard that going from harder water to softer is more stressful according to Rachael O'Leary. The shipping was definitely more stressful than the acclimation (drop and plop).
 

Wolf010

Over my couple of months in the forum, I have heard some forum user say that all fish shld be drip acclimated, but others say drop and plop is the way too go after floating bag for temperature acclimation as fishes take more than a few hours to acclimate to different water chemical levels. Which is true?
 

Salem

Drip- always always always drip. Floating only adjusts to temperature so the water could be wildly different and cause the fish to go into shock and in some cases they will even die. The water parameters are usually similar enough to be able to adjust over a few hours and even if they are significantly different you can just drip them longer.

It's like if you got in a hot tub then suddenly jumped into a cold pool vs being in a bath that slowly cools down over a period of time.
 

RockinRy

I don’t think you will end up with an answer to this question. This is one of those topics that has debate on what is the best method. Basically the two arguments is the drip method allows the fish to acclimate longer to the different parameters. Then the drop and plop method reduces the exposure to ammonia from the bag water.

They are both valid ways to acclimate and you will have members swear by one and condemn the other and vice versa. The main thing I learned is try both and see what works best for you.

I usually float for 15 minutes and then I add 1/2 cup of aquarium water to the bag every 4 minutes. Once it’s full I pour half of it out and add 1/2 cup aquarium every four again. Once it is full or I am approaching an hour I put the fish in the aquarium and ditch the water.
 

Mongo75

I don’t think you will end up with an answer to this question. This is one of those topics that has debate on what is the best method. Basically the two arguments is the drip method allows the fish to acclimate longer to the different parameters. Then the drop and plop method reduces the exposure to ammonia from the bag water.

They are both valid ways to acclimate and you will have members swear by one and condemn the other and vice versa. The main thing I learned is try both and see what works best for you.

I usually float for 15 minutes and then I add 1/2 cup of aquarium water to the bag every 4 minutes. Once it’s full I pour half of it out and add 1/2 cup aquarium every four again. Once it is full or I am approaching an hour I put the fish in the aquarium and ditch the water.
Almost exactly how I do it as well. I use 1/4 cup rather than 1/2 and I wait 5 minutes.
 

RockinRy

Almost exactly how I do it as well. I use 1/4 cup rather than 1/2 and I wait 5 minutes.

My LFS used to put a ton of water in the bag so 1/2 cup made sense, now they stopped selling live fish and are just a pet supply store so I have to travel an hour to go to a pet smart. I noticed my PetSmart puts very little water in the bags so I might have to start acclimating your way. I went with 1/3 cup every 4 minutes last time, but it still seemed like I tripled the water in the bag in no time ha.
 

kallililly1973

I float my bags open held by a chip clip to avoid any water to escape the bag and add a turkey baster worth of water every 10 minutes for 40 minutes then put a net over a bucket and pour the water in and catch the fish in the net and drop em in and i've had good luck doing it that way. If i'm moving fish from one of my tanks to another I drop n plop cause all my parameters are basically identical with just a degree or 2 difference between tanks but that's a different subject but thought i'de add it anyways
 

goldface

Drop and plop. Always. Fish, shrimp, snails, doesn't matter.

Ironically, every time I read about someone having trouble with shrimp dying, 99.999% of the time they're drip acclimating for like, uh, 3 hours or longer.
 

max h

Drop and Plop, I have done it that way for years. I originally started during the pre internet years.
 

Wolf010

Drop and plop. Always. Fish, shrimp, snails, doesn't matter.

Ironically, every time I read about someone having trouble with shrimp dying, 99.999% of the time they're drip acclimating for like, uh, 3 hours or longer.
Oh, I thought the general consensus for shrimp was drip acclimation due to the sensitivity 0_o
 

FeederGuppies

I add water every 15-20 minutes for 2, sometimes 3, hours. It has worked so far for me, but I mainly have guppies and shrimp. The ammonia shouldn't build up in such a short amount of time. They also get enough oxygen when I add in new water. Out of the ten shrimp I've most recently acclimated using this method, only one died, I'm pretty sure due to a molting issue.
 

goldface

Oh, I thought the general consensus for shrimp was drip acclimation due to the sensitivity 0_o
I drop and plop all my shrimp and not one of them died, and I actually find shrimp hardier and easier than fish, especially once they get established. It's almost a set up and forget. Leave them alone for a month or half a year, except maybe the occasional top off for evaporation. Finally check up on them and they're still doing their thing.
 

Gone

Here's a video of pros that use drop and plop.

 

Wolf010

I drop and plop all my shrimp and not one of them died, and I actually find shrimp hardier and easier than fish, especially once they get established. It's almost a set up and forget. Leave them alone for a month or half a year, except maybe the occasional top off for evaporation. Finally check up on them and they're still doing their thing.
U r talking abt caridina or neocaridina? I thought cardina need a lot of maintenance and upkeep?
 

goldface

U r talking abt caridina or neocaridina? I thought cardina need a lot of maintenance and upkeep?
Both. I've kept Amanos, Cherries, and even a Crystal Black Shrimp.

