and hermit crabs become lethargic, lose limbs, and may
die. Echinoderms such as starfishes and sea urchins re-act dramatically, too. But if the organism is slowly acclimated while still in the transportation bag, it can safely
balance osmotic exchange processes.
THE DRIP METHOD
The drip method of introducing aquarium water into the
transportation bag drop by drop with flexible airline tube
is the simplest and best way to equalize water parameters.
Drip rate is regulated by a clamp fitted to the tubing.
Essentially the procedure is as follows: once you have
arrived home with the new acquisition, discard most
of the transportation water. Invertebrates must remain
completely covered by water and fishes able to swim upright in the transportation bag. Keep the animal in its
original bag. Place the bag in an empty bucket and using silicone air tubing, drip water from the aquarium
into it at a rate of about 60-80 drops per minute. Darkness reduces the stress to fishes and shrimps, so cover
the bucket with a towel (there is no need to cover sessile
Drip aquarium water into the bag so that the original
water volume is roughly tripled. The entire equalization
process should take around 2 to 3 hours. After a quick
check to see that the water temperature in the bag and
the aquarium are about the same, transfer the organism
into the tank, with system lights off. If the temperature
difference is more than 3. 5-7°F ( 2-4°C), float or sus-
pend the bag in the aquarium for a while.
Invertebrates must be removed from the bag under water
in the aquarium, as many sponges, starfishes, and sea
urchins, for example, can be seriously damaged by direct
contact with the air. To transfer a sessile invertebrate,
hold the bag beneath the surface of the aquarium water
with one hand and carefully remove the creature with
the other and move it to the desired spot. This sounds
more difficult than it actually is—just be careful not
to squash corals or let them tumble off the rocky substrate. Non-sessile invertebrates can be tipped out of the
bag under water near the substrate. When introducing
shrimps, turn off the current pumps so that the newcomers aren’t swept around the aquarium, and can retire
in peace into the décor. Shrimps drifting around in the
water will awaken the interest of many fishes, and may
promptly vanish into the stomach of a tank resident .
The transfer of fishes can be faster but is
slightly more involved, since transportation water should not be tipped into the
aquarium, particularly in the case of reef
aquaria. Residues of medications in the
transportation water can cause disastrous consequences. I carefully remove
the fish from the bag with a net, and
then transfer it to the aquarium after acclimation to the new water parameters.
QUARANTINE OR NOT?
Quarantine makes sense only if an op-timally-run and fully-equipped second
aquarium is available. In principle, quarantining new arrivals prevents the introduction of diseases or parasites into the
aquarium. A disease that appears in new
fishes as a result of transportation stress
can be treated in a separate quarantine
tank and parasites on corals detected
and eliminated. The quarantine period
must last for at least three weeks. Water
parameters and equipment in the quarantine tank must equal those in the main
The drip method in use. note that the tube
is fixed in place at its upper end to avoid