In the last installment of this series (Aquarium Care 101: Part 4), we discussed “cycling” your aquarium. In this article, I’ll cover the safe methods of physically adding new tropical fish to your aquarium.
So, the time has finally come! You’re now ready to add tropical fish to your aquarium!
When you place your newly purchased beauties in your fish-tank, keep in mind that tropical fish are very sensitive to rapid changes in water temperature and to other water conditions (such as pH and hardness/softness).
When you put your tropical fish in your aquarium, you must, therefore, first get them used to their new environment. This process of slowly letting your fish adjust to their new aquarium habitat is called Acclimation.
There are various ways to acclimate fish to your aquarium.
The first involves floating the clear plastic fish bag, in which the fish came, at the water’s surface for a period of about 30 minutes. During this time, the temperature of the water in the fish bag will slowly adjust to match that in the aquarium. This way, your tropical fish won’t suffer from temperature shock when you release them into your aquarium.
After the 30 minutes is up, you can release your fish into the aquarium.
But, if you want to go the extra mile you can also get them used to the pH and the hardness/softness of your aquarium water!
Some of the more sensitive tropical fish, including the school of cardinal tetras pictured above, do best when acclimated not only to the water temperature, but also to the aquarium hardness/softness and pH.
If you do choose to go the extra mile, you’ll need a clean bucket (one you only use for aquarium maintenance) and a clean disposable plastic cup.
After the tropical fish have been floating in their bag in the aquarium for 30 minutes, take the bag out and release the fish, along with their water, into the clean bucket. Then take the plastic cup, fill it with aquarium water, and add it to the water in the bucket.
Repeat this step every two minutes for a period of 20 minutes.
After you have completed this process, your tropical fish are used not only used to the aquarium temperature, but also to the aquarium water! You can now catch the tropical fish out with a net, and add them to your aquarium.
Note: In the “members area” there’s an Aquarium Care *video* lesson that demonstrates how to acclimate new tropical fish to your aquarium. The video is based on the information provided in Aquarium Care digital book found here.