Proper acclimation is absolutely vital when introducing new livestock to your aquarium. The True Percula recommends the drip acclimation method for both saltwater and freshwater additions. It is considered the best and safest method for all fish and invertebrates, including coral. The water in your tank will differ in PH, salinity, and temperature from the water used to transport your livestock. If your livestock isn't properly acclimated, these differences can cause your livestock to go into shock or even die.
A drip acclimation kit typically consists of a length of airline tubing, a valve, and one or two clips to hold the tubing in place. In addition to a drip acclimation kit, you will also need a container (clean and chemical free), a net, and 1-2 towels. Your container should be at least large enough to safely hold triple the water volume contained in the transport bag.
How To Drip Acclimate:
1. Turn off the lights in your aquarium and dim the lights in the room.
2. Gently pour your livestock along with the water in the bag into your container. If you have some variant of API Stress Coat +, a product designed to help prevent stress in livestock, now would be a good time to add the recommended dose into your container. You may need to prop your container up using a towel if there isn't enough water in the container to keep your livestock fully submerged. If your livestock came from different sales tanks, they will need to be acclimated in separate containers.
3. Secure the open end of your airline tubing in your aquarium using a clip. Clip the other end of your tubing with the valve onto the side of your acclimation container so that the valve hangs over the center of your water.
4. Start a siphon by sucking on the lower end of the tubing. Adjust the drip rate by opening/closing the valve until it is dripping at approximately 3-4 dips per second to start. You will increase the drip rate to 4-5 drips per second throughout the process until you have roughly tripled the water volume in your container. SLOWER IS BETTER. This process should take roughly an hour to an hour and twenty minutes, NOT to exceed an hour and a half.
5. Cover your container(s) using a towel to prevent your livestock from jumping out. Also, darkness during the acclimation process helps to reduce stress.
6. Once the acclimation process is complete, gently net the livestock out and place it into the tank. Your aquarium lights should still be turned off while you do this. If you are acclimating snails, starfish, or coral you may reach in with your hand and gently place them in your aquarium. Starfish need to be placed in upside down. Make sure your hands are free of perfume, lotion, soap residue, chemicals, etc. If you are acclimating fish, leave your aquarium lights off for at least another hour so your new fish has a chance to get used to its surroundings without being harassed by others in the tank.
7. Replace the water drained from your aquarium during the acclimation process. If your aquarium is a saltwater tank, replace the lost water with saltwater mixed to the same salinity as your aquarium.