I'm not sure you're aware, but Caridina is a genus containing many species. So there are certainly some more sensitive than others, but the most common ones available are quite hardy.
 

nikm128

U r talking abt caridina or neocaridina? I thought cardina need a lot of maintenance and upkeep?
Not really, shrimp aren't as hard as they're made out to be.
I say plop and drop, and dripping is semI useless in my opinion. Fish don't just to PH and hardness in just a few hours, or even a couple days. They take at least a couple weeks (obviously depends on how different the water is, like if you live in california and buy fish from maine) so unless you plan on keeping the fish or whatever it is alive and well in a bag for that long don't even bother with the drip.
 

BlackOsprey

I drop and plop all my shrimp and not one of them died, and I actually find shrimp hardier and easier than fish, especially once they get established. It's almost a set up and forget. Leave them alone for a month or half a year, except maybe the occasional top off for evaporation. Finally check up on them and they're still doing their thing.
I wish I knew what you were doing to get those kinds of results. I've spent so much money to try and get shrimp established in a planted tank to no avail.
 

goldface

I wish I knew what you were doing to get those kinds of results. I've spent so much money to try and get shrimp established in a planted tank to no avail.
I view them as water roaches or aquatic insects. They're prolific and tenacious. I similarly liken them to rollie pollies and springtails: nature's cleanup, and great for creating bioactive terrariums. Pretty much the same idea with shrimp. Toss in some leaves, wood, alder cones, and leave the light on to allow algae to grow, and you got a setup that is almost self-sustaining.
 

BlackOsprey

I view them as water roaches or aquatic insects. They're prolific and tenacious. I similarly liken them to rollie pollies and springtails: nature's cleanup, and great for creating bioactive terrariums. Pretty much the same idea with shrimp. Toss in some leaves, wood, alder cones, and leave the light on to allow algae to grow, and you got a setup that is almost self-sustaining.
Maybe I'll try again someday when I got more money... tenacious roaches or not my LFS see it fit to gouge us with $15 per unremarkable cherry shrimp. >_>
 

pagoda

I am in the drop/plop camp....add water from the aquarium, leave to float whilst having a coffee, add a bit more water, leave them floating a while longer and then put the net on my water change tub, pour fish out into the net and straight into the aquarium....not lost anything so far in 30+ years

I have had a few fish who were far too impatient to move into their new home and I've returned to the bag to add more water and the blighter(s) has got fed up of waiting and jumped into the aquarium and made themselves at home.....Cories are terrible for being impatient when being moved into the aquarium, they cannot wait five more minutes....they jump in and start getting jiggy with it before I have chance to pull the bag out
 

Piscesorkillerwhale

My lfs told me to plot and drop. Especially if you are buying from somewhere that the bag water looks dirty by the time you get home.
 

toeknee

Always drop and plop. Especially in cases of fish bought online. As soon as you open a bag of fish that has been closed for a few hours the ph plummets and ammonia skyrockets. Fish are much better at dealing with some minor water chemistry changes from tank to tank than they are at dealing with ammonia poisoning and ph shock so it's best to get the fish out of the water in the bag as soon as possible.
 

Elkwatcher

I float my bags open held by a chip clip to avoid any water to escape the bag and add a turkey baster worth of water every 10 minutes for 40 minutes then put a net over a bucket and pour the water in and catch the fish in the net and drop em in and i've had good luck doing it that way. If i'm moving fish from one of my tanks to another I drop n plop cause all my parameters are basically identical with just a degree or 2 difference between tanks but that's a different subject but thought i'de add it anyways

That's how I do it too, only difference is I add 1 drop of Prime to the bag to help if there is ammonia build up.
 

kallililly1973

That's how I do it too, only difference is I add 1 drop of Prime to the bag to help if there is ammonia build up.
All my fish are bought locally with only about a 5 minute drive so I don’t add the prime but I’m sure it would help for a longer trip. Good idea
 

Wolf010

Luckily I live in Singapore, furthest LFS from me is at most 30 min, so transportation stress is not something I have to deal with
 

coralbandit

I recommend drop and plop for my customers I ship fish to .Some fish spend 3+ days in the bag ..
I drip some fish if they think they are frail .. I drip my marine since many marine stores keep fish in low salinity to fight disease..
A healthy fresh water fish should be able to deal with drop and plop ..
I have not lost a fish to acclimating in over a decade .
IMO 9 out 10 times someone is convinced they acclimated improperly they are still blind to their true water parameters and quality ..
 

StarGirl

I have always dropped and plopped. Since my tank has had the correct parameters rarely have I lost any fish. The only ones have been Rummynose tetras. Known to be fragile anyway. Amanos all 5 were fine. Snails fine.
 

whux

Drop and plop. Pretty much echoing what others have said above me. Unless it's an incredibly fragile fish where I need to heed extra precaution, I've never lost a healthy fish just from this method. As long as parameters in the tank are good, the fish should be able to adjust. I float for about 30 minutes to adjust to temp, pour out the water into another bucket and catch the fish with a net and he's on his way.
 

